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How To Claim Your Google My Business Link

Google My Business Optimization Step By Step

When someone signs up we get basic info from them right off the bat, and then after they pay for the service 17hats automatically sends them an invoice and once paid it will send them the questionnaire.

Info on the initial signup form:

  • Client’s Name
  • Email Address
  • Website
  • Business Name
  • Phone Number

On the questionnaire, we get this additional info:

  • If they want their business address shown or hidden to the public*
  • We ask them to clarify their ‘service area’
  • We ask them for their core products/services – this will tell us what to optimize for the most
  • We ask if their business is women or veteran led
  • The official day they went into business

*As of June 2019, if it is a home based business the address must be hidden.  If we try to show it while setting up a brand new account, Google will not verify it.  If they client is operating out of their home and we are creating the listing, make sure to make that selection when going through the initial setup!

While you are working on your clients GMB, feel free to reference the completed GMB listings in our account for ideas and guidance!

Business Information Research

 

Our service begins with research and data collection so we can populate all of the fields available within their Google My Business listing with accurate information.  Before we dive in to the service, we will need to get their folders setup.

Set up client folder:

Make a new folder for this client in DropBox > 17hats > Clients.  Name the folder: “Client Name” – “Business Name” like the others.

Open this Template and save it as “GMB Inputs for” “Client Name” – The template also has some quick tips how to pick the best information and correct format for each line item.

Also create a folder named “Images” in their client folder.  This is where you will save the raw images we will use later on in the service.

As you browse the noted websites below gathering information about this client, start to populate their “GMB Inputs for …” document.

Where to start?

If they have a website, we start there.  It should have the majority of the info we need and potentially all of it!  Along with the data to populate fields, we are also looking for photos we can use to create the photos and video for use in their GMB.

The next place to look for this info is Facebook.  Very often their Facebook page will have more pictures than their website.  Search for their business name on Facebook.

Check for the business on https://moz.com/local/search.  This will bring up other major citation sites that may have info we could use.  If the business does happen to have some of these citations on Moz’s tool, note the business name, address, and phone used most often.  This is their NAP, or Name, Address, and Phone.  It is very important that will core business info (NAP) is consistent everywhere it appears online.  If Moz cannot even find the business at all, this probably means their Google My Business listing is not verified or was very recently verified and their system has not picked it up yet.

Next, do a Google Search using this format:  “Business Name” + “Location”   

I.E. Search on Google for “Green Touch Lawn Care Charlotte”

This should find any additional websites that contain info about this business.  

What if the client does not have a website/existing online presence?  If the client does not have a website or much info floating around on the web about their business, the best thing to do it schedule a call with that client!  You can let them know it should only take 20-30 minutes.

The majority of our work takes place in the Info tab within their Google My Business listing.  Skip to the details for the Info section now if you are familiar with performing our GMB Doc Google My Business Optimization Service.  Or, continue to scroll down the page for more info about each tab within Google My Business.

Users

Step 1:

We need to get the following instructions to the client so they can grant us access to their GMB ASAP.

It has quickly proved to be the biggest hangup with the first handful of services.

The documentation here looks a little overwhelming, but it is actually very, very simple and should not take them more than a minute or two to complete!

Without this access, we cannot provide the service!

How to Give GMB Doc Access To Your GMB Account To Execute Our Service

Google’s Official Documentation: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3403100?hl=en

Important Notes specific to our service:

  1. We need ‘Manager’ access level to complete the service
  2. Use: gmbdocwebmaster@gmail.com as the email address to give us access.  This is the ‘Official Google’ email associated with our account.
  3. You are more than welcome to remove our access after the service although we would appreciate continued access so we can monitor the Insights over time.

Here is how you do it:

When an invitation is accepted, the owners of the listing will be notified via email. All users in the account can view the names and email addresses of the owners and managers of the listing.

On a Computer:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. If you have multiple locations, open the location you’d like to manage.
  3. On the left, click Users.
  4. At the top right, click Invite new users ‘icon’
  5. Enter the name or email address of the user you’d like to add.
    Note: If you’re adding an agency to your location, you’ll need to add the agency’s location group ID here. (You may need to reach out to the agency and ask for this ID.)
  6. To select the user’s role, click Choose a role ‘arrow icon’ Owner, Manager, or Site manager.
  7. Click Invite. Invitees will have the option to accept the invitation and immediately become users.

This page displays all active users, as well as people who have been invited to become users. To cancel pending invitations, click X in the row with the invitation you want to remove.

On Mobile:

You will need to download the Google My Business app and login with an associated email.  It is highly recommended you download the app as this is how you can receive and send text messages with potential clients using Google My Business. 

Android/Pixel Download Link:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.vega&hl=en_US

IOS Download Link:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-my-business/id853371601?mt=8

  1. On your phone or tablet, open the Google My Business app ‘icon with blue building and G’
  2. Tap More, then tap Manage users.
  3. At the top right, tap Add user ‘icon = + sign’
  4. Enter the name or email address of the user you’d like to add.
    Note: If you’re adding an agency to your location, you’ll need to add the agency’s location group ID here. (You may need to reach out to the agency and ask for this ID.)
  5. Select the user’s role by choosing Owner, Manager, or Communications manager.
  6. Confirm the email address, then tap Send.

This page displays all active users, as well as people who have been invited to become users. To cancel pending invitations, next to the invitation you want to remove, tap More ‘ 3 dot icon and arrow facing to right ‘ Remove.

Home

The Home tab found in the left hand menu just gives a quick overview of everything going on with this Google My Business listing.

It will let you know if the listing has been verified or not, if it is pending verification, and if this GMB is considered complete or not.

You can also view recent Google posts made by competitors which can ad some insight as what to do when creating the Google Post for this client.

If the GMB has been active for more than a week or so, it will also show the GMB ‘Insights’ briefing.  This is great info to judge the current performance of their GMB currently.  

We will screen shot these to track the performance of their GMB after our service.

 

Home tab in Google My Business
Info
Business Name and Categories

The Info tab is where the magic happens!

Company Name

At the very top is the company name.  This should just be exactly whatever the official business name is.  Do not ‘keyword stuff!’  This just means don’t slap ‘lawn care,’ for example, after the business name if ‘lawn care’ is not part of the official business name!  This is heavily frowned upon by Google and although it may increase their visibility in the short-term, if Google does catch it the long-term negative consequences would far outweight the short-term gains.

Categories

We are limited to the business type/categories Google has in their system.  The best way to find categories to use is by typing all of the shortest variations of possible categories that will fit this business.  For example, for a lawn care company:  Try typing, ‘lawn’ and browse all results.  Note these on your ‘GMB Inputs for …’ document.  Then the same for, ‘land’ & ‘mainten’ & ‘snow’ & ‘care’ & so on until you are happy with the categories you have found to pick from.  We will narrow these down as we learn more about all of the services the business offers to populate their services section and business description.

Primary Category

The primary category has to be the very best fit for that client!

Additional Categories

Add any that are truly relevant (Adding categories that are NOT a great fit will only hurt!)

*Make sure that by adding additional categories you don’t shoot our client in the foot!  What do I mean?  It is possible that by adding additional categories you will eliminate the option to list services and/or products.  Delete categories as needed until the option reappears if this happens.  Make sure you refresh your browser after each category is removed 1 by 1.

Address Service Area Hours

Business Address

Google’s new policy is if it is a home based business in which the business serves its clients remotely or at the client’s location, and there is no signage visible from the street, the address should remain hidden.  In this scenario, Google will still require the postcard to verify the location to be sent to that location and the code from the postcard will need to be entered to complete verification.

Google Default Address

What exact address to use?  If the client does have existing citations, it may be best to use whatever format they have used most often already.  If they do not, type the address Google Maps defaults to.

As you can see in the example, I typed ‘Lane’ into Google Maps, but they defaulted to ‘Ln’ directly below the image of the street view.  If the client had not already created the majority of their existing citations using ‘Ln.’ or ‘Lane’ then we will go ahead and use ‘Ln’

 

 

Service Area

Do what is best for this business, but ‘specific areas’ will be used most often.  Use Countries, Counties, Cities, or Zip Codes, or a combination of these.

The goal here is to hyper target their ‘service area’ based on what areas they want to show up in the search results most often.

 If they only cover half of a county, we will not be able use that county as their service area.  In this scenario, use the cities or zip codes that are located in the part of that county that they do cover.

Business Hours

Enter the correct hours for each day of the week.  These ‘business hours’ should represent when someone at the company would be available to answer the phone!

Special Hours

This is used to notify Google if the business will be open or closed or have special hours on holidays.  Custom ‘special hour’ dates can also be noted here if desired.  A use case for custom special hours would be an owner operated business and the owner is on vacation for a certain week, so they would not want their listing showing as open during this time.

Business Phone and Website

Phone

The primary phone number needs to be the official number for the business.  

If they are using call tracking numbers or have additional numbers, they should be entered by using ‘Add phone number’ option.

Website

We want to track clicks!  We need to add a tracking code to the end of our URL. The tracking snippet is already on the Template you are completing for this client.

Here is how it works:

Homepage URL: For the homepage URL, let’s use website.com* as the example.

Here is the tracking code already on your template: 

https:///?utm_source=GMB&utm_medium=Organic

Simply stick ‘website.com’ between the 2nd and 3rd /

So, that would look like this:  https://website.com/?utm_source=GMB&utm_medium=Organic

Appointment URL: If the client has a contact page, quote request page, appointment page, or similar, also do this for that page using the tracking code snippet for the appointment page.

Example:  

https://website.com/contact-us/?utm_source=GMB&utm_medium=Organic&utm_campaign=Appointment

*The only reason we wouldn’t use the website.com as the website URL is if they have multiple locations.  If they do, we need to use the landing page on their website for that specific GMB’s website URL.

Example:  website.com/locations/florence-ky

Services

Services

 

Using the info from their website, Facebook page, or call with the client, identify the services they offer.  

Section name:

Google wants us to group services into sections.  For a lawn care service, maybe they could have there sections:  Lawn care, Landscaping, Snow Removal

Item name:

This is the name of the service.  Be sure to put it under the appropriate category.  Price: We just need to ask the client if they want to display pricing.  Often, pricing will vary and it is perfectly fine with Google to leave this blank if this is the case.

Description:

Google allows for a 1,000 character description, but we are going to keep them to 1-3 sentences if possible.  Simply describe the service as best you can here.

Alt and Biz Description Opening Date

Attributes

If the business is veteran or women led, note that here.

Business Description

750 characters is what you have to work with.  I recommend to type this out in GMB so it counts the characters for you as you type.  Spacing will show on the mobile version for searching seeing their GMB in the search results, but it will just be a block of text on desktop.  So, please space it out as over 50% of people broswe the web from mobile devices.

Opening Date

This is simply the official date the business was formed.  You can often find this info on their states official website.  Google search for:  “Their state” + “Business Search”  I.E. Kentucky Business Search

Photos
Step By Step Google My Business Optimization 1

Logo: Qty (1) – Size: 600px * 600px – Save as a JPG @ 80% Quality on white background if possible

Cover: Qty (1) – Size: 1080px * 608px – Save as a JPG @ 80% Quality

All Other Photo Categories: Qty (10) – Size: 595px * 445px – Save as a JPG @ 80% Quality

Video – Images for use in video: Qty (8) – Size:1920px * 1080px – Save as a PNG (No transparency or compression)

Use Canva.com to create these images.  Make a new folder in Canva for this client.  Drag and drop the photos you have collected from their website, Facebook, elsewhere online, or that they have supplied to us.  We can create a shared DropBox folder for them to more easily get us their photos that are not currently online.

Tips:

Geo-Tag before uploading!  See below…

File name!  Very important.  We want to save these images we create with relevant file names.  Google references these…  Try to not include location specific info in file names as this will make the geo-tagging process more tedious.  Use variations of keywords for that business that reflect what is in that specific image.

Realtor.com is great for images of good looking lawns and landscapes, just search the areas that client works in.

Here are other free-to-use image sites:

Logo – Leave some white space so when you crop the image in GMB the entire logo is visible!  Just remake this image if needed in Canva if your first attempt is cutting off a portion of their logo.

Cover – Make sure this is a ‘hero’ image for them…just meaning it really represents them well!

All other photos – While editing in Canva, move the image around and only include the best parts of that image in our final version.

What category to use for the ‘other photos’ – Whatever makes the most sense.  If a person from the company is pictured, stick it in ‘Team.’  If they are pictured at work, put it in ‘At work.’ If the pics are of the interior or exterior of their business, stick them there!

If you just aren’t sure, simply click on photos from the left hand menu, then upload by clicking the blue circle with a plus sign in the top right corner.

Geo-Tagging Photos:

*No need to geo-tag the images used for the video, just the JPG images used in the photo section.

Go to: https://www.geoimgr.com/

We need to upload 10 general photos, 1 logo, and 1 cover.  Drag and drop the photos into the tool.  Zoom in on map to clients service area.  Write tag for that image.  Fill in other fields with keyword rich and relevant info.  Use the city name in one of the 2 fields (use the city name for that specific geo-tag you just created…) and the business name in the other.

-Continue to do this for all images, but make sure you move the pin on the map and update the city name used in one of the other 2 fields.

1st Image In Video

Photos

Example Of Mid Video Image

Photos

Example Of Mid Video Image

Photos

Last Image In Video

Photos

Video

We will also use Canva to create the images (or slides) we will use in the video we create.  

The first and last slide should be some basic info about the business and usually will include the business logo, phone, and website.  The example here doesn’t have the website listed as I didn’t know what the domain was going to be for this client at the time I made the video…

For the 6 middle images, simply make a template similar to mine (but include their website if they have one!) and we can simply swap out the photos while keeping the majority of the text/formatting the same.

These are saved as PNG file types so the images are more detailed once in video format.

Drag and drop your slides into a media file in Filmora.  Place the slides into the video timeline.  Fimora defaults images to 5 second clips and we will just keep it like that.  Just arrange the images in the timeline so they are in the order that you want.

Add music from the tunes already in Filmora.  Cut the music track down to the length of the images above.  Lower the volume to 50% and fade the sound in and out 5 seconds.

Add transitions of your choice between the clips.  If often looks best if you stick with the same transition.  Just drag it down between the images making sure it is centered.

Click export, and save it as an MP4 file.  Name this video “Primary Category” + “Location”

Upload to their GMB in the video section of photos.

Posts

For best results, we would like to see our clients posting every Monday or Tuesday to their GMB.

We like to use emojis to make them POP a little more than plain text.

Use whatever is appropriate as the type of Google post for the post you are creating.

The post types are:

  • What’s New
  • Event
  • Offer
  • Product

Simply populate all fields applicable for that post type.

Always use a picture (just pic one of the 10 you created already) and a CTA, or ‘call to action.’

Reference the example and copy and paste the best fitting template to speed up the post creation: Post Template – edit the text as needed and swap out some emojis if you would like. 

Step By Step Google My Business Optimization 2
Insights
Reviews

Reviews

Use the tool HERE to generate a direct link for our client’s customers to leave them a review.

If our tool doesn’t pick up their business after entering it into the top of the search bar, this means google has not indexed their business yet. 

We recommend they use https://bit.ly to shorten this link and customize the slug to make it ‘prettier.’

Reviews

Messages

The client will need to setup messaging.  All we need to do is instruct them to download the Google My Business app from their app store.

This will allow searches to text the business directly from the search results.  The business will receive the text on the number they enter in this section.  Both the business and searcher will be using their phones native text messaging feature like any other time they text…

The client can setup an autoresponder if they would like.  It is pretty self-explanatory really.

Website

Website

The only time we recommend to use the website feature is if they do not have an existing website and our on a budget!

This is a great way to get a free website, which is better than nothing, but any decent website created on WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace should blow this free website out of the water.

Google only wants 1 website per business, so they should not use this feature if they already have a website!

The options for customization are very limited and if you run through the options on the left hand menu while in the website tab, it will be pretty obvious what you can do.

Match the website color as best you can to the colors in their logo.

If you want to make it super quick and easy, just copy the business description you created for them into the area where you can add text towards the middle/bottom of the website.  I have also copy and pasted the FAQs into this section in the past.  Use bold and stuff like that to make key words/sentences stand out.