Are you familiar with Google My Business? If you’re not, you should be- here’s why.
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that Google launched back in 2014 for companies and organizations to manage their online presence across Google. It is a simple way to make your business more discoverable, but most importantly, to stand out from the crowd.
Having a fully optimized listing in Google My Business is crucial for local SEO (search engine optimization). Google offers an array of valuable features that, when properly utilized, can maximize the impact of your business listing.
Ready to go? Great! Here are our six recommendations on how to make the best use of Google My Business for local SEO:
#1: Tell the story of your business.
The first step is to provide a description of your business in 750 characters or less. That’s not much, so your goal is to be concise. Give honest, relevant, and essential information that will give a searcher the clearest possible understanding of your identity from the jump.
The description appears when a user searches for your business on Google. If your business is well-known and has a significant web presence searchable by Google, the description may come from other sources, like Wikipedia, instead. (Bonus tip: if you want this to be true for you, too, and you think your business is significant enough for its own Wikipedia page, create one!)
In the ‘Info’ section of Google My Business, make absolutely certain that all your identifying information is current and complete: provide a current address, phone number, contact numbers, website address – as many ways of being found as the form allows and you can provide!
#2: Share photos of your business
Share photos that capture what your business is about. Images are vital for SEO- Google reports businesses with photos to receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to websites, than businesses that don’t have images in their listings.
A new feature in Google My Business is that you choose the main image for your listing, and provide logos at the top-right of your profile. Upload photos of your business, products, and events so that your customers can learn more about your business.
What are some good images to include?
- Exterior views of your business location. This is a must for anyone that will visit your site.
- Highlights of your physical site. Are you a school with a beautiful front garden? A nursery school with an attractive playground? A shopping or business center with an iconic piece of art on your grounds?
- Products. Obviously, you won’t provide a complete photo catalog, but show an image or two of what you’re most associated with: an attractive shot of clean, shiny cars in your dealership, or your sales floor with well-arranged appliances or other goods. If you’re a restaurant, your most Instagram-worthy platings had better be here, too.
Your team in action. This is especially useful if your team has visible branding, like uniforms, T-shirts, or caps. Pictures of your team helping customers or showing clients merchandise create emotional resonance!
#3: Add call to actions for bookings
If you enable this functionality, customers can easily book your service (a hotel room, restaurant reservations, appointments, etc.) when they find you on Google Search and Maps. This is HUGE- allowing visitors to engage with you immediately, without having to pick up their phones, visit a site, or otherwise click away will give a big boost to engagement. Link your account with a participating booking provider to enable this functionality directly on your Google search results.
Local restaurants have enthusiastically embraced this feature, using “Reserve a Table” CTAs where people, with just one click, can book a table to the restaurant without visiting the website. Users can also check the available tables for other days.
#4: Create great business posts
With your Google My Business listing, you can publish updates and offers directly to your Search and Maps results page, like:
- News and announcements
- Events such as open houses, a special brunch, upcoming performances
- Sales and discounts, including coupon codes
- New arrivals of products or advance orders
You can also include an image and a call to action in these posts. The available calls to action are Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More, Sign Up, and Call Now.
#5: Get messages from your customers
One of the most amazing new features of Google My Business is the ‘Messaging’ section that allows customers to contact you immediately upon finding your listing. You can respond to questions, and share information directly, for free!
Using this feature requires the Google My Business app on your iOS or Android device. Once you turn on messaging, users will see a “Message” button on your Google My Business listing. Your customers will then be able to message you at any time.
#6: Manage your business’ reviews
Did you know that 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Google reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO.
Having a lot of good reviews can help new people find you online and trust your business. Always encourage your customers to leave you a review!
Customers can post reviews your business listing. Respond to them. It shows your customers (and searchers) that you care about them, but also that you’re active and engaged. Always respond to your reviews, whether positive or negative.
If you don’t have a Google My Business listing yet, you definitely need to create one. Using this free and easy-to-use tool is necessary to be easily found online by your customers and potential customers. Leveraging all its amazing features, and it won’t just be a listing- it’ll be marketing!
Want to make sure your Google My Business listing maximizes attention and traffic? Contact us. We’ll create an amazing Google My Business listing for you, or any other channel for boosting your web presence!