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6 Tips to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

6 Tips to Optimize Google My Business Listing

In a previous blog post, I talked about the importance of Google My Business and why every single business should have one.  Now that you have a listing, here are 6 tips to optimize Google My Business lising.

1. Complete your business information and add a description

If you’ve a local business, I hope that your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and business category are up to date, at a minimum.  You Name, Address and Phone Number are known as NAP and should be consistent across all social media sites as well as your website.  Google will ding you if your information is inconsistent so be sure it is the same everywhere.

Have you ever looked at a local business on Google map, saw that it said it was open, drove all the way there only to find the business closed? If so, how did that make you feel about the business?  Did you make you want to return or just find someone else? More than likely you found a competitor.

Double check all the seemingly boring information on your Google My Business page and cross check it with the information on your website to ensure your messaging is consistent across your channels.

Choose your business categories

You can choose up to 10 categories for you listing to showoff the myriad of services you business performs. However, you can only choose one primary category, which Google gives the most weight to so be sure to choose your primary and secondary categories wisely. For example, at Digital Community Connections Agency our primary category is “internet marketing service” since it was the closest we could find.

For our secondary categories, we chose website designer, advertising agency, marketing consultant, and marketing consultant to help us pop up more often for searches of that type that relate to our areas of expertise.

Add a business description

Previously on GMB, the most notable way to tell Google and searchers about your business was through the Google My Business category list of which there are nearly 4,000 options now.

However, that doesn’t always give enough information especially if you’re in a niche business.  We did a lot of business with pet professionals such as dog groomers, but there is not ‘dog groomer’ category so groomers were left with having to select pet sitter, dog walker or another pet related category even though that is not what their business is about.

That problem has been solved with descriptions.  Google now gives you 750 characters (~250 characters before the “Read More” separator) to describe your products, services, value, or whatever you want to communicate to your audience.

I highly suggest you make full use of every character, with a description between 730-750 characters.  Every sentence, phrase, word, character tells the buyer more about you.  Descriptions also improve your search rankings in Google.

Just as you’re able to better communicate who you are to customers, you’re able to tell Google the same information, and they can rank you for more search queries.

2. Upload more (better) images

Here’s a fun fact about images on your GMB listing straight from Google: “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.” Would you prefer customers visit your location rather than your competitors’? Then add some photos.

Let’s say you were looking to buy some furniture from a local retailer. One store has a GMB listing that only shows their storefront, their logo, and their Google Street View but the other one has images for their furniture.  Who are you more likley to buy from?

If you sell products, showcase your products on your GMB listing.

If you provide a service like pet sitting or plumbing or landscaping or home remodeling, show off the work! Take interior pics of your office/showroom. Take exterior pics of your building so buyers know which building is yours, or show them some of the cute pets you are take care of. Upload pictures of your team so people know who to look for when they come in or who might be coming to their home.

Other people can upload images to your Google My Business page too, and you should encourage customers to do so. Do you own a restaurant? If so, you should already be asking people to tag photos on Instagram and Facebook. Why not on GMB?

Give them a great experience, and they’re more likely to promote your brand by giving you free exposure like adding photos to your GMB page, tagging your business in social posts, leaving positive reviews, and more.

If you do have users sharing photos, don’t forget to moderate them, sorting by Images By Customers.

However, we commend you remove the following types of photos:

  • Images posted by mistake that have nothing to do with your business
  • Poor quality images you don’t want representing your business
  • Images that may be offensive or should remain private

3. Respond to ALL Reviews – The good, the bad and the ugly.

The reviews on your GMB page can be a deciding factor in whether or not a buyer engages with your brand. Just check out some of these statistics about Local Consumer Reviews:

  • 97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
  • 30% of consumers say they’ve judged a business based on its responses to reviews
  • When making a purchase decision, people look to others for their opinions.

We all do it. And we do it often. We want to learn from the experiences of those who have purchased before us.

In the same vein, always respond to your reviews. Positive reviews give a good impression of your business and should be easy to respond to. But what do you do about the inevitable one-star rating and the scathing negative review? Many businesses shy away from them, hoping they’ll go unnoticed, or worse, they end up engaging in a public knockdown-drag out-keyboard-fight. That’s not good for anybody — Least of all the spectators, but you need to respond to those reviews. The people leaving them deserve it, and the people reading them need it.

4. Use posts to promote events, offers, and content

In June 2017, Google rolled out Google posts to businesses.  You can now have your content show up on Google Search and Google maps by creating posts.

So what kind of content should you post?

  • Action Posts: these posts focus on asking users to take a particular action for example

     

    • New Product or Service
    • Sale
    • Special Offer
  • Branding Posts: These posts give your customers a peek into your company culture, or work to spread your brand’s message.
    • Company News
    • Employee of the Month
    • Motivational Messages
    • Upcoming Events
  • Blog Previews: If you have an active blog or resource section, then you can use Posts to share a preview of new resources as they are posted. The post would then send people to the full article on your website.
  • Review Showcase: Repost reviews you have gotten on Google or other social sites
  • Q + A Posts
    • Questions you typically get from customers or prospects
  • Local Posts:  Posts about your community or city or area.
  • Holiday posts:  Everyone loves holidays posts!  If you have a pet related business, posting pictures of cute pets is always a hit.

You cou can post whatever you want customers to know about your or your company.

5. Upload videos

There is no better way to attract, engage, and communicate with your buyers than through video.  This doesn’t really require any explanation if you’re been following the trends in social media.  People love video.  Social sites love to show video.  Enough said, just do it.

6. Add shortnames

As of June 2019, Google added a featured called “shortnames” that allows your posts to get found in Google search as well as Google maps.  Shortnames allows customers to “follow” your business through your Google My Business page.  Once someone finds and follows your business, in their Google maps “For You” tab, Google posts and information about the business can begin to appear.  Be sure your shortname is meaningful for your your business.

If you follow these tips to optimize your Google My Business listing, your page will look professional and will standout from your competition.

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