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The Google My Business Website

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Customers find your GMB listings from a keyword or “discovery” search 84% of the time rather than from your business name or “direct” search.

Customers find your GMB listings from a keyword or “discovery” search 84% of the time rather than from your business name or “direct” search.

 

Introduction.

If you are working in any type of competitive environment you need a website, possibly two. With your GMB listing, GMB Website and Business Website you can rank on the first page of Google for your business THREE times.

Previously we have completed your GMB listing so now we can move onto your GMB Website. As we went through the steps to complete and optimize your GMB isting your GMB website was, in part, automatically built for you.

The Google My Business Website Builder

To build your website your listing doesn’t have to be verified, which means you don’t have to wait for the postcard to get your website up and running. However it is recommended to verify at the earliest opportunity.

The GMB website is a free tool, i.e. free to build and free to host, with the non-technical in mind.

If you are in a more competitive market or niche you need to understand the value of having your own business website which can help more people find your business, re-enforces your branding, key products, and services and improve the ranking of your GMB listing.

Why have a GMB Website?

1. For a business currently without a website, this is a chance to put a more detailed description of your business on the web and explain the products or services you offer.
2. The most common “website” used by small business is a Facebook page. However a Facebook page is limited in how it displays info about your business, and people have to go searching for it.
3. It’s simpler than the free sites on other platforms, many of which don’t suit every business type.
4. For businesses who already have websites, this is yet another online asset to expose potential customers to your business. It is another credible platform to get your branding and message out there. Done well, it can rank surprisingly high in Google search.

GMB Website Sections

The site is divided into varous sections, which will mainly be auto-completed as you add information to your your GMB profile. These include:

Navigation – Navigate zones of site plus two or three key actions
Header – Business name, brief descriptions of site from the description
Banner Image – upload your own
Updates – pulled from Google Posts in GMB
Testimonials – pulled from your Google reviews
Services or Menu – pulled from the Services or Menu in GMB
About us – the body of the website you create
Gallery – photos from GMB
Contact – a map with contact, address and business hours from your GMB profile.

Each of these sections has its own “in-page” link, meaning people can use the hamburger menu (3 horizontal lines at the top left corner) to go straight to each section.

How The GMB Website Works.

The GMB Website is designed to be fast, lightweight, and responsive. The vast majority of mobile users only look at one page on a site. With a GMB Website everything is there in front of them, so people don’t have to scroll.

The Website Pulls Info from your Google My Business Profile. It pulls information from what Google already knows about your business, including your Google My Business (GMB) profile, including:

– Business name,
– Business address,
– Phone numbers (automatically made as “click to call”),
– Operating hours,
– Photos,
– Google Posts,
– Services.

Creating Your Website.

In your GMB dashboard you should see an option Website.

GMB Website

The first time you go in, you’ll be greeted with a “creating your website” screen, and you may get an automated tip window to start you off.

The first step is to pick the the overall look of the site – a theme.

Picking a Theme.

Pick A Theme

Google provides a selection of site themes. The theme itself can be changed later if required. Settings for the theme (font, font-size, colour scheme) cannot be modified.

The “button” you see in the theme thumbnail is the colour of the button you’ll see over the main cover banner.

**Very important**: To save what you do in each section, click on the little tick at the top next to the section name. The cross, of course, is to cancel any changes just made that haven’t already been saved.

Your Call to Action.

Next, decide the main action you want people to take. Call you? Get a quote? Send you an email? Giving people just one main thing to do makes it easier and quicker for customers to start a relationship with you.

Depending on your type of business, Google will provide a selection of options (in no particular order).

Call To Action

1. Call Now – this is the default option and pre-fills with the primary number on your listing.
2. Make Appointment – this is a favorite because you can link to the Contact page on your man website with a “nofollow” link and thus give your main website a small boost in ranking.
3. Contact Us (email) **not recommended ** – this provides a form for people to complete and sends the information to the listing owner account.
4. Get Quote (email) **not recommended ** – same function as Contact Us, with slightly different message hints for the How can we Help You section.
5. Get Directions – gives directions to your business using Google Maps.
6. Message Us (SMS) – Depending on the device, visitors will be presented with their sms messaging app, hangouts, messenger, and possibly others. Google also reminds people that carrier fees may apply.Note: this does not automatically include you in Google’s Messaging service you can opt into for the Knowledge Panel.
7. Message Us (WhatsApp) – launches the WhatsApp on mobiles. On desktops it launches a web page that ultimately directs you to the app for your phone. Take your audience into account if selecting this option.

This Is Your Opportunity To Explain Your Business.

Headline

Maximum Length: 80 characters
Shows in: Banner

This defaults this to the business name on your GMB listing. You should change this to an attention grabbing headline as your business name appears in the upper left corner of the published page. Include your business area in the headline.

From a technical perspective, this is an “H1” – making it the most important text on the page. Don’t stuff this full of keywords, but do work to include search phrases that explain your business and location.

GMB Website Headline

Description

This gives you the opportunity to create a description of your business in your own words.

– Maximum Length: 140 characters
– Shows in: Header

If you do nothing with the description this defaults this to your business category (from your GMB info) and is standard text formatting.

Summary Header

– Maximum Length: 40 characters
– Shows in: Main Content

This displays below the banner image on the page and is an intro to your full description.
From a technical perspective, this is an “H2” – making it the second most important text on the page. Again, don’t stuff this full of keywords, but do work to include some words or phrases that say what your business is about. Try and include you Main Service and  area.

Summary Body

This is your chance to explain how you can help your potential customers. The maximum length of this section is not known but more than you will ever need. The practical limit is set by you as you do not want to bore your readers with a mass of information. If you have pages of information you want to share you need to set up a client website.

This is where you have the most freedom. You can format your text and add links such as:

** Your website’s key pages (if you have another site),
** An online booking system or menu,
** Your email subscription form (unfortunately you cannot embed things like forms in the site),
** Your Social media platforms.
** Locations – list the locations your business covers with some outgoing links to to Google Maps for the more important locations.
** Niche Related Outbound Links – add a couple of links to related associations, suppliers and other resources, preferably in your ares to help with geo-relevancy.

Content Tips

– If you’re copying and pasting text from other pages and documents, don’t carry over the formatting. First, copy the content to a text editor and then copy again to paste into the website.
– Just like with “normal” websites, the content on this site should be unique. This is a real website, meaning it’s out there competing with all the other websites in the wild.
– If you’re using an email service such as Mailchimp, you can use the text link in MC’s signup form. Some of these services also give QR codes for links to the form which you could add as an image.
– Add a brief summary of your business attributes that may be of interest to your site visitors.
– Add your happy hours or other special offers.
– Adding links to other websites/listings works like any other website. You don’t need to write out the full URL (eg “http://www.domain.com/page/”). Simply add it in ordinary text and use the link icon to add the link.
– When putting links to your own website, use Google’s Campaign URL Builder for tracking in Analytics.

Photos.

Maximum  9
Shows in: Photo Gallery

This is where you can ADD images that you’d like to add to the photo section which comes after your description.

Google pulls these images from your GMB photos section. These are added to the site in the order they come and cannot be re-sequenced here.

If you don’t have any images yet, Google inserts a suggestion “Add photos, menu images and other pictures to tell the story of your business.”

Navigation & Header

Navigation & Header

– Your business name is in upper left hand corner
– There are two or three action buttons in the top right hand corner. The actions depend on how you have your GMB listing set up and the action button you choose for this website.
– Call to action button in banner middle.

Banner Image

By default, the Website Builder puts in a generic image if it doesn’t find something in your existing photo collection it thinks is suitable. It makes the choice of generic image based on the listing’s category.

If you add an image of your own, Google will display it as 1080×608, so work on a 16:9 image ratio. You don’t get a chance to crop or centre the image. Google seems to fit the image to that size, aligning your image at the bottom. This means the top of the photo gets chopped if oversized.

The images go into your GMB photo library. As with the other photos that you can only add here, they may be seen in the GMB photos collection or the upper right hand corner of the Knowledge Panel “see photos.”

Also, the cover photo here may go into the Knowledge Panel. Think carefully about what you choose for an image. Ideally, it should reflect what you do or sell.

Depending on the device, the banner image may display above or below the header text, description & action button. Generally on mobiles the image is above; on desktop & tablet it’s below.

Services.

There are two ways to add your services. Use the “info” option on your main dashboard menu.

Adding Services Method One
OR via your GMB website.

Adding Services Method Two

Posts

The latest posts published on your GMB listing appear on the GMB website, older post still exist but are no longer visible. However, they are still important because a)you can link to them and b) you can place follow links within the content.

GMB Posts are very similar to those contained on a blog or WordPress site. Every post has Its own URL so use these to create silos by linking one post to another. Each post can be an entry point for link building. Posts can be daisy chained together within the content to pass link juice to your silo. It is a good idea to use the first post to Link to your GMB site and subsequent posts can then be linked to previous posts.

Links in posts are do-follow so they can also link to other properties, like the your main company website, top citations etc.

Testimonials

Google adds some of your testimonials from the GMB listing to your website.

Image Gallery

Google pulls the 9 random photos from your GMB listing and places them in a 3×3 grid. Videos and 360° views are not yet included. The images are clickable and take people to your listing in maps.

Publishing Your GMB Website.

Until now any work you have done on our GMB Website remains private. In the upper right of the screen is a big blue “publish” button. Press it and your site goes live. By default, Google creates a web address or URL based on your company name for example the URL for the Google My Business website for GMB Multi is https://gmbmulti.business.site/. You can change it, but choose wisely. Google does have some name protections in place to prevent copyright issues and such.  create starbucks.business.site if you’re not Starbucks. To see your GMB website URL go to website then the Share Website link in the top right corner of the website panel.

Share Website Button

A pop-up will appear with the URL towards the top. You can edit your URL here if you want.

Change Website Link
The default URL Google will use is the name of your business followed by .business.site. If your business name is multiple words, Google inserts a hyphen between the words.

In the congratulations pop-up, you’ll see the site’s default Google web address. If you want to change it, there’s a pencil icon next to the domain name so it can be edited then and there. The maximum number of characters you can enter is 64 but don’t use that many, keep it short.

If you don’t already have a website in your GMB listing’s “URL”, Google will auto-fill it with this now-published website.

Google gives you the option to buy or use your own domain (doesn’t end in .business.site) but this is not necessary to publish your site.

Your site updates automatically whenever you, Google or a member of the public changes your business info on your Google My Business listing. That includes Posts, services, photos, and general business information.

More About Settings

Site Language

Your GMB listing can only be in one language (you can of course publish parts of it in another language). If you want GMB listings in two languages then you need two separate listings. Google, at the moment does not cater for multi lingual sites. If you want advice on setting up multi language GMB listings contact GMBMulti here.

Check the default language setting – the version of your language may not be the correct region for the language. As an example – the site default language is English (United States), but you live in Australia. There isn’t a English (Australia) setting, so the next best option would be English (United Kingdom). Setting the language correctly helps set your business location.

Limitations

The GMB website is a real-live website, and competes with all the other websites trying to get to the top of Google for the same search terms. As it is designed for non-technical people there are limitations to what you can do with it. There are many things in the website structure that you cannot change and you cannot add external applications such as email forms.

Having said that, Google is continually improving both its GMB listings and GMB websites and it is possible to rank your GMB website on the first page of Google. So, along with your GMB listing and business website you get three opportunities to link on the firs page of Google local search

Link Building to Your GMB Website.

GMB Sites Can Be Iframed to link to the company’s website, Press Releases, Web 2.0 Profiles, Private Networks, and Google Sites. The iframes can be keyword optimised.

GMB Site Post URLs Can be the Target URL for Link Building.

GMB Site Jump Links (Contact, Services, About Us, etc.) can be the Target URL for Link Building

Troubleshooting.

error grey circle

Sometimes you get a grey symbol where a photo should appear or where your banner should be. Also when you delete photos out of the gallery, the system doesn’t always reflect that change instantly. When there’s a delay within the system, Google substitutes the grey circle with a minus sign in it. This normally clears itself within 24 hours.

Google “404. That’s an error” message

404 error

1. Has your listing been suspended? Check your dashboard for messages. Correct whatever has triggered the suspension, and you should be able to re-verify your listing and republish the site.
2. Has your site been unpublished? Did you (or a staff member) select the option to unpublish?
3. Has your site address changed? While the site at a new URL may be published immediately, Google sometimes keeps the old URL of the websites in its memory for a while. It typically flushes out within a week.

How To Fix the GMB Website URL

1. Google My Business dashboard.
2. Go into the listing in question. If you have multiple listings, go to manage location; otherwise it should show up when you enter the dashboard.
3. If you have a desktop display, you should see a menu on the left side. If not, click the hamburger menu in the upper left corner.
4. Click Website
5. Depending on your screen size, you’ll see 4 icons down the side or across the bottom.
6. Click the gear icon for More.
7. Underneath settings, it will show the current URL (the one your listing is currently going to). Click Update.
8. Untick the blue tick box that says “Make this my website address on Google Search & Maps.”
9. Click Change.
10. Close the settings (if needed – depends on screen size)
11. Click the hamburger menu in upper left hand corner to see the left-side menu
12. Click Info
13. Scroll down until you see the website URL
14. Click the pencil to edit
15. Correct the URL, Click Apply

Reources

Get started with a Google My Business website by Google Support
Google My Business Website Builder – the Complete Guide (2020) by MoreCustomersMoreSales

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