How to manage multiple locations with Google My Business

Nowadays, many customers or even a majority of them prefer to search the product online and check its availability and price before going to the physical store. That’s why it is so important to show your presence on the internet thanks to which you might get new potential customers who will buy your product in physical or online stores. Google My Business is one of the most exciting tools created by Google which will help you to set up your own business online. It is really important to make visible your own business online so you can expand your customer’s range. Like with many other tools you might struggle at the beginning – that’s why we have created a particular Google My Business tutorial for you, where you will learn most basic features, but we will also try to extend a multiple location management aspects.

google-laptop

Google My Business is essential when you want to promote your stores through the internet. Thanks to the reviews you can also know the customer opinion which might help you to improve your online business.

1. What is Google My Business and how does it work?

It is a unique tool created for small, medium and big businesses which want to show their online presence to potential customers who are using Google search, maps, etc. It works in the pretty straightforward way, so you shouldn’t have problems with the basic features, you need to create your new business account, get a business postcard and then manage your one or multiple locations, depends how big is your company.

google-my-business

We will describe all of these things in the later part of the article, so don’t be disappointed if you haven’t received enough information about Google My Business and its manager yet.


2. New and old GMB dashboard

People who already know a GMB could have noticed that the Google has changed a dashboard recently. Many people have a negative opinion about a new dashboard, and we have to admit that some of Google’s solutions are not perfect. The old dashboard (at least for us) was much more clear and easy to manage, and we are still using it for some business locations, but as you know, you can’t live in the past forever. You need to get used to the new things, and you will forget about any issues. A significant advantage of the new interface is insights which look good with the new graphical UI.

google-my-business-dashboard

In the old version, you had only a possibility to download a file with data or get some data by email (you can check how it looks in the later part of the tutorial). If you love the old dashboard once you click on “manage locations” you can notice on the left side that you have a possibility to be directed to the old interface by clicking “Back to GMB classic”.

google-my-business-old-dashboard

Anyway, our tutorial will focus on the new dashboard with some mentioning about the old one.


3. How to create Google My Business account?

Creating your account on Google My Business is a piece of cake, overall the form looks like many others, and you need to follow the next steps required by the developer of the tool. In the first step, you need to insert your business name without which you can’t do anything. Just enter your brand name and let’s go to the next level.

The most important thing which follows the second step is filling your data correctly because the entire tool will base on that. It would have been a shame if your store would have displayed with the wrong address, so be careful.

You have to fill the gaps with the address, zip code, and other primary data. The only exciting option there is a possibility to check if you are delivering your goods or not.

Once you check it, there will be displayed another possibility “Hide my address” you should check it in case of having only online stores which deliver their products, then your address isn’t required.

business-name

Once you are done with your address the marker with your business location will be added to the Google Maps, where you can check if the pin is in the correct place. If not, you should probably change your address, or if you are currently living or working at this place, you can use automatic geolocation option which – to be honest, it is much more comfortable option to choose. In my case everything was correct, so let’s head to another step.

google-my-business-map-location

If you checked the box option with delivery you have one extra step to pass, it is short and straightforward – you have to choose a service area, you can check available options on the screenshot below if you haven’t reached this step yet.

google-my-business-service-area

The last step is choosing a kind of business you are running for, whatever it is – a toy store or a restaurant, we leave a choice for you because it is your own business. Once you are done and you confirmed your decision, you will create an account.

Hopefully, we described it enough, so you know how to create Google My Business account, and everything is clear to you in this case, if not, leave us a comment, and we will help you for sure:). Let’s start with some more important things which sometimes require more knowledge.


4. Verifying business account

Once you have completed creating an account, there is one last thing which you should do before you start advertising your business.

google-my-business-verify-business

Verifying an account on Google My Business is exciting and strict, Google wants to be entirely sure that the business you’ve created in their tool is yours or your client’s. That’s why they send a special postcard to your address with a unique code which will help you to make your business verified thanks to what you will unlock all of the features, because features like statistics or opinions aren’t available when the account is not confirmed yet. But we will type about it later.

So when we created an account, Google suggested us two solutions – mail a postcard or verify later. After choosing one of both options you will be directed to the user interface, but if you decide to verify your account, the postcard should arrive at you within 5 workdays.

google-my-business-verify-way


5. Google My Business – Admin panel and user management

Like every tool, Google My Business also has an impressive interface which is easy in usage even for people who have never been using admin panel. Thanks to it you can manage all the features of the tool which will help you to build a business with multiple locations. You can notice that you have features like “home” which displays a front page with data about your business or some more practical options like “Add a location”, “Manage locations” and many more about which we will type below.

The most significant advantage of the interface is its intuitiveness which allows you to add fast and effectively all the business locations you need and divides them into their specific categories.

Another thing available thanks to the interface is user management where you can add a new user and give them privileges. Privileges are divided into three other roles:

  • Primary owner – There is no one more important than the primary owner, he can add and delete other users, remove listings, edit every information about the business, respond for customer review and execute all the tasks on the page. The card might have many owners, but only one can be a primary owner. The primary owner can’t remove himself until he doesn’t give the first owner to the other user.
  • Manager – They have all of the capabilities of an owner, except removing other business users and listings.
  • Communications manager – Only things he can do is respond to reviews and completing most other actions.

google-my-business-users-privilages

If you want to add new users who will help you to manage your business(really useful when you have multiple business locations), you should choose “users” on the menu.

google-my-business-dashboard-users

Once the new window opens in the top-right corner you can notice a special icon to add a new member of your business, then you fill the form with a user’s email and choose a role for him.

google-my-business-user-invite

Once you’ve got some information about the interface of the tool and it’s user management we can start with some more exciting features which will have an impact on your online business presence.


6. How to add multiple locations on Google My Business?

This is one of the most critical things on which we want to focus, adding multiple locations to Google My Business isn’t hard, the question is, in what way are you going to do it? There are two options, pretty hard and pretty easy. Pretty hard one is manually adding every business location and its address, etc., and pretty easy one is importing a data from unique made bulk upload spreadsheet.

At the moment since the new Google My Business Dashboard has been released recently, there isn’t an import option available (if we missed it or Google will add this feature, please leave us a comment about it). But there is a way to import your data anyway, and it is still an easy option.

Just go to the interface and click on “Manage locations” then after you are redirected you will notice “back to GMB classic” on your dashboard. Choose this option, and you will go to the old version of Google My Business. Once we are finally on our page of the destination in the bottom right corner, you can notice a small blue circle. Once you click on it, there will be displayed options like “Add a location” and “import locations from a file”.

google-my-business-classic

We guess that you don’t have an idea how a file with the data you want to import should look like? No issue then, because Google offers a sample spreadsheet and an empty template (check below how some of the columns look like) to download on which you can base, creating your file. Thanks to this little life hack you can easily import multiple locations on Google My Business.

Also, if you would like to have a professional app on your website which might help you quickly manage all the locations and display their information, opening hours and many more on the landing page map or a widget, you should try our store locator Nearplace which you can try for free! The only thing you have to do is to sign up there and you can add the app to your website. It doesn’t cost anything with limited add-ons and can help you with boosting your store’s presence. If you are still not sure about it check our add-ons first so you can decide if it may be useful for you or not.

google-my-business-import locations

Remember that every business location has its verification, which might be a little bit annoying but it is highly required to verify each of them, thanks to it no one will steal your brand’s place. There is an excellent example of the way, how does this system work. Once you upload your business locations, and some of the areas are not available, but they are yours, you have an option to request the owner of the page because it is your place. Then a current owner after checking the ownership should give it to you.

It is nice to have security option which will help you to claim ownership to each of your stores if someone is using it, but once you have like 50 stores and each of them requires the request of property it will take a lot of time and nerves to claim all of them.

frustrated-person

Anyway requesting ownership of your business locations is really worth because thanks to it you can control all the information that comes out of your business places. Also, thanks to ownership request AdWords advertising is much easier to manage. About managing your advertisements, we will type in the later part of the tutorial.

Summarising adding multiple business locations is sometimes stressful and frustrating due to ownership request, but once everything is ok with your spots, it is a smooth and easy process to do (if you have a few locations/stores or you use import functionality).


7. Location manager in Google My Business

Once you have many business locations, you might think it must be exhausting and troublesome to manage it. Luckily the location manager is simple in use, and everyone should get used to it fast. You also have the possibility to add a new location through the interface, but let’s focus on management. It is a typical management tool where you have listed all location names, addresses and their status (if they are already verified or not).

google-my-business-locations

You also have many possible options to execute once you check the box next to the name of the business location. You can:

  • Get the insights of the areas – So you can check some statistics,
  • Accept or discard locations – Nothing to describe there, you accept or discard locations,
  • Transfer locations to the other location groups – Change the group of locations if you have any,
  • Open – You will be redirected to the place which you wanted to open,
  • Permanently close – The listing will be marked as a permanently closed in the Google search,
  • Remove – You remove your business location.

Expect these features there is also one important option which allows you to create your locations group. It is beneficial when you have business listings with many different kinds, and you want to group them so that the management will be a lot of more natural, e.g. you would like to arrange all restaurants with only restaurants, not restaurants with florists. To create a group, you need to press the button “Create location group”, enter a name of the group and it is all. After you form a group, you can notice a possibility to transfer your one or multiple business locations. A pretty easy solution which might save you a lot of time and nerves when you have to manage a significant number of locations.

google-my-business-actions


8. How to manage Google My Business in Adwords?

If you think that GMB listings are not giving you enough visibility on the internet, you can boost your presence by Adwords advertising. Go to your primary interface of the location and choose a feature called “Create an ad” then you will be redirected to the AdWords website where you need to decide what is the aim of your advertisement from 3 available options:

  • Call your business – You primarily get new customers over the phone and
    you want to talk to customers before setting up appointments or bookings.
  • Visit your shop front – Your first interaction with customers takes place, usually at your storefront and you have a physical location you want customers to visit
  • Take action on the website – Most of your business is conducted online, and you want customers to complete a trackable action (such as a purchase or sign-up) on your site.

google-my-business-store-front

For example, we will pick a shop front, but all the aims should look similar to each other when it comes to its configuration. Ok, once we’ve chosen a goal, let’s set the ad. At the first step, Google Adwords asks, us where do we want to reach customers? We leave the choice to you because we don’t know your business as well as you. Anyway, you have two possibilities to choose from:

  • Near my business – You can notice on a map a marker with your business location and set the radius of your advertisement (in km),

google-adwords-near-my-business

  • In specific cities, states or countries – Adwords automatically mark all regions and smaller towns around your location which you can also add or remove manually.

On the right side, you can also notice “potential audience size” which shows you how many people your business location may reach. Of course, the number changes depending on your radius or marked regions.

google-adwords-audience

Another step which will allow you to create your business advertisement is defining your product or service where you choose the language of the ad, business category and what specific products or services you want to promote in the ad. Adwords suggests you some popular services or products related to your business, but you can also insert functions on your own.

google-my-business-define

Once you set your services, you are redirected to the graphical UI which shows how your ad will look in Google search. You can edit their headlines and description, remember it is really important to make your description exciting and informative for a customer and thanks to it he might visit your store. Also remember to give a correct URL of your website to the ad so once the customer clicks it, he will be redirected to your shop (or other kinds of business).

google-adwords-headlines

If you want to show your logo or photos e.g. of the dishes you serve there is a possibility to add images and a phone number to your ad, but it’s optional.

google-adwords-logos

Once all required editing of your ad is done, and if you think, you can start advertising your business locations. You need to set your budget, the bigger budget you choose the most significant estimated performance Google is predicting. They also describe how your budget works and how it will be used by Google to advertise your business.

google-my-business-adwords-gif

If you have done everything, it will automatically move you to the front panel of your advertisement where you can see and change the previous options which you set before. If you think everything is correct, press the “next” button. Then you need to confirm your payment and creating an advertisement is done :). As you can see it is effortless and Google helps you with every step. It might cost you some money, but if you have some available funds to spend, it might be worth to use advertisements.

We highly recommend you to create separate campaigns for each business location you have. With multiple business locations, it might be a little troublesome and time-consuming, but it is the best way to advertise. Also, each group should contain ad groups for each group of products. If you still have some questions, leave us a comment, and we will help you for sure!


9. How to change my business location information?

Once you have one or a few business locations for which you want to set details like name, opening hours, phone, website, etc. you can do it manually by clicking “info” on the main interface of a place. Then you are directed to first graphical UI where you can edit every information about your store. All possible details to change:

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  • Name – Nothing to describe. You select a name for your business location,
  • Business type – Remember when we were choosing a kind of business at the beginning of the tutorial? If you have selected the wrong type of business, you can edit it here,
  • Location – Little bit more extended option where you can modify your street address, postal code, and the city of your business locations. You can also change if you deliver any goods or not. On the right side, you can notice a displayed map with a marker on your place, once you change address details the mark should move to the new location. If you read the beginning of a guide, you should know about it enough to easily edit it. Sadly, if you want to edit country or region, you need to create a new location,

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  • Opening hours – Displays intuitive and straightforward interface where you can mark if the business location is opened on a current day or not. If you mark a place as open, there will be displayed additional fields where you can insert your opening hours,
  • Phone number – You edit your primary phone number,
  • Website – Enter your website URL, you can also add appointment URL,
  • Business description – You can type a brief description of your business (750-word limit). We advise you to use this option so you might interest your customer if you create an excellent description about your store or other kinds of business,
  • Opening date – You choose a year, month and a day when your business will be opened at current address,
  • Photos – Really expanded option which has its place on the main interface of a place. You can check all your photos which are uploaded, upload your videos, add interior and exterior images, your team photos and identify pictures. Uploading photos of your multiple business listings are crucial, especially when you want to bring customer by showing him how professional look has your place or how does your team look like. It helps a customer to identify with your business, so it is a worth to try option when you want to build a competitive listing.

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  • Remove listing and mark as permanently closed – it was mentioned earlier, so there is no need to explain it once again.

And some advanced settings for you which will not be publicly visible:

  • Store code – It helps to manage multiple business locations in Google My Business because a store code is something like your unique id which you can give to every business place you have.
  • Labels – Labels will help you to organize your locations into groups. You can search business places by the tag from the dashboard.
  • AdWords phone – The number used in your location extension ads through AdWords. If you are not using the extension phone in AdWords, they will use your primary phone number instead.

google-my-business-advanced-info

Hopefully, we described all the details which you wanted to edit and which are available in this tool. Remember that it isn’t that bad for one or a few stores but once you have a large number of business locations you should use a bulk spreadsheet import to make everything much faster and much more comfortable without losing additional nerves. If you want to know more about Google My Business and editing its details, you should check it here.


10. Managing reviews in Google my Business

As you know every business card has a “Write a review” option. Opinions of customers might bring valuable feedback for your business because if they, e.g. write something negative about your service and it is constructive you can improve your business by eliminating issues which customers mention in reviews.

Also, if you are replying to your customer, he might think, e.g. “Hmm… this guy thinks about his customers if he answered my every opinion even if some were negative”. I can also add my situation with Google business location. I ordered a pizza and the salami was awful. It was my favourite pizzeria and I was disappointed with it, so I wrote a negative opinion about their salami.

disappointed-kid

An owner of the location answered my opinion on the next day and he was helpful to me, apologized and offered me a 50% discount on another pizza. Also, he said that they changed a salami provider because many other people also were crazy about the quality of the meat too. I was delighted with how fast they reacted due to my negative opinion and I could have ordered a pizza for half of the price!

happy-guy

For sure, I will not look for a new pizzeria after this reply. You need to notice how much trust you can build thanks to the reviews. Remember not to break these rules:

  • Even if a customer isn’t right (yes, it happens) and he offends your business. Still, you should stay nice and answer him like “Please, type to us on our Facebook page, or our website so we can find together a solution”,
  • Customers prefer short answers like “Thank you for your opinion” when it comes to the positive ones. When it is a contrary opinion, you can type something like in the point above. Long opinions aren’t beneficial. If he wants to find a solution which can’t be described in a few words, he should contact you directly through your website, Facebook, etc.
  • As it was mentioned above already, always thank your customers even if it is a negative opinion,
  • Don’t advertise your business to someone in reviews – they are already your customers if they left an impression. You can eventually mention them about something new, e.g. new dish on your menu.

You need to remember that with multiple locations like 10-50 or even more it might be time-consuming to reply to all the reviews, so we advise you to hire a new person to respond your customers and to help them out if they have any issues. Leaving a reply is simple, you need to click reviews on the menu and click “respond” if you want to answer to your client’s opinion. Remember that your account must be verified to leave any replies.


11. How to type a post in Google My Business?

Typing a post is easy when it comes to setting it up. The hard part starts when you have to write something useful which might bring some customers to your shop or a business place. To post your own information you need to find a “Posts” feature on your dashboard.

google-my-business-post

As you can notice, you have a few options to choose between:

  • What’s new – technically you type about something new that your business offers, as some new services or products. You can also upload a photo or create a special button which might direct customers to your website. A maximum word number for this post is 300 signs.

google-my-business-post-options

  • Even – if there is happening any event connected with your business or its location soon, it might be a good idea to inform about it your customers. The word range is the same as with news. You can write an event title and set its date.
  • Offer – it is almost the same as an event, but it has some additional fields(optional) like the coupon code, link to redeem the offer and terms and conditions.
  • Product – You can type there a product name, its price and add the same buttons as in the news.

To every one of these possibilities, you can upload a photo which will help you in advertisement and the word range is the same.


12. Google My Business – Analytics

You might be wondering if the tool offers some analytics which will display your analytics for your business locations – the answer is YES. You can check all the details after you click “Insights” on the main menu. At first, you can notice a big blue-green pie chart. A chart is divided into two pieces:

  • Direct – Customers who find your business searching by name or address,
  • Discovery – Customers who find your business searching by product, categories or services.

If you put many efforts in SEO optimization the majority of the pie chart will be the “discovery” part. Of, course if your business brand has already a lot of customers, it might not be true.
You can also display this data on the other chart which is more detailed. But it is a little bit confusing, so you will need more time to get used to it.

Other statistics which you can check on your analytics are:

  • Number of people who visited your website
  • Number of people who requested directions to your place
  • The number of people who called.
  • The number of people who had a chat with you.

Driving directions might sometimes be a wrong number, e.g. you have your business in the building where also other businesses are placed, then Google can’t divide routes to only your specific business.

Analytics tool also offers how many times people viewed photos and it can compare your pictures with a competitive business so you can check how many images have your opponents. If you want to check at what hour your business locations were the most popular, there is also that possibility. Sadly, we don’t have insights with a new dashboard which we can show you, but I will upload a screenshot how does it look like in the older version of GMB so you can compare with your new dashboard. Analytics are really, useful especially when you want to show a proof to your client that your work is improving his business.

You can connect your GMB with Google analytics, which will give you even more data, so we recommend you to do it. Here you can check how to connect it.


13. Does Google My Business cost money?

If you think that Google might charge you for creating your business listing, you are wrong. The tool is entirely free. The only necessary thing is verifying your business place about what you could have read above.

money

Yes, I’m shocked too, you can use beneficial features which might boost your business so much for free. There is only one catch. If you want to advertise your business listing with Google Adwords, then you need to pay money. As you saw in the earlier part of the article, you need to choose your budget and confirm payment so you can’t get free advertising from Adwords. But as you already know the Adwords feature is only an optional solution, your business location still can bring customers without it. So feel free and create as many business locations as you need.


14. The most popular issues with Google My Business

The business card is not verified.

We typed about it earlier, but it is worth to sort it again, Google will fully trust you only if you verify your all business locations. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to check analytics and reviews of the not verified place, so it is really important to confirm that the business is yours.
Do not delay the verification, do it as quickly as possible! Google has a policy of removing unverified business cards so we recommend you to verify it as soon as you can, especially if you are working in a professional marketing agency, your client for sure will notice that something is wrong if his business listing disappeared. Verification postcard usually should arrive within five work days, but in the worst case, it should take two weeks. If not, you should contact Google Support.

The company code is missing.

If you or your customer has multiple business listings, you should remember about the store code, which will help you to make every business unique. It works like an ID and it will be much easier to manage all the locations with this code. Earlier we mentioned how to edit this code so you shouldn’t have any issues with it, anyway if you will need more help, you can leave us a comment with a question, and we will help you for sure. Also, an excellent solution is to name, a code in the way which will be clear for you and your co-workers, even we don’t recommend you to use spacebar, it just makes the system harder. A good example is COMP001, COMP002, etc. If you are still not sure about how to modify your store code a Google guide might be helpful for you.

I changed the details of my business listing and it is still not updated yet.

Some changes to your business card might take a few minutes or even a few hours. Especially if you edit information like the location of the marker in Google Maps or change a photo. Summarising you should not worry too much if your data haven’t been changed just after confirming it because Google needs some time to approve it. Wait a few minutes and then check if the changes are updated. If it is still not updated even after a few hours, try to update data once again or contact Google Support.


15. You have completed a Google My Business tutorial!

Yes, it is the end of our Google My Business guide! After acknowledging the information about the tool in this tutorial you should quickly know how to optimize your Google My Business account and multiple business listings. As you see, there were many features to learn, but after some practice and this tutorial, it will be a piece of cake for you. The best thing about the tool is, it is entirely free but it allows you to earn money.

However, if you would like to manage your locations on the map through a professional store locator, our app Nearplace is one of the best ones but you can always compare it with the other store locators. It is a smooth and time-saving solution which also may help you to bring in new customers who will love your place because of its professional location listings. If you would like to share any opinions about the tutorial with us, please leave us a feedback :).


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