Google My Business (GMB) is a tour de force when it comes to business visibility and local SEO. Many SEO strategies and digital marketing efforts start with your GMB because it drastically improves a business’ chance of getting noticed online.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool which helps local people find your business on Google Search and Google Maps.
You can provide potential customers with key information such as your address, phone number, and even your latest offer allowing for instant interaction. With the majority of searches now performed on mobile devices, you want to ensure your information is correct and readily available!
In today’s digital marketing and advertising economy, Google is the number one platform through which your prospects and new customers will gather information about your services.
Google research also shows businesses with detailed and complete online business listings are twice as likely to be considered reputable and reliable by consumers.
Google My Business (GMB) will become even more important in this year as well as coming years.
This is your one-stop guide for all information related to Google My Business.
We’ve compiled this guide for one reason: To help all business owners, big or small, leverage this service to help grow their business.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool created by Google to help business owners manage how they appear in Google search results and on Google Maps.
Yes it is. Why?
Because whether you like it or not, your business can and likely will get listed on Google. Anyone can enter your business name and register it with Google. They can even supply information such as business hours, where you’re located, and so on.
You would rather be the person managing your listing than some random person.
Visit the following page: https://business.google.com/ or go to Google and type in “google my business.” It will be the first result you see.
If you’re not already signed into Gmail, it will ask you to sign in. Be sure you are signed into the Gmail account you want to be associated with your business listing.
Once you get logged in, if you haven’t set up a listing in the past, it is going to ask you to enter the name of your business. Go ahead and type it in. If someone has already listed you on Google (which isn’t uncommon) then you should see your listing appear.
If your business doesn’t appear, click the result that has the text under your business name that says: Create a business with this name
Otherwise, if your business does pop up (like the one below), go ahead and click on it.
Then click next.
Leave the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” checkbox blank if you have a brick and mortar business where your customers or clients come to you.
If you’re a brick and mortar business you’ll need to set your business location on a map. You may have to drag the marker to the exact location on the map where your business exists.
Simply place your marker where it should go on the map and then press the “Next” button again.
The next step is to let Google know what area you serve customers.
If Google is going to make you set your service area based on specific areas then you might as well do it now.
You can set your service area based on the city, county, state, zip-code, country, and so on.
Note: You used to be able to set your service area as a radius around your business address but Google removed this feature in 2018. You’ll need to update your service area using the city, county, state, zip, etc. now.
This step is very important too, so don’t rush through this. Take your time and do it right. When you set your “categories” in Google My Business you’ll be able to set both primary and secondary categories.
Getting this step right is crucial if you want to show up in Google’s results page when potential customers, clients, or patients are searching for a product or service you offer.
If you’re unsure of what category is the right category, you can search for the type of business you run in Google and see what categories your competition selected.
If you see a trend amongst all of them then you can probably assume that’s the category you should choose.
In the example above we can see most construction businesses in the Murray area have themselves categorized as some type of contractor.
Feel free to be specific if you primarily provide one type of service.
Then all additional categories which could possibly be related to your business.
Tip: You’ll get a little bump in your local ranking from Google each time a visitor visits your website, gets directions, calls you, texts you, etc. from a local search.
Note: If you don’t have a website you can select the “I don’t need a website” option or the “Get a free website based on your info” option. If you want to learn more about getting a free website if you don’t already have one, find out about Google My Business free websites.
Don’t get too excited. You’re not done yet.
Next, you’ll have to verify your business which can take a couple of days.
Google may give you a different option to verify your business but for most business owners, you’ll have to wait for a postcard to be mailed to you from Google.
Depending on what kind of business listing you’re attempting to create (or manage) you may have a few options available to verify your business:
Once your postcard arrives you’ll need to sign back into https://business.google.com, click “Verify Location” from the menu or the “Verify Now” button if it’s available, then enter the 5 digit code from your postcard.
Note: Google recommends you do not edit your business name, address, or category, or request a new code while you’re waiting for your verification postcard. Doing so can potentially become a nightmare for you to untangle (involving some phone calls with Google customer support).
What does Google My Business offer business owners?
Here’s a few of the most popular features:
Insights: Google’s dashboard provides key looks into customer activity and interaction, allowing businesses to learn what’s working—and what’s not—on their listing. In addition, it can help them understand their community better as they target new customers.
How did searchers find your business?
Where did they come from?
How are your photos performing?
Google My Business insights highlight the answers to these questions and helps businesses optimize and improve over time.
Posts: Easily post custom updates and offers on your local listing inviting customers to make return visits and engage further with your business. Updates can be made anytime from your phone, tablet, or computer for on-the-go maintenance.
Not sure what to post about? Try a few ideas we know customers will love like limited-time offers, contest promotions, and partnership announcements.
Bookings: Allow customers to schedule an appointment or book services directly from your listing with a simple click. Integrated scheduling partners help you easily organize, track, and manage your bookings in one place.
Review Management: Did you know? 91% of consumers read online reviews, and 84% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends.
Online, reviews are everything. Engage customers in two-way communications as you receive and respond to reviews.
Q&A: Respond to customers’ direct questions about your business and pin frequently-asked inquiries for easy viewing.
Photos: Strong visuals are crucial for good first impressions—and they’re key to a more well-clicked business listing. Google My Business allows you to upload your best photos and videos to entice customers to visit you.
Accuracy Across the Web: Google is Google. It powers so much of the internet, and many third-party sites use Google for their info.
Meaning, the business info you post on your Google My Business listing helps disseminate consistent and accurate info about your business across the web.
GMB Posts: Think of GMB Posts in a similar fashion to posts on Facebook. GMB offers another avenue to provide potential customers with info about your business.
GMB Posts appear in the posts tab for users on mobile and on Google My Business Websites. According to Google, posts may also appear on Maps, Search, and the Overview tab for listings based on various signals.
Posts can contain text, photos, and videos.
Right now there are 4 types of posts:
You can also add a photo/video to posts like this, CTAs, and other information.
Google My Business is an essential tool for local business owners. Within just a few minutes, you can have your listing verified and start showing up in searches from local customers trying to find a business like yours.
Your business is mentioned all over the internet. You probably didn’t have anything to do with it.
But having your business listed in as many business directories as possible is important for knowing how to rank a Google Maps listing in the organic and maps search results. It also helps with local SEO.
What’s very important is having your business listed consistently in these directories.
Having your name, address, and phone number listed the as much the same everywhere as possible will ensure Google knows your business and it’s address. As smart as Google is, if it sees your business listed with different names and addresses it will start thinking each of those is a different business.
Here is a screenshot direct from their GMB support area which talks about establishing a strong and accurate presence on the web.
This can be an issue if you have changed your business name, address, or phone number. This can also be an issue if you take over an existing business with the same address and phone number.
You’re going to have to sort that out as it will hurt your Google Maps listing ranking.
How can you make sure you’re business listings are consistent?
It’s tedious work, but simply Google your business name. Then you will see what shows in directories such as Yellow Pages, Manta, Yelp, Foursquare and others.
Double check the business info is correct and up to date. If it’s not correct, chances are your business has moved, changed names, or phone numbers. This is most likely affecting your rankings.
In this case, each directory will give you the option to update the information. Some take longer than others, so make notes to follow up in two weeks to see if the info was changed.
While you’re doing this checking, see if there is an option to claim, manage, or take ownership of your listing. In many cases you will not have submitted your business to these directories. They would have just added it themselves.
Taking ownership will save you work if you ever have to move or change phone numbers. Keep a spreadsheet with each listing and the username and password to sign in. This way if you do change addresses you can log in and do it yourself.
There you have it. Be consistent, take ownership and document your business directory listings on the web. This way you can help your Google Maps listing and local SEO in the process.
Your Google My Business listing can help you reach and attract new potential clients.
People who do not have a particular company in mind search for types of products or services looking for providers who show up at the top of the list. Optimize your small business for this type of local search and customers will see what you offer before they look at your competitors.
Only 44% of local businesses have claimed their Google My Business listing.
An updated GMB account is an integral part of your local search strategy. Google has recently released new features which help your opportunity for local SEO rankings.
The expanded options for adding appointment URLs allows appointment-based or reservation businesses to include an opportunity to schedule an appointment. By clicking the appointment URL, customers can directly select an open time from their mobile device for convenience.
This feature allows you to integrate your calendar and display open availability. It saves you time on the phone scheduling appointments.
You can set up appointment URLs for:
The breadth of options here make this a convenient feature for others as well. The list may include physicians, insurance agencies, computer repair shops, plumbing, and electrical companies plus many more.
For a few months, only local restaurant businesses were permitted to add a “menu” on their Google My Business listing. Of course, on the outside, that initial decision surely seemed reasonable; however, the term “menu” is really more indicative of items in general, which could pertain to services rather than food items.
Fortunately, Google came to the same conclusion over the matter and expanded the Google My Business menu to include non-restaurant services. To utilize this function, you start by clicking the info tab inside of your Google My Business listing.
Next, click on the Services (add or edit) button.
At this point, a Page will pop up that allows you to add the services you wish.
According to Google, the feature will be available to all businesses which aren’t currently utilizing a third-party app inside their Google My Business listing.
“Same as the food establishment menu editor, this feature will only be available if the listing is not currently connected to a third-party provider and for listings in English speaking locals.”
This new layer of versatility is certain to have some beneficial effects on a number of local businesses which otherwise wouldn’t have been able to display their services to potential new customers.
Messaging within the Google My Business console allows for increased communication with your customers. When they have questions, they can message you directly from their device, and the message will come to you via Google Allo or your native messaging system.
You can set up auto-replies or turn chat off anytime you are unavailable. It is connected to your mobile phone via the number you provide making it easy for you to manage.
It is a useful account enhancement. The messaging icon appears next to all of your other contact information and gives customers another way to contact you.
This GMB tool allows you to engage with your customers more often using their preferred method of communication. Many customers find instant messaging much more comfortable than talking on the phone.
Now small businesses have simple, seamless chat implementation without any of the hassles or extra costs.
Business owners can now directly answer commonly asked questions from within their Google My Business dashboard. This new function enables you to keep in touch with your customers and learn from their frustrations.
It saves you time responding to questions individually. You can post an answer to a question that people ask often.
Any clients who view your Google Maps listing or your GMB listing can see these answers. Improve your response time by setting it up to receive push notifications. Anytime someone asks a new question you get notified right away.
You and your visitors can thumbs up a question or answers from other people to indicate authenticity. If someone provides an answer on a forum that you like, give it a thumbs up. Verifying you approve of the response helps earn your customer’s trust.
People online often use forums to research local companies before using their service. This is an source that helps to educate your potential customer.
Small Thanks enables you to make your customers advocates for your business. Give them the tools they need to review your products and services easily for others to see.
Small Thanks uses existing Google reviews to highlight your best reviews and automatically create posters. Print these posters for your business, send strategic customer emails, and feature them on your website.
These posters are free, and you can create as many as you want. Encourage your patrons to review your business to generate more poster content.
You can also export them for design campaigns or share them on social media. Use these on social media wisely. It tends to turn people off when a business only talks about themselves. However, they are a useful tool for local search marketing or internet promotional campaigns.
You can also display reminders throughout your store or online reminding customers to review their experience. Prompt them with a Small Thanks notecard containing the appropriate URL so they always know how they can post their experience.
Google Website Builder is one of the free GMB tools added in 2018. Many small businesses struggle with keeping a website up-to-date. It enables you to build a website quickly.
For an additional charge, you can use a custom domain. These sites are mobile friendly and automatically update. You can manage them simply and post updated information on the site.
This initiative provides an easy and intuitive way to build a website and manage it without a significant time commitment.
You can now enhance your GMB listing with Google Posts. This is a great way to stand out in crowded search listings.
Google Posts allows you to write posts with images, text, event titles, and call to action buttons.
On mobile, this amplifies your optimization power because customers can sign up or buy directly from their phone. This gives businesses the ability to share daily specials and current promotions, promote events, showcase products, and connect with customers directly.
It is like content marketing front and center. Google Posts are more visually appealing than a regular listing and encourage increased interaction.
The growth of mobile internet searches contributes to the importance of using local GMB offerings. A mobile google search uses geo-tracking to make searches location based. Using your Google My Business account new features, you optimize your site for local customers.
Consumers take their phones with them everywhere they go, searching for local businesses in areas that are unfamiliar to them. They need a trusted source for recommending services.
Implementing the latest features offered by Google assists your business to appear on the first page of search. It saves time, money, and helps drive new potential leads.
You have probably heard a great deal about local SEO this year being among the most crucial aspects in regard to digital advertising.
It’s only a variant of your run-of-the-mill search engine optimization and is directed at making certain your company gets found online by individuals looking for it in the geographical area.
Local SEO is very important, particularly if you’ve got a company with a brick-and-mortar shop, or one which offers a service in a specific locality.
According to a study done by Forbes, 95 percent of smartphone users have utilized their phone to do local searches. And Search Engine Watch discovered that 70 percent of cellular users click to call a company straight from Google search results with their cellular telephones.
This tells you that prospects from location-based searches are a significant route for prospective clients, and these searches will only keep growing.
However, as surfing tendencies evolved to become dominated by smartphones, Google decreased its 7-pack to add only 3 results for a much better user experience. As you may have guessed, it is known as the regional 3-pack now and here is why a place in this is highly desired.
In accordance with Moz.com research, 44 percent of men and women who conducted a local search clicked a regional 3-pack listing, although just 8 percent decided to load “more local results”. This really goes to show that many individuals who search for local listings discover what they’re looking for in the regional 3-pack options supplied.
Getting into the 3-pack can bring a massive number of visitors and possible earnings your way, and local SEO will help take your company there.
If you have a small company, optimizing your business local SEO could be extremely lucrative.
Let us look at several benefits of local SEO:
With local SEO and Google My Business, there is a Small twist. When you hunt “ice cream shops near me” you will see a huge map on top of your display as well as information on shops listed in the primary search results like the title, address, website, telephone number, and testimonials for every single small business.
What many don’t see is the information doesn’t come in to a company’s site… it comes out of their Google My Business profile site. If you do not have a website set up then you’re missing out on a precious chance to get in front of consumers.
Suggestion: make certain to verify your organization’s listing. It is the final step and a significant one to make certain you’re the owner of your webpage in order that you (and nobody else) will make edits to the webpage later on.
Creating duplicate listings is against Google’s terms of providers and can influence your ability to rank in search results. You can use a service like BrightLocal to check is you have duplicate GMB listings.
Adding applicable categories is a vital step to improving your position.
The more important categories you select, the better. However, be certain the categories you select are pertinent to your organization as it’s against Google terms to add irrelevant categories and won’t help you.
Although this measure is critical, it is not extremely simple. A trick is to examine the other listings of top-ranking regional companies and use exactly the very same ones.
Proceed to your site’s contact page and affirm all your contact information is listed on the webpage in text. Google has to read and verify your contact information and they cannot do this if it is recorded as a picture.
Google additionally compares the contact information on your site to information recorded on other sites across the whole internet.
Your NAP (name, address, phone number) must be similar on each and every page that lists your contact information. Largely we are referring to company directories. These are the kinds of sites most likely to exhibit your contact information publicly online.
A citation is the reference of your NAP on a different site. We noted the importance of decent consistency throughout all your online citations. However, there is another measure.
It is possible your site is not being recorded on significant directories which could provide you more citations and may help increase your rankings in Google.
Most companies struggle to acquire customer testimonials online. This is only because it requires effort on your clients’ to write the review. The dilemma is that testimonials are incredibly important to establishing credibility for your company, which Google enjoys.
Regrettably, there’s absolutely no simple solution here. What you can do is keep asking your clients for reviews (using email, telephone calls, and on-site) and also make the procedure as simple as possible for every single client to write a review about you.
When Google updates their algorithm they always incorporate additional signals, for example, content on your website.
If you consider it in Google’s standpoint this makes a whole lot of sense. Google’s objective will be to send searchers into the most applicable webpage for their own search. Websites with more information supply more value and therefore are probably a much better match for searcher’s queries.
Review all your key website pages to make certain they’ve got at least 500 words of content which is applicable.
Links from other high quality, relevant sites are very important to SEO and have become significant for Google’s local ranking algorithm. This implies that while using an optimized Google My Business profile site and applicable citations are significant, they are not the only element.
This isn’t simple to accomplish and requires work. However, if you are publishing and promoting good content then other sites will need to connect to it. You just have to ask.
There has been a great deal of disagreement about whether social media marketing is among those signals Google uses to rank companies. Regardless, there is no denying that social networking is a fantastic chance to produce more buzz about your company.
Clients, customers, and patients are looking for companies on the move. But many companies still have not adapted. It’s crucial to make a mobile-optimized website so as to compete in the local search results.
Google My Business categories are often an overlooked tactic by many people who work in the Local Search space. According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, proper Google My Business category associations are the #3 search ranking factor for local packs.
It has been one of the top ranking factors. Here are some things about Google My Business categories which people often aren’t aware of.
For example, “Lincoln Mercury Dealer” got renamed to “Lincoln Dealer” in the fall of 2018 and “Natural Foods Store” got renamed to “Natural Goods Store” in December. It’s important to know that Google can rename them so you’re not thinking it’s a new category that has been added.
For example, in the first six months of 2018 in the U.S., Google added 34 categories and removed 36. One they added was “Fitness Class” and one they removed was “Dog Sitter.”
if Google just recently added a category for your business type most of the competition probably doesn’t have the new category yet. By being one of the first to add the new category, you could be able to move to the first page overnight.
Every category has a GCID which does not change and a category name which varies based on the country. Sometimes Google displays the GCID in the search results which can be really confusing if you’re trying to figure out why your competitor is showing a category that you don’t “appear” to have as an option in the Google My Business dashboard.
In this example, Brodie Clark asked on Twitter why he couldn’t find the Heating Contractor category to add to his client. This is because “Heating Contractor” is actually the GCID for the category that’s named Central Heating Service in Australia.
The concept states you could “weaken” your ranking for a category if you have more than one category on your Google My Business listing. Instead of putting all your ranking power in one category, it would theoretically be dispersed amongst all the ones you pick.
We have found the opposite to be true. Adding more categories often results in an increase in ranking and clicks because you now show up for more related queries.
For example, we added the category “Employment Attorney” to a law firm in Florida when we noticed that they take a lot of employment-related cases. This is what happened to his ranking 48 hours later for local rankings for the query [employment lawyer cityname].
A business should pick their primary category wisely because it holds more ranking weight than secondary categories.
The primary category is the first category you select in the Google My Business dashboard.
Google My Business (GMB) is the most important online listing for any local business. It drives the local business search results on Google search, maps, Google Assistant (voice search) and more.
Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing is critical for not only for getting new customers, but helping repeat customers do business with you again.
However, Google My Business changes frequently and the best practices for a well-optimized listing are not always clear.
This checklist for Google My Business is a single point of reference and reflects the best practices recommended by the most well-respected local search experts in the world.
Does your business qualify?
Google Search Console
Phone Numbers and Call Tracking
Website and Appointment URLs
Booking and Ordering Service URLs
Business-Defined Attributes (Objective Attributes)
User-Defined Attributes (Subjective Attributes)
Recommendations for business descriptions:
Google Ads Local Extensions Phone
Photos, videos, and virtual tours are an important part of your Google My Business listing. First, they represent your business to potential customers so you want to give them the best impression possible for your business.
According to Google’s own data, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.”
You also want to upload your own images so that your images have a better chance of displaying on your listing instead of images that Google users upload. Photos, videos and virtual tours encourage engagement with your listing and engagement with your listing is a key ranking factor on Google.
Logo – Logos uploaded to GMB should be square. If your logo isn’t square, use a tool like Stencil and adjust the canvas size to make it square, preferably with a white background outside the borders of the logo itself.
Cover photo – This should be the primary photo that you’d prefer to represent your business.
Exterior / interior photos – If you have a physical location, upload at least three photos of the outside and inside of your business using different angles, different times of day, etc. so that people get a feel for the location.
Photos at work. Upload at least three photos showing you working with your customers and the various services you provide.
Team photos – Upload at least three photos showing the management team and employees. These don’t have to be professional headshots and usually more candid shots work better. The goal is to give potential customers a feel for the people they’ll be interacting with at your business.
Products / Food & Drink / Rooms – Depending on the type of business you have, there may be other photo categories available to you. The goal is to provide potential customers with a feel for the products, food & drink, common areas, or rooms that your business may offer.
How to Set Which Photo Shows First on Your GMB Listing
Your Google My Business (GMB) listing and account are absolutely central to achieving success with local SEO. If you want customers to find you, especially new customers who aren’t just searching for your business name, you need a fleshed out and properly optimized GMB account. Unfortunately, many businesses make important mistakes with their GMB account that need to be addressed. Let’s talk about some common mistakes and how to fix them.
What’s Wrong: Some businesses assume that Google will list their business whether or not they verify it, or believe that there is no reason for them to verify it if they are already showing up in local search results. In reality, failing to verify your business in GMB damages Google’s confidence in your location and status as a legitimate business, and reduces the chances that you will show up in search results, meaning that even if you show up sometimes, you could show up in more results if you verified. Verifying your GMB account also allows you to modify your listing, correct inaccuracies, improve your branding, show off pictures of what you do, and more.
How To Fix: Most businesses verify by mail on a desktop PC as follows:
For other verification methods, or if you are verifying by mail with a mobile device, see Google’s guidelines.
What’s Wrong: Some businesses attempt to game their SEO by using an inaccurate business name. They believe that including keywords in their business name will allow them to rank better in local search results. Instead, doing so is a violation of Google’s guidelines and may get you penalized. Even if it doesn’t, the discrepancy between your business name in GMB and your business name in other places that list your name, address, and phone number will reduce Google’s confidence that it has the right location for your business, and will result in your being less likely to shop up near the top of the local results.
How To Fix: Use your business name as it is consistently used on your signs, logos, website, and any business listing that shows your name, address, and phone number.
What’s Wrong: If your legal business name and the name used across all of your platforms are identical, there is no problem. However, if your logos, signs, and business listings list a popularized business name that is different from its legal name, this leads to discrepancies that will reduce Google’s confidence in your business’s location.
How To Fix: Make sure that your GMB business name is the same as the one listed on your website, business listings, and on your signs and branding, as opposed to your legal business name, if they are different.
What’s Wrong: Businesses often enter a long-winded business description that doesn’t sell users on the business quickly enough to positively impact their decision about whether or not to visit your location. Google only displays the 250 characters of the description, and users will be comparing you next to dozens of other businesses when they make a decision.
How To Fix: Use a business description that clarifies what your business is for and how it is different from competitors as quickly as possible. Prioritize the things that customers tend to be most curious about, questions about your business that often come up in phone calls or walk-ins about what you can do for them.
What’s Wrong: Reviews are the most important ranking factor for local search. If your business has no reviews, this dramatically hurts your chances of showing up in search local search results and in Google Maps listings. Even if you do, a lack of customer reviews harms consumer trust, and users will be less likely to choose your location over others without any information from other customers to guide them.
How To Fix: Start incorporating the process of asking for reviews into your business processes:
What’s Wrong: Some businesses incentivize users to leave reviews by offering a discount or coupon, or more egregiously, outright paying others to leave reviews. Doing so violates Google’s guidelines and could result in your listing being removed from local search results entirely. Google requires that reviews left by customers who have actually visited the location and that they don’t receive compensation for leaving a review. Even customers who visited the location and bought your products or services fall under this category if they are given a coupon or discount for leaving a review.
How To Fix: Implement a clear and strict policy against rewarding customers for leaving reviews on GMB. If any incentives are in place to reward staff for encouraging customers to leave reviews, they must be very carefully chosen to avoid incentivizing staff in any way “bribe” customers.
What’s Wrong: If you add a GMB location that already been verified, your business will not show up in listings, and it will show up as a “Duplicate listing” in your GMB account.
How To Fix: You will need to remove the duplicate, making sure not to delete the verified listing:
These seven mistakes plague businesses that are new to local SEO. The good news is that tackling these issues will put you ahead of a fair number of your competitors and put you on the map. Put this advice to use, and you should expect to see some gains in your GMB insights and in your store.
We all know that Google My Business is used to improve your company’s local search presence and attracting new customers via reviews, photos, company information and much more. We can all agree these are very important, but how do you know if this is attracting more customers to your website?
Learn how to start tracking your company’s Google My Business traffic data and see how much of an impact it has!
There is no doubt that having a properly optimized Google My Business listing is the lifeblood of any local based company. Even though this is the case, 99.9999% of all Google My Business listing owners or managers do not track their traffic and data.
Tracking your company’s Google My Business data is an often overlooked aspect of any Local SEO campaign. If you are a company who worries about leads and have a focus on converting site traffic, Google My Business is one of the best avenues for local lead generation.
Tracking Google My Business traffic is actually very easy, and there are a couple of ways to do this. The first method is by create a custom UTM tracking code. The other way to track data is done within your GMB dashboard.
If you create the UTM code, this enables you to track data in both Google Analytics and Search Console. In my opinion, UTM code tracking is the best way to see any traffic coming to your site from your Google My Business listing. As long as you set everything up correctly, this is a very effective way to track data.
Tracking your listing within your GMB dashboard is also a great way to track traffic data. In my opinion though, unless you are ok with being handcuffed by very limited data, this the lesser of the 2 methods mentioned. Even though this gives a limited amount of data, this is easier for small business owners to use.
No matter which method you use to track your Google My Business data, it is always important to see where your traffic is coming from, and how it as increased over time.
When it comes to accurately tracking your Google My Business traffic, you need to set up UTM tracking codes. This is very easy to do and requires no prior knowledge of any sort of coding or programming whatsoever.
For those that do not know what a UTM tracking code is, they are simple codes that you attach to the end of a URL in order to track a source, medium, campaign name, campaign term, and campaign content. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where traffic is coming from as well as what campaign directed the traffic to your site.
In my opinion, having UTM url’s in GMB listings is a must for any company that relies heavily on tracking every aspect of their marketing efforts, or for an SEO consultant who gives detailed reports to their clients.
To create a UTM code you can use the Google Developer Tools Campaign URL Builder and you will come to a screen as shown below. Fill out the appropriate sections similar to how you create all your Google My Business tracking URL’s for you to copy if you so choose.
All you need to do is simply put in the right information into the appropriate fields.
Once you input these values into the appropriate fields, your new tracking URL will auto populate in the box at the bottom.
After your new URL is created, you have the option to keep it as is or shorten it. If you decide to shorten it, then it will appear like below.
Note: If you have a company with multiple locations and have more than one Google My Business listing, you can put that data in the Campaign Name section. This will allow you to create as many different URL’s as needed. For example, if you own a small chain of restaurants, you can use each location’s city as the Campaign Name.
Once you’re all set with creating your new UTM tracking URL, you need to add it to your listing. To do this, simply go to your account dashboard and select either info or edit. This will bring up a new screen with your company information.
Scroll down to find the existing URL and replace it with the new UTM tracking URL.
Once you add the new URL to your listing, you can refresh the page and it should be live.
Once your new URL is live on your listing, you need to now be able to track it in Google Analytics. The way to do this is by creating a new segment within your GA property. To create a new segment you simply click “Add New Segment”.
This will bring up a list of all existing default segments. Once this appears, select the red “+ New Segment” button. This will display the screen shown below.
Choose “Traffic Sources” on the left and this will display the correct info that needs to be filled out.
When filling out the fields, all you simply do is match the sections to the same as when you created the UTM tracking code.
After this is done, you can start tracking you Google My Business Traffic!
Now that you have correctly setup your Google My Business tracking within Google Analytics, you need to be able to start seeing the traffic. There are a couple of ways you can do this. The first method is to look within Source / Medium. To get here, simply go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium.
Once you get here, you will see a similar layout as shown below. Here you can see that local / organic, which is what we made our Google My Business UTM tracking URL source and medium set as displaying. This signifies that your listing is generating traffic.
Another way to see your Google My Business traffic within Google Analytics is to look at the campaigns. To see this, all you simply do is look under Acquisition again then Campaigns > All Campaigns. This will display the following screen.
Being able to see Google My Business data in Google Search Console is a great way to see even more data. This to me is a great way to determine how many users come to the site from my listing, what keywords are used to find the listing, and how many impressions my listings get.
As you can tell from this screen grab, this GMB listing generates a great deal of traffic for this site filtered for Clicks, Impressions, and Click Through Rate (CTR). This data shows that this Google My Business listing has a very high Click Through Rate (5.44% over a 90 day span).
Within Google My Business, there is its own unique analytics tracking called Insights. Some of these categories were updated in August 2016.
These metrics give details about the current performance of your listing such as:
These metrics are very easy to see and are found on the top of the Google My Business dashboard and titled “Insights”. For the basic user, these are very useful in determining how well your listing is performing in search, and how often users interact with it.
Of the numerous insights metrics, the how customers search for your business is one of the most useful. This bit of data shows if your listing is coming up via searches for keywords related to what you do or if users search for your brand.
Google My Business has two ways of looking at traffic, and they are called Direct and Discovery. This data shows impressions rather than clicks
The where customers view your business metric is another very useful bit of data. This shows whether your listing is seen on the search results page, or on maps. This gives you a good idea of how your target audience is finding your listing.
The Customer Actions data shows how users interact with your listing. This shows the most actions that users can take once they are on your listing.
Visit Your Website – this data tells you how many times users visited your site after interacting with your listing.
Request Driving Directions – how many times users looked for directions to your business.
Call You – the amount of phone calls your listing has generated
Based on your business, some of these metrics would matter more than others. For example, if you manage a local Dunkin Donuts, you might focus more on the request directions data.
If you operate a home services business, you might focus on the amount of calls or clicks to your website that could convert into leads.
This section shows the amount of times users looked for driving directions to your location. Depending on what type of company you have, you may have many or none. For example, you will get more data as a restaurant or service business at a single location like a gas station compared to a company that has a service area (ie. plumber).
Note: the chart above with no data is from a service area business that does not serve customers at their location.
Similar to the Customer Actions, you can see the number of phone calls here. The thing that stands out here is that the numbers here won’t match the numbers under Customer Actions. The reason for that is because you can only see 4 weeks (28 days) of data compared to 30 days in the Customer Actions section.
In the Photo Views section, you can see how many times users have looked at photos associated with your listing. This is a great indication that you have quality photos on your Google My Business listing. Google recommends that you upload quality photos to your listings, and if you do this, you will see an increase in photo views.
The Photo Quantity insight tells you the number of photos currently associated with your listing. As mentioned in the Photo Views section, it is always recommended to upload quality photos and update them often.
Another great feature about this is that you can see the amount of user generated photo content added to your listing. This is great for business where customers take a lot of pictures of your products or services.
Anyone who works with Google My Business listings in any capacity should start tracking traffic data. We all know that GMB is very valuable to any business, but now you can realize how valuable.
Properly optimized listings have a high click thought rate when they are displayed. Not only that, they generate a good amount of conversions according to Google Analytics.
Start tracking your Google My Business traffic, and start seeing results today, folks!
Having a business in today’s world is a challenge, as you would be always facing a lot of competitors. It is always a great thing to find ways to stand out, and optimizing your Google My Business account would do just that.
Google My Business can improve your business’ visibility through local SEO, give you opportunities to connect with new audiences, and help you understand online customer behavior surrounding your business.
While there is a degree of time and effort involved in maintaining your listing, the benefits of Google My Business far outweigh the investment required to get started.