Google My Business optimization is really important for anyone who has a GMB listing. Why?
Well, according to Net Marketshare, Google holds approximately 80% of all searches. This means your GMB listing will be a likely resource people turn to when your business shows in search results.
As a business owner, you must be asking yourself questions like:
- What are my customers finding when they search for my business online?
- If they need to know my phone number or business address, how quickly can they access it?
- If they want to book or reserve an appointment, how conveniently can they do it?
Well, the best thing to do is make sure all this information is ready before people even open your website. This is where Google My Business and optimizing your GMB listing comes into play.
Did you know that Google My Business lets you:
- Manage, record, and promote relevant business information.
- Engage with potential customers and manage your online reputation.
- Curate customer photos, videos, and other user-generated content.
- Collect customer insights.
A Google My Business listing can be a pretty powerful tool when optimized correctly. Don't know how to do this?
We've got you covered...
Why Google My Business Optimization is important?
A highly-optimized Google My Business listing provides heaps of opportunities for businesses, especially for local ones. Your GMB listing is one of the first things people see when they search for your business name.
It's also easily viewed when your business shows up in search results.
Only 44% of local retailers have claimed their free Google My Business account.
If you own a local business of any kind this is a must-have tool and I highly suggest you claim your GMB account now.
Take note that claiming your GMB account is only the first step, optimizing it is next...
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Over the years, Google has created features that businesses should take advantage of to enhance their GMB listing. These features help grab a customer's attention and make your business stand out from the rest.
Simply follow these Google My Business optimization steps and you'll be good to go!
1. Complete Your Business Information
Here's the list of core business information that needs to be accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date in your GMB listing:
- Phone Number
I'd like to put an emphasis on ACCURATE and UP-TO-DATE business information.
Your information should always be consistent with what is currently listed on your site because they will be indexed by Google Search, Maps and Google+, providing a foundation for your local SEO.
What's the catch? Discrepancies in your business information will impact your search ranking in a NEGATIVE way.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Anyone, including your competition, can suggest a
change or edit to your GMB listing so always keep an eye on your listing through the GMB dashboard.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when filling out your business information:
- Make sure that your address matches the correct coordinates on the map and include the same zip code format provided on your website.
- Enter a local phone number instead of a national or call center option.
- Be specific in choosing your business category. For example, choose "American Restaurant" instead of just "Restaurant".
- Avoid stuffing your business description with keywords.
- Add important attributes that will answer questions your customers will likely have. Examples include: patio or bar seating, kid-friendly, amenities, free wifi, public restrooms, etc.
- Never publish your listing without a profile picture. You can upload your own photo or feature user-generated photos. Know that listings with photos are more reputable and get 35% more clicks.
The bottom line is this...fill out as much information as you possibly can about your business. The more detail you provide, the better!
Have you checked your local directory listings lately?
Run a FREE scan to check the health of your online business information now! You'll instantly get access to your report.
2. Create Google My Business Posts
A Google My Business Post aka Google Post is a feature that allows businesses to share all sorts of content - text, links, and images - straight from their GMB profile. These posts can appear in both search and map results.
Google launched this feature in June 2017. It aims to help business owners connect with their customers by providing current and relevant information.
Google Posts are like “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that appear in Google search in your GMB listing.
To create a Google post, log in to your GMB account and click the Posts tab on the left-hand side.
Here are the different types of Google Posts:
What's New Posts let you add a short description and link. Similar to a status update on social media.
Offer Posts let you promote an upcoming special or discount you want to offer customers.
Event Posts are a great way to promote upcoming events your business is hosting or sponsoring.
Product Posts let you create a post about a new product or service.
3. Take Advantage of Google's Booking Button Feature
Google My Business optimization is made even more powerful with their online booking buttons.
Google’s Booking button feature makes it a lot easier to acquire new customers. People don’t even have to leave Google to book an appointment with you.
The way it works is very easy. Here's how:
4. Activate Google Messaging
Did you know that 90% of customers prefer to get a text message than a phone call? It's true, most people don't want to talk on the phone anymore.
Experts found out that direct SMS messaging even has a higher conversion rate than mobile advertising. Here's proof:
SMS boasts a higher response rate than mobile advertising
Google, naturally, saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. As a result, Google messaging was born.
Message Button in a GMB Listing
Google messaging enables business owners to communicate with their customers real-time. It lets us answer questions and comments through text messaging.
If you're not comfortable using your personal number for this, you can download Google Allo as an alternative.
Using messaging is just another way to make it easy for potential customers to reach out. Be careful though, if you don't have the ability to respond to inquiries promptly, enabling this feature could backfire on you.
5. Use the Questions & Answers Feature
Google's Questions and Answers feature is as cool to use as it sounds.
It allows business owners to:
- add frequently asked questions to their listing,
- answer questions from potential customers, and
- highlight top responses.
Google's Questions and Answers Feature
Here are a few things to remember about Questions & Answers:
- Download Google Maps app on your mobile device to see, ask and answer questions.
- You will see notifications of new questions in the Google Maps app and NOT in the Google My Business app.
- You will receive an email notification when there's a new question.
Read Google’s Q&A guidelines to learn more about this feature.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Anyone can answer questions asked of your business so always be alert and make sure you answer questions quickly and proactively.
6. Ask for Online Reviews
I've mentioned time and again that online reviews can catapult your business to greater heights.
Your GMB listing is definitely the first place I'd recommend you focus on getting high quantity and quality reviews. Reviews play a huge part in a potential customer's decision-making process.
Google My Business Listing Review Feature
Here's a tip! Respond to your online reviews.
A good review is an opportunity to turn a customer into a raving fan of your business. A neutral or bad review, on the other hand, is an opportunity to make things right.
Responding to all online reviews is basic customer service, but most businesses don't take the time to do this.
7. Upload Photos and Videos to Your GMB Listing
Another secret of a well-optimized Google My Business listing is to upload photos and videos to your listing. There's no doubt that visual content is appealing.
Google My Business lets business owners upload photos and videos easily.
For brick and mortar businesses this is a great way for people to get a better feel of what your business looks like. Featuring the right photos and videos can be enough to push a potential client into visiting your location!
You can check out Google My Business Photo and Video Guidelines for more information.
That's it! These are the Google My Business optimization secrets you should apply to your own listing today.
If you'd rather not take the time to optimize your GMB listing don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'd be happy to help.
If you 'd like to dig a little deeper on Google My Business optimization here are some additional resources:
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Are you looking for more solid local marketing tips and tricks? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing.
Header image courtesy of Pixabay.com.