Lesson One: Leveraging Google’s Services – Part 1
This first lesson of Module 2, we look at some of Google’s free services and tools, which are available to all business owners.
We walk through how to find and register your business with ‘Google My Business’, this helps your business get found on Google Search and Google Maps.
We also discuss posts, reviews and updates. Lots covered so enjoy!
Watch the next lesson: Lesson Two: Leveraging Google’s Services – Part 2
Hello, and welcome to module two of SEO Success.
This module is focused entirely around establishing your business online. This is an incredibly important process, and yet many people either don’t do this or go about it in the wrong way. Specifically in this lesson, we’re going to look at making the most of Google’s various business services, many of which are completely free and they have a wealth of business benefits for your online visibility.
In recent years, Google has created a one-stop-shop for small businesses looking to increase their online visibility within Google Search, Google Maps and on Google+. It’s called Google My Business. Once we have this set up and verified, you can manage and access all of these applications from the one place, and benefit from increased online visibility within the SERPs, which by the way, stands for Search Engine Results Pages. I’ll show you exactly what I mean a little later on.
First, I want to give you a quick overview of the various tools and applications which you can access once you have your Google My Business page set up and verified.
Firstly, we have Google+, which is where you can share content, upload images, videos and just generally talk about what your company is up to.
Then we have Google’s Insights. This is where you gain valuable information related to your online visibility, your audience and how engaged they are with your business and your website.
Moving on, we have Google Reviews. Now, everyone who registers with Google gets a star rating. The more positive reviews you can get, the higher your star rating and the more trust that Google will associate with your business and your website.
Moving on, you have Analytics, where you’ll get an overview, a top level look at your website traffic.
Lastly, we have Google’s Hangouts, which is a Google initiative that they brought out to bring communities together based around those with like-minded interests. You can create your own community or join another one.
To make life even easier. Google has created business apps for phones, both Android and IOS, meaning you can manage your entire Google listing from your phone.
This all sounds great, you’re probably thinking, so how do we get this set up? Well, the process is generally as follows. You need to go onto Google and firstly find out if your business is already listed on Google. You can do this by simply looking up your business name, and if you have a brand box on the right-hand side of the search results, then you’ve got an account.
Alternatively, you can go onto Google Maps to see if your business and your location is listed. If it is, you can claim that business. If it isn’t, it will ask you to register that business. Once you’ve done that, you’ll go through the various steps and it will ask you to choose whether you are a local page or a local business, or a brand page and a branded business. You need to read up about both of those to see which is right for your business.
Then, you will go into verifying that business. Once you’ve done that, Google will ask you to choose a category to list your business under. Now that one’s really, really important. Make sure that you choose the most relevant category for your business.
Once you’ve done that, you can … Or if you have more than one business location, you need to make sure that you add all your locations in at this stage. After that, you need to just check all the details. If you have or if you see any multiple or duplicate listings, if they’re duplicate, you need to remove them. If they have incorrect business information, you need to edit them to make sure that any listing on Google is 100% correct.
Next, get to know your Google My Business dashboard. Decide what content you’re going to put up on your page about your company. Monitor your Google Insights to learn more about your customers and actively seek customer reviews. Where needed, make sure you respond to those reviews. Lastly, if anything changes within your business, make sure that you update your page.
Now, setting up your Google My Business profile can be a little confusing, so don’t worry. I’m going to walk you through this entire process step-by-step. I’m going to use a real life company to do it. I’m going to hop onto my computer in just a moment and show you how.
The company I’m using is actually my wife’s company. It’s called HRH Creative. She specialises in graphic design in the fashion and retail industry, and works in Oxfordshire. Her business has never had a profile on Google My Business, so we’re going to start from the ground up and build everything that she needs. I’m going to hop onto my computer right now and get this all set up and optimised. You can follow along and apply all of this to your own business in real time.
As mentioned, there are quite a few steps when it comes to setting up your Google My Business page. I just want to quickly start by recapping the difference between local business pages and brand pages, as this is a common area where a lot of people come unstuck.
If you are a business and you have a physical location, or you serve people from that location, or if you target a local demographic area, then a business, a local business page is going to be the route for you.
If you are a brand and you solely exist online, so maybe you’re an e-commerce store and you don’t have any physical premises, no physical location which you would like registered. Or you may run the business from your home address and you don’t want that to be seen as the business’ address, then a brand page is for you.
Now, if you are a business that wants a, is suited for a local business page, you can have a brand page as well. If you have a brand page, you can’t have a business page. The prerequisite from Google is, “Have you got a physical location?” If you have, great You can have a a local business page, and there are quite a few benefits from that. If you don’t, if you’re just online and you don’t have a physical location, then you have to opt for a brand page.
That’s just something to quickly understand because a lot of people get really confused by that. I’ll give you just one … I’ll elaborate a bit further. If you’re a business with multiple locations, then having individual business pages for each of those locations makes sense, because you may have different offices, targets in different areas.
Then, what the best practise would dictate is that you would then have one brand page as well, which would be your overall business’, your overall brand’s voice. That’s where you would put your content and make that the headline Google page.
As I say, if you’ve got, you can have, if you’ve got business pages, you can have a brand page, it just doesn’t work the other way around. I just wanted to quickly cover that so it all makes sense. You should already by now know, “Okay, well, a local business page is going to be right for me, or a brand page is going to be right for me.”
Now, as I said, I’m going to use my wife’s company, which I will pull up here just quickly so we can see it, just HRHCreative.co.uk. As I mentioned just a minute ago, she’s a graphic designer. She works in Oxfordshire. She works from home, but she does target locally and does welcome clients in to discuss one-to-one, hers is suited for a local business. Even though she hasn’t got a shop or a physical office, it’s a home address, but it’s still going to be classed as and is best suited for a local business page. That’s what I’m going to be walking through and setting up.
Now, where do we start? Well, as mentioned, we need to firstly check if her business is on Google My Business, if she already has any sort of profile. There’s a very easy and quick way you can do that. Hop onto Google and simply search the business name, or your business name. Search. If you have anything that appears in this right-hand side here, then it’s very likely you will have a profile created.
Now, obviously, we haven’t here. I know that there’s nothing, that she doesn’t have any sort of business page, so that’s fine. That’s a very quick check just to make sure that you have … Whether or not you have a page set up.
Now, I’m going to walk you through the process of creating a Google My Business page. The steps will be very similar if you’re going down the brand page route. There’s so many different options, that I’m going to try and make it as simple as possible, and to walk you through the various steps. There may be some variations as you come to do this, but if you follow what Google’s telling you, it’s fairly straightforward.
The first thing is to hop onto Google. What we’re going to do is we’re just going to search for “Google My Business.” Okay. If we click into here, it will then, you’ll be presented with this screen. There’s all sorts of information. Have a read of this because it does show you what we’re going to be setting up and how you’re going to do it.
This is the right-hand box that I was talking about. If you have that appearing, you have a Google local business page. Actually, let me just quickly hop onto Google and show you that so you can see the, kind of the before and after.
If I look up my agency, there we are. You have the … All my, the website. Here, these are the sub-site links, which we previously discussed, and here is the local business box. It has your business name, reviews, ratings, all your business information and key … It has all the actual physical address and location information as well, which is all part of the setup of the Google My Business local page.
This, once you have it all set up and verified and we’ve gone through the steps that we’re going to shortly go through, this is the sort, one of the many benefits that you will get for when anyone does a branded search. As you’re building your business, you want more and more people to be hopping onto Google and be typing in your brand name or terms that are associated with your brand and, “Hey, presto,” we want your brand box to be appearing.
Let’s get back to this. Now, we just click on “start now” and we’ll need to sign in. Now again, you’ll need a Google account. You may have already, you should have already set one up when we did the Analytics setup and the search console setup. You may already use a Google account for your Gmail. If you have one Google login where they use it for your Analytics or your Gmail or whatever, that will work for all Google services, so you only need the one.
Now, my wife uses Google for her email so that kind of works. Like I don’t need to set up a new Google account, I can use that one. As long as you’ve got the login details, you’re good to go.
Once you sign in, you’ll be presented with this map screen. Now, this is where Google is essentially going to be doing a search for your business. What we do is we enter in all the business information. I’ll pop in her address, postal, town. Just bear with me a moment while I quickly fill this in. Category, she is a graphic designer. You would just go through this and enter all your business information in.
You can enter a landline or a mobile for the mobile number and then just all your address details. Like I say, this is taking the prerequisite that you are a local business. If you want, you would, in the initial search, you would look, instead of looking up Google My Business, you just look up Google My business brand pages. You’ll follow a very similar sequence.
You pop this in here, “Do you deliver goods and services?” In this case, no, but you would, obviously, choose yes or no. You would continue that. Now this, because we’re actually in a property that it doesn’t recognise, I’ve got an additional step where I’ve just got to put the marker where we actually live, which is around about there. You won’t have to do that, I’m sure. You’ll then continue.
Then it says, “To manage this business on Google, verify this information.” It’s just going to confirm all your information and offer us to manage this page. “Continue.” Then “continue” will create a Google+ page for this business and various other things. We’ll continue that.
Now, setting up your Google My Business page. Then you’ll get an option where it has, “How would you like to get your verification code?” Now Google, to ensure there’s no spam and to ensure there’s no fake profiles being created, Google will physically send you a postcard with either a four or six digit code, verification code. It generally takes about a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. You just need to make sure that you can receive that.
Now, mail’s absolutely fine for this one, so yeah, that’s fine. Now I’ll just put it in my wife’s name so it comes to her attention and “send postcard,” and that’s it. Now what I’ll do, Google will now send … It says here it can take … It’s only good for 30 days, which is fine because the code won’t take half as long as that.
We continue that and, “Welcome to Google My Business page. Would you like to receive communications about personalised tips, recommendations?” Yeah, we’ll do that one. I’ll get started. Here we are. This is the dashboard for where you can manage pretty much everything about your business that we’re going to add and create from the one resource.
Now, you may want to bookmark this URL, Business.Google.com. That is where you’ll be logging in. It’s a reference I always have handy so that if I might need to make any changes or updates to my page, we can do it from this location.
What do we need to do next? Well, until you receive that postcard and can verify your page, you are limited with what you can do. Like I say, in most cases, that postcard will arrive within a week. However, whilst we’re waiting for that to arrive, there’s various other information we can complete, such as adding your website, business hours and all sorts of other business information.
If you click on “edit,” you will come into the Info tab and you can set all sorts of basic business information. I’d highly recommend you do this. Add your business hours. You can add your website, which I’ll quickly do now. Making the connection between your Google business page and your website is a must. It will show you, once you’ve done it, various insights and all sorts of other useful information, so make sure that you do that as soon as you possibly can.
Then just work through the page until you’ve got “100% completed” on your profile. Google wants to see that your profile is complete. Now, if you look through this, you’ll see various things at the moment are saying “verify now,” because we haven’t got that code. Once you’ve done that, this will start to populate with information, reviews. As and when you start to get them, they will show here as well. You’ll see as part of setting up your business page, you automatically get a Google+ page.
Now before we get onto that, I just want to quickly show you photos. These are incredibly important. Google doesn’t just want you to upload, say a logo and that’s it. What Google wants is you to really show your business’ personality and let potential customers into your business. Let them see what you’re all about.
It wants you to add interior photos, exterior photos at work, team photos, any additional photos to really showcase what you’re all about. Because Google will use these photos in all sorts of ways across map searches, image searches, various, the brand box, sub-links, all sorts of ways. If you don’t upload these photos, you’re missing out.
Also, I did a cover image here, and I’ll show you where that shows in just a moment. Make sure you definitely add a logo, your profile picture, especially if you’re a personal brand. If you’re selling yourself or you’re a one person operation, definitely want to be putting a personal picture up there rather than just simply your logo and nothing else.
We go back to home. Scroll down. “Share an update on Google+.” If you click that, this is your Google+ page, which has been automatically created. Now again, you want to personalise this, so make sure that you come into “edit profile” and you add the banner here. You can do it via photos, so you can do it there or there. Make sure you add something. Maybe it’s a big image of … It could be your branding, it could just be an internal shot. It can be whatever you want it to be that represents your business and just shows what you’re all about, so make sure that you do that. You’d be amazed how many businesses have this image that shows, because they haven’t bothered to do it.
Now, within Google+, this, as I’ve mentioned before, is where you share your content. It’s the equivalent of a business Facebook page or a business Twitter page. It’s where you share your content out there. In order to share an update, whatever page you’re logged into on Plus.Google.com, you’ll click on the bottom right-hand corner here and you just write an update. You can add images, links, whatever you want. As you get a little bit more confident with it, you can choose to create a collection and share updates specifically with the people within that collection, or you can share publicly. Most times, you’re going to want to share publicly.
Then, get to know this. Like I said, you can follow various collections, you can even create your own. Same with communities. Google wants to see communities so you can join or create your own in there. Your profile is going to be populated with your information from your Google Business page. Some of this information will be pulled through and then it will show all your updates. Like I said, there’s no frequency with how often you should update, only update your page when you’ve got something to say. I’m going to be coming onto other ways to use this a little bit later on.
You can follow various people, you can search people by interest or by business type or whatever you want. Again, it’s good to interact a little bit. There isn’t a huge following on Google+ like there is with say Facebook or Twitter. You need not worry about it using it to that extent, but just being a little bit active will keep you in Google’s good graces.
If we leave Google+, or actually before we do, I’ll show you, this is the homepage. This is kind of the newsfeed within Google. Again, you can click there to share an update, and you can just see all the other contents of the posts. A lot of this is all going to be recommended because we’ve only just created this page, so it’s coming soon. Once you start to use this, Google’s going to get a better idea of what you’re interested in and all that sort of stuff. Then it’ll start to tailor the content that it’s showing you. Also, as you start following people as well, it’ll get much better idea and it will start showing you their content.
If we go back to our Business page, if you click in the top left-hand corner, you’ve got “all locations.” Now this is where I mentioned if your business has more than one location, this is where you would add it. You just come into the bottom right here, “add location.” That is where if you’ve got more than one business premises, you can add that. If you’ve got lots of business premises or lots of locations, you can bulk import a CSV file and follow the same process. That’s where you can add in all your locations.
If you run sister companies or you have more than one company that have different sort of company name, different setups, or if you’re involved with more than one company, but you want to keep everything in the one place, simply create a business account and that will create a second business account, and it’ll all be found and listed under Business.Google.com.
I suggest you do bookmark this page, Business.Google.com and Plus.Google.com as these will be the two places where, one, you’ll get in here to access and manage your listing, and here will be where you’re sharing content. You’ll be visiting those pages, or you should be visiting them fairly frequently. I’m going to show you now my Evergreen Agency page because that is already verified and that’s already in use, it will give you a kind of good sense of a before and an after page.
Once you do verify your page, you’ll see that you get a little green tick, and you’re verified. Once you have that, it means that Google will … It doesn’t guarantee it, but it means they will start showing your box here. It will mean you start to show up more highly in search rankings. It will mean you start to appear in map searches, in image searches and in all sorts of other bits and pieces within the Googles there.
I’m just gonna walk you through here. You’ll start to get Insights showing, Reviews will show, Analytics will show, YouTube will show. Because, again, you automatically get a YouTube account when you sign up for Google My Business, whether you use it or not is immaterial. For example, I don’t use it because I use a different platform to host all my videos, but it will show there and, obviously, you’ve got the Google+ page as well.
This is what I meant about the banner. You can just create an image of whatever needs to … Whatever’s relevant to your business. Then, as you start to use it, you will start to get a feed … Which, this is all the content that I’ve shared in recent days, weeks and months. This is where your feed start to appear and then if you click on “home,” you’ll see the people that I’m following, what they’re sharing in much the same way as Facebook or any of those other social platforms would. It’s just, you can come in, you can like stuff, share stuff and just interact.
That’s how it would look or how the Google+ page would look. Again, if I come into “Info,” this is where I can update my business information. If my hours of work change, if I want to change my phone number or if I want to change anything, my address, anything about my business, I’ll update it here. You can see that it’s automatically published on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+, so it’s a really quick, really useful way of just coming in really quickly changing something and know that it’s going to update across all your Google services.
Going through into Photos, you can see the same thing. I’ve uploaded various photos, internal, external team photos, et cetera, et cetera. Going through into Reviews, it will list the reviews that you get. You can edit it and replace them, and your insights as well. We’ll tell you various insights about your audience, your business.
That’s just a quick overview of how the page looks once it’s verified and once it’s complete. For now, you need to wait a few days until you get that postcard. You can get your page verified, get all your information in. Make sure that your profile is 100% complete and you’ve added in all the bits that we’ve discussed. Yeah, get to know the dashboard. Both the My Business dashboard and the Google+ dashboard.
Oh, and there are just two other quick things that I wanted to share with you. That is, in order to create your Google Business page or your brand page, another quick way to read more about both options is to go to Business.Google.com/Create. That’s Business.Google.com/Create. If you come into here, you will see it says “choose the business type.” If you’re creating a brand page, this can be one of the easiest ways to get into this. Because otherwise, they can, depending on how you go about setting it up, it can be a little tricky to find how to set up the brand page, so this is the quickest way to do it. Business.Google.com/Create.
You can then click into either of these two, are essentially your local business pages. If you click through, you’ll be taken straight to the map here. If you’re a brand. If you’re purely online and you don’t have a physical location, this is going to be an option for you. Just go into that URL when you sign into your account, will ensure that you get there nice and quickly.
One other quick little trick that I wanted to tell you, which almost no one knows about, is if you type in AboutMe.Google.com, this will show all the information that Google has about you. Because you’re going to be entering various information about yourself and your business into your Google My Business page and onto Google+ and various other bits and pieces.
If you’re curious about what information Google has about you personally, this is what to do. Just AboutMe.Google.com. Obviously, it’s only associated with what’s connected to your email address or your Google address that you’re signed into, but at least it will give you a quick overview. Again, it’s a quick way to quickly check. If something has changed, if you’ve changed your mobile, if you’ve changed your email, you can get in and you can access it from here as well as your Google My Business page. This is a little bit more personal.
Just finally, this list here, it shows all the Google services at a quick glance, and you can click into them. If you want to get to your Google+ page, you can click straight in. Likewise, anything else. If you want to get into your actual account, everything can be accessed from within here. That’s just a couple of extra little things.
If you run into any trouble or have any questions, run into anything regarding the setup of your Google My Business page, as ever, send me an email to [email protected] I’ll gladly give you a hand. All right, I hope that all made sense. In the next lesson, we’re going to look at taking your Google My Business listing to the next level and leverage as much authority and trust as we can. I’ll see you there.