Google My Business serves as a seamless solution to the recurrent problem of maintaining your Google presence across different platforms. The tech giant aims to serve small businesses by connecting them with potential customers. Google My Business compiles all business data from Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+ and manages it all at a single place.
As of 2020, there are over 3000 Google My Business categories. The search engine platform allows users to choose up to ten categories for their business, but you can select one primary category.
When you select a primary category that paints a general picture of your business but do not add multiple categories for listing all your services and products. For instance, if you run a health club that also features a café, don’t add the category ‘café.’ You should ask the owners of the café to create their own listen choosing ‘café’ as the primary category. Let’s see how you can get started.
Before you optimize your Google My Business profile, you will have to claim it. Users can check on whether they have already claimed their business by going to Google My Business. Click on Start Now by signing into the Google account you use for your business. Enter your company’s name into the top field, next to your country’s map, to confirm you are authorized to manage the business.
Once you successfully claim your listing, you must ensure that all business information is accurate and up to date. That information includes your service category, your opening hours, and other valuable information.
According to Google, around 99% of the Google Places / +Local users are already moved to Google My Business. When users visit the Google My Business page, they view a blue button ‘Get on Google.’ Sign-in by clicking on the button and go to Google Maps. There is a search box on the top left side. Type in your business name, and you will see a list of businesses to match your search phrase. Choose the relevant one from the list.
In case you already have a Google account, click ‘settings’ to choose ‘Create a new page’ or ‘View all pages’ to go to an existing Google+ page. There is also a ‘Not a local business’ tab for non-local businesses.
In addition to new businesses, current users of the Google+ dashboard and Places for Business can also use Google My Business. You must be authorized to manage the business listing for creating a new page. Once you receive a verification notice for confirmation, you will need to create your profile page and add all relevant details about your business.
In case you already have existing pages, Google will direct you to the Google+ dashboard from where you can manage your profile by choosing a page.
How to Choose the Best Google My Business Category
When you select a category, here are a few things to keep in mind for getting the best results.
When choosing your Google My Business Category, be as specific as possible so you can compete against fewer businesses.
Add the minimum number of Google My Business categories for describing your core business. If you add too many categories, each category will become weaker. For instance, when we compete with a 100 watt-laser vs. a 100-watt light bulb, we observe that a 100-watt bulb can light up a room, but a 100-watt laser is powerful enough to cut through a sheet of solid metal. We aim to be as close to the laser as possible to attain a powerful effect.
You don’t have to describe your services or the amenities you offer. The only thing to describe is your business. In case you are adding a new restaurant to Google My Business and the restaurant has a bar, don’t add ‘bar’ as a category since it does not describe your core business. The bar is just one of the amenities that your restaurant offers to your customers.
Businesses can track analytics, post content, launch Google Hangouts, and revert to customers through a single dashboard. Let’s have a detailed look at the different sections of the My Business Dashboard.
My Business Dashboard
Business Info Editor: The editor contains instructions for completing your profile. Users can update your business information for maps, search, and Google+ directly from the dashboard. The ‘View your Business on Google’ option enables users to see how their listing appears across different platforms on Google. In addition to that, users also get options to delete listings, report problems, and Get Help right at the bottom of the page.
Reviews: The section offers reviews of your business around the web and on Google. Users have the option to respond to these reviews from the dashboard. The section also offers Analytics for all reviews.
YouTube: You can find relevant information on engagement. Not only you get engagement information on your videos but you can also go directly to your channel from the dashboard.
Insights: The Insights section provides information on Audience, Engagement, and Availability. Users can view engagement on their posts according to the links, texts, videos, and photos. All information on the audience further breaks down into different categories such as country, gender, etc. However, some data is available for users. Some of the data is available only if you have more than 200 followers.
Although the primary category is the most important choice, secondary categories are also important to relevance and ranking. Don’t commit the mistake of picking a primary only and leaving the rest empty. For instance, if you select ‘Divorce Attorney’ for your primary category, select ‘Law Office,’ ‘Lawyer,’ or ‘Family Law Attorney’ as secondary categories.
The focus of your business can change with different seasons. Consider the example of an HVAC contractor service that does most of their work in the summer, repairing AC units but furnaces in the winter. For that, the company will have to change their primary category that suits their business’s seasonality. Listing ‘a/c repair’ as your category will not attract users looking for furnace repair services.
Remember that users can’t create their category. For instance, if your desired category is not available, you have to choose the category that best describes your business.
When users add or edit one of their existing categories, they may be asked to verify their business again. That helps Google validate that the business information is accurate.
Here is how you edit or add Google My Business Categories for your listing:
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Users who have multiple locations will open the location they want to manage.
- For editing your primary category, click the pencil icon next to your primary category.
- If you want to add, click Add another category.
- Once you are done editing, click ‘Apply.’ If you make significant changes, you may have to verify your business again.
Are there any Features Specific to your Google My Business Category?
Users may have special features available for their listing according to their business category. Here are a few examples of such category-specific features.
- Food and drink businesses add URLs to their listing for reservations, online orders, and their menu. They also have the option to add menu items directly.
- Hotel listings list the amenities and class ratings of the hotel.
- Beauty, health, and wellness businesses can add a booking button to their listings and update services.
How can Google My Business Help your Small Business?
Show Customers How Your Business is Different: Apart from adding beautiful photos, you can also add stunning virtual tours of your business for showing customers what makes your business so unique.
Stay in Touch with your Customers: When you share news, updates, and recent events through your Google+ page, you establish a better connection with your customers. Sharing all these updates is convenient through the intuitive dashboard.
Update Information: Businesses can share important information such as opening hours, contact numbers, addresses, and more on Maps, Search, and Google+ all at once. Making all this information available to your customers will help them connect with your company easily.
Figure out How People Connect with Your Business: To understand how people interact with your business, use insights, and integration with AdWords Express. These insights are available with more demographic information and data on clicks and views. Get user insights for your business, including engagement, audience insights, and visibility.
Respond to Reviews: Reading and responding to reviews from across the web provides an incredible opportunity to streamline monitoring reviews from review analytics and around the web.
Start building your brand, promoting your business, and establishing customer relationships through this amazing free tool. Google My Business allows you to promote your business, and choosing the right category is the first step.
Google My Business is not just a free tool to display information. Businesses can utilize the full range of Google My Business’ beneficial and comprehensive features to create and optimize their listing. Managing Google Business Categories effectively can help you nurture new leads and build strong relations with your customers.