What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a directory that allows you to gain greater visibility in Google search. A listing allows customers to interact with your business effortlessly while adding credibility and visibility to the business. Customers can readily access direct information about the business in Google, such as opening times, a phone number, address or businesses website. Google My Business is a great marketing tool as the account dashboard allows businesses to monitor the interest received through searches, calls and Click Through Rate (CTR).
Why you need a Google My Business profile
Businesses could benefit from setting up a Google My Business account as it provides a way to show the business is unique and changes how it can be promoted online. Most importantly, a listing increases your visibility in search and combined with citation and link building can increase trust and organic traffic.
Google my business offers a simple way for businesses to interact with customers through the ‘Message Options’ feature. ‘Message Options’ lets the customer send messages in real time to the business. Businesses can also take advantage of the ‘Listings’ side bar where they can post events, what’s new or special offers to boost customer engagement.
Google My Business Dashboard:
How to set up a Google My Business account
Claiming your listing
Setting up a Google My Business account is simple. Firstly, it is important to check that an account has not already been made for the business by doing a quick search for the company name. In order to claim the new listing, navigate to the Google My Business homepage and fill out the profile with as much information as possible.
Filling out a successful profile
A successful profile is a complete profile. Adding in as much information as possible will allow your customers to find all the knowledge they need about your business. Having all your information in one place also adds credibility to your Goole My Business profile, customers will appreciate that they do not have to look around for different types of information.
Contact details and location
Google My Business makes it easier for customers to find the businesses location. You need to provide a physical address in order to verify your business. However, if you do not serve your clients at a physical address it is against Google Guidelines to list your address publically on Google.
If the business is not at a physical address – for example an online businesses, you can list the service area instead.
Google My Business restricts businesses from choosing a business service that does not already exist on Google, if your category does not appear in the list choose the closet option.
Writing a great description
The secret to a great description is to sum up all the businesses aims in a few sentences. Your description should be around 75 words in total. Remember to be as specific as possible, highlight any solutions your business provides and sell your business to the customer. You should also make sure that your description includes relevant keywords for your main products or services.
Uploading pictures and videos
To add credibility to your business be sure to take advantage of adding good quality photos and videos to your Google My Business profile. Most customers will focus on the visual elements therefore, adding photos of the products or services that your business provides will create a more trusted environment for your customer.
Remember to add new images and videos as and when you have them, this will help your profile show higher up in the listing for your category.
Most users will be looking at your business page for this exact reason and by adding in your opening times to your Google My Business account, it becomes easier for customers to visit your business in person. Make sure you keep these times up to date including any changes that may occur. E.g. Bank Holidays or remodelling closures.
Take advantage of this feature if you have a calendar or scheduling app, as you can connect it directly to your Google My Business profile and let customers contact you directly with an appointment request. By using the appointment URL, you are creating an easy opportunity for customers to connect with your business.
Verifying the business
In order to verify your business, click the ‘Verify Now’ button and request a postcard. You should receive a postcard within 14 days which includes a verification code. All you need to do is enter in the 5 digit code and submit. Once your business is verified you’ll show up in relevant searches.
Enhancing your Google My Business Profile
Creating an accessible Google My Business is imperative, a messy looking profile could put potential customers off using your business. Make sure to keep up to date with ‘Message Options’ as this is your portal to talking to customers and answering questions that perhaps other customers may want to know. Also try to keep all addresses, telephone numbers and map listings up to date in order to provide the best service to potential customers who will want to access your businesses information.
Google My Business gives you the option to showcase your products to your customers. To add products simply input the product name and category it falls under, if the category does not already exist on Google you can insert a new category. Next, add some details such as price and description, choose whether your product should have a fixed price option or a price range to aim for. Key in a product description, be sure to list the most important information as there is a limit of 1000 characters. Lastly, choose a call to action button from ‘Order Online’, ‘Buy’, ‘Learn More’ and ‘Get Offer’ to entice customers to click.
Be sure to list all the services that your business provides in this section of Google My Business. Add in the item name, price and description to let your customers know what services you have to offer. You can add as many sections as needed and add in subcategories of items available under these sections. Eg. A business offering ‘Brand Design’ as a section an item available would be ‘Visual Branding.’
Google My Business allows businesses to create posts. These can be news, offers, products or events. This is a useful tool as potential customers could be swayed to your business over others because of an available deal and your listing will be more prominent. A post is easy to set up and lasts 7 days, so if you wish to extend an offer make sure that your business replaces the offer a week after posting.
Always have a look at what other businesses like yours are posting to find inspiration and keep up to date with the latest trends.
By geotagging photos as you upload them to your Google My Business profile, it will transfer the customer back to the business profile and will increase your search engine visibility. Geotagging photos is simple just upload the photo in a high-quality and add in the business address, this will help your business to score higher in Google’s local ranking.
Focusing on reviews
Encouraging customers to leave reviews will add credibility.
This could be the most vital aspect of Google My Business as many customers are review focused and you want to present your business in the best possible light. One disadvantage of Google My Business is that you are not notified when a customer writes a review therefore, it is good practice to log into your Google My Business a few times a week.
Getting more reviews than your competitors will help your listing become more visible. Make an effort to reach out to clients you have worked with and ask for a review. If you have a service-based business you can also add this expectation into your contract so that clients know before you work with them that you will ask for a review.
It’s also important to respond to reviews on your profile, this shows current and potential customers that you are engaged and customer-focused.
The home page of your Google My Business account will reveal information such as your latest post and how you ranked in views, searches and activity. This data can be invaluable for your business as it gives you an idea of what the customers respond well to and what is not working.
Use the insights tab to find out more on how customers have searched for your business, what queries they use in search, where your information was displayed, actions and photo views.
How to turn clicks into customers
Fully optimise your Google My Business experience by downloading the Google My Business app as this will keep you in constant contact with customers on the go. The faster the responses you can provide, the less customers will lose interest and the further the potential of turning clicks into customers will go. Analysing calls, website clicks, direction requests, follows and bookings are all features visible to the business. Always focus on the data Google My Business provides and translate the data into which posts work and which posts don’t – this will expand your profile and reach your target audience.
The future of Google My Business
Google My Business will become essential to all businesses in the future so getting a profile created as soon as possible is of great significance for all types of business. Google My Business is connecting companies with customers in a new and innovate way and will create many more opportunities to work together.
If you run a local business then combining a Google My Business profile with citation and link building will help you gain visibility in organic search. For local SEO basics take a look at this post.