Optimize your business listing on Google My Business
Are you looking for simple and effective ways to bring more people to your business website?
Among the top search trends like voice search, long tail keywords, and semantics, one of the most important is local search. People want relevant results, and often when searching for a business, they want results nearby.
Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google to help you optimize your business listing. It appears in local results, and also as a result when people search for your business name.
Let’s take a step back and put ourselves in the position of a customers. Have you ever been hanging out with friends and talked about heading over to a local store, but weren’t sure if they were open? What would you do? Pull out your phone and ask “What are the hours of ABC Brewery?”
Guess where Google is going to find those results? From the hours the business has listed on their Google My Business page.
What about checking if a local menu has vegetarian options? Or if holiday hours are different. Or even what special promotions a store has.
Chances are, you’ve looked all these things up on Google at some point. You expected the information to be easy to access and readily available.
That is the advantage of a Google My Business page. It makes it easy for people to find out what they need to know about your business, and it helps Google show the information you want displayed.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that Google owns the search world, with 80% of searches happening on Google. (That’s over 3.5 billion searches each day).
Google My Business offers a free way for you to control what information is displayed in search results, and also help your business appear more often in local searches.
It is a hugely valuable tool, yet many listings still go unclaimed, or have inaccurate or missing information.
Is Google My Business right for you?
Google stipulates that only businesses that make contact with customers during their stated hours are eligible for a listing. But many business names, like ours, which do most of our business over the phone or online still have auto-generated listings.
I recommend still claiming your business listing or risk someone else claiming it (yes, this happens) or having inaccurate information displayed.
How to claim your Google business listing
Go to Google My Business.
Click Manage Now. Google will then take you through a short survey where you’ll enter your business name and claim an existing listing, or create a new one. They’ll then take you through a short set up process to clarify pertinent details like your business location and website.
After creating a profile, you can verify your listing by having a call sent to the phone number for your business, or a card physically mailed to your business address on the listing. Not necessary, but an important step to solidify your ranking and allow you to access many of the additional features.
Now that you own your Google My Business listing, how can it help your business?
How to get the most from your Google My Business Listing
Fill out the complete profile.
The initial set up only prompts basic details like address, phone number, and website.
To make your profile more appealing to potential customers, fill out all the information possible.
Check that your information is consistent with what is listed on your website. This is important because inconsistent information can negatively impact your ranking, and get your listing suspended.
Make sure you verify your listing as I mentioned above to unlock features like reviews, messaging, and the ability to respond to questions.
Enter as much information as possible.
Not only will customers appreciate the details, Google is using your information to properly display your business in search results. By being thorough in your listing, you’re giving more content for Google to use to rank you.
Use real images
It is fine to include some of your professional marketing images, but more important are those authentic photos. Customers want to see the “real” side of your business.
Photos of your store, products in situ, and events you host or attend are all great ways to show the authentic side of your business.
Continually add images.
Upload as many images as you can.
found a strong correlation between number of Google My Business profile images and calls, clicks, and direction requests.
- Businesses on GMB that have with over 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 2,717% more direction requests than the average business.
- Businesses with more than 100 images get 1,065% more website clicks than the average business, while those with just one get 65% fewer.
Businesses with more images on their GMB profiles also get more views on maps and search.
More images is also correlated with a higher amount of times a business will appear in direct and discovery searches.
How can you get more photos on your Google My Business profile?
Upload them yourself.
Google wants photos that “reflect the customer experience”. You can post photos of your store, but you should also be creative. For example, if you own an auto dealership, be sure to get a photo of each customer that completes a purchase to post on your profile. Host special events at your business location and get plenty of fun photos.
Encourage customers to upload photos. You can also upload customer photos from your personal Google account to have them appear under the "Photos by Customers" tab.
Google now makes it easy to get reviews from your customers. On your dashboard you should see suggested actions, and the Get Reviews offers a convenient link to share with your customers.
For ecommerce businesses, you might want to consider using the Customer Reviews option available in the Google Merchant Center
84% of people trust reviews as much as they trust their friends. And over 92% of people check reviews before purchasing a product. Reviews play a major role in earning the trust of consumers. Send a friendly email, include the review link in your email signature, put it on your website, or post it on social media.
It never hurts to ask!
Use the Messaging Option
In today's digital world, customers expect higher levels of communication than ever before. They want replies to their social media posts, answers to their emails or contact forms, and instant replies to their messages.
You can allow viewers to message you directly from your listing. Download the My Business messaging app from the iOS or Play store. Once set up, you can see and respond instantly to messages. Delays could cost you sales, so make sure you're setting up messaging on a device that will be regularly monitored.
Post Regular Offers or Updates
When Google axed their Google+ platform, they integrated many of the features into the Google My Business profiles, including the ability to post updates.
Regularly posting updates ensures you have new information for Google to display to viewers. The post option expires after 14 days, requiring you to post something new if you want it to appear in results.
What kinds of things should you be posting?
Special offers, limited time sales, news / press releases, and company updates are all great things to post. Google lets you include details, images or video, and select the appropriate button for a link.
Posts like "Everything 50% Off this week only!" are a great way to give customers an incentive to stop into your store immediately. Help them see what is going on inside your store when they're searching for you online.
Because we don't have a physical store for people to visit, I try to post things like events we're attending, special promotions on our products or services, and news about our company.
Optimize for Key Search Terms
Use a keyword tool like Google Ads to see what people are searching for in your industry. Use those key terms when describing your products or services under the Services tab, as seen in the example below.
If monitored and maintained, your Google My Business listing can give your business a huge advantage in local search. As Google increasingly makes it easier for customers to gather information directly from search results, having a way for customers to learn and interact with your business from the search results page will make a big different for your business online.
Have you used Google My Business? What was your experience?