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Google My Business is one of the most powerful ways to improve a business’ local search-engine rankings, optimization and online visibility.

Yet many business owners never quite get around to creating a Google My Business page. But since Google pretty much owns the search space, you’re missing out on a free, fundamental part of an online presence.

Google My Business allows potential customers to quickly see your business name, address and phone number.

They can see photos of your business, read online reviews and find a description of your company without even visiting your website. It establishes you as a local business.

A quick summary of what you’ll be establishing with your Google My Business page:

  • Allowing Google to publicly display your company information.
  • Entering a geographical radius.
  • Writing a short business description.
  • Uploading images.
  • Verifying that you’re the Google My Business account owner.
  • Soliciting customer reviews. Ask your clients to review you on Google My Business along with Yelp. Make it easy by sending them the URL.
  • Creating Google posts.

Creating your Google My Business page: Set aside some time—this is a methodical process

Once you begin setting this up, you will be directed from one field to the next, providing descriptions of your products and services.

This is the place to be using your keywords. So if you’re really not sure what these should be, use Google’s keyword tool.

In order to complete the set-up, you will need to generate a code

Google will actually send you a letter in the U.S. mail with this code, so be on the lookout—it’s easy to miss this. Without the code, you won’t be able to finish the process.

If a print letter sounds a little archaic, it is. But it also makes sense. Google wants to verify that there’s a physical location associated with this account. It will take a week or so to receive this.

If you don’t receive your postcard, request a new code by signing into your GMB account and clicking “Request another code” blue banner at the top of the screen.

Other enhancements to your GMB account

  • You’ll have a chance to verify your email address and your phone.
  • You can add images. According to Google, businesses with photos see 35 percent more clicks to their website and 42 percent more requests for driving directions in Google Maps. Specs: 720 pixels x 720 pixels, jpg or png files.
  • Your GMB cover photo is the most important. Along with your profile and cover photos, upload other pictures to make your listing informative and engaging.

Confused about Google’s pages and places?

It can be challenging. Google Places used to be Google’s tool for owners to manage their business profiles, but it died in 2014.

Now GMB is the central hub for managing the way your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps. Google+ quietly retired last April when a security flaw exposed users’ profile data.

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If it’s still just too confusing, call me. Let’s create a GMB that will be a foundation for your online presence.

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