Now that you’ve added your business to Google My Business (Google’s local listings associated with Google Maps), take the time needed to complete your listing.

Although this step isn’t difficult, it is important.

Optimizing Your Google My Business Page

From your dashboard, click the red “Edit” button.

Google my business dashboard

That will open the editing dashboard which is broken up into 7 sections. Each section can be edited by clicking on the small pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner of that section. For the most part, you just want to be sure to fill out each section as completely as possible. The 7 sections are:

1. Business Name: This cannot be edited until your business has been verified.
2. Address: Make sure that your address is correct and is written out as your default NAP (Name-Address-Phone). This is the version that all other listings across the web will be compared to.
3. Contact info: Add your phone number and Website URL.
4. Category: This is the most important part of the editing process. You can choose up to 5 categories for your business – these are the categories that Google will associate with your business, and how it will know what your business is about.

Start with a broad category like Interior Design. Google autofills as I type, giving me Interior Designer and Interior Decoration – both good terms for this business.

Google My Business Categories

As Google’s most recent Guidelines suggest using “as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business”, I select Interior Designer and move on to the next step.

5. Hours: If you have regular hours, add them. Local searchers are often interested in your business hours.
6. Maps & Search photos: Visitors generally prefer images to words so its important to include high quality images as part of your listing. If nothing else, I recommend including a picture of your store or office front to help visitors find you more easily.

Google my business add pictures

7. Introduction: The introduction is another important section that is often underutilized. When planning your introduction, plan for both audiences – your potential customers and the search engines.

This is another opportunity to communicate with Google about your business. Include information about the products and services that you offer. In addition, although you can only set up a local listing for the geographic area in which you have a physical address, you can include any other communities that you might serve in this section.

Click the ‘Done Editing’ button.

Add Your Profile Photo

The profile photo fits in the small circle at the top left-hand side of your Google My Business dashboard. This photo will also display in the small circle on your Google+ Page once your create it, and will be the image that appears beside your posts and updates. I usually recommend either a clear image of you, or your company logo.

The image that you use must be a minimum of 250×250. You will be provided an opportunity to crop it once you upload it.

Verify Your Business Listing

Don’t forget to verify your business with Google. You can verify or order a postcard for verification from your dashboard.

Verify your Google My Business page

Once your business is verified, it will be eligible to appear in the local listing (Google Maps) for you industry.