What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business page appears in Google’s search results and on Google Maps. You can add business name, location and hours of operation, monitor and respond to the customer reviews, add photos, analyze where and how people find you online and much more.
Your customers also get to know your products and services better through reviews that people have left on Google.
You’ll be surprised to know how effective it turns out to be with all those star ratings.
Why should I use Google My Business in Canada?
If you’re new to local SEO, your Google My Business listing is the most important thing to focus on. You want to be there when people searched for a related product or service. It is also called as “Micro-Moments ” – like you are there right when a related business is sought for.
It is also proven through a study that one in two people doing a local search (for example, “watch repair in Calgary”) goes to a store that day.
How to create a Google My Business listing in Canada?
Sign in to the Google Account you want to associate with your business; or create a Google Account if you don’t have one.
Go to the GMB landing page, Then click on the blue “Manage Now” button. You should see “Find and Manage my business” option now. If your business name is present you should see an option to “Merge” or else, go ahead and “create a new business with this name”.
In the subsequent steps, choose your business category as most appropriate. You can also change it later.
Enter the address of your establishment. If you go to your clients and they don’t come to you, check the box “Yes”. In addition, if you work from home or if it is an address that you don’t want to make public, you also check the “No” box and click Next.
In this step, you need to select locations or areas you serve for customers. Input your service areas at least the ones you know to get started and you can always change these later, and click on next.
Select the region your business is based out of and input the details for “Contact Phone number” website and you can even get a free basic website from Google if you have not made a new website already. In case you are planning for a website redesign, check out my extensive guide on the same.
And that’s it to publish your basic business profile. Click on “Finish”. The next important step is to verify your business.
How to validate your business listing on Google in Canada?
There are several ways for Canadian business owners to verify your Google My Business listing, including:
• By email
• By group validations
• By instant verification
• By letter
• By telephone
Verification by postal mail in Canada
1) If you’re not already in your Google My Business account, sign in and choose the company you’d like to validate. If you are already logged in, you are normally in the validation step.
2) Check that the address of your business is correct, including the Canadian postal code. You can add a name of the person to mail.
3) Click on “Send Postcard”. You should receive it within 14 days. Be careful not to change the name, address or type of your establishment before mail delivery, also avoid asking for a new code. This could delay the whole verification process.
4) Once you have received the mail, sign in to Google My Business. If you manage multiple locations, select the one you want to validate. If you only manage one, click on “Validate”.
5) Enter the 5-digit verification code received by mail in the dedicated field. Then click on “Submit”.
If you never received a mail or happen to misplace it, you can always request a new code . Sign in to Google My Business and click on the blue banner at the top of your screen that says, “Ask for another code”.
Phone Verification in Canada
Google allows certain types of businesses in Canada to check their establishment over the phone. If this is the case for you, you can choose the phone verification option when you start the verification process.
Similarly, if you’re not already in your Google My Business account, sign in and choose the company you’d like to validate. If you are already logged in, you are in the validation step.
Ensure that your phone number is correct. Then, click on “Verify by phone”.
Enter the verification code that you receive via SMS or voice mail.
Verification by email in Canada
As for verification by phone, Google allows certain types of Canadian companies to validate their businesses by email. Again, if this is the case for you, you will be able to select this option when you are asked to choose the verification option.
1) If you’re not signed in to Google My Business, do it and choose the company you’d like to validate. If you already are, you are normally in the validation stage.
2) Check that your email address is correct. Then, click on “Confirm by email“.
3) Go to your mailbox and open the email you just received from Google My Business. Then click on the “Verify” button in the message.
Instant verification in Canada
Have you already verified your business in Canada with Google’s Search Console? In this case, you can instantly check your business through your email address. Remember that Google Search Console is a free tool that allows you to manage the performance of your website.
1) Sign in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your business for Search Console. Some types of institutions are not eligible for instant verification. Therefore, if you don’t receive a notification asking you to verify your business listing, you must choose another way to validate.
If you operate more than 10 addresses for the same company in Canada, you can use group validations. However, this validation method does not apply to service companies or agencies managing several companies.
2) If you’re not already in your Google My Business account, sign in and choose one of the company’s sites. Click on “Validate your business” next to its name.
3) Click on “Channel”.
4) Complete the validation form with the name of your company and its parent company, if applicable. Also indicate:
• The country or countries in which you operate.
• The names of the contacts, that is, all the people who can use the google my business account.
• Phone numbers.
• The email address of the person in-charge of the establishment, that is to say a person from the company who can confirm that you are an authorized representative of this establishment.
• The email address of the google account manager.
5) Submit the validation form. Google can take up to a week to review and process your request.
Note: If you happen to have any difficulty following steps for verification as above, here is a detailed guide by Google.
Once business verification is successfully completed, it is time you start focusing upon the local SEO and optimize your Google my business page.
How to optimize your Google My Business listing in Canada.
Once you have validated your business, it’s time to complete your profile. Go to your dashboard on Google My Business. Then, select the form you want to complete. Click on “Info” in the menu on your left and choose the section you want to fill in or update.
Add as much information and visuals as possible. For example, indicate your location, your opening hours, a public telephone number, the URL of your website or any other useful information to the user: do you offer the WIFI connection? Is the site wheelchair accessible and so on?
Anyone can “suggest a change” for your listing. Therefore, it is essential to:
• Complete everything correctly when you create your form. As a result, Internet users will not feel the need to report changes.
• Sign in frequently to your Google My Business account and verify that all information is up-to-date.
You can edit your company profile at any time by simply logging into your Google My Business dashboard. Go to “Info” on the menu on the left of your screen and click on the pencil next to the field you want to edit. Finally, click “Apply” once you have changed what you wanted.
Things you should be careful about
One of the most common mistakes is not to claim the announcement of your business.
By not creating your business ad, you risk that it will be created automatically by Google using the information that visitors will provide. This means that the same information may be inaccurate, and you will not be able to manage comments and reviews on your Google My Business page.
Another mistake to avoid is to have a card that contains missing information. If you have not checked your listing for a while, you may have failed to edit or update certain information.
Major important information that businesses usually miss are the hours, URL websites and phone numbers. It will be difficult for your customers to know your opening hours or how to contact you if this information is deficient or missing.
Be aware that providing inaccurate information is often worse than not displaying it at all. If you do not update your business hours, this may create some resentment from potential customers who want to know when they can visit your business.
“Pins” on the map
Map-markers are often overlooked or are in the wrong place most of the time. We can find map pins at the end of a shopping center, in the middle of a parking lot or down the street, which is far from helping potential customers.
Opinion is one of the things that business owners neglect the most – some of them sometimes fail to answer. You must keep in mind that consumers are most often attracted to companies that engage with their customers.
Not responding to the opinions of potential customers gives the impression that their point of view is not of interest to you any more than you seem to want to consider their suggestions. Always be sure to respond to criticism, both positive or negative.
Photos on Google My Business in Canada
According to Google, companies offering photos on their Google My Business profile get 35% more clicks to their website and 42% more route requests in Google Maps.
The size of these photos must be at least 720 pixels long and wide. As for the format, it must be JPG or PNG files. So, wondering how many photos you should add and what types of images? Here are some examples
The cover photo’s
This is perhaps the most important photo because it appears in the foreground of your card.
In addition to the cover photo, you can and should add additional photos to make your listing more informative and engaging.
Outside your establishment
First, add about 3 photos from outside your business premises with different angles of view. Use images taken at different times of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) so that customers are able to recognize it once there.
The interior of your establishment
Plus, add photos from inside your facility. Focus on the decor so that people have a clear idea of the atmosphere in your business.
Then post a photo of each type of product or service you offer. Show the products you are known for and make sure the photos are well lit.
Your employees at work
You can also add some pictures of your employees in action! Try to highlight customer satisfaction 😀
Food and drinks
If you run a restaurant, add 3 photos of your most popular dishes. Remember to hire a professional who specializes in culinary photography, which can be tricky! If your budget does not allow it, be sure to use bright, uniform lighting (no shadow).
Remember to put pictures of places where your customers are likely to spend time: reception, lounge, gym etc. A photo by location can illustrate the variety of your equipment.
If you own a hotel, highlight the different types of rooms or suites. Don’t try to mislead your customers! Be honest, show the upscale rooms and the more basic rooms.
Finally, add some pictures of your management team and the rest of the staff. Use images that reflect your culture and team spirit.
Videos in google my business – Can we add videos in google my business?
Yes, you can! It’s very simple to use – just go to a business listing on Google My Business, go to the “Photos” section and then click on the “Video tab”. All you have to do is add the video to host it in the tool – It can take up to 24 hours for a new video to be validated and published. In this case, it will be displayed in the same place as the photos for Google users.
Add videos to Google My Business
It is also possible to publish videos directly from the “Overview” presented when we arrive in the “Photos” section. By clicking on the blue icon in the form of “+” at the top right, an upload interface appears and allows you to add videos.
Conclusion: Google My Business is an option to consider
Without a doubt, it is an option to consider – I would not say that it is the most attractive of all, but it is too early to give it a resounding no. I think, personally, that Google will be adding more functionalities, perhaps not enough to compete with its own development, but at least for smaller companies to use it. A recent example I recall is posting weekly offers or flyers for sales promotions in Canada be it Black Friday, Cyber Monday or even Christmas discounts. Its all free to promote!
I hope you find this article useful and please do not forget to share if further.