Yes, you might have heard of the term—but, what is Google My Business?

Also known as GMB, it is a free tool that allows you to manage the way your business appears on Google Maps and Search. This includes:

  • Adding your business name, hours, and location
  • monitoring and answering customer reviews
  • Learning where and how users are searching for your business
  • Adding images and many more

Those who are just starting their local SEO should note that GMB listing is an amazing place to concentrate their early efforts. When users search for a service or product near them, they are normally about to make a purchase. In fact, one in every two users who conduct a local search visit the business within the same day. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that the business’ information that appears when users perform a Google search is complete, optimized, and accurate as possible.

In this post, we shall discuss how to:

  • Create your GMB account and claim your business
  • Verify your business
  • Optimize your listing
  • Download the Google My Business App
  • Learn the difference between Google My Business, Google+, and Google Places

So, is GMB free?

Yes, Google My Business is absolutely free to use. However, there is only one requirement needed for you to use GMB—you must interact with your customers face-to-face. That is, you cannot operate your business 100% online.

How to Create a Google My Business Listing

The following are the steps that will guide you into creating a GMB listing

  • Step 1 – create a Google account for your business—that’s if you don’t have one. If you have a Google Account that’s associated with your business, you just need to log into the account.
  • Step 2 – go to, and then choose Start Now at the top right-hand corner
  • Step 3 – enter the name of your business
  • Step 4 – enter the address of your business
  • Step 5 – if you prefer going to the location of your customers, instead of having them come to your location, check the box indicating “I deliver goods and services to my customers.” Also, if you work in a location that you don’t want the address displayed publicly, check the box indicating “Hide my address—only display region,” and then choose your delivery area.
  • Step 6 – select the category of your business. Ensure that you select the most accurate category close to your business—this is a way of telling Google which customers should be able to see your business listing.
  • Step 7 – add your business’ website or phone number.
  • Step 8 – select the verification option of your choosing. If you are not ready to verify your business at the moment, click “try different method>later.”

Verifying Your Business on Google

There are a number of ways that you can use to verify your Google My business listing. These methods include:

Postcard Verification

  • Step 1 – if you are not logged into GMB, sing in, and then select the business, you would like to verify. In case you are already logged in, you should be at the verification stage.
  • Step 2 – ensure that you have entered the correct business address. An additional option, you can add a contact name—the person whom the postcard should be addressed to.
  • Step 3 – next, you should click “Mail.” You should receive the postcard within five days—ensure that you don’t edit the name of your business, category, or address (or even request for a new code) before you receive the postcard, as this can delay the entire verification process.
  • Step 4 – once you receive the postcard, log into GMB. In the event, you have multiple locations for your business, choose the location that you would like to verify, and if you have one business location, select “Verify now.”
  • Step 5 – in the code area, key in the 5-digit verification code on the postcard, and then click “Submit.”

In case you don’t receive your postcard or it gets lost, you can request for a new code by simply logging into GMB, and then clicking the “Request another coder” blue icon at the top of your screen.

Phone Verification

Today, Google allows some businesses to verify their locations via phone. If your business is eligible for phone verification, you should be able to see the “Verify by phone” choice once you begin the verification process, and then follow these steps:

  • Step 1 – if you are not logged into GMB, sing in, and then select the business, you would like to verify. In case you are already logged in, you should be at the verification stage.
  • Step 2 – check to confirm if the phone number is correct, and then select “Verify by phone.”
  • Step 3 – you can now key in the verification code from the text message you receive.

Email Verification

  • Step 1 – If you are not logged into GMB, sing in, and then select the business, you would like to verify. In case you are already logged in, you should be at the verification stage.
  • Step 2 – ensure that you have the right email address, and then select “Verify by email.”
  • Step 3 – next, go to your email’s inbox, open the email you receive from GMB, and then click the verification button on the email.

Instant verification

Once you have verified your business using the Google Search Console, you might be able to verify your email instantly.

  • Step 1 – log into GMB using the account that you used to verify your business with Google Search Console. However, you need to note that certain business categories are not entitled to instant verification. Therefore, if you don’t get a notification requesting you to verify your listing, you will need to use a different verification method.

Bulk verification

If you operate in over 10 locations for a single business, and you are not an agency managing locations for different businesses or not a service business, you might be entitled to bulk verification.

  • Step 1 – if you are not signed into GMB, sing in, and then select a location. Click “Get Verified” just next to the location’s name.
  • Step 2 – click “Chain.”
  • Step 3 – you need to fill the verification form with the name of your business, and the parent company where applicable, the country or countries where your business operates, the contact names—that’s everyone who shall be using the GMB account, contact phone number, email address of the business manager, and the email address of your Google Account Manager.
  • Step 4 – submit the verification form—you should note that it can take up to 7 days for Google to review and process this request.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Once you verify your business, you now need to complete fleshing out the profile of your business. To do this, go to the GMB dashboard, click the listing you want to work on, choose “Info,” and select the category you want to update or fill out.

Now, you need to add as much media and information as you can, and this should include a photo, business profile, the area where you operate, attributes (e.g., free Wi-Fi, wheelchair accessibility, etc.), your working hours, the date, month, and year you open, website URL, as well as a public phone number.

You should note that anyone can “suggest an edit” to the listing, which means you should:

  1. Make sure that you have entered the right information from the beginning (this discourages random people from making changes.
  2. Log into your GMB dashboard periodically to ensure that all the information appears to be correct.

It is possible to edit your business’ profile at any point in time—you only need to log into your Google My Business dashboard, click on the “Info,” click the pencil adjacent to the category you want to edit, make the necessary changes, and then select “Apply.”

Google My Business Photos

Businesses that have photos receive 35% more clicks to their sites and 42% higher requests if they have driving direction on Google Maps. If you want to upload photos, they should be at least 720 pixels high by 720 pixels wide, and in PNG or JPG format. So, what photos should you upload?

  • Cover photo – your GMB cover photo is one of the essential elements, as it displays up front and center on your listing.
  • Profile photo – this is what appears when you upload new photos, review responses, or videos.

In addition to your cover and profile photos, you should also upload other photos, as this makes your list more engaging and informative.

Google My Business Videos

It is also possible to add videos, and these videos should be:

  • Less than 100 MB
  • Not more than 30 seconds
  • At least 720p resolution

Videos do add more variety to your profile and make your business stand out from other businesses in the same category. However, you shouldn’t worry at all if you don’t have any videos—they are not a must, unlike photos.

Google My Business Reviews

How can you encourage your future customers to leave positive reviews? By responding to your current reviews. Responding to your customers’ reviews does not only show them that you appreciate their support, but it also makes all the positive reviews stand out and also influence other customers to leave their own positive reviews.

Also, it is important to make sure that you respond to negative reviews, as this shows that you have taken them seriously and that you sympathize with the unsatisfied customer. However, ensure that you are extremely courteous—having rude or harsh comments can make you look unprofessional, and the customer’s review more authentic.

Google My Business App

You can access the GMB app on both Android and iOS platforms. Google My Business app allows you to:

  • Update your location, business hours, description, as well as contact information
  • View search insights
  • Post pictures and statuses

However, you cannot use the app to do the following:

  • Delete your business listing
  • Transfer the listing owner to another user
  • Change its settings

Google My Business vs. Google+ vs. Google Places

Many people tend to be confused by the different options and names they have to manage their Google presence. Previously, Google Places was Google’s tool that allowed owners to manage the profiles of their businesses—but Google retired it in 2014. Today, Google My Business remains to be central, but that assists you in managing the appearance of your business on Google Maps, Search, and Google+.

What is Google+?

This is a social network developed by Google—it has a close resemblance to Facebook. This platform allows you to start or join communities, private or public groups organized around a certain theme, such as knitting. Also, you can create or follow collections like Pinterest Boards. If you have a Google+ account for your business, then you will be able to interact with your niche groups, as well as post updates and pictures. You can think of Google+ as your business’ Facebook page. It is possible to access Google+ from your GMB dashboard—however, it is not a must to have a GMB account to own a Google+ account.


  • Should you have a Google+ account? No—but if you don’t have the time, you can consider focusing your efforts on other social media and marketing channels.
  • Should you have a Google My Business account? It is highly recommendable if your business targets local customers.