A Definitive Do-It-Yourself Guide to GOOGLE MY BUSINESS for Business Owners in India

Guide on Google My Business for Indian business owners.
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    Google My Business is a business platform created by Google. This provides businesses with a customised page that displays all the relevant information related to their business. This is a great way to directly connect with the customers and share more about your business.

    The Google My Business pages show up in Google Search and Google Maps. Along with this, Google also creates a list of local businesses every time a user searches for a product or service.

    As a business owner, setting up a Google My Business is necessary. In this post, we discuss the benefits of setting up a page and provide a detailed process for doing so.

    Benefits of Setting Up Google My Business Page

    Google My Business offers many benefits for business owners. Here are some of the common benefits that you can expect:

    Increase Visibility

    As per available data, about 46% of the searches on Google are for local information. This can be anything from information about a local business to nearby parks. The point is that local searches form a huge part of the overall searches conducted by users.

    Due to this, it is extremely important to have a well-tailored local SEO strategy to increase the visibility of your business. A huge part of this is setting up and optimising your Google My Business page. This will ensure that customers looking for local businesses see and choose yours over a competitor’s.

    Increase Brand Trust

    Over 85% of customers search online before buying a product. This online search is done to find out more about the product or the service, along with the business providing the same. Customers will likely look at previous reviews, pictures, business description, etc. before selecting a business.

    Setting up a Google My Business page is necessary for gaining the trust of your customers. Without it, it is difficult for you to showcase your products and communicate about your business.

    Guide for setting up a Google My Business page.
    Source: Storyset

    How to Set Up A Google My Business Page?

    You can set up a Google My Business for free. All you need to do is follow the few simple steps listed below:

    Step 1: Go to Google My Business Create Page

    The Google My Business create page lets you find and manage your business. You need to run a simple search for whether your business exists in the Google My Business database or not.

    If you do find your business listed in Google My Business, then the following steps aren’t for you. You might want to look at ‘How to Claim An Existing Google My Business Page?’.

    If you can’t find the name of your business, then Google will prompt you to add your business.

    Step 2: Start Building Your Business Profile

    Once you click on ‘Add your business to Google’, you will be directed to create a profile. In this section, you will be prompted to add the Business Name and Business Category. In order to proceed, you will also have to agree to Google’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you should always add the real name of your business. Don’t stuff the section with keywords in an attempt to optimize the listing. This will likely result in suspension from Google My Business.

    In the Business Category section, you will see a dropdown menu with a list of categories. You can select the one which best describes your business.

    Let’s say you run an ice cream shop that serves the customers at the store and delivers it to their doorstep. In such a case, you might feel the business falls under two different categories. In such a case, choose the category which you believe is the most relevant at this stage. You will later get an option to add more categories.

    Step 3: Choose Whether You Want to Add a Physical Location

    You can add a physical location for your business that the customers can visit. You have an option to select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

    If you select No, you will be provided with an option to select where you serve your customers. These could be the areas where your business delivers its products or offers office visits. This is completely optional and you can skip this step.

    Keep in mind that for some categories, you will be required to add a location. For example, if you picked the business category as ‘Ice cream shop’, Google will require a physical address for the shop.

    This location will show up on both Google Maps and Google Search when customers look for your business.

    If you do choose to add a location, you will be prompted to add the Country, Street address, City, State and ZIP code for your business. Make sure you add everything to the right category as this will make it easier for customers to search for your business.

    Step 4: Add Contact Information

    At this stage, you will be prompted to add the phone number for your business and the current website URL. You need to provide at least one of these. The Google Business Profile Manager does provide an option for you to state that your business does not have a website.

    Step 5: Decide Whether You Want to Receive Updates and Recommendations

    The services provided in the Google My Business account are updated regularly. As a business owner, you can choose to be notified about the updates and recommendations made by Google. This is completely optional and would not affect your listing in any manner.

    Step 6: Enter Your Mailing Address for Verification

    Even if you don’t add a physical office address to your Google My Business page, you will have to add a mailing address if you want to verify the page. Google will then send a post to this address with a code. This will take about 2-3 weeks to arrive.

    This address will remain public and will not be visible to the customers searching for your business. This is only for Google My Business verification.

    You do have the option of choosing ‘Verify later’. In this case, you will not be required to enter an address.

    Step 7: Add Your Services

    At this stage, you will need to add all the services that your business provides. This will help the customers in deciding whether your business is right for their needs or not.

    Based on the category selected by you, Google Business Profile Manager will suggest some services. If you do not find the right match, you will have the option of adding a custom service. You can add multiple customer services as well.

    If you don’t want to add a service at this stage, you can also choose to ‘Skip’ the step. However, we will highly recommend specifying the services.

    Step 8: Add Business Hours

    You will need to days and time on which the business is open for customers. You can select different times for each day. For example, you might stay open for the full day on weekdays and only half day on weekends.

    This step isn’t compulsory. You can choose to ‘Skip’ it as well. However, if you do have a physical store, then we will highly recommend adding the hours.

    Step 9: Add Messaging

    You can choose to provide customers with an option of messaging your business on Google when they see it. It’s up to you whether you want to accept these messages or not.

    This is a great way for customers to directly reach out to you in case they have any questions about your service. Due to this, we suggest that you choose to accept messages.

    Step 10: Add Business Description

    We are nearly done with the process!

    The Business Profile Manager will prompt you to add a 750 word business description. This will tell the customers more about your business. This is a great way of communicating with your customers and sharing a little insight about your business.

    This description will be shown on Google Search, Google Maps and other Google services. You can choose to skip this step as well.

    Step 11: Add Photos of Your Business

    You can add photos of your business to the Google My Business page. This can be related to your product, services, office or employees. The idea is to give your customers an insight into your business.

    This is a great way of showing a little bit of your business to the customers. The customers will likely feel more comfortable visiting your business once they can visualize it.

    The pictures you add might appear in Google Search and Google Maps. This is not required and you can choose to skip it.

    Google My Business listing steps.
    Source: Storyset

    Step 12: Claim $500 Advertising Credit

    Google wants you to actively advertise your business on their platform. In order to get you started, they offer a $500 advertising credit. You can use this to start advertising your business using Google Ads.

    We strongly recommend that you claim this credit and experiment with advertising your business on Google Ads.

    If you choose to claim the credit, a new tab will open and you will be prompted to create a new ads campaign.

    Step 13: Complete Setting Up Your Profile

    That’s it! You are all done with the process. All you need to do is click on ‘Continue’ and you will see your Google My Business page.

    Once the page is verified, you can make any changes you wish. These will be made visible to the customers once Google verifies the page.

    If you have any doubts about setting up a page, it’s best to reach out to an SEO firm to help with the process.


    How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page?

    Google uses 3-Pack method to determine the top three results on the search engine results page (SERP). This finds the most locally relevant result for the user. For example, let’s say you are in Delhi and search ‘cafes near me’. Google will look at a range of factors to determine the first three local cafes to display.

    This includes the online presence of the cafes, its reviews, location, etc. Here are some steps that you can take to optimise yourself for Google 3-Pack.

    Verify Your Business

    Verifying your business is extremely important for gaining customer trust. Without verification, there is no assurance that the business owner has actually set up the Google My Business listing or not.

    Add Pictures and Videos

    Adding pictures and videos provides a way of connecting with customers that isn’t possible otherwise. Let’s say you run a beauty salon. Having a picture of your machines or a video of interacting with the client will provide a huge boost to customers’ trust and confidence in your business.

    The best part is that the pictures will also show in Google Image search, thereby increasing the visibility of your business.

    Update Your Information

    Make sure your Google My Business listing is always updated. The information should be consistent with what is available across other platforms. This is extremely important for avoiding any confusion in the minds of the customers.

    Avoid Over Optimizing

    Keep in mind that the Google My Business page is for your customers to learn more about your business. The page should be user-friendly and the customer should get the information they need. Any step to stuff your listing with keywords is only going to hurt your business. Also, it will likely result in the removal of your listing.

    Create Interactive Posts

    You can use the Google My Business app to create posts for your customers. This is a great way of regularly interacting with them. Let’s say you run a restaurant and you plan to have a live gig. You can create an interactive post about this and share it with your audience.

    Encourage and Monitor Your Reviews

    Google My Business reviews play a huge role in the success of your business. This is one of the main things that customers look at while choosing an online business.

    Every time you interact with a customer, you should encourage them to leave a review on your Google My Business page. Apart from this, you should regularly monitor the reviews that have been left by previous customers.

    If there are any negative reviews, then it’s important that you reply to them. Ideally, you should give a clear justification such that other customers are not inclined to consider the negative review seriously.

    Google My Business SEO infographic.
    You can download the infographic here.

    Quick Recap

    Google My Business page plays a key role in improving your local SEO. This is very important for increasing the visibility of your business as well as improving your business’s reputation.

    Setting a Google My Business page is very straightforward and easy. You do not need any prior experience to set it up yourself.

    Here are a few points to keep in mind to get the most out of your page:

    • Make sure you verify your page to set it apart from competitors and increase customer trust.
    • Add a mix of professional and semi-professional pictures so that the customers know what to expect.
    • Keep your business information updated at all times and consistent with all other platforms.
    • Provide all the relevant information without stuffing your page with keywords.
    • Take advantage of Google posts in order to connect with your customers.
    • Prioritize personalized reviews and reply to every negative review.

    For your ease, we have created an SEO checklist that you can use for setting up a Google My Business page. You can find the Google sheet here. You can also download the Excel version here:

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