Did you know that immediately after claiming your Google My Business listing you can create a free mobile responsive website? In 10 minutes or less, a Google My Business website is gifted to you!
It’s true and super simple to get started for all the “non-techie” business owners. Treat this guide like a compass and use it to successfully navigate the best practices for your Google My Business website. Be sure to download the Ultimate Google My Business Website Guide Checklist and Cheat Sheet (click the image below) for better chances with immediate success!
Who needs a Google My Business website?
The short answer: EVERY SMALL BUSINESS!
Small business owners that currently do not have a website (for whatever reason) have the opportunity to make their presence known online.
Some business owners use Facebook in place of a website. While this strategy is great having a visible website in Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) is even better. On Facebook users have to dig for relevant business information. Whereas having a Google My Business website can help current customers and prospects find business information with ease.
Small businesses that already have a website can still benefit from this additional one-page website.
You’ll have another outpost to connect back to your home base, or a chance to build do follow links to your main digital assets (core website, blog and social media channels). Originally when Jeff Bullas made the visual above for an article detailing how to make blog posts go viral. This same concept can be applied here. The “home base” serves as the core website for your business, while the “outpost” can be represented by a Google My business website, social media sites, links to newspaper articles, etc.
More outposts can drive more traffic (customers) to your website or storefront.
The additional Google My Business website can be used as a landing page. It also provides yet another place to display your NAP+ W (name, address, phone + website), great for local SEO!
Is the Google My Business website builder easy to use?
Easy as pie―literally! Baking a pie might actually be harder than building a Google My business website. Which means there is absolutely no excuse (none, none, none!) not to have one.
For the record, the complimentary website is one-page optimized to look great on any screen: desktop, laptop and mobile devices.
Automatically extracts information from Google My Business listing
The website gets data from the Google My Business listing, this information includes the business:
- phone numbers
- hours of operation
- Google Posts
- embedded Google Map location
- additional stock image based on category (Google may automatically add a relevant industry stock photo to the website based on the category selected for the Google My Business listing).
Note: Edits made to the business information on the website are not automatically updated on the Google My Business listing info. ANYONE (unhappy customers or jealous competitors) can edit your Google My Business listing so be sure to claim and actively monitor it!
How to create Google My Business website?
Head over to google.com/business and login with the same email used to claim and verify the listing.
Note: Only owners and managers of the listing will have access to the website builder. The communication manager will not have access.
Haven’t claimed your listing?
Hurry up and crawl from under the rock and hop into the 21st century! (And you wonder why your competitors get all the customers…) Seriously, get claimed and verified today. #noexcuses
Click the Big Mac 😛 icon in the upper left hand corner of the dashboard to view the menu.
Then select Website located between Photos and Users on the menu.
Since this is the first time accessing the website, a green creating your website label will appear on the screen.
Cover Photo/ Banner Image
Google may automatically generate a cover photo and additional stock images to the body based on the business category. Be sure to change this cover photo to something that unique that reflects your brand (this a command, not a suggestion!).
Select change cover photo.
Pro Tip: When selecting a cover photo, consider that the cover photo will be displayed with the headline and other text on top of the image. The text is white so I strongly suggest selecting an image with no text or very little. The image should be dark enough that the text can be read with ease. Consider using images featuring the inside of your business (or the outside if it is visually appealing). Or select a product to feature, get creative and try not to use stock photos.
Keep in mind, the business name in the upper left corner of the published website cannot be changed.
The contact information on the upper right corner also cannot be changed.
“Get Directions” will only display in the upper right corner of the cover photo for businesses with a storefront location.
Call to Action Button
The primary button commonly called a call to action (CTA) button placed on the cover image directly under the description. It cannot be removed but the color can be changed via the theme (more on this below). The content on the CTA button can also be edited to the following functions:
- Call now: Prompts a phone call to your business
- Get directions: Opens directions to your business location in Google Maps
- Book appointment: A link you select will open.
- Place order: Opens a link of your choice.
- Get quote: Populates a form for potential customers to request a quote or additional information. You’ll receive an email when a customer submits the form via your Google My Business website.
- View menu: A link you select will open.
- Find table: Opens a link of your choice.
- Message us (SMS): Sends a SMS (text) message to your phone number. Be sure to verify that the number messages are sent to is a mobile phone that can receive SMS messages. Data and message rates may apply.
- Message us (WhatsApp): Sends a WhatsApp message to your mobile phone number. Before selecting this button confirm that you have WhatsApp installed to receive messages.
Select Google My Business website theme
There are a handful of themes to select from meaning that the selection is very limited. Also keep in mind that the settings for each theme (font, layout, colors) can not be altered. Remember it’s free!
The current theme selected will be highlighted with a blue check mark symbol (highlighted with a red box).
The CTA button in the theme thumbnails are the same color that it will appear on the cover photo/banner.
After making a selection, hit the check mark at the top of the menu to save the theme (highlighted with a green rectangle above). Opt for the ‘x’ to cancel any changes made that have not been saved.
Customize Google My Business website
To customize the content on the website click edit in the themes menu.
- maximum length = 80 characters including spaces
- considered the header tag or the <h1> tag for SEO purposes
The headline is visible in the banner (where the cover photo is located). The business name on your Google My Business listing will automatically be the default headline in the website builder.
Pro Tip 1: Use a headline that will quickly grab the attention of consumers that find your business online. The name of your business will still appear in the upper left corner of your website automatically and it can not be deleted. Essentially there is no need to list the name of your business twice on the cover photo/banner. Use the headline space to get web searchers interested in products and services offered.
Pro Tip 2: For all the none tech/SEO folks, the headline or <h1> is generally the largest and most emphasized text on the page. Help the headline text stand out more by naturally using keywords (absolutely no keyword stuffing!). This practice is also good for SEO, when done correctly.
- maximum length = 80 characters including spaces
Similar to the headline, the description appears in the banner and it is comprised of the business category selected in GMB paired with the location. The business hours of operation will also appear here if they have been added to the GMB listing. Personally, I’d leave this section alone because it is phenomenal for local SEO. However, this section can be changed if needed to possibly expand on a unique selling point.
- maximum Google Posts = 3
Up to three of the most recent Google Posts created will be displayed as Updates directly under the cover photo/banner image. To view older Posts click on “View All” directly under the post.
Google Posts are an excellent way to make your Google My Business sexy to attract more customers😍Start using them NOW to engage with customers if you haven’t already! Posts appear in Knowledge Panel (image of KP below in photos section) in search and on the Google My Business website. They remain visible for up to 7 days and then they disappear but event Post are displayed until the event is over.
Note: Google Posts are not created with the website builder. To create Posts head back to the Google My Business dashboard and select the Posts icon from the menu on the left.
- maximum length = 40 characters including spaces
- considered the <h2> tag for SEO purposes
The summary header appears in the body of the web page in bold letters below the cover photo/banner. The <h2> tag is the second most visible content on the website, making it almost as important as the <h1> tag. Again, place keyword phrases naturally into this <h2> tag for best SEO results. This space can also be used to further emphasize a unique selling point.
- maximum length = no limit
The summary body is located directly under the summary header. This is the area with the most flexibility to be creative. In this section there is the ability to bold, italicize, add links and other rich text editor formatting.
There is no known limit to this section, but use this space wisely. Create original content for this website and be sure to link out to your other business outposts (as mentioned earlier).
Outposts to consider linking to:
- main business website pages (if applicable)
- business attributes (eg “wi-fi”, “outdoor seating”, “Kosher food”, “gluten free”, “wheel chair accessible”, etc.)
- blog articles
- videos (youtube, vimeo, etc.)
- newspaper/blog sites that have featured your business
- “Best of” or “Top 10” lists that have featured your business
- social media platforms
- PDF downloads (ebooks, checklists, recipes, etc.)
- email/newsletter subscription form
- coupon/discount/promotional offer
Pro tips for summary body content
Pro Tip 1: No need to use the entire URL (http://www.yourbusinesswebsite.com/) directly in the content of the summary body. Instead use the link icon in the rich text editor to make links clickable and looks better. Many business owners that have set up their business page FAIL to this, as a result their websites look cheesy and unprofessional!
Pro Tip 2: When adding links to your profile be sure to use Google’s Campaign URL builder so that you can track the activity of clicks on the links in Google Analytics. I detail how to use the Campaign URL here (scroll down the down to the bottom of the post to view, but it’s worth $$$ reading the entire post 😉 ).
- maximum photos = 9
Photos are appear in the section of the website under the summary body. Google automatically uses photos from the GMB listing. The photos appear in the sequence they are in when uploaded. Unfortunately, the sequence of photos cannot be rearranged (sorry!).
In the themes menu select the photo icon to upload images. Crop images before uploading to the website because their is no cropping tool available.
Photos uploaded here along with the cover photo, may be visible in the Google My Business photos gallery or the upper left corner of the Knowledge Panel.
To delete photos you must exit the website editor, by clicking on the Big Mac menu located in the upper left corner (highlighted in yellow below). Next select the Photos from the menu on the left. All your photos will appear on the page. Note: The cover photo and profile photo are also uploaded here.
Select the image that you would like to delete then a dialog box pops up with confirmation to move forward with deletion or cancel.
Footer of Google My Business website
The following elements are automatically included in the footer or bottom of the website with data pulled from the Google My Business listing:
- An embedded map with a red pin highlighting the business location on the map. For service area businesses the area serviced will be highlighted on the map.
- The address appears next to the embedded map. There is a “Get Directions” text link visible for businesses with a physical storefront location.
- Contact numbers appear directly under the address with a link to prompt a phone call to your business. Service area businesses will only have the contact numbers visible. The website will display up to three additional phone numbers that are added to the Google My Business listing, while the Knowledge Panel only lists one number.
- To the right of the address and contact numbers are the business hours.
Note: Business information can be edited but edits aren’t visible on Google Maps until your business is verified. The website can still be published without verification.
In the footer of every Google My Business website there is a cookies message in all countries. Not the cookies that make the whole house smell good! These cookies are small files stored on the computers of people that visit your website. Cookies save customer page visiting patterns and store their website preferences.
When a site visitor accepts the cookies from a .business.site it is valid for all sites visited with similar domains.
Time to get published!
Now that all the key details have been edited on the site it’s time to share it with the world!
To publish a Google My Business website hit the Publish button located in the top right corner of the website builder.
A dialog box is displayed with an automatically generated URL for the website (eg., the business name―yourbusinessname.business.site).
Feel free to customize the website address. The maximum characters for the web address is 64 characters. When customizing consider using keywords (naturally of course!). Also stay away from branded names (eg., Panera Bread or Walmart) Google has safeguards in place to prevent this. Not to mention it’s false advertising and bad business!
When the website address is selected click Next and the website will be published. Congrats!
The website comes with a free hosted domain ending in “.business.site”.
A custom URL yourbusinessname.com can be purchased from Google Domains in countries that they are available in. To purchase a custom domain for your Google My Business website, publish your site and click Buy Domain when prompted (or from the Settings menu in GMB the dashboard ). Search for the desired domain name then purchase it. Google will automatically connect your website to your domain name.
An existing domain can be used for a Google My Business website, too.
Click View Site to take a look at the new website or landing page you created and ta-dah your new site is created 😀
Need to unpublish a Google My Business website?
Select the Settings icon from the menu, then click Unpublish Website. When the site is unpublished the complimentary web domain (business.site) is unpublished also. So the name of you selected is now “up for grabs”.
Note: In the Settings tab the complimentary business.site website address and language can also be customized.
Additional Stock Images automatically added to website
Earlier in the article it was mentioned that additional stock images are automatically added to the right side of the summary body of some Google My Business websites based on category.
Not all websites have the image, but the those that do also have added their category AND content to both the summary header and summary body.
I’ve researched some (a lot!) categories and have spotted thirty-six additional stock images:
Features not available on Google My Business website
- Additional CTA Buttons
- Additional website pages
- Google Analytics
- Google Reviews
- Social Media Buttons
- Special Business Hours
- Technical SEO (no meta titles or descriptions, no <h3> to <h6> tags (headers), also no alt text available for images)
- Videos (although Updates or Google Posts supports video)
Troubleshooting Google My Business Website
Staring at a scary 404 Error Message? Examine the following:
- Changed your website address? It may take up to seven days to for Google to display the new URL
- Suspended listing? Login to the Google My Business dashboard check for suspensions notifications. Correct the problems that got the listing suspended and repeat the verification process to reactivate the listing and website.
- Unpublished website? Did you or a manager of the listing (employee or local SEO expert) unpublish the website?
Create your Google My Business website today it’s free, easy and another place to display your brand. Be original and creative, not spammy or boring. Keep your customers interests in mind and post content that will drive customers to other websites, social media properties and to your storefront.
Get started as an early adopter and stand out far above the competition (both locally and globally). Take advantage of this complimentary golden marketing opportunity before it’s too late.
Not tech savvy at all?
No worries! Pass this post on to a more tech savvy employee or hire the Local SEO Whisperer to help you WIN BIG with Google My Business 😀
You can also watch Luc Durand of Rank Academy if you are a bit more visual and he has an awesome accent. I used some screenshots from this video in this guide. Keep in mind the video is not as up to date as this guide some of the newer website features aren’t mentioned.
There you have it the Ultimate Google My Business Website Guide bookmark this page to check back for updates as they become available. Download your FREE Checklist and Cheat Sheet too!
Have you gotten started with your free Google My Business website? If so what has been your overall experience? If not, why? Let me know in the comments below!