Google My Business 101: Setting Up Your Listing
Google My Business is a listing that displays your company’s information — such as location, contact information, and user reviews — across various Google features and platforms. Free and easy to use, your GMB account ensures that customers are getting the most detailed, accurate information about your business when they encounter you in online searches.
Your GMB listing is an important part of your local SEO strategy. As a business owner, you can benefit greatly from taking ownership of your GMB profile and optimizing it to ensure the best organic search traffic possible.
If you’ve already read our introductory guide to Google My Business and are setting up your account for the first time, this guide walks you through the process in three simple steps.
1. Check whether your GMB account has been claimed.
The first step is to create your GMB listing or claim if it already exists. The best way to find out if you already have a listing is to Google the name of your business.
If you see a Knowledge Graph listing on the right-hand side of the results page, that means the business listing already exists, and you need to claim it (essentially, tell Google that this is your business). To do this, click on the question “Own this business?” and follow the instructions to proceed.
It’s possible that your business may have already been claimed, either by a former employee or someone else. If this is the case, you’ll see a message that says “This listing has already been claimed.” Learn how to recover your listing with your GMB troubleshooting guide.
2. Start the GMB setup.
- Log into the Google account you want to be associated with your business. (If your listing has already been claimed, log in to the account it was originally claimed with to view and edit your GMB account.)
- Head to google.com/business and click on the blue “Manage Now” button in the top right-hand corner.
- Enter the name of your business. If you’re creating a new account, enter your business name and address. If you’re updating an existing account, check that the information is up to date.
- Add the location of your business. At this step, you will be asked, “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?”
- If you select yes, you will be prompted to add the address of your location. Enter your physical business address EXACTLY as it appears on your website. You will then be asked if you deliver outside of your business address. If you operate a tour outside of your business location, add the service areas.
- If you click no, you will be asked to enter the geographic area(s) where you operate your tours or activities. Do not select an area that is outside of where you do business to try to capture a larger audience; this could cause Google to suspend your profile. Be honest.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location (for example, if you operate from a dock, pier, or somewhere other than a business location) and don’t want your business address to be visible, check no when asked if you want to add a location. You will then be prompted to select your delivery area.
- Choose the category that fits your business best. This tells Google which types of searches to show your listing in. If you’re unsure of how to categorize your business, try to choose one that broadly encompasses your business (for example, you may not be able to find “scuba diving guide,” but you can select “tour operator.”) With over 3,000 options available, you should be able to find one that is right for your business.
- What contact details do you want to show to customers? Add your business phone number and website. If you’re claiming an existing listing, double and triple-check that this information is correct. You don’t want to turn clients away by sending them to the wrong site or a phone number that is no longer associated with your business. Be sure to add a local area code, as it helps to legitimize your listing.
3. Verify your business
This is the most important step in setting up your GMB account! There are a few different ways to verify your business.
This is the most common way for small businesses to verify their GMB account. Depending on your type of business, this might be the only method available to you.
- Sign in to your GMB account, select the business you want to verify (if you have more than one), and proceed until you reach the verification step.
- Double-check your business address to make sure it’s correct. You have the option to add a contact name if you want the verification postcard to be addressed to you.
- Click the button that says “Mail.”
- Google will then send a postcard with a verification code to the address you provided. It could take up to five business days to arrive. (Keep an eye out; it may look like a piece of junk mail.)
- DO NOT edit any of your contact or business information while you’re waiting for the postcard to arrive. It could confuse the process.
- Once your postcard arrives, log into your GMB account and select “Verify now.” Enter the five-digit code on the postcard in the appropriate field, and submit. Now you’re verified!
- The five-digit code is only valid for a short period of time, so make sure you verify your page as soon as the postcard arrives.
- If for some reason your postcard doesn’t arrive or is damaged and you can’t read the code, you can always request another one.
Verifying by phone is similar to the mail process but more instant. If you have this option available to you, then it should only take a few minutes. Please note you need to use a phone that can receive text messages.
- Logged into your account, select the business you want to verify and select “Verify by phone.”
- You’ll receive a text message with a five-digit code. Enter it in the appropriate box, and you’re all set!
Some businesses are eligible to verify by email. If you have this option available to you:
- Double-check that your email address is correct, then select “Verify by email.”
- You’ll receive an email with a verification button. Just click the button, and you’re good to go.
This option will only be available if you’ve previously verified your business on Google Search Console. If you have, sign in to GMB with the same account you’ve already verified on Google Search Console and select “Instant Verify” if it pops up.
Once you have completed these steps, you’ll have a basic GMB profile with all the important location and contact information for your business. This is a great start, but to truly maximize your profile, the next step is to optimize it with elements like photos, videos, and reviews that will add to your presence in the SERP.
Head over to our guide to optimizing your GMB profile!