Every single business, whether with a physical storefront or not, should have a Google My Business (GMB) listing. One of the first aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is to claim your business on Google.
If you haven’t claimed your GMB profile, you could be missing out on the opportunity to organically connect with thousands of local customers searching for your goods or services.
Google handles 3.8 million searches per minute on average across the globe. That comes out to 228 million searches per hour, 5.6 billion searches per day, or 2 trillion searches per year! What does this mean for small business? Claiming and optimizing the GMB profile can help attract customers that have searched for a product or service specific to the business.
A few easy tweaks can improve your Google My Business rankings and ensure that, when your potential customers perform a discovery search, your business is among the first they see.
Claim & Verify Your Business
First things first, if you haven’t claimed your GMB listing, now’s the time to do so. Head to Google Business to get started on claiming or creating a new profile for your business. You will need to log in with a Google email account and claim the business. You may be in luck and someone may have already created a portion of the listing. For instance, if your website is found a lot on online, chances are Google has some of the business information stored on their search engine.
If that’s the case, claim the half listed business and fill out all pertinent business information. If none of the business’ information can be found, go ahead and start a new listing. Get the company logo ready, a cover photo to upload to the Photos section, and fill in all hours, services, and business description in the listing.
The last step is to ensure all business information is accurate and added to the GMB profile. The more completed the profile, the better the chance your listing will appear to the right in the search results.
Optimize Your Google My Business Description
There are multiple GMB options that a business listing should consider utilizing to help rank the search listing. For instance, optimizing the GMB description for the profile is a great start. The business’ description displays below customers reviews. This is an excellent opportunity share additional information about the business as well as adding specific keywords related to the business.
Google reveals the first 250 characters underneath the Google reviews. Make sure to include the most important information about the business in the first one to two sentences. Don’t forget to include relevant keywords for the business. Similarly you’re able to showcase your company reviews which can help entice potential customers to do business with you.
Add High-Quality Photos
To maximize your GMB adding high quality and up-to-date photos are crucial to the business listing. In fact, businesses that upload photos on a regular basis earn more clicks than businesses who do not share any photos. According to Google, listings who incorporate photos receive 35% more clicks than listings without photos. Including photos on the listing is a no-brainer, notably adding photos to the listing will help with:
- Establishing the business as trustworthy and credible – for example, a business that is transparent is seen as trustworthy. Displaying multiple photos of customers, projects, and real photos will help create credibility for the business.
- Identifies what the business looks like from an outside perspective – customers love to see how the business performs. Providing an insiders look to the outside world provides full transparency.
- Share visual references for your products & services – a marketing opportunity to display what products or services your business provides. Shine through and display professional photos to out compete your competitors.
Professional photos can be from using a DLSR camera or good lighting with a smartphone. Start with a few basic photos and build upon the catalog. A word of warning do not overly promote or market these services / products. Simply provide a story for these items, everyone loves a good story.
Engage With Searchers
Google is a big fan of businesses who interact with their customer base and rewards business’ GMB listings. There are three methods to engage with searchers via GMB and we’ll review these below.
Engage & Respond to Reviews
Responding to reviews communicates to potential leads you care about your business and customers. You’re investing in the customer’s experience by demonstrating patience and engagement. For instance, adding a personal comment to all reviews on Google affects customers in a positive way.
When positive review comes in, thank the customer for their time. The customer went out of the way to add a review on your business’ behalf. On the other hand, if a customer leaves a negative review, attempt to engage with them online and move the conversation offline. Once the situation becomes resolved, add a follow up comment to show what happen to resolve the issue. Nothing better than a happy ending to a terrible situation.
Create Google My Business Posts
GMB posts are an underrated tool to stay in contact with local searchers. For example, you can use GMB posts to highlight events, new products, or even the company’s latest blog post. Add images to help grab the searcher’s attention, links to relevant landing pages, and a strong call-to-action. Posts expire after seven days, so make sure to add posts regularly. We recommend adding a post once a week. The extra effort could very well mean a leg up over your competition’s GMB ranking.
Google My Business Messaging
Customers can get in touch with your business in real-time through your Business Profile on Google. While this feature is geared towards mobile users, every listing should enable the feature. The feature will need to be enabled manually. As a business owner or manager of the GMB listing, you can answer questions, attract more customers, or tell a story about your business.
Turning on the messaging option is as simple as logging into the GMB listing and heading to Customers – Messages – Turn on, it’s that simple. Enabling the feature will allow customers to interact with you and your business.
Google My Business Page will need to be apart of any SEO marketing strategy. In an ultra competitive world that is local SEO, optimizing the GMB listing may help with standing out from competitors and attract more customers.