Ultimate Guide to Google My Business Westchester NY (2021)

Ultimate guide to Google My Business

Pillar Digital Marketing is a marketing agency based in Westchester County, NY. Our agency exists because home service businesses struggle growing online.

We get it. Growing your business online is complicated, especially in 2020. There is so much information everywhere, where do you even start?

Thanks to our research, we see how many home service businesses waste precious time and money trying to spread their message online.

That’s why we made it our mission to make the process easy for you.

We guide you on your journey to grow online. It’s because we care about your success.

Our focus is your results.

We’re excited when our customers get results like this:

Results from Google My Business photo views

And this:

Google My Business insight dashboard

You’re probably here because:

  1. You’re frustrated. You do not know how to start with Google My Business.
  2. You have someone managing your Google My Business and they’re not doing a good job.
  3. You know you do better work than your competition. How can you show that to more homeowners?
  4. You love it when local brands build a relationship with you online. So, you want to do the same for your customers.
  5. You want to manage your Google My Business listing yourself.

Google My Business is one of the best ways for a home service business or contractor to get more customers.

The service is free, but you need to use the right approach. Your company information must be correct and complete.

Did you know that customers are 70% more likely to visit or hire you with a complete Google My Business listing?

The right strategy is key for success. It lets your business show up before your competitor in the search results.

Google learns what you do through Google My Business. The more information you give this tool, the better. It’s incredible how much smarter the Google search engine is becoming each day. The more you put out there showing you’re a reliable, qualified business, the more Google wants people to use your business.

The results speak for themselves.

Before we get started, we want to congratulate you on doing the hardest part. You realize you need a change.

Without change, there is no progress. Being committed is the first step towards growing your business online!

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business, also known as GMB, is a free tool. With this free tool, you can manage everything your customers want to know about your business.

You can update:

  • Business name
  • Description
  • Address
  • Contact information
  • Products & services offered
  • Photos and videos
  • Hours of operation

You can also engage with your customers in the following ways:

  • Questions & answers section (Q & A)
  • Respond to reviews
  • Make appointments
  • Post business updates or offers in your newsfeed

Why Is Google My Business Important?

Google is the most popular search tool. It is likely to continue to be popular for a long time.

Data shows that Google has been used for up to 90% of all searches over the past 10 years.

Google search data 2010 to 2020

This graph above shows search volume for common search engines from the past 10 years. Google, the blue line, has drastically more searches than others. These are your home service business customers.

It’s clear that GMB increases the chances homeowners find you — that’s where they’re looking! 

An optimized GMB profile drives new customers to your business.

If potential customers like your page, they call you instead of your competitors.

You’re going to want to optimize (meaning maximize the potential of) your GMB listing. It’s the key to making sure your business shows up before your competitors. 

We’re here to help you crush the competition. Or, find a way to work with them.

What Can I Do With Google My Business?

In the Google My Business dashboard, you can:

  • See how many visitors you have over a period of time
  • Review the search terms local homeowners are using to find you
  • View the homeowners’ actions: Are they calling you? Going to your website? Asking for directions?
  • Add photos, a logo, and videos of your business
  • See how many times homeowners look at your photos or videos
  • Manage multiple business locations
  • Connect with customers by making posts
  • Answer messages from customers
  • Answer questions from the Q & A
  • View and respond to reviews
  • Update your business information:
    • Hours of operation
    • Services or products offered
    • Payments accepted
    • Address
  • Set up online appointment booking

As a business owner, you should get familiar with all the Google My Business features.

What Do Homeowners See When They Search With Google?

Google SERP on mobile

Google search results are either paid or organic. Organic search results are the results that display “organically”, meaning that they are showing up naturally without paying anything.

What determines how high you show up in the organic search results?

The results are based on how closely related the search words are and search engine optimization (SEO) factors. Google also takes into account the individual user’s search history.

To show up in a paid search, you must have a paid advertising campaign.

What do prospective customers see when they search for your contractor services in Google?

We are going to break down the terms Google uses for naming the different types of search results. These are what show up in the Search Engine Results Page, also known as SERP.

Google Local Services

Suppose a homeowner searches for a Westchester, NY roofing contractor on their computer.

The first results you see are from Google Local Services. These are a form of paid advertisements. The red arrows below show the Google Local Services results.

Google My Business SERP page for local contractor

Google started Google Local Services around 2017. This service made a way for homeowners to hire local contractors with the backing of “Google’s Guarantee”. Here are the businesses types which currently support the Google Guarantee:

  • Appliance repair services
  • Carpet cleaning services
  • Cleaning services
  • Electricians
  • Estate lawyer services
  • Financial planning services
  • Garage door services
  • HVAC (heating or air conditioning)
  • Immigration lawyer services
  • Lawn care services
  • Locksmiths
  • Movers
  • Pest control services
  • Plumbers
  • Real estate services
  • Roofers
  • Water damage services
  • Window cleaning services

If a customer problem isn’t resolved by the contractor, Google Guarantee takes care of it. Any job booked through Google is covered up to the amount of the job. In the USA, they pay up to $2,000.

To qualify for Google Local Services, Google uses a screening process. This process makes sure that your business has insurance and local licenses. A background check is also performed on the business and its owner. You can find the full guidelines for Google Local Services here.

Businesses that pass the screening receive the badge, ‘Google Guarantee.’

When using Google Local Services ads, you pay per ‘lead.’ A lead is a phone call or an email made through the ad.

‘Google Guarantee’ starts to build trust right away. If a customer has a problem, you don’t resolve, Google will step in. 

When customers see the badge, it tells them Google has their back, if for some reason you mess up. 

Then, they might also take a closer look at your business and look at your Google My Business profile.

Google Ads

The next item you see in the search results is Google Ads as shown by the red arrows below.

Google SERP for contractor on mobile

Lots of local businesses use Google Ads to generate new leads. When you run a Google Ad, you usually show up on the first page somewhere.

Google Ads has no selection process. 

If you have a Google My Business listing, you can run the ads. If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, you can also run the ads from a Google Ads account.

You pay per click (also referred to as PPC). That means, when your potential customer clicks on the ad, you’re charged.

Google sets the cost per click based on how many of your competitors are also running similar ads. 

The more competition, the greater the cost of a click. A high cost per click usually means that the search term is resulting in more business. 

Google ads has its place in some local businesses. But, we often recommend local businesses focus primarily on ranking organically. That means, without the paid ads. 

It takes longer — but is worth the effort. If, done right.

Google Maps Results (Google Local 3-Pack)

When you scroll down further, Google Maps results are next as shown by the red arrows below.

Google My Business listing for local roofer search

Google displays the top 3 results. These are called the ‘Google Local 3-Pack’. 

There are several factors that impact if your business shows up here. 

Your business category, the location of the search, your reviews, reputation and how well your online presence is optimized are some of the key factors.

On the maps screen, you can:

  • See hours of operation
  • Get directions
  • Visit the website
  • Click on the business name to view their full Google My Business profile
  • See how many reviews a business has

After setting up your Google My Business profile, your business shows up somewhere in the Google Maps results. 

If you are just starting out, it is likely somewhere really far down the list. That’s why we always recommend — claim and complete your listing ASAP. Then, worry about optimization. The faster you’re local business is on GMB, the better.

If you eventually show up in the Google Local 3-Pack this is a huge advantage for your contractor business. 

Homeowners can find you much easier and are more likely to use your services.

Organic Search Results

Next, we see the Organic Search Results. They are shown by red arrows below.

Google SERP page for roofing contractor search

Organic search results show up for free. These results are based on how closely related your search phrase is. Search engine optimization (SEO) factors are also considered. SEO is a complex strategy that changes all the time.

A professional marketing company can help you with SEO best practices. Their strategies help you show up high in the organic search results.

What Does it Mean to Optimize Google My Business?

Digital marketers talk about having a ‘fully optimized’ profile. Let’s break optimization down in simpler terms.

Optimization is about getting the most from your profile. You need to use all the available features and the right way.

Optimization is important because if you do what Google wants, you are going to show up to more homeowners.

‘Keyword optimization’ is a little different.

The words your customers type in when looking for your services are called “keywords” or “search terms”.

Optimization means the research of the search terms homeowners use to find you.

You need to choose the correct ones to make the most of your GMB profile. The keywords your customers type in Google can display your Google My Business listing or a page on your website.

You want to be sure to use the right keywords in your business description. Filling the description correctly boosts your rank in the search results.

This guide is going to help you “maximize” your contractor Google My Business listing.

How To Get Started With Google My Business

Local qualifying businesses can log in or create a Google account. You use this account to claim and manage your business. 

Create a new Google account here: https://accounts.google.com/signup

Pro Tip: Do not use your personal Gmail account. You want something just for your business. You don’t want an inbox full of junk mail. Keep personal and business emails separate as a general rule of thumb.

Security and Password Tips:

  • Set up two-factor authentication for logging in to the account
  • Use a password that is 12 or more characters
  • Use both uppercase and lowercase letters 
  • Include numbers and special characters 
  • Use a word that is not in the dictionary

These steps make your account safe and help prevent fraud.

Steps If Your Business Is Already Listed On Google And You Need To Claim It

  1. Search for your business on Google. If you get an exact match, click the ‘Own this business?’ link.
  2. Log in to the Google account you created for managing your listing.
  3. Click the ‘Manage now’ button.
  4. The listing can be verified by postcard by following the on-screen instructions.
  5. Click the ‘Mail’ button.
  6. In about 5 days, you are going to receive a postcard in the mail with a code.
  7. Follow the instructions on the postcard to verify your listing.
  8. Once you confirm your listing, you can access the full benefits of Google My Business.

Steps If Your Business Is Not Listed On Google

  1. Navigate to https://www.google.com/business. Click on the blue ‘Manage now’ button.
  2. Log in to the Google account you chose for managing your listing.
  3. Type the business name in the search field. If it is not there, click the ‘Create a business with this name’ as shown by the red arrow below.
    Claiming your Google My Business listing
  4. Enter your business name. Be sure to use correct capital letters and spacing. Click ‘Next’ when finished.
  5. Enter your business category. As you start typing, suggestions appear. Select your business category and click ‘Next’. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure, you can go back to this
    from your dashboard. We have included an example below.
    Selecting your Google My Business category
  6. On the next screen, select whether you want to add a location that customers can visit, such as a store or office. Click ‘Next.’
    1. If you selected ‘Yes,’ enter your address on the next screen. Click ‘Next.
    2. If you selected ‘No,’ enter your top locations. You will have limited selections, so start with the most important. You may want to also include the counties. Click ‘Next’ when finished.
  7. Enter your business phone number in the ‘Contact phone number field’.
  8. Select from the three options for the website. If you want a free business website, Google gives you the option to create one for free. We cover later in this guide how to create the website. Click ‘Next’ when finished. We have included an example of what the screen looks like below.
    Fill in your contact details on Google My Business
  9. If you provided your business mailing address in step 6, you have the option to verify your listing. If you did not, this is your chance to enter an address to be verified by Google. P.O. boxes are not eligible and the address is hidden from the public.

Click ‘Next’ to continue to the next screen.

  1. Enter a name in the ‘Contact name’ field. Confirm one more time that the address details are correct. Click ‘Mail’ to receive your postcard. It will arrive in up to 5 days. The postcard has information on how to verify your listing.
  2. Once verified, you can:
    1. Create promotional posts.
    2. Track business data to better understand your customers.
    3. Respond to customer reviews & more!

Pro tip: While waiting, Google recommends that you do not change your business details. Also, do not request a new postcard. Doing this may result in a headache dealing with Google customer support.

How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Whether you are verified or not, Google allows you to enter more details about your business.

Go ahead and log in to your account by navigating to www.google.com/business.

To get the most from your listing, we are going to help you maximize it by adding as much information as you can. With the right information, customers can find you easier. Here is where you can outshine your competitors if you do it right!

Starting with the ‘Info’ section, go through each item, and carefully enter the data.

The information includes:

  • Your business name
  • Address
  • Service areas
  • Hours of operation
  • Phone number
  • Profile short name
  • Website
  • Products
  • Services (with descriptions)
  • Business description
  • Opening date
  • Photos
  • Category (you can find Google’s guidelines for categories here).

Pro tip: When you enter any information, make sure the formatting is exactly as it appears in other places (Yelp, Facebook, etc.). This includes uppercase/lowercase characters, your business name, etc. The last thing you want is to confuse Google. By keeping your information consistent, you have a better online presence.

If you want to edit a section, click the little pencil next to that section as shown below.

Google My Business dashboard for local garage door company

Keep in mind that you should be monitoring this information on a regular basis since anyone can suggest an edit, including your competitors. You can see in the example below an example of the ‘Suggest an edit’ link that anyone can click on.

MCAS Roofing & Contracting Inc Google My Business on mobile

Suggested edits made by a random person can be live on your listing without you ever receiving a notification. One way to monitor these changes is to log into your Google My Business app on your phone and look at the ‘Google Updates’ notices.

Here is how you can monitor the GMB notifications:

Download the Google My Business app on your phone. Log into your account with the credentials. Click ‘More’ at the bottom right with the 3 dots as shown below.

GMB insights

Select ‘notifications from the menu. You can then see all the Google notifications including any changes that Google may have suggested. Google suggests changes by using data from other sources or from another user making the changes without you knowing.

Even though Google says they email you when there are proposed changes, you may never receive the email, or simply overlook it. This is why it is crucial to make it a habit to occasionally log into the account on your mobile device and check your notifications.

How To Write Your Business Description On Google My Business

Your business description is one of the most important pieces of information in your GMB profile.

Depending on the message you are trying to send your customers, your business description is where you can set yourself apart from your competition. This is where you can talk about your brand story and offer your customers a look into why they should choose your products or services.

Choosing the right keywords or “search terms” will enable you to carefully craft the business description with strategic words or phrases. Use the words homeowners are actively using to find home services and contractors on Google.

For example, if you’re a roofing contractor, homeowners might search:

  • Roofer near me
  • Roofing Contractor
  • Roofing Company

The Do’s of Writing Your Business Description

Talk about your customer’s problems & how you solve them.

Your customers want to know you understand their problems so it’s important to mention them. They also want to know how you plan to solve them. Homeowners don’t care about exactly what you do, or how you do it. They want to know why your services are good for them. Include 1-2 sentences addressing their problems and your solution.

Talk about your products and services.

Provide a clear overview of which products and services you offer so potential customers know exactly what solutions you provide.

Highlight your strengths.

Discuss why your customers should choose you over the competition. Highlight your experience, skills, and certifications. What makes you unique?

Introduce your brand story and history.

If you have an interesting brand story or you have a family business feel free to mention that. Local homeowners might relate to your story and this could spark their interest in your products and services.

Be mindful of keyword usage.

Keep in mind that the words you use to describe your products and services are the same ones your customers use to find you on Google. You want to be found easily, so you should be using 1-3 high-quality keywords that can bring you the most customers.

The Don’ts of Writing Your Business Description

Don’t include sales pitches and offers.

Using sales pitches and offers in the business description is against Google policy. You are limited to 750 characters anyways, so you want to be sure you are using the limited space wisely. Google reviews your submission before it is approved and there’s a good chance to be denied if you violate their policy.

Don’t include prohibited and restricted content.

Google has specific guidelines on prohibited and restricted content that you should familiarize yourself with. Not only will Google reject the business description if you have a violation, but you may also risk losing the entire account.

Here are some examples of prohibited or restricted content:

  • Offensive content
  • Fake content
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Links to pages that contain restricted content

How To Add Photos And Videos To Google My Business

Showcase your products and services on Google. Come up with a plan to capture high-quality photos of your best work. Then, add them to your GMB listing.

Statistics show that businesses with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business, while those with just one image get 71% fewer.

Statistics also show that businesses with more than 100 images get 1,065% more website clicks than the average business, while those with just one get 65% fewer.

Simply put, you’re going to need to be on top of uploading new, high-quality photos regularly to be ahead of your competitors.

Google has guidelines for the photos you upload and there are also preferred sizes you should use.

Photo Sizes And Types

  • Cover Photo: The best Google My Business cover photo size is 1080 x 608 pixels (minimum 480 x 270; maximum 2120 x 1192). The file formats are either JPG or PNG and the size should be between 10 KB and 5 MB. *Note that on your phone, less may show so you need to be sure the photo is centered correctly. There should also be white space on the edges so if it is cut off, the full image still displays.
  • Logo: 250 x 250 pixels
  • Standard Photos: 720 x 720 pixels minimum

Here is an example of a logo that is sized correctly on mobile:

Photo Tips

Make sure you are always holding your phone horizontally when you are taking photos to keep your listing looking clean and consistent.

How to take Google My Business photos

Also, do not include dark, blurry, overly filtered, or low-quality images.

Make sure there are no tools, equipment, or debris in the shot.

Ensure location services are on for photos so you have the geographic location built into the photos.

You are also going to want to name the photos by the job type or relevant to what the photo represents.

Types Of Photos

As a local contractor or home service business, you are going to want to have the right types of photos. This is so homeowners can get inspiration and see the quality of your work.

Here are some ideas for photos

  • Before and after photos. These are absolutely critical for contractors. When you use a before and after photo, make sure that you are taking both photos from the same angle. The background should also be clear of construction materials.
  • Finished work. If you don’t have a before photo, it’s important to still post the finished job. Your potential customers might have a similar project they are considering. This can help them choose you as their contractor.
  • Photos of your business. If you have a physical location where customers visit you, it’s necessary to include a high-quality photo of the front of your office. This can help them find you easier if they visit you in person.
  • You or your workers on the job. Photos of work in progress are also encouraged. Homeowners want to see the workmanship that goes into quality work.
  • Awards and accolades. You earned them so you might as well show your customers the hard work you put in to achieve the awards.

Have A Plan For Photo Management

Through helping contractors manage their photos on Google My Business, we found that it’s not easy. Having a plan and set process in place for uploading photos is critical for long-term success.

Here are some tips for photo management:

  • Assign a specific person to take the photos and teach them how
  • Pick someone who has the latest version of a smartphone. Ideally iPhone or Samsung Galaxy
  • Create a Google Drive folder to store and upload the photos to the cloud
  • Set up a schedule and pick a day of the week to upload the photos to your GMB listing

Adding Your First Photo To Google My Business

Let’s get into how to upload photos to GMB. Start by clicking on ‘Photos’. Then click the plus at the upper right as shown below.

Add photos to Google My Business

On the next screen, you can either browse your computer for the photos you want to use or left-click and drag the photos to the space provided (see below).

How to add videos to Google My Business

You can upload a cover photo and your company logo file by clicking the pencil next to ‘Cover’ or ‘Logo’ as shown below.

Google My Business owner dashboard

For videos, it is the same process. Here are the guidelines for videos:

  • The video should be 30 seconds or shorter
  • The maximum file size is 100 MB
  • The minimum resolution is 720p

Here are some ideas for posting videos to Google My Business:

  • Finished contracting work that shows a quick overview
  • Drone footage of a finished product
  • Informational or educational videos answering common questions homeowners have

Videos tips

As with photos, hold your cell phone horizontal, like with photos.

You also want to make sure that the resolution is at least 720p and the video is no longer than 30 seconds.

Tip: To change the resolution on an iPhone go to setting then click camera. Next, click record video. In that menu, you can select different options.

To change the resolution on an android phone, click the camera app. Then click the gear icon to go into the settings menu. Instead of the gear icon, you may have 3 dots. Next, click video size to select different options.

When recording, keep the phone steady, avoiding sudden movements. You can use a gimbal, a tool to steady the camera, to give your shots a professional look.

Don’t post low quality or distorted videos and don’t overly filter if you are editing.

Google Messaging

Google Messaging is a way for your customers to communicate with you and ask questions before using your services. The more features you have enabled on your Google My Business profile the better.

Google wants you to use their platform as much as possible. It can only benefit you to offer your customers another channel of communication.

How To Turn On Google Messaging

Google messaging is only available on mobile so you need a smartphone to be able to respond to homeowner inquiries.

You should have already downloaded the Google My Business app on your smartphone when we learned about loading your photos and monitoring notifications.

Log in with the Google credentials you created earlier in this article.

Click the “Customers” tab at the bottom of the menu (#1 below) and then the “Messages” tab at the top menu (#2 below).

How to turn on messaging feature

Next, click on the “turn on messaging” button in the middle of the screen.

After you turn on messaging, the button in the center now changes to “Edit welcome message”. Feel free to edit the message your customers see before they message you. The default is “Hi! How can I help you today?”

Now that you have turned on messaging, your average response time will appear on your business profile when you start responding to customers.

According to a study, 78% of buyers purchase from the first company to respond. This highlights the importance of actively monitoring your messages and responding quickly.

Since Google is also grading you based on how fast you respond, you should try to respond as fast as possible.

In fact, Google thinks this is so important they send you the message below after you turn on messaging.

Google warns that if you don’t respond within at least 24 hours, you may have your messaging turned off. You may even lose the ability to receive quote requests.

How To Turn Off Google Messaging

From inside the app, click the “more” button at the bottom right menu then click “settings” at the bottom. From there, click “messages”. Finally, click the toggle switch next to “Turn on messaging” and it will turn off the messaging.

Feedback (Reviews) Management

Google gives you the opportunity to respond to reviews so you can take advantage of responding to homeowners’ concerns or positive feedback.

A study found that a positive reputation online helps homeowners trust your business, converts searchers into leads, and boosts local search rankings.

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, you still want to respond. It shows that you care and are appreciative of your customers.

45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to their negative reviews. Also, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.

Not only does responding to reviews make your customers feel important, it also helps to improve your processes and procedures that might need improvements.

How To Respond To Customers Who Leave A Review

From a computer, log into your Google My Business profile. Click “Reviews” from the left menu.

All the reviews display on the next screen. There are three menus tabs you can switch between: All, Replied, and Haven’t replied. These are self-explanatory, but you can easily see the reviews you haven’t replied to by clicking ‘Haven’t replied’.

On that screen, you can click the “Reply” button as shown below to write a reply.

If you are on mobile, click the ‘Customers’ tab at the bottom and the first tab on the next screen is “Reviews”.

If you are signed into the Google My Business app on your mobile device, you will receive an alert when someone leaves you a review. Otherwise, review notifications go to the email address you used to sign up for GMB.

Here are some tips you might want to consider that we found work excellent after many years of experience.

Feedback Management Tips

Address the reviewer by name

Addressing the reviewer by name shows that you took the time to read their name and aren’t using a message reply that seems automated.

Thank them for leaving a review and express appreciation

People love to be appreciated. Tell your customer how much you appreciate them taking the time out of their day to leave you their valuable feedback.

Reinforce the positive by mirroring what they liked best and repeating it in the statement

By mirroring the words your customer left, they know you took the time to read their review and care about their message.

Pass along the feedback to your employees

Let your employees know they did a great job, or where they can improve. Continuous improvement is key to the success of your contractor business.

For a negative review, apologize and sympathize

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Let them know you care and are sorry about their unpleasant experience.

For a negative review, take responsibility and don’t make excuses

As much as you want to, you have to avoid being defensive. The best course of action is to own up to the negative experience and figure out how to improve for the future.

Offer to make things right

The unhappy customer may take down their negative review if you change their mind. Since reviews significantly impact your success as a business online, you have to try anything you can to keep the customer happy.

Example Of Positive Review Response

Dear Mike, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to leave us such valuable feedback! We are thrilled to hear that you are loving the new asphalt roof you had installed and the service was exceptional.

Example Of Negative Review Response

Dear Mike, thank you so much for leaving us your valued feedback. We’re very sorry your experience didn’t match your expectations. Please know that your situation was an exception and we take full responsibility. We are always looking to improve our services and will use your feedback to make our company better. Feel free to contact us directly as we would love to make things right if you give us another chance.

Listen to your customers (and even your competitors’ customers) and you can improve the customer experience. A continuous improvement mindset is what creates an outstanding business.

Google Posts

Example of Google My Business posts on SERP

Posts are another way for you to communicate with homeowners in Google My Business. Google learns from your posts and your listing is treated favorably in searches if you post regularly.

Posts also give homeowners an opportunity to engage with your posts or take additional actions.

You can post about:

  • Announcements or Updates
  • Offers
  • Events
  • Products

Google has even added a Covid-19 post type so you can keep your customers in the loop with changes that may affect them.

Here are some tips to optimize or maximize your Google My Business listing with posts

  • Post at least once a week for post types that expire after 7 days
  • Use events and offer posts for anything that has a set timeline. For example, a workshop or a limited time offer. You can also choose a date range for these posts and they last longer than 7 days.
  • Use a call to action (CTA) as a way to get homeowners to take an action
  • Post blog content updates

How to make a new post in Google My Business

Log into your Google My Business profile and click ‘Posts’ from the left menu.

How to post on Google My Business

Select the post type from the options. For this example, we are going to click ‘Add Update’ from the options on the right.

After you click on ‘Add Update’ this is what the pop up looks like:

Add updates to Google My Business

Add a photo that represents what the post is about by clicking in the space where it says ‘Add photos or videos’.

Next, write a description for the post. For the example, we wrote: Are you considering a new roof for your Westchester NY home? Check out our blog post to learn if you might need one!

Add a button from the dropdown menu. For our example, “Learn More” was the most appropriate.

Here is what the final result looks like:

Click ‘Preview’ for a sneak peek at what the post is going to look like. Then, click ‘Publish’ when you are ready to post.

Your first post is live!

Posts were an excellent addition by Google to help you interact more with your customers so be sure to take advantage of them.

How To Create A Free Website With Google My Business

Google My Business offers a free website builder which is meant to be a short, simple, small-business-friendly option for increasing the visibility of your contractor business.

After all, who doesn’t like free stuff?

In the longer term, you’ll want a more developed website than the one offered by Google. Those just starting out, or on a budget, you can use this great option to help you temporarily.

The website provides you with another opportunity to highlight your products and services. In addition, it will display customer testimonials and posts you have made on GMB.

Click the ‘get started’ button to begin creating your free website.

**Until you publish your website, Google will give you pop-up prompts to guide you through the process. For demonstration purposes, we will be going through the pop-up prompts.

Next, pick a theme by clicking the little palette icon as shown below.

Picking your theme for your Google website

In the theme menu, Google gives you options for different colors and fonts to choose from for your website.

Tip: Try to match the theme with your brand colors as closely as possible. You are a bit limited to the customization here, but you can’t expect much for free.

Once you have selected the theme you like, click the check button as shown below.

Theme options for Google website

The next prompt Google asks you to tell your story. Click the ‘tT’ button as shown below.

Telling your story on Google

This will bring you to the ‘Edit’ section which allows you to change the buttons, headline, description, summary header, and summary body.

Pick a button by selecting from the options after clicking the downward-facing arrow.

If you select ‘Make Appointment’, you will need to install a booking application from the left menu as shown below. For contractors and home service businesses, thryv is currently the only option. Alternatively, if you use an outside booking application you can insert a link into the field. Depending on your business category, Google might not display the ‘Bookings’ menu if your business doesn’t qualify.

For home service businesses like yours, the most applicable option from the dropdown is likely ‘Get Quote’.

Next, move to the next field which is the editable ‘Headline’. Here it makes sense to put your business name the same exact way you have it listed in your Google My Business profile.

In the ‘Description’ field, you should describe your business in one line. Put your main business category in addition to the main location area you serve.

This should be the category that most accurately describes your business.

In the ‘Summary header, you can introduce what you are discussing in the ‘Summary body’ section. This field is optional, but we would recommend using all the space that is available since it is limited.

For our example, we put the main categories again to introduce other services.

In the ‘Summary body’, we included a summary and then listed the other services as bullet points. Google allows a lot more text in this section so you should take advantage of that.

See our example below.

The next step is to add photos. Refer to our section on photos from this GMB guide since the guidelines are the same and these photos will display both on your website and on your Google My Business listing.

If you click the gear icon where it says “More”, you have the option to Publish Now, get tips for acquiring customers, or change the site language.

Before you publish, click the little pencil next to where the website name is as shown below.

Rename your website to the business name without the dashes. Keep it short and simple and don’t overcomplicate it.

Review the information one more time for accuracy and if you are satisfied with what you see, click the ‘Publish’ button at the top right.

Voila! Your website is live and you just built a free website all by yourself!

Feel free to scroll through and check out how it looks.

If you ever want to unpublish the website because you are replacing the free one with something more professional, simply click the gear icon for ‘More’ and click ‘Unpublish website’.

Now that you have a fully optimized or maximized Google My Business listing and a shiny new website, you are all set to reap the benefits that come along with it.

This is a big step to your online presence and is going to influence your customer’s first impression of your business. Over time, you can see that you start to show up higher in the local and map search results as long as you are maintaining your profile correctly.

We hope this guide helped to simplify all the features of Google My Business. Like we said earlier, our mission is to make local marketing easier for as many home service businesses as we can. We’re here to change your life.

Now that you have all the knowledge at your fingertips, it’s up to you to take some action.

Have some questions? We’re here to answer them for you!

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Pillar Digital Marketing Agency is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses in and around Westchester County, NY. Our Learning Center has the resources you need to succeed in the digital world.

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