You may have heard people talking about Google My Business, and you may have dismissed it as something else on your digital to-do-list. But we cannot argue enough as to why you should take some time to set-up your Google My Business Profile and ensure you’re gaining search engine visibility for those local search queries.
If you’ve been wondering on the what, the how and the why let’s explain it to you in plain English so that you can truly understand the power of this Google feature.
When people are searching for your business or a business like yours that provides a similar service or product, Google will pull together third-party information from across the web to give the user the information it needs. These searches could be location-based or searches that use ‘near me’ type queries.
This may sound great, but the truth is you have much less control over the information Google is showing to potential customers.
They could be sourcing information from a bad review or a generic review website. There’s no guarantee that Google will put your business website first.
This is because Google no longer thinks of your business as a ‘listing’, but rather an entity. This means Google creates your business entity by collecting online information about your company. Even if it’s information not created by your company.
Google then puts all this information together to show the user everything there is to know about your business. Yes, that includes, the good, the bad and the ugly.
In a nutshell, this is precisely why you should update and create your Google My Business listing, because it puts the control back in your hands, so you can show users your very best.
Google My Business Listings are now ‘the’ place that users source information about your company, and by keeping it updated and optimised you do yourself a great favour in capturing more customers.
You may have seen Google My Business listings already appearing during your own searches. These are becoming critical pieces of online realty, as it gives the user enough information about a business to help them decide if they want to engage with that business, let alone make the decision to visit their website.
So here’s where to start.
Create Your Listing
Begin by visiting the Google My Business Page and set-up your company page.
It’s really easy, and free. Which means there’s even more reason to do it.
Ensure to add essential information such as;
- Business name
- Link to website
- Phone number
- Business hours
- Business category
While this may seem like basic information, it’s important that you keep this information up to date, as for users who find a wrong number of dead website, it can be an instant frustration.
For ease, try to marry up the information that you have on your website, with the information you provide on your listing. This can help you check that all information is relevant and correct.
This is an area you must keep well maintained. For those business listings that are not updated, Google has been known to penalise sites that have outdated listings.
Upload Images and Videos
We’re all driven by images, if we can’t touch and feel something, we want to be able to see what it looks like and imagine the experience. Therefore adding up to date images to your Google My Business listing is a great way to show potential customers what they can expect.
One big hint here is to use your own business images. Don’t be tempted to use stock images, as this is very transparent and will put off users.
Images are especially important if you sell goods such as food or clothes.
It’s reported by Google that businesses with photos receive 42% more requests on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website, than businesses with no photos.
Take as many pictures as you can of the inside and outside of your business, and populate them on your listing so the user gets a real sense of your company and the products or services it provides.
Gain Reviews & Respond to Them
While many businesses might be a little scared that users can review them, the fact is, reviews are a major deciding factor in how successful your listing will become.
When people look to purchase something they look for other opinions. That’s just simple buyer psychology, we all do it.
By ensuring you have reviews, you’re helping a user make a decision on whether to visit your business.
Encourage your customers to leave you feedback on Google, and if you do get a dreaded 1-star review, simply answer it rationally.
There’s nothing more revealing about a business than how they respond to negative feedback, so reply to the review and ensure to keep your customer in mind.
Keep Posts Updated
Posts are a place on Google My Business where you can shout about everything that is going on in your business. From events and offers to blog posts and press releases.
Make an effort to keep this part of your listing just as up-to-date as your social media channels.
After all, if users find you, they want to know what you’re up to, and if there’s anything they should know about before picking up the phone or visiting your website.
Even Google has revealed that around 70% of people look at multiple businesses before making a final choice. With posts, you can share timely and relevant updates that could help your business stand out.
Get Your Customers Onboard
If you run a business where customers play a pivotal role in its marketing, for example, a restaurant or pub, then this is where getting them onboard with Google can help accelerate your listing.
As users can suggest edits and even add photos to Google My Business listings, it’s an ideal way for you to encourage your customers to write reviews and post their pictures.
After all, this is what we want to see as a user.
This feature has become especially successful for restaurants, where customers have taken pictures of their food and then uploaded them to Google tagging in the business.
Make customers aware of your business listing and encourage them to post a review and upload their photos.
Locations & Multiple Locations
By adopting a My Google Business listing you can gain better exposure within your local area, as you’ve told Google the location you are in.
Again, you have probably already spotted this in your own Google search, as the map is often shown pointing to the location of each business within your area that provides that product or service.
One key thing to note is if you have multiple locations. For example, if your head office is based in London, but then you have offices in Scotland or Wales, it’s essential that you add information about your other locations so that you can also be found in these areas.
Location search results have been a game-changer for many businesses who have created a My Google Business listing, as they’re no longer competing for business across the entire UK, but just their core area of business.
Keep It Fresh
Now that you know how and why you should create your My Google Business listing, it’s now about keeping it fresh and up to date.
No matter what happens in your local business, or what you do, add this information to your listing to keep it consistently fresh and up to date. This helps in making Google aware that your listing is active, and helps them play their part in making sure you’re shown when a user is seeking your business in your area.
The benefits of Google My Business are only hugely positive for your company. It can increase your search visibility, provide a better shopping experience for your buyers and give more traffic to your website.
Google My Business is the primary place users are getting information about your business, so utilise this guide to optimise your Google listing and help your business become even more digitally savvy.