Cheap Website Design With A Little Known “Google My Business” Trick
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020
Want to get a basic website up and running quickly? Setting up a Google My Business website may be just what you’re looking for, and the best part is – it’s free! The Google My Business Website Builder is designed for people to create a website in a matter of minutes without the need for technical expertise.
And the bonus is from an SEO perspective is that it’s a Google-led service, so it represents an advantage for a quick boost to your exposure on Google’s local search.
Creating A GMB Website – What You Need To Know
The first thing you need to know is the Google My Business website tool relies on the creation/existence of a Google My Business (GMB) Profile listing. Google uses the information provided in your Google My Business listing to automatically generate much of the information in its website generation tool.
This is a useful thing as it means if you update the address details in your GMB listing, then they will automatically update on your GMB website allowing for it to be easily maintained, so you don’t have to update details across multiple platforms.
A GMB website is an excellent option for those businesses with no website or as an alternative to the common small business practice of just having a Facebook page. Keep in mind this is a one-page website, so you can’t add copious amounts of information, product pages, blog posts or lengthy descriptions – the whole idea is to keep it simple with mobile search in mind.
Top 6 Benefits Of A GMB Website
Here is a quick rundown of the advantages:
- It’s Free. Can’t argue with free.
- It’s Professional. It provides an easy, professional looking alternative to using social media based platforms as your main online presence.
- It Saves Time. The GMB website enables you to avoid a content heavy website that requires lots of time to setup and maintain.
- It’s Mobile Friendly. It is extremely mobile-friendly and can be managed from your mobile phone.
- It’s Great For Start Ups. It is a perfect option for start-up businesses looking for their first website.
- It’s A Google Based Platform. GMB websites are a Google-led service, which will help boost your exposure on Google Local Search.
Limitations Of A GMB Website
Even though the GMB Website is a real website, it does have some limitations. As previously mentioned, this is just a one-page website which can be a minus if you need a larger content orientated website. These are some of the other limitations of a GMB Website:
- You can’t show different information to what’s in your GMB listing.
- You can’t choose your photos, testimonials or Google Posts that will appear on the website – they are generated automatically.
- You can’t alter the font style, size or colour.
- There is limited functionality for social media sharing.
- You can’t add external or embed applications such as email forms into your website.
- The GMB Website Builder does not allow for more technical SEO such as structured data mark-up, alt text for images or meta descriptions.
What Is A Google My Business Profile?
GMB profiles are simply the free business listings Google displays about your business when it is searched for by name. On mobile they appear at the top and on desktop, off to the right-hand side. Google My Business profiles help people find your business.
The GMB listing shows basic information about your business such as the name, location, telephone number and hours of service while also providing a link to your website, photos and other info that might be helpful to someone looking for your business. It is also possible for customers to leave reviews of your business on your GMB profile.
Think of your Google My Business Profile as building a stronger online presence; it is one of the best ways to increase your presence in Google Search from a local perspective and also to have your business show up in Google Maps. So even if you don’t want to create the GMB website, it is still a very good idea to create your GMB Profile. If you don’t have one already, let’s get started!
How To Create A Google My Business Profile
Creating your Google My Business listing is very straight forward and Google even has a great little Google My Business setup wizard that will take you through it step by step. You will want to try to fill out as much information as you can, the more complete it is the better. See below for a list of the basic information required, but don’t worry you can come back and edit or add to it later.
- Business Name
- Physical Address
- Business Category
- Website URL
- Telephone Number
- Business Description (between 700-750 characters is ideal)
- Business Logo
- Business Related Photographs
- Hours Of Operation
The last step will require you to choose a verification method. Verification is required to confirm you are the rightful owner of the business, and it allows Google to ensure the information it is providing is legitimate and accurate. For most businesses this will mean choosing the verification by mail option, then waiting for the postcard with verification code in the mail. For more detailed information on creating a GMB listing see here.
How To Create A GMB Website In 4 Easy Steps
Having created your GMB Profile listing building your website is easy! Google pulls much of the info from your GMB listing across automatically to create the basics for your new website, but you will want to add in some extras as you go. Quick tip – as you progress through these steps don’t forget to save your selections at each stage click on the tick at the top of the page.
Step 1. Log In To Your GMB Profile
This will take you to your dashboard screen with a menu down the left-hand side, from this menu choose ‘Website’. You will then be sent to the website builder page with side menu giving you the options Themes, Edit, Photos and More.
Step 2. Set The Theme
Here you need to choose an overall style or theme (don’t worry this can be altered later if you change your mind). Each theme has a different heading font style and colour combination, you can click through them and see what it will look like in the website preview panel, choose whichever one best suits your business.
Step 3. Select Edit
From the side menu select the ‘Edit’ option, under the Edit menu is where you will get to enter some more info for your website, this includes a primary call to action button, headline, description, summary header and summary body.
- Primary Button. This button is important do not skip this step; it represents the main action you want people to take to engage with you. Which button you choose will depend on your type of business; a hairdresser for example would likely choose ‘Call Now’ or ‘Make An Appointment’. Whereas a builder might choose ’Contact Us’ or ‘Get Quote’. Choose the most appropriate action from the list.
- Headline. The Headline information is next, this will automatically be drawn from your GMB listing but you are able to alter this if you wish – depending on your business sometimes it can be beneficial to add extra details (name of city/town etc.) to this title (Google also displays your full business name in the upper left-hand corner of the website so it is effectively there twice) but generally speaking just leave it as is.
- Description. This defaults to the category selection you made in your GMB listing plus your city. You can alter it if it needs tweaking but it is highly recommended you leave this as is. This is the only place where your business category is displayed and it is best to keep it consistent with what is stated in your GMB listing.
- Summary Header. The summary header is a great place to briefly introduce your main keyword/s in an informal manner, keep it conversational and brief there is a 40 character limit. If you do not know what to put here just stick to ‘About Us’ for now.
- Summary Body. This is where you need to create some good quality unique content that is going to promote your business. Explain more about what you do, what you offer and how you can help, plus provide links to social media platforms, your main website if you have one, or online booking system for example. This is also a good place to reiterate and Google Attributes as seen on your GMB Profile listing. Be sure to format it well, with spacing and sub headings, ideally it should be around 1000 words.
Step 4. Publish Your Website!
From the menu on the left choose the ‘More’ option. This is where you will get to Publish your website, set the Language used on your website and set the URL that will be created for your website address.
- Website Address. By default all free websites will end with the domain business site, it will look something like this: “yourcompanyname.business.site”. For a free website you can alter the way your business name is displayed but not the domain. Certain countries are able to purchase a customised domain name such as “.co.nz” or “.com” but this feature does not appear to be available in NZ.
- Publish Website. Let’s get this thing live! Click here once you are satisfied you have got everything sorted and your website will be live with just a click!
- Site Language. This is where you set your website’s default language.
Quick note: Under the ‘More’ menu that shows the URL given to your new website, it may also say “Not listed on Google Search and Maps” it is important not to alter this if you already have a main website elsewhere.
5 Tips For Optimising Your GMB Website
So now you have your new GMB website up and running and it looks great! But there are a few things you can do to make it work just that little bit harder for you.
- Add Google Posts. Adding some good Google Posts to your GMB listing will mean they are automatically pulled through to your ‘Updates” section in your website. Google Posts are a similar concept to Facebook posts and a good way to provide extra info on your business. Always include a good image, and even a short video.
- Encourage Reviews. Reviews and testimonials are rumoured to be used by Google when ranking for local search so getting good reviews should be up there on the priority list. Some of these reviews are automatically pulled through to your website under the testimonials section.
- Think Carefully About Your URL. Google will offer you up a default URL when you are creating your GMB Website, it will be the name of your business followed by ‘.business.site’. If your business name is multiple words they will be separated by a hyphen (this is standard practice). If you want to you can change the URL – think seriously about this as it is part of your brand and online presence moving forward, look for any ambiguities and potential to make it more concise you are aiming for around 50 characters or three to five words maximum.
- Add Some Links. You are allowed to insert links into the Summary Body section, try to add these hyperlinks in a natural way to relevant words, do not just enter a list of URL’s. Link to things you’re your Google Maps page, YouTube videos featuring your business, any relevant product or service pages on your existing website, and even Social Media Platforms such as your Facebook page or other prominent businesses that may feature your product or service if you do not sell directly to the public.
- Invest In Good Quality Photos. It is important to note you cannot choose the photos that appear on your GMB Website, so the best solution here is to make sure they are all good! They should be well lit, in focus, and a truthful representation of your business. Avoid excessive use of filters or effects and always follow Google image best practices which include a format of JPG or PNG, a size of between 10KB and 5MB and a minimum resolution of 720px by 540px with the ideal aspect ratio of 4:3.
In short, using the GMB Website Builder is a great opportunity for many small businesses to increase visibility while also providing to existing businesses with the added benefit of increasing their online presence within Google-led services. Not sure if a GMB Website is right for you? Give the team at Avatar a call for specialist advice on SEO Services and Google Ads.
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