Have you ever needed to subscribe to a product or service near you, and ultimately resorted to Googling for it?
For example, you’re looking to expand your online business visibility through local SEO services in close proximity to your firm – and you look to this search engine for help.
When you search “SEO Agencies Near Me”, a list of operations near you pop up, complete with their addresses, ratings, opening hours, and more.
This is Google My Business Malaysia, which is a special feature for community businesses on Google. Basically, it is a business listing that you can get on for free.
In this article, we’re going to look at what Google My Business is, how it benefits your business, and how you can get started with a Google business listing.
You may be interested in: Google Marketing Tools for Marketers
What Exactly is Google My Business Malaysia?
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google search and it is especially useful for local business listing. Local businesses are those that serve the local community, rather than a wider customer base.
Examples include restaurants, florists, clinics, dentists, car workshops, and the like. They often have a physical store and a customer base that is geographically limited.
When you sign up for Google My Business, Google search will allow your business details to appear on search results with keywords related to your business.
With a Google business account, you can be featured as a GMB account and be listed when someone in your area makes a keyword search.
Read also: Keyword Research Tools for SEO
Your GMB profile will feature business listing details that potential customers will find useful, including contact number, physical address, opening hours, and Google map business location.
How Can Google My Business Benefit Local Businesses?
As aforementioned, local businesses are usually small, family-run establishments that cater to the local community.
If yours is such a business, then Google My Business can really bring your search engine marketing to a whole new level, including driving traffic to your website.
Here are some of the key benefits of setting up a GMB feature for your local business:
Increasing Your Reach
GMB profiles help target audiences in your area know that you exist. Apart from local SEO, GMB is an alternative method for small businesses to increase brand awareness in their area.
Any person searching for a term related to your business will now be able to see that you’re within their vicinity.
Interact with Your Customers
Your GMB profile is also a chance to interact with your customers and gather feedback. This is because your customers will be able to leave reviews and ratings on your business listing.
One of the most effective marketing elements has to be positive ratings. The more positive reviews you get, the better the public’s impression of your business.
Apart from reviews, you can also monitor the analytical data associated with your GMB business account and see who your customers are and where they’re coming from.
Increase Your Accessibility
One of the main features of a GMB profile is a list of methods by which customers can contact you. Usually, this includes a phone number, business website, email address, website URL, and the like.
Your GMB profile can function as a one-stop platform to list down all the channels by which you can be contacted.
How To Create a GMB Listing for Your Local Business
Starting a Google My Business account is manageable for anyone. Here, we will walk you through the process step by step.
Sign up for a Gmail account
If you don’t already have a Gmail account, you have to sign up for one. If you already do, simply proceed to log in to the correct Gmail account.
Go to the Google My Business (GMB) Site
Next, go to the GMB site and click the link that says “Manage Now”. This will bring you to the next stage.
There is no need for a Google My Business login as you will complete these steps with your Google/Gmail account.
Add Your Business To Google
Next, you will be asked to search for your business or add your business to Google search. If you’ve never set up a GMB business account, click on the link to add your business.
Naming Your Business in the Best Way
Subsequently, you will be asked to write your business name. This step is extremely important as it will play a role in determining what search terms your business will be associated with.
Experts suggest that you follow a set pattern to increase the viability of your business name. The formula to follow is “Company name”, “Types of products/services”, and “Business location”.
For example, if you are a digital marketing startup, you can call yourself “[Brand Name]’s Digital Marketing, Seri Kembangan”.
You’ll also be asked to state the category of your business. Google search will recommend business categories as you type in keywords. This will be your primary category, and you can add other business categories later on.
What You Should Know:
- Changing Your Existing GMB Profile Names
As a GMB registered user, you will be allowed to make alterations to your listed username up to 3 times per year.
Having said that, we do not recommend making frequent changes to your already set-up profile. This is to maintain a sense of consistency for your business profile on Google.
The last thing you want is to have confused local prospects at your doorstep questioning your credibility following a lost-in-translation direct search.
- Optimizing GMB Names Via Keywords
Optimize your GMB profile using well-researched keywords. Now, we know this sounds paradoxical – so should you make changes or not to your profile names?
Before we answer that, understand that it’s against Google’s guidelines to modify your profile name like how you’d change the SEO title of a business page for better ranking purposes. That said, it’s been made public that your GMB names are in fact, a ranking factor.
Oh, and in local Search Engine Optimization’s language, your GMB name = the page’s SEO title. Contradictory, right?
Now, to avoid a hefty suspension resulting from Google penalty (which could directly cause harm to your SEO efforts), we won’t recommend exploiting the system and making frequent changes to your profile name through keyword stuffing.
What you can (and should) do, is to get it well-optimized before your setup – with the help of an established Google SEO agency in Malaysia. After that? Focus on other aspects of SEO and move on.
- Taken/ Unavailable GMB Username
It does happen sometimes. Your unique business name being taken elsewhere, possibly by your evil doppelganger across the other half of the globe.
The big, sad news? No, you can’t reuse the taken username. Google accepts only 1 unique name.
Google Business Matching will be there to help avoid duplicate listings on the Google Map. A list of similar businesses will be displayed to the ones you’re trying to create.
The solution you can attempt may include:
- Adding your location or city in your name.
- Using the abbreviation instead of full-form of your business name.
- Using dashes in between your name to separate words.
Adding a Location
Next, you’ll be asked if your business has a physical location that customers can visit. You should pick “Yes” and proceed to the next page.
At this stage, you’ll be asked to fill in your physical address. Try to be as accurate as possible because this step helps Google determine who to recommend your business effectively based on location. People will be able to locate you via your Google Malaysia address too.
Pinning Yourself on Google
The next step would be to place yourself on Google Map. This is the location by which your customers will find you. Make sure that your Google Map pin corresponds to your real location, or as close to it as possible.
Via this pin, customers can also search for you on the Google Map app. Google Map is also another place where your online presence can be increased.
This next section will involve details about your delivery services. First, you’ll be asked whether your company offers delivery, and then you’ll be asked about the regions you cover if you do.
Don’t worry if you deliver to more than one place because you can add more regions later on.
Adding Your Google Business Contact Details
The penultimate step in building your GMB profile is to fill in your Google business contact details, which are your business phone number and business website URL.
The Verification Step
This final step is a must for all companies. It involves you choosing a method for your business to be verified.
The most common way to do this is through the Google My Business postcard method. This method involves Google mailing a postcard to the business address, and this postcard will contain the Google My Business verification code.
You will have to insert this code into the space provided later on.
Various Ways to Verify Your GMB Account
Google has provided several options for you to verify your Google My Business account.
You’ll need to be verified in order to allow some of the features of GMB to function, such as customer reviews and ratings.
However, before that, know that if you’ve previously had your website verified with Google Search Console, you can instantly verify your Google My Business page account – provided that you’re using the same Google account for both.
Bottom line: The instant verification method only work when your website has been previously listed in the Google Search Console.
Now that we’ve established that, these are the verification methods available:
Postcard verification is the most widespread method for business account verification and is available for all types of businesses.
In essence, Google will send a postcard containing your Google My Business code. This Google MB verification postcard will also contain instructions on how you can insert the code into your GMB dashboard and have your account fully functioning.
The postcard method is an effective way for Google to verify your business listing, ensuring that your street address is accurate.
Only certain types of businesses are eligible for phone verification. This is one way to verify Google Business without postcards.
If you are eligible for a phone verification process, the option will be available at the final step. You will be asked to choose between “text” or “call”. If you choose text, you’ll receive an SMS to the number you provided, with the verification code.
If you choose “call”, you’ll receive an automated call with the verification code, which you will have to record and enter online.
When your business is eligible for email verification, you’ll see it as an option on the final page. When you pick email verification, you’ll receive an email at the address you provided.
You’ll have to click on the link provided in the email in order to verify your Google My Business account.
One of the latest methods provided by Google is through Google My Business video verification. This is the most recent way released on how to verify Google My Business without postcards.
Video verification is still in its initial stages and is not widespread in its availability. Basically, you can send Google a message via your GMB ‘Contact Us’ option requesting a verification video call.
Once Google agrees, you’ll be given an appointment where you’ll have to attend a short video call interview on Google Hangouts. Answer some basic questions, and you’ll be verified in no time at all.
After Verification: How Can I Optimize My GMB Profile?
There are many factors that determine whether your business shows up in a customer’s search results or not.
These factors include relevance, proximity, and prominence.
You can do your part to ensure that these factors are optimized. However, there’s no guarantee it will work overnight. Your efforts will take some time to come into effect, but here’s what you can do:
Fill In As Much Information as Possible
Your Google My Business profile can be controlled from your dashboard. Here’s where you need to fill in information that you didn’t complete in the setup steps.
Google My Business will recommend the different information you need to fill in now, such as opening hours, pictures, menu (if you’re in F&B), social media pages, and more.
The more information you have, the more Google’s algorithm can detect your relevance to search terms.
Pictures Paint a Thousand Words
Adding pictures to your Google My Business profile will attract more attention. In fact, research has shown that businesses with photos receive 35% more clicks and 42% more driving direction requests on Google Map.
Some of the photos you can upload include those of your shop’s exterior, interior, products, and team members. Additionally, you can also add videos to your profile to make you really stand out from other companies listed.
Photos of the exterior of your business effectively showcase how established your brand imaging is. They help clients locate and recognize you among a sea of competitors.
Show searchers what your internal working environment is like! An organized and systematic atmosphere goes a long way in leaving a memorable first impression when your client decides to give your office a visit.
Photos to showcase the services you offer will help lessen the number of general queries on what you provide. Aim to be slick and professional with your services photos.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Show searchers the team operating behind the scene. Let them know you are legitimate – you are a team of actual humans (totally not robots) providing what you claim.
Customer Reviews Shouldn’t be Overlooked
Reviews are one of the most important ways you can build brand trust. Once a member of the public sees that other people are interacting with your brand, they will know that you’re a legitimate business.
Bear in mind to regularly check and respond to reviews, likes, and comments about your services – even when they are in the form of unfavorable reviews.
Negative or not, having people evaluate your services can be a form of constructive criticism for your team to reflect on what went right or wrong.
Of course, you can’t completely prevent negative reviews from appearing. However, this can be alleviated with several reputation management strategies.
Use the Google My Business App
To make things more convenient, you can download the Google My Business app, available for both Android and iPhone.
The availability of this app means that you can manage your GMB account from almost anywhere. This will come in handy when:
- You need to update emergency information.
- You need to manage your reviews.
- You need to post the latest photos and videos.
- You need to reply to messages as fast as possible.
- You need to manage your ads.
The app will help your Google My Business customers get up to date with your official business information and interact with them more efficiently.
Start a Google My Business Profile Today
As a business, you can stand to benefit from local SEO initiatives, which are a series of strategies designed to increase brand awareness in and around your geographical business location.
One key way to accomplish this is through a Google My Business profile.
If you would like to learn more about local Search Engine Optimization and how you too can benefit from it, feel free to contact us at any time.
Our forte doesn’t only lie in local proximity SEO but other aspects too, including on-page, off-page, YouTube, mobile, and technical SEO!