As a local business, maximizing your exposure on your local search engine is your top priority. Registering your business on Google My Business (GMB) should be your first step. By building a business profile with Google My Business your potential customers can discover a plethora of information without even visiting your site. This includes your business name, contact information, location as well as photos and reviews.
Google has also added many features your business page should take advantage of that help grab viewer’s attention and help boost your rank in local search results. If you haven’t yet created a GMB profile for your business you can do so here- https://www.google.com/business.
Make Sure Your Profile is Complete
Google will ask for some valuable basic information about your business including your business name, phone numbers, address and map location. This information is important as it helps potential clients and customers find your business.
One thing to be aware of is that other users can “suggest” an edit to the information of your business so make sure your information is accurate. Google does send notifications to inform the profile owners of any changes or updates. By consistently checking on your profile and its updates you can ensure that your business information stays correct. These updates can be checked under the “Google Updates” tab then “Review Updates.”
Google also encourages viewers that know about your business to answers questions about your business. These responses are shown on your business page and many business owners get concerned that this could have a negative impact on their business. Google’s philosophy is that answered questions and reviews help build community, trust and a more complete profile.
Either way it is important to consistently monitor and maintain your business profile just to be safe. Once your business profile is listed and verified you want to begin optimizing your Google My Business.
Google My Business Posts
Posts in GMB are similar to small ads or even social media posts that appear in your business listing. Businesses use them to add personality or relevant information to their business profile. To quote Google themselves:
“With Posts, you can share timely, relevant updates right on Google Search and Maps to help your business stand out to potential customers. And by including custom calls-to-action directly on your business listing, you can choose how to connect with your customers.”
Common uses for GMB posts include:
– Sharing daily or weekly specials and promotions.
– Promote upcoming events.
– Showcasing top or popular products or services.
– Sharing an awesome blog or link to another site.
Posts “go dark” after 7 days so timing and consistent posting is important. A good way to ensure you remember to maintain your posting is paying attention to Google’s reminders. Also remember posts show up prominently on mobile searches so make sure your posts are maintained to make sure your site stands out.
Google’s Booking Button
If your business relies on your customers making appointments or uses a scheduling software customers can now book directly from your Google My Business listing. This adds a convenience factor so potential customers do not have to even leave the page to another site. Be sure to take advantage of this integrated GMB feature, it’ll make it simpler to gain new customers or clients.
Google My Business Messaging
Customers and potential customers can now send text messages to your business when using a mobile search on chrome. This is a great way to interact with your customers with important information or answering questions.
To use this feature go to the “Messaging” tab on your GMB dashboard. Here you can set up a contact number to receive these messages and even an automated response for your potential customer. If you prefer to keep your personal phone information and business separate you can use Google’s Allo app. This app will use the same phone information used in your GMB profile except send the messages to an app instead of your direct phone number.
Google My Business Online Reviews
Google encourages business owners to ask their customers or clients for online reviews. Online reviews can help build trust with potential clients, and impact click through rates and search engine ranking.
Google does have its own guidelines for posting reviews and requesting customers to leave an online review. Whatever you do, do not bribe in exchange for a review. It is not only against Google’s guidelines but against laws of reviews in general. You can review Google’s guidelines here, Google’s guidelines for Google My Business reviews.
Photos and Videos
Adding photos and videos are a great way to build your brand and even show some behind the scenes action of your business. Take this as an opportunity to share images and videos of your employees in action or products directly pertaining to your business. You shouldn’t use stock photos or videos you would use for marketing or promotions. Google can also remove videos if the video isn’t relevant to the business location.
When using videos keep them short and sweet. A 30- second video length is recommended as human attention span is relatively short. Google does state that videos can take up to 24 hours to display but most will show up after a few minutes.
Google does have some general Google My Business Video Guidelines to follow. These include video duration, file size and video resolutions.
Business owners can now include a business description on their Google My Business listing. By using up to 750 characters owners can now describe what they offer, some business history or any other helpful information for viewers. Keep in mind only the first 250 characters will show up before getting cut-off in the knowledge panel.
Like everything else, Google provides us with Google Business Description Guidelines. Make sure you review these rules because Google does review business descriptions. On mobile devices the descriptions appear in the About tab while on desktop the descriptions appear in the Knowledge Panel.
If your business provides services such as spa and wellness services or salon services such as hair or nails you can utilize the Services list in Google My Business. This feature allows businesses to categorize and list out all of their provided services (or food items) along with the prices of each.
This feature is only available for food and drink, health, beauty, and other services businesses that do not have a third party “menu” link. You can use this feature by finding the Info tab on your GMB dashboard and click the “Services” section.
Get the Most Out of Your Business
The more engagement and interaction you have with your Google My Business listing the better your chances of ranking higher on your local search engines and organic rankings. Google is constantly adding and updating features to GMB. Be sure to utilize these opportunities and features to continue to optimize your Google My Business listing.