Google My Business (GMB) is the platform that lets you display your business’s information in Google’s search results and Google Maps, and those that aren’t using it could be missing out on a lot of engagement.
GMB is among the easiest ways to increase the visibility of your business and connect with potential customers; a recent survey by BrightLocal found that 63 percent of respondents used Google to find information about a local business in 2020. If you have yet to take advantage of GMB, the good news is it’s free to use and you don’t have to be a tech wizard to set up your listing.
Here are some easy ways to optimize your GMB listing:
1. Fill in Your Info: First thing’s first, you have to register your business if you haven’t already. If you have a listing, it’s worth double-checking that your information is still correct. New listings will have to go through the verification process, which usually means receiving a postcard from Google and entering the included code.
At a minimum, your general info should include fields like:
- Phone number
For bonus points, you can also add things like holiday hours, products and services, and links to your social media pages or website.
2. Set the Category: When setting up your listing, you’ll be prompted to pick a primary category, which helps your business show up in relevant searches and lets Google properly classify you. If you were hoping to find a specific category that isn’t available, choose something more general that is still an accurate description. Your primary category will hold the most sway over your local rankings, but you can also add secondary categories that outline additional services you may offer.
3. Write a Business Description: Google allows you to add a 750-word business description to your profile. This section can give people a better sense of your services and what sets you apart from your competitors, so it’s worth putting in some effort. Whether it’s a history of the business, product details, or your organizational goals, this is a great place to make your elevator pitch to a potential customer.
4. Add Photos: They say that seeing is believing, so consider adding some photos to give people a sense of the experience they’ll get when they make the trip. It’s best to keep your uploads within Google’s specific photo categories, which include:
- Exterior photos
- Interior photos
- Common areas
- Team photos
Be sure to follow Google’s formatting guidelines.
5. Encourage Reviews: Even if you’re not a digital or e-commerce business, online reviews have become an essential part of the modern buying process. BrightLocal reports that 93 percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, and 87 percent of consumers read online reviews.
GMB makes it easy for customers to leave 1-5 star reviews and share their experience, so it’s a good idea to encourage reviews whenever you can. It’s a violation of Google’s Terms of Service to offer a reward for a positive review, but you can consider strategies like giving out “leave us a review” cards in your store or linking to your GMB page from your website.
The platform also lets you respond to your reviews, which is always a good idea, even if the message is just a quick “thank you.”
6. Answer Customer Questions: The GMB question and answers feature lets users publicly ask questions about your business as well as view the questions other users have posted. It’s worth paying attention to any incoming questions and responding to them as quickly as possible so that your customers have access to the correct information. One nice part about this feature is that you can add your own frequently asked questions and post the answers yourself.
7. Take Advantage of Posts: GMB’s Posts is a way to engage with your audience that is not unlike a social media channel. You can share info about an upcoming promotion, a new product, or a big announcement, and posts can be accompanied by a photo and a link.
In an increasingly fast-moving digital world, users want to access up-to-date information as easily and quickly as possible. Ultimately, the small amount of time it takes to optimize your GMB listing is more than worth the increased visibility for your brand.
Bio: Jake Bissaro
Jake Bissaro is a freelance content writer and digital marketing pro that has written extensively about health and wellness, senior living, and music. He is passionate about creating focused, consistent messaging and has experience with every aspect of the content life cycle, including strategy, SEO, keyword research, interviewing, publishing, and promotion. To learn more about Jake — and to have him write for your brand — check out his nDash writer profile.