How to add a business to Google and Google Maps

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Professor M

Expert, Trainer, Speaker - Google My Business and Local SEO

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So you want to add your business to Google, welcome to the ultimate guide for you.

What makes this guide different from other thousands of guides or even Google’s guide? 

It’s straightforward, easy to follow and it’s always updated as I check every month for changes. I even personalised to different types of business and situations.

I also added many tips to avoid costly mistakes and suspensions.

For the last 15 years, it has been highly recommended for businesses to have a website, now local businesses must be on Google! Without further ado let’s start!

What do you need to put your business on Google?

You will need a Google My Business Profile and be eligible.

Google My Business profile or listing (as some people prefer to call) is basically a Free account you sign up to manage your business information on Google. Google My  Business program was created by Google for businesses back in 2014. 

Tip: To know more about Google My Business, please check my article: What is Google My Business?

Google My Business profiles/listings examples:

How to add a business to Google

Process of creating or claiming a Google My Business profile:

  1. Check if you can claim an existing business profile or need to create a new business profile
  2. Create a Google My Business Account
  3. “Find and manage your business” and “What’s the name of your business” Sections
  4. Choose the Main Category
  5. Follow the specific steps for your Business type:
  6. Business Verification

1. Check if you can claim your business profile or need to create a new business profile

If you are a brand new business, go to the next step here to create a new business profile. Otherwise, continue to read below.

If your business has been trading for a while, it is possible that Google already created a profile of your business.

How? Google “scraps” the internet for information, so it can be presented to people’s search queries. If Google comes across information about your business on Facebook, Yellow pages, Company Registry, etc, it’s very likely for a profile to be created automatically by Google Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Another way is for a customer/local guide to have created one for your business.

It’s very important to know if your business has already one or more profiles on Google.

Why is that? Because if you create a brand new profile and your business already have one, it will be considered a duplicate and duplication can have severe consequences:

  • Google can suspend one or both profiles, meaning your business may disappear from Google
  • The unclaimed duplicate profile can split the reviews from customers
  • The unclaimed duplicate profile(s) may rank above the new listing or filter out your listing
  • Provide inaccurate information to customers

So you must search if any profile of your business was created:

  1. Go to Google Search and search for: “your business name” + “city/town/village” 
Google My Business Duplicates Find in Google Search Query
  1. Check if triggers a branded Knowledge Panel  like the example below. If a Knowledge Panel appears, you need to confirm if it is your business and if it is you should copy the link for later use.
screenshot of Google My Business Knowledge Panel in Google Search Query Trigger
  1.  Now, you search for “Your business address” (it can be your home address, if it is your registered business address) »
Google My Business Duplicates Find in Google Search Address Query example
  1. Check if triggers a Map Panel  like below example. If there is more than one business just check if the listings are correct or/and duplicates.
Google My Business Duplicates Find in Google Search Address Query Results example
  1. Optional  If your business was at another location(s) or had a different name(s), search again using past business information.
  1. Perform the first search again: “your business name” + “city/town/village”, but this time click on the “Maps” button to check if you find profile(s) of your business as you zoom in and out, like the example below:
Google My Business Duplicates Found in Google Maps Example

Did you uncover your business listing?

 If no, please go to the next section here as you need to create a business profile»

 If yes, please go to the next step.»

» You found your business profile and now what?(if you have found more than one profile for your business, check first my article how to deal with duplicates)

» You need to press on  “Claim this business” or “Own this business?” in your Google listing

» After which you will either have:

“Manage now “ button – next step here

Google My Business Manage Now Screen
Google My Business Claimed Verified Listing Message screenshot

2. Create a Google My Business Account

So you are a new business or your business profile has not been created yet. Let’s create your Google My Business account

1. Simply go to Google My Business Website

2. Click on  “Manage Now” blue button

3. Here you should find 1 of 3 different scenarios:

  • Screen prompt asking you to sign in to your Google account and you already have one so you just do that to create your GMB account.
Google My Business Sign in Screen
  • You do not have an account with Google or you want to create an account specifically to deal with your business. You click on  “Create account” and follow the steps, tip: you can use your business email address xxx@yourbusiness.com
screenshot of Google My Business Sign in Screen - Create Account Button Option
  • If you are already signed in into your Google account, you will go directly to the next screen»
Google My Business Find and manage your business screen

3. “Find and manage your business” and “What’s the name of your business” Sections

In your screen, you have “Find and manage your business” heading and a search box underneath, type your business name in this box.

It’s possible for similar businesses to appear on a suggestion box and you should check if any matches with yours, if not you can go ahead and press on “Create a business with this name” (first option) »

Google My Business Find and manage your business Listings Options

» Your next screen appears: “ What’s the name of your business?”, just confirm the name and click on “Next” button »

Google My Business What's the name of your business screen

4. Choose the Main Category

Now in your screen should appear “Choose the category that fits your business best”. 

Google My Business Setup Choose the Category of Your Business screen

You need to choose the main category that best represents your business.

When you start to type your business category, in most cases, you will see a number of options coming up:

This is a very important field that will strongly influence which search terms your business profile appears on Google.

Therefore, it has a strong impact on local ranking and it’s the only category visible on your Google My Business profile.

 Don’t worry you can always change it afterwards and you will be able to add more categories after creating your profile.

If you want to know more about categories check my Google My Business training, I even show an easy way to check your competitors’ categories.

To choose the best category, you can follow these three rules:

  •  Be as specific as possible when choosing your category – For example, If you own a Pizzeria Restaurant, choose “Pizzeria Restaurant” instead of “Restaurant”, as Google will show your listing when someone searches for “Pizzeria”, “Pizza near me”, “Italian Restaurant”, “Restaurant”
  •  It describes your business as a whole and not your services or amenities – For example, if your business is a Gym that has a coffee shop, don’t add the category “Coffee Shop”. Instead, the operator of the coffee shop should create their own listing with “Coffee Shop” as their main category.
  • You can’t create your own category. If the category you wanted isn’t available, choose a more general category that still accurately describes your business or check your competitors’ category.

After choosing the primary category (as I said before you can change it afterwards if you wish),  click on the button “Next” for the Next step, pun intended! »

5. Choose your business type: Do you want to add a location they can visit and/or add service areas if you serve them at their location

You arrived at a screen with the following question (or a similar one): “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?” with a simple “Yes/No” response. 

Google My Business Setup Do you want to add a location screen

Actually, the response to this question is more complex than it seems. 

At the present time, Google My Business is exclusively for Local Businesses. However, depending on how you serve your customers, the next steps of the setup are different. 

That’s why I am splitting the instructions’ path into 3 sub-paths, check below your business type and follow the specific instructions guiding you through the next steps.

Therefore, what I am saying next is extremely important and can avoid suspension or removal of your business from Google Search and Maps.

For Google, your business is one of these 3 types:

Storefront Business – You have a Physical Location where you serve your customers but You don’t serve your customers at their location

Examples: shops, offices, salons, garages, etc

Service Area Business You serve your customers at their location but You don’t have a physical location for them to visit you

Examples: plumber, builder, electrician, etc

And the Hybrid, Storefront with Service Areas Business – You have a Physical Location and serve your customers at their location Examples: kitchen fitter with showroom, etc

Going deeper…

Your business is a “Storefront Business” if:

  • It has a physical location, a place of business with signs on the front
  • It’s staffed by you and/or your employees during trading hours
  • You receive customers in your location. 

So if your business address is your private residence or an industrial area where you don’t receive clients, this is a no-no to Google and your profile can and probably will be suspended.

Many contractors  like plumbers, electricians have their home address visible, but they work exclusively at their customers’ address, not only a suspension may be around the corner but customers may come and knock on the door, the family will appreciate it, not!

Your business is a “Service Area Based only Business” if:

  • you go to your clients’ location to provide your products and/or services,
  • you do not have a physical location where you trade from 
  • E.g.: mobile hairdressers/beauty therapists, social care, tree surgeon, plumber, etc).

Your business is a Hybrid if:

  • It has a physical location, a place of business with signs on the front
  • It’s staffed by you and/or your employees during trading hours
  • You receive customers in your location and you go to your clients’ location to provide your products and/or services
  • E.g.: Car garage with car tow service, takeaway/restaurant with home delivery option and delivered by own drivers

 Note: online shops are not hybrid or service area based businesses, as You and/or Your Employees  need to have in-person contact at your clients’ location, check this FAQ question.

Choose your business type:

If Your business is a Storefront Business, follow these instructions:

To the question: Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office? 

Of course, you press “Yes” and click “Next” »

» As you probably guessed, the next step is to add your address » Fill the fields and click on “Next” »

Pro Tip: if you have an office number or suite number, press “Add Line” and  write that number in the extra line »

» Sometimes after you click on “Next”: Google asks “Is this your business?”, if near your address there are similar businesses. »

» This prompt is a way for Google to avoid duplicates in their database. If you cannot find your business in the list, choose “None of these” and click on “Next” » 

But most times this screen will not appear and if it doesn’t appear you will go to the next step. »

» Now, Google is asking “Do you also serve customers outside this location?”.

You choose No and click “Next” as you trade from your business location only  (otherwise follow this set of instructions instead) »

» You have now this question:  “What contact details do you want to show to customers?”.

Google My Business Setup Business Contact Details screen

Pro Tip: Phone number is very important, you should add your business landline number for now as it gives local relevance to your profile, however, if you don’t have one just add your main contact number.  

You will be able later to change this phone number and add on secondary numbers like mobile numbers,  toll-free numbers, tracking numbers.

Then, you need to choose between adding your “Current website URL” / “I don’t need a site” / “Get a free website based on your info”.

You should always choose the first option if you already have a website. 

If you don’t have a website or it’s being built, then choose the last option “Get a free website based on your info”. 

Google wants to make it easy for a brand new local business to start its online footprint, so they offer a simple responsive one-page website as an add-on that automatically uses the information and photos from your Business Profile on Google, more about Google My Business’ Free Website.

a screenshot of Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step
Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step

Pro Tip: You should never choose the option in the middle, “I don’t need a website”.

After you have chosen your option, press on the button “Next”»

Congrats you finished the initial setup and you will only need to click “Finish” but…

Google My Business Setup Finish screen

… it is not the end, you will have to verify your business before it is active on Google. Click here to go to Google’s Business Verification Process Guide and for a complete optimization of your Google My Business check my Google My Business Training – GMB Empower.

If Your business is a Service Area Business, follow these instructions:

To the question: Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office? 

Of course, you press “No” and click “Next” » 

screenshot of Google My Business Setup Question: “Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?”

» Next step is to add your service areas that you serve. 

You can enter up to 20 areas and define those areas by using a combination of:

  • Town/Cities/Villages names
  • Postcodes/Zip codes/Eircodes
  • Counties, regions and countries. 

Google uses your service areas to show your listing on relevant queries at Google Search and Maps. You will be able to add, remove and change these service areas later on your profile. 

After you enter the service areas, click “Next” »

» Sometimes: Google asks “What region is your business based in?”, basically you choose the country of your business and click on “Next”.  

Google My Business Setup "What region is" screen

But this screen may not appear, and if it doesn’t appear you go to the next step. »

» You have now this question:  “What contact details do you want to show to customers?”.

Google My Business Setup Business Contact Details screen

Pro Tip: Phone number is very important, you should add your business landline number for now as it gives local relevance to your profile, however, if you don’t have one just add your main contact number.  

You will be able later to change this phone number and add on secondary numbers like mobile numbers,  toll-free numbers, tracking numbers.

Then, you need to choose between adding your “Current website URL” / “I don’t need a site” / “Get a free website based on your info”.

You should always choose the first option if you already have a website. 

If you don’t have a website or it’s being built, then choose the last option “Get a free website based on your info”. 

Google wants to make it easy for a brand new local business to start its online footprint, so they offer a simple responsive one-page website as an add-on that automatically uses the information and photos from your Business Profile on Google, more about Google My Business’ Free Website.

a screenshot of Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step
Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step

Pro Tip: You should never choose the option in the middle, “I don’t need a website”.

After you have chosen your option, press on the button “Next” »

Congrats you finished the initial setup and you will only need to click “Finish” but…

Google My Business Setup Finish screen

… after you click on “Finish”, you should have in front of you an apparent strange request, asking you “Please enter your mailing address to verify”. 

Google My Business Setup Mailing Address for Verification screen

Ok…but you don’t receive clients at your business base, so you want to hide your address… Don’t worry as Google advises “The address you provide here will be hidden from the public”.

Why do you need to fill this? To receive a postcard from Google.

You need to add your address/registered address here and press “Next”.

Note: PO boxes and virtual office addresses are not eligible.

For the next steps please check Google’s Business Verification Process Guide and for a complete optimization of your Google My Business check my Google My Business Training – GMB Empower

If Your business is a Hybrid, business with Storefront and Service Areas, follow these instructions:

To the question: Do you want to add a location customers can visit, like a store or office? 

Of course, you press “Yes” and click “Next” »

» As you probably guessed, the next step is to add your address » Fill the fields and click on “Next” »

Pro Tip: if you have an office number or suite number, press “Add Line” and  write that number in the extra line »

» Sometimes after you click on “Next”: Google asks “Is this your business?”, if near your address there are similar businesses. »

» This prompt is Google’s check to avoid duplicates in their database. If you cannot find your business in the list, choose “None of these” and click on “Next” » 

But most times this screen will not appear and if it doesn’t appear you will go to the next step. »

» Now, Google is asking “Do you also serve customers outside this location?”.

You choose “Yes, I also serve them outside my location” and click “Next” »

» Next step is to add your service areas that you serve. 

You can enter up to 20 areas and define those areas by using a combination of:

  • Town/Cities/Villages names
  • Postcodes/Zip codes/Eircodes
  • Counties, regions and countries. 

Google uses your service areas to show your listing on relevant queries at Google Search and Maps. You will be able to add, remove and change these service areas later on your profile. 

After you enter the service areas, click “Next” »

» Sometimes: Google asks “What region is your business based in?”, basically you choose the country of your business and click on “Next”.  

Google My Business Setup "What region is" screen

But this screen may not appear, and if it doesn’t appear you go to the next step. »

» You have now this question:  “What contact details do you want to show to customers?”.

Google My Business Setup Business Contact Details screen

Pro Tip: Phone number is very important, you should add your business landline number for now as it gives local relevance to your profile, however, if you don’t have one just add your main contact number.  

You will be able later to change this phone number and add on secondary numbers like mobile numbers,  toll-free numbers, tracking numbers.

Then, you need to choose between adding your “Current website URL” / “I don’t need a site” / “Get a free website based on your info”.

You should always choose the first option if you already have a website. 

If you don’t have a website or it’s being built, then choose the last option “Get a free website based on your info”. 

Google wants to make it easy for a brand new local business to start its online footprint, so they offer a simple responsive one-page website as an add-on that automatically uses the information and photos from your Business Profile on Google, more about Google My Business’ Free Website.

a screenshot of Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step
Google My Business Site Setup Creation Step

Pro Tip: You should never choose the option in the middle, “I don’t need a website”.

After you have chosen your option, press on the button “Next” »

Congrats you finished the initial setup and you will only need to click “Finish” but…

Google My Business Setup Finish screen


… it is not the end, you will have to verify your business before it is active on Google. Click here to go to Google’s Business Verification Process Guide and for a complete optimization of your Google My Business check my Google My Business Training – GMB Empower.

Pro Tip: To reap the benefits, you need to manage masterfully your business information and create engagement opportunities with clients or prospective clients on the most used search engine and map in the world.

FAQ

What are the benefits of adding my business to Google?

We all know it is very important for your business to show up on Google whenever someone searches for your business, one of your products or services on Google search or Google Maps. 

We can even say Google is almost omnipresent when it comes to online searches, in fact 9 in 10 people uses Google to search for something. Also, nowadays no one looks at yellow pages for businesses, they “google” it. Even when someone recommends a place or business, most of the time you check it online before a visit or a contact. 

I am just going through some quick facts to reinforce the importance of adding your business to it:

  • Google holds 92% of the Worldwide search engine market share
  • 85% of people look online for products and services in their local area every month (globalwebindex.com)
  • Nearly 50% of ALL online searches are for businesses/services located nearby (“near me searches”) (Uberall.com)
  • 76% of consumers who did a local Google search visited a local business. (HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
  • 96% of customers are more likely to visit a local business that has business hours on the Google Search or Maps page (IPSOS)
  • 90% of customers are more likely to visit a company with a phone number in their Google My Business profile  (IPSOS)
  • Google My Business profiles have more comments and ratings than Facebook and Yelp combined (searchengineland.com)
  • Companies were found through unbranded searches 70% of the time versus 30% through branded research. In other words, most of the traffic comes from consumers who are still not sure which company to choose (Google Insights)

What businesses are eligible:

You must interact in-person with customers during stated business hours:

  • At your place of business (storefront business)
  • At your customer’s location (service area business)

 Exceptions:

  • ATMs, video-rental kiosks, express mail drops and select other similar services.
  • Seasonal businesses with permanent signage at location.
  • Virtual Kitchens

What businesses are not eligible:

  • eCommerce or online-only businesses
  • Artists, Brands
  • Rental or for-sale properties.
  • Services, classes or meetings at locations you don’t have the authority to represent, includes PO Boxes, Virtual Offices and most Shared-Offices.

Are Online businesses allowed to have a listing?

No, check the question above.

Where can I find the Google My Business Guidelines?

You can find all guidelines here.

Should I use my personal email or use an email with my business email domain?

You can use any email address to create and manage your GMB profile. I recommend using your email address at your business domain for a stronger trust signal showing you are the legitimate owner of the business.

This can be very helpful in reinstating your profile in case of suspension or gaining access to your listing if it was claimed by another user.

References:

https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en&ref_topic=4540086

https://medium.com/google-my-business

https://www.quora.com/q/googlemybusiness

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