Article updated Ocgtober 18th 2020

While Google search is the starting point for the vast majority of searches that result in website visits, Google Maps is also a big driver of clicks and footfall to businesses that have a physical location, like a store or a restaurant.

Google My Business is the most important aspect of any Local SEO campaign, as it's required for ranking in the Local Pack results (aka Map Pack results). This makes creating an account the first step any local or small business should take to boost their local SEO.

Google My Business Checker

You can check your Google My Business has been setup correctly by running a Free WooRank Review.

Free WooRank Review

Below, we can see a Google My Business account in action - an Oxford based SEO Consultancy appearing in the Map Pack results with their Google My Business account.

BeFound SEO Oxford

From here, potential customers can see an ever-growing list of information, from the business opening hours and contact details, to details of products and services offered, relevant images of the offices or examples of work, customer reviews, business updates and FAQs, to name just a few.

76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours and 28% of those searches result in a purchase. Source: thinkwithgoogle.com

Getting your business to appear in Google Maps can help to drive actual customers to your store, through searches carried out in both Google Maps and Google search. It also gives searchers extra information, like opening times and details of the services you offer, along with user reviews to help instil trust, making them more likely to result in a sale.

This makes being featured in Google Maps very important for any local business. But how do you add your business to Google Maps?

The answer lies in Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free online platform that allows businesses to manage how their businesses appear in Google Maps.

It's worth noting that it's not mandatory to actually have a website in order to list your business in Google Maps, but it will help to give you more visibility within Google's local search results, which will increase your changes of getting a sale.

How to set up Google My Business

We've put together a short video to help guide you through the process, using the web design agency MakeMyStore.co.uk as an example.

Step 1:

Head over to https://www.google.com/business/ and click Sign in. You can use your Google login (the account you use for gmail, Google Drive, etc.).

Step 2: Check if your business has already been listed

Click Manage now then start typing the name of your business. If it appears in the list, it may have already been created, in which case you can claim it, but if not, you can add your business name then click the option to create a business with the name provided.

Create a Google My Business Account

Step 3: Confirm your business name

Next, check your business name appears correctly. It should appear as used on your website or anywhere else your business name is referenced.

Confirm your Google My Business name

Step 4: Google My Business categories

Now you'll need to choose an appropriate Google My Business Category. This should be the main category that your business sits in. You can also add subcategories once your account has been set up, so at this stage just pick the primary category.

Choose a Google My Business Category

Step 5: Add your business services

Add the services that your business offers. You can choose from the services suggested by Google, and/or add custom services.

Add services to Google My Business

Step 6: Add your Google My Business location

Now you can select whether or not your business has a location that customers can visit.

Adding your location to Google My Business

This is an important option, as businesses that don't have a physical location won't show up in Google Maps.

Google My Business in Map Pack results

Step 7: Add your business address

Enter your business address exactly as it appears on your website. It's important to use the same address and format when referencing your business address anywhere online. This helps to keep things consistent and avoiding any confusion.

Adding your address to Google My Business

Step 8: Add locations you serve

If you service other locations, you can specify this here.

Do you serve customers in other areas

You can then add the locations that you serve, at a city, state, or country level.

Adding the areas your business services

Step 9: Adding your business contact details

Next, enter the Google My Business contact number (bonus points if you have a local number), along with your website address (if you have one).

Adding your business contact details

Step 10: Finish & Manage your Google My Business Listing

Finally, click Finish to save your listing.

Finalize your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business Dashboard

Once you've completed your listing you will have access to your Google My Business dashboard. From here you can update your business details, add opening hours, images/photos, your business description, any sub-categories that your business falls into and much more.

Google My Business Dashboard

How to verify your Google My Business account

You must verify your Google My Business account in order to properly manage it, which can be done by entering a code that will be sent to the business address in a postcard.

Google My Business verification

The end result

Once your account is up and running you will receive a confirmation email. Your customers can now find your business across Google.

MakeMyStore in Google Maps

Bonus Step: Bing Places

To further increase your visibility you can import your Google My Business details into Bing Places. This is Bing's equivalent to Google My Business, allowing your business to show up in Bing Maps as well as Bing's local search results.

Bing Places Google My Business Import

You can also sync your Bing Places account to ensure any changes made to your Google My Business listing are also updated in Bing.

Sync Bing Places with Google My Business