Managing Google My Business: Q&A

Most entrepreneurs start a business because of their interests or abilities: building decks, teaching yoga, reading and sharing books, playing music, baking pastries, brewing beer, and so on. For most, interest in their field far outweighs their interest in technology. However, business success in the 21st century often requires spending time on technological pursuits – including managing Google My Business.

Knowing the basics of this Google feature – and its new Call History Notification feature – will help you connect and stay engaged with customers and promote your business.

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business listing for Carena's Jamaican Grille
Google My Business listing for Carena’s Jamaican Grille in Richmond, Virginia

When you search on Google for general businesses, products, or services – or even specifics – Google My Business listings appear. These directory-like listings provide a wide variety of information. For Google, the feature adds value to its search engine pages. For consumers, the feature lets their fingers do the walking. And for business owners and managers, Google My Business provides an easy, free communication and promotion tool.

GMB information also connects with Google Maps and other Google properties, for easy synchronization.

How do I set up my listing?

In many cases, a listing may appear even if you’ve never created one! After all, Google has plenty of resources to draw from, including crowdsourcing. However, this information is likely sparse and could be inaccurate or misleading.

To start fresh, go to, sign in with a Google account, and follow the step-by-step instructions. If you Google your business and find that it already has a listing, simply click on “Claim My Business” or “Own this business?”

Note that Google has specific information for health-care providers, auto deals, hotels, and chains.

What information does Google My Business display?

The listing includes basics like business name, industry, address, website, phone number, service areas, and business hours. You can include services and products, appointment links, photos, videos, a logo, cover photo, business description, and more.

You can also add secondary hours and even COVID updates such as temporary closures, safety precautions, curbside pickup, and delivery.

Such background information unquestionably provides a useful one-way communication tool. But GMB also allows you to go deeper with valuable customer engagement. People can ask questions, send messages, and post reviews and photos. On your side, you can respond to reader queries and comments, add special offers, and create posts.

What are advantages of connecting?

A Google search is the first step for many people when they’re actively looking for a product or service – including when they’re ready to buy. Using this free tool, businesses and organizations can manage their online presence across Google. Since this listing might appear even without your input, by connecting (i.e., “claiming” your business), you can verify the information to ensure its accuracy and on-brand messaging.

What’s this about the new Call History Notification?

Coming soon, you’ll be able to keep track of phone calls that come from Google Search and Maps. These calls will all be in one place to help you respond to missed calls and stay engaged with your customers. These calls will start with a short message that tells you it’s from Google.

When this feature launches, a dedicated “Calls” tab will be added to the app, which will log missed calls and answered from customers who click the “Call” button on your GMB profile.

One downside is that the phone number isn’t the business’s number, but a forwarding number. If you need customers to retain your number (as when a mobile phone retains an outgoing call), this matters. Otherwise, the benefits may be worthwhile. After all, the real phone number will still appear on the GMB profile.

What about the questions and reviews I see on some GMB listings?

Even after you’ve fully updated your listing, the Google Review and Questions features will remain active, so you should actively monitor both of these regularly.

Look at it this way. Imagine someone looking for a business that specializes in {insert your industry here} and they find your listing on Google. But they also see a complaint. And they don’t see any response to that complaint. You immediately have a huge strike against you.

On the other hand, if they see a complaint with a positive response, you’ve already gotten to first base.

Better yet, if they see a compliment with a personal response, you might even make it to second base!

Similarly, the Q&A offers an easy opportunity to engage and to create positive vibes. I’ve seen plenty of Google My Business questions answered by other web users (accurately or not, who knows?), with crickets from the business. Not a good look!

Do I have to manually check my listing?

My Business app for Boomer Magazine screenshot
My Business app for Boomer Magazine

Fortunately, Google has made it simple for you to receive notifications. The simplest DIY manner uses a smartphone app, for Android or Apple, with real-time communications. Download the application to your phone, turn on notifications, and be connected with customers! App notifications include:

  • Reviews
  • Followers
  • Booking requests
  • Uploaded photos
  • Business profile insights
  • Reminders to respond

The app also offers the opportunity to update your listing and add information.

By registering your application to obtain OAuth 2.0 credentials, you can receive notifications and change settings through real-time notifications in the Google My Business API. These notifications are published in the Cloud Pub/Sub service.

How do I get reviews for my business?

A positive review goes a long way toward helping a potential customer connect with your business. Since you can’t write your own reviews, you’ll want to request reviews from customers.

Google offers a link for sharing your request for reviews. On your Google My Business management Home page, look for the “Get your first review” module, click on “Share review” form, and find a link that you can use for your business website or social media. You could also create a QR code that customers at your business can scan. The QR code will send the user to GMB to leave a review. Just ask. It’s free and painless!

This is easy! Anything else I can do?

Glad you asked!

As mentioned above, you can also share posts to update customers and demonstrate your expertise! No need to reinvent the wheel for these updates – if you’re already posting and/or sending out social media shares, just add this quick GMB update at the same time.

Google My Business post
Google My Business post

You can also post offers and events to further attract customers. If responding to reviews and questions took you to second base, a worthwhile offer or event can advance you to third base!

Anything else I should know?

If you choose to advertise through Google as well, your Google ads can be managed through your business profile page. Having an updated listing can even help your ad perform better.

Let’s say your business is Tropical Mon Jamaican Café. When users search for Jamaican restaurant, the major restaurant sites will dominate: Yelp, Grubhub, and Tripadvisor. But having an ad and an updated listing can help your business rise higher on the page.

If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who would rather be following your passion than messing with technology, Ross Media Solutions may be able to help. Contact our digital media team for web work, geographically and demographically specific web ads, targeted media promotion, and more.

Request a FREE consultation


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