What is a Google Business Listing?

Learn about how to get your business to show up on Google and Google Maps through a Google business listing.

Google is constantly evolving to keep up with its users’ needs and stay on the cutting edge, and one such way it is refining its experience is through Google My Business. Google My Business is the platform by which consumers can search for businesses and services near them via Google Search and Maps. It is crucial for local businesses to create a Google My Business account and optimize it to get found, stand out, and get chosen by local customers. Whether you have a listing or not, you may be confused as to what exactly Google My Business is. We’ve written this post to demystify things and get you on track to reaping the benefits of a Google My Business listing.

What is a Google My Business listing?

Google My Business is a free tool created to help businesses manage their online presence across the Google platform. A Google My Business account (or listing, or profile) can be considered a combination of an online directory listing and a social media profile.

As with an online directory, business owners create and claim ownership of their Google My Business listing and populate it with vital information such as hours, location, and photos.

As with social media platforms, business owners can publish posts to their Google My Business profile. Similar to social media stories, these posts are not permanent—they delete after 7 days. Also similar to social media, customers can upload photos of your business to your listing without leaving a review. However, they can leave a review if they want to. (Head here to learn how to get more Google business reviews.)

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Do I need a Google My Business profile?

Yes! A Google My Business listing (aka profile) enables you to show up in Google Search and Maps and build instant credibility with potential customers that interact with your listing. You can also use the insights tool to learn about how your business is being found and what your target consumers are looking for.

Through a Google My Business profile, you can share important details about your business, help customers learn about your brand, and even communicate directly with them—which will help to improve your rank and attract more customers to your business.

What is the difference between a Google Maps and Google My Business listing?

The short answer is: your Google Maps listing is your Google My Business listing.

As mentioned above, Google My Business is solely the concern of business owners. General consumers do not create an account for, log into, or search Google My Business; they use Maps and Search. Business owners create a Google My Business listing so they show up in those searches. Google My Business also provides business owners with tools to gain insights into their audience.

Google Maps is the public-facing online directory and navigation tool that consumers use to explore and get directions to the products and services they need. A user can search Google Maps itself, but a regular Google search will also pull Maps info for its local results section (located beneath the paid search results and above the organic results).

Anyone can use Google Maps and anyone can add a location to Google Maps. However, to have control over your business listing, you must create a Google My Business profile and claim that listing.

What’s the difference between a Google Plus profile and Google My Business profile?

Google Plus is no longer an active platform. It was Google’s version of a social media network, similar to Facebook, where businesses could post status updates, share photos and links, and obtain followers. In fact, Google used to require all business to have a Google Plus page. Google Plus profiles were no longer necessary once Google My Business accounts enabled social posting and an audience engagement interface, and of course they are no longer relevant as the platform has been discontinued.

If I create more than one Google My Business profile, will it improve my ranking?

No—in fact, it will hurt your ranking!

Google is always striving to provide the most superior experience for its users, which requires relevant, valuable, and accurate information. That being said, you should not create more than one Google My Business listing. Creating duplicate profiles under different suite numbers or office numbers at the same address, and/or creating a new profile for each service you offer is not a best practice, and could have an adverse effect on your Google ranking.

If you have one business and one location you will want to associate only one business profile with it. Otherwise, you run the risk of confusing search engines and consumers alike. Aside from making it increasingly difficult for consumers to find your business both online and offline, these types of inconsistencies can also present prospects with an unorganized and unprofessional first impression.

If your business has more than one location, you can manage multiple listings under one account.

Who can have a Google My Business listing?

While the answer may seem simple enough, depending on the type of business you have, the decision may not even be in your hands. This is because Google is very particular about the types of businesses that can be listed, ultimately aiming to keep search results limited to local brands that customers can physically visit. To help you figure out whether or not your company can reap the benefits of a Google My Business listing, check out Google’s requirements below.

Physical Locations

These are easily the most popular kind of Google My Business listings because so many different types of businesses can fall into this category. Physical location businesses include restaurants, stores, salons, and so much more. In a nutshell, physical location businesses are those that customers must visit in person to make a purchase.

Mobile Businesses

Companies that conduct business by visiting the physical locations of their customers fall under this category—though they still have to have an office location that customers can go to if need be. These include businesses such as handymen, delivery services, exterminators, cleaners, or anything else where you travel directly to the client.

Individual Practitioners

If you have a professional business, such as a doctor, lawyer, or accountant, for example, you’d fall under the category of individual practitioners. This even includes real estate agents, with the exception of those that only have a virtual website and no office. So long as you have a physical location that customers can go to, Google will allow you to create a listing for your practice.

Service Area Businesses

Expanding a bit more on the mobile businesses we covered above, you may be wondering, how can you show customers that you service their area on Google? Luckily, Google has implemented “service areas” for brands that travel directly to their customers rather than conducting business in-store so long as you have staff at the physical location during the listed hours of operation.

The service area business feature allows you to create a presence in all of the cities that you offer services in, increasing your reach while still allowing you to show up for location-specific Google searches. An example of a service area business would be a restaurant that offers on-site seating for customers that want the traditional dining experience, while also having drivers that deliver food to customers who want to enjoy at home.

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Who can’t have a Google My Business listing?

Now that we’ve covered all of the business types that can have a Google My Business listing, let’s take a look at the ones that can’t.

eCommerce & Online-Only Businesses

While this one may seem pretty self-explanatory, plenty of eCommerce and online-only businesses try to get Google My Busines listings every day simply due to the benefits. Breaking Google’s requirement of being able to work face-to-face with customers, businesses of this type are unable to create listings since they’re unable to physically interact with their customers.

Virtual Offices

Similar to eCommerce and online-only businesses, virtual offices also miss the mark since they’re unable to facilitate interactions with customers in person. Even though virtual offices may have phone numbers, operating hours, and even a mailing address, since there is no one at the physical location to interact with customers, Google won’t allow you to create a verified listing.

Properties

This one can get a little tricky since leasing and real estate businesses with a central office are allowed to have a Google My Business listing. What you can’t do as this kind of business is create a listing for the properties you’re trying to sell.

Meetups

If you conduct business by meeting your customers or clients at a location you don’t personally own, Google won’t allow you to create a listing. Even though you may be meeting face-to-face with your customers, since you don’t have a physical address, it’s a violation of Google’s guidelines and requirements.

Coworking Spaces (Special Exception)

Coworking spaces serve as a special exception to Google’s guidelines only if certain conditions are met. In order to list your coworking office space on Google My Business, you must meet the following requirements: you must rent and occupy office space, you must be present during the listed hours of operation, you must list a phone number that puts customers in contact with someone at your business.

How do I get my business on Google?

In order to get your business on Google, you must set up a Google My Business listing. You can then optimize your listing to rank higher in search results and get chosen by consumers. Google’s driving focus behind creating the Google My Business platform is to create an accurate online representation of the physical world. So long as you keep this in mind when customizing your listing, you shouldn’t worry about raising any red flags with Google.

 

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