How To Optimise Your Google My Business Listing
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that enables businesses to manage how they appear on Google Search and Google Maps. This listing doesn’t replace your website but compliments it and gives your business a better presence on Google. If your business has been around for several years it is likely that Google has already created a business page for you, however, you would still be required to claim this listing. It is recommended you check this beforehand to avoid duplication issues.
Many see these business listings as a natural successor to older online directories like Yell with the added benefit of it being powered by the world’s largest search engine.
Why Is Google My Business Important?
According to Google there has been a 500% increase in the number of “near me” and searches that include phrases like “can I buy” or “to buy” in the last 2 years, showing more than ever people are using these platforms to make decisions about where to go and one in two people who conduct a local search (such as “phone repair near me”) visit a store than day. Another important factor is that these results are often found at the top of all organic searches, meaning it has huge potential to drive traffic to your business. This is why it is vital your company appears on these searches and your profile is fully optimised.
Setting Up Your Google My Business – Step By Step Guide
Step 1 – Claim / Verify Business Listing – There are several ways to verify your GMB listing including by phone, by postcard and by email.
Step 2 – Fully Optimise / Complete Business Information & Description
Step 3 – Choose Business Categories
Step 4 – Add GMB Short Name
Step 5 – Upload Images / Videos, Logo And Cover Photo
Step 6 – Add Products / Services
Step 7 – Reach Out For Reviews, Photos & Videos
Step 8 – Maintain & Frequently Update GMB Listing
Optimising Your Google My Business Page –
Enter Complete Data + Maintain (Seasonal) – Google states that complete profiles are twice as likely to be considered reputable, therefore, it’s well worth the time helping your business appear trustworthy online. Remember to update your listing throughout the seasons, for example, are you closed over the Christmas period? You are recommended to update your listing to let your customers know.
Include Keywords – Like with anything relating to search engines, keywords are still important, therefore, try to include your targeted keywords throughout your profile (without keyword stuffing!). Remember you are only allowed 750 characters in your GMB business description so make them count.
Add High Quality Photos / Videos – (Including Up To Date Logo / Cover Photo) – According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more driving direction requests and 35% more website click-throughs compared to competitors. Therefore, it is suggested you add as many high-quality photos and videos as possible relating to your business. Google recommends that photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and a JPEG or PNG file.
Promote Offers / Events & Content – Got an offer on? putting on an event? these are the kind of things you should be sharing on your Google My Business page along with any interesting blogs you create.
Add Short Name – In June 2019, Google introduced the shortnames feature, this allows your posts to get in Google search as well as Google Maps.
Encourage / Respond To All Reviews – Moz reported in 2017 that 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. This shows how influential reviews can be and why you should encourage your customers to leave reviews for your companies GMB listing. It is also recommended that you answer all reviews, good or bad, this will show transparency and help users trust your business and show Google your profile is active.
Getting reviews on your GMB listing is easy, after securing your short name (shown above) you will then be able to easily share this with customers via email, text and Whatsapp asking them to review your product or service.
Add Products – On your GMB dashboard you will find a products options, on here you can list all the products you sell or services you offer, this will increase their visibility of Google and secure more click-throughs to your product / service pages.
Encourage Pictures / Videos – As mentioned above, listings with more images / videos perform better, therefore, try to encourage your customers to post up pictures and videos of your products or service to show others what you have to offer, for example, this would work perfectly for restaurants, builders and gardeners.
Communication Options – GMB enables your customers to directly contact you, this includes via text message. To activate this service, log in to your GMB dashboard and click Messaging.
Keep Your Customers Updated – This platform should be frequently updated to keep your customers in the loop at all times, from new offers to changes in business hours, its simple, the more you update your GMB the more visibility your brand will get on Google so you have nothing to lose.
Website Maintenance – It is important to remember that if done correctly, this will drive more traffic to your website, therefore, you must make sure your website is up to scratch and delivers both in terms of looking good and performance.
Insights – On your Google My Business dashboard, you will find an insight section which gives you an in-depth view summarising the activity on your GMB listing, including how customers are finding your business (direct vs discovery), where on Google did they find you (search vs maps), the actions customers are taking on your listing (clicking on your site, looking for directions, browsing your phones or calling your company)
Taking Bookings Directly / Display Menus – For example if you own a hotel you can show your class ratings and list of amenities, bars and restaurants can include links for online orders and reservation and display their menu, whereas, if you run a health and / or beauty business you will be able to add a booking button and / or add a menu of your services. And better still if your scheduling software is compatible with Google you can take bookings directly from your GMB listing without the user even having to leave your profile. You can find the full list of Google scheduling partners here.
Download The App – To make it easier to manage your Google My Business listing, you can download the app on Apple or Android, from here you can directly reply to customers or upload new photos and videos.
Managing Multiple Sites? – If you have multiple listings or franchises, you can use Google’s API v4.1 to easily change multiple listings at once.