How to Claim & Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business, commonly referred to as Google Local or Google Reviews, is incredibly important for any local business.
In this video, I’ll explain the basics of Google Local including how to claim and optimize your listing, as well as generate a review URL for your customers. It’s not easy, as Google has done a terrible, no good, rotten job managing Google local and made it VERY difficult for “mere mortals” to navigate the labyrinth of Google local. But persevere and you’ll be highly rewarded!

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Why Google+ / Google My Business / Google Reviews Matter

First of all, God only knows what the correct terminology is for Google local reviews.  Is it Google local? Google+ Local? Google My Business? The snack pack? Seriously, Google seems to delight in constantly changing the nomenclature, and reorganizing where everything “lives” for small businesses. Be that as it may, it’s incredibly important if you are a local business to master your Google My Busines / Google local listing! If –

  • Customers search for businesses, products, and/or services like yours on Google, and if those searches have a local character (e.g., CPA firm, pizza, massage therapist, probate attorney, etc.), then your Google local listing makes a HUGE impact not only on whether you rank at the top of Google but how you are perceived. In a nutshell, the MORE reviews you have on Google the HIGHER you rank on relevant Google searches and the MORE potential customers you get – for FREE. How to Claim & Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
  • Use the Google location changer, or the official AdWords preview tool to see if your business ranks for local searches vis-a-vis various local communities.

Your steps, therefore, are –

  1. Claim your Google My Business local listing.
  2. Optimize it for keywords, including cross-linking TO/FROM your Google My Business listing and your website.
  3. Soliciting legitimate customer reviews in a pro-active fashion.

Let’s drill down.

Finding and Claiming Your Google My Business Listing

To find / claim your listing, go to Google My Business and follow the instructions there. You’ll need to “claim” your listing usually via Postcard verification. Do NOT lose the email / login with which you claim it as it is nearly impossible to reset the password!  Go figure!  Self-driving cars – that, Google can do. Make an easy to use password system – nope, that’s impossible.

Optimize Your Listing

Login to your listing, and optimize your hours, business description, and other key information points about your business. Upload some photos if you can. Anything to make your listing more active and real. When you get customer reviews, this is where you will also be able to respond to reviews.

Visit and then click on the far right bottom / resetting your login to your business. Optimize your listing with keywords and a link back to your website. For “extra credit” post updates to your Google+ listing, although this is not really required anymore.

Be sure to cross link your listing to/from your website, and use a service like Yext or Moz Local to optimize your 2nd tier listings.

Generate a Customer Review Link and Solicit Honest Reviews

Finally, you’ll want to generate an easy-to-use “please review us” link. The easiest way to do this is to use the Google Review Link Generator, and follow their instructions. Then use a URL-shortener like,, or to shorten that URL. Customize it to make it easy to say and remember; consider generating emails / postcards that contain it.

For example –


Thank you so much for using The JM Internet Group Renov! We’re proud to serve our Northern Nevada customers.

If you have a moment, we would REALLY appreciate a short, honest review on the Google Local review system.

Visit, and then click on the blue “review” button.

In this way, you can pro-actively solicit honest reviews from happy customers. “You don’t ask, you don’t get” is a motto for many businesses outside of “fun” areas such as dining, cafes, bars, amusement parks, etc.


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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.