Although there are other ways to get your business to show up on the first page of Google, Google My Business is an incredibly valuable (and easy) tool to use that helps you: Control, index, and display pertinent business information Interact with potential customers and manage your online review reputation Curate customer photos, videos, and other user-generated content Gather insights regarding how your customers are arriving on your site The signals sent from Google My Business even play a role in local SEO strategy. Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date There are many different parts of your Google My Business listing, so let’s start with your core business information: Name Address Phone Number Website Description Category Attributes Google My Business requests your name, address and phone number (otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing. Upon receiving a neutral 3-star review, the owner actively reached out to see how he could “raise that 3-star review to a 5-star review.” Now, that’s customer service. Speak directly to your customers through Google My Business Messages What if your customers can’t find something on your listing or website? My phone number is included in my Google My Business listing.” But actually, sometimes your customers don’t want to call you. Let’s take a look at how Google Posts can optimize your listing. This is where Google Posts come in. Google opened its post feature it to all businesses in 2017. Google My Business Insights can tell you: How customers are finding your business (direct vs. discovery searches) Where on Google your customers are finding your listing (Search vs. Maps) The actions your customers are taking on your listing (Visiting your site, clicking on directions, browsing the photo gallery, calling you) Areas that your customers are living (based on direction queries) Total phone calls and time when customers are calling Let’s start with the most important question: How your customers are finding you? Direct searches show that your customers know about your company and are using your business name or address to find you.
Just a few days ago, I found something that surprised me.
A phone book.
These still exist?
After all, 60% of Americans use smartphones and tablets to search for local products and services. And that number only continues to grow.
Information is at our fingertips.
Why would you take the time to look up a business’ number in a phone book when you can find it instantly with a Google search?
Now, let’s turn the table.
Think of that same scenario but from your perspective as a business owner.
What are your customers finding when they search for your business online?
If they need to know your phone number, how quickly can they access it?
If they want to know if you have parking available, how will they find out?
You need to make sure this information is available to consumers before they even reach your website.
Enter: Google My Business (GMB), a listing of your business’ operating information, reviews, posts, and so much more.
Although most of this information can likely be found on your website, Google My Business indexes the content you provide for consistency across Google Search, Maps, and Google+.
So when your customers search for you, it will be waiting for them.
But it’s not just a place to find basic information about your business.
When used correctly, Google My Business is a powerful tool that can increase your revenue and provide valuable insights about your customers.
I’m going to explain its importance and how you can optimize it to generate more sales.
The number one mistake business owners make with Google My Business
Let’s face it. Google dominates search.
According to Net Marketshare, approximately 80% of all searches happen on Google.
To put things into perspective, there are 3.5 billion searches per day.
The kicker? Most people don’t get past Google’s first page of search results.
A study examined the number of click-throughs for each Google search result, and they exponentially decreased on page two.
In other words, your customers are finding what they need on Google’s first page.
That’s why Google My Business is so important.
Although there are other ways to get your business to show up on the first page of Google, Google My Business is an incredibly valuable (and easy) tool to use that helps you:
- Control, index, and display pertinent business information
- Interact with potential customers and manage your online review reputation
- Curate customer photos, videos, and other user-generated content
- Gather insights regarding how your customers are arriving on your site
The signals sent from Google My Business even play a role in local SEO strategy.
Yet, 56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their free Google My Business account.
This is surprising because a Google study found that “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.”
There is an enormous upside for using Google My Business, and the process to claim your business only takes a few steps.
To start, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Next, input the basic information (name, address, phone number, website) about your business.
Then, you’ll be required to verify your account by submitting a code that is mailed to your business address. This step is necessary to unlock all GMB features.
After your company information is added, you can access your dashboard to start personalizing your listing.
But don’t stop there. You’re not done!
Most companies make this mistake. They claim their Google My Business account, add the bare minimum details, and abandon it.
They’re leaving money on the table.
You need to optimize it.
Claiming the account is just the start. There are so many ways you can use it.
When leveraged correctly, Google My Business can lead to increased sales and improved customer loyalty.
Here are the steps you need to optimize it in order to make more money for your business.
1. Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date
There are many different parts of your Google My Business listing, so let’s start with your core business information:
- Phone Number
Google My Business requests your name, address and phone number (otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing.
This information will be indexed by Google Search, Maps and Google+, providing a foundation for your local SEO.
Your information should be consistent with what is currently listed on your website.
Actually, you need to ensure the information is exactly the same.
Inconsistencies in the information will negatively impact your search ranking.
When inputting your address, make sure it matches with the correct coordinates on the map and include the same zip code (5-digit vs. hyphenated 9-digit code) provided on your website.
Additionally, it’s better to have a local number as opposed to a national or call center option.
After you’ve provided NAP, you can focus on two very important pieces of your listing: your business category and your company attributes.
These areas require you to be specific in regards to what type of business you operate.
You should consider your keyword strategy when adding your business category and attributes.
Be careful, though.
I don’t recommend you stuff your listing with keywords.
Google My Business prohibits that type of behavior. In 2016, they eliminated users’ ability to edit GMB descriptions and introduced attributes to provide a more accurate listing.
While your category is meant to be very specific, attributes can paint a clearer picture of your business and the experience you provide.
It is beneficial to browse the complete list of 2,395 business categories to make sure you’re capturing the correct classification of your company.
Remember to be specific. Don’t put “Cosmetology” if you run a “Nail Salon.”
Attributes allow business owners to expand their business’ capabilities in ways that might not be apparent from the business category they have selected.
Does your restaurant have a patio or bar seating? Is it kid-friendly?
What are the amenities in your apartment complex? Tennis courts? Indoor pool?
Does your coffee shop offer free wifi? Public restrooms?
These attributes can be added to answer questions your customers will likely have and provide a better understanding of the business’ capabilities and offerings.
After your basic information is complete, you can move on and personalize the visual aspect of your listing.
The first thing your customers will notice when searching for your business?
Your profile picture.
No listing is complete without a photo.
A Synup study found, “Listings with photos are 2x as likely to be considered reputable and get 35% more clicks.”
Google My Business encourages you to upload a profile photo, cover photo, and video to showcase your business. Each has their own purpose shown below:
Not only can you upload your own high-quality content, but you can also feature user-generated content too.
Someone snapped and posted a great pic of your flagship entrée?
Use it as your profile picture by selecting it under the “Photos tagged of your business” option.
Encouraging your customers to add photos of their interactions with your business can lead to a plentiful gallery of user-generated content on…