Your Google My Business page, sometimes called your Google Page or business listing. This is the section that shows up on the right side of a Google search results page when you search for a business or business type. Here you will see the name of the business, the location, phone number, buttons to leave a review and visit the website. On mobile, this is often the first thing to show up when searching Google. Did you know as a business owner you have control over much of what appears here?
Optimizing your Google My Business listing is incredibly important as this may be one of the first places that your customers find you. Ensuring you have accurate information allows shoppers to find you quickly and have the most accurate information.
We have compiled a Google My Business optimization checklist of things you need to do for your business to make certain that your Google My Business page is working for you and ensuring you are not losing customers due to inaccurate information.
Claim Your Listing
The first step to take when optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) page is to verify your business. When you verify your business, you are ensuring that only you, the business owner, manager or marketing agency, can make modifications to your page. This ensures that all information will be accurate to your business page and will be managed correctly and to your standard.
Take the time to create or claim a GMB listing, once you have created your GMB listing you will be asked to verify your listing. Depending on the type of business you have you will have different ways of verifying your listing, which is determined by Google. The most common form of verification is via mail, in which you will receive a postcard with a PIN that you will use to verify your listing.
A couple of benefits arise when you take the time to verify your business. When your business is verified you will be eligible to appear on Maps, Search and other Google services. Verifying your business is also the only way you can respond to reviews. The benefits of responding to reviews will be outlined in a later section.
Complete Your Profile
Once your GMB page has been verified you can take the necessary steps to update your profile with all the necessary information. This information will provide shoppers with all they need so they can interact with your business. The following are areas of your profile that should be completed:
- Address: Add your address, if you have multiple locations you can add them to your profile so you will be easier to find.
- Hours: Update your hours accordingly. Google has now added multiple ways to update hours based on different services. Have office hours but also have store front hours, you can now differentiate between the two.
- Type of Business & Description: Provide shoppers with information about your business, this also includes creating a description with keywords. Shoppers will read this and determine if they would like to work with you.
- Categories: Select the categories that your business falls into. This will help your business show up when people search for those categories (I.e. landscaper, landscape contractor, contractor).
- Q & A: Update this section with your FAQ’s. This way you can stay on top of potential questions that shoppers may have. This also shows that you are intuitive to your customers’ needs and are willing to take proactive steps to help them.
Upload Photos to Your Google My Business Page
There are several different types of photos that you can add to your GMB page that will help you optimize your page. The following are the three types of photos you should have:
- Logo: Add your logo, so customers can easily recognize your brand when they search for you.
- Cover Photo: Add a cover photo that represents your company. Adding a cover photo does not guarantee that this will be the first picture someone sees.
- Additional Photos: These are photos that highlight your business and different areas of your business (I.e. products, store front, project photos etc.)
These additional photos can also be optimized to better improve your position on a search, namely they help differentiate you from other businesses. Follow these guidelines when uploading photos to your GMB Page:
- Categorize Photos: When you categorize photos users can easily see pictures that are relevant to their purchase decision.
- Geo Tag Photos: Geotag photos so that your business becomes more relevant to customers searching for your services in a specific area. This again helps with visibility and differentiation.
- Update Frequently: Update your photos frequently, this will keep the content on your page relevant to users.
- Gather Photos from Customers: Happy customers will want to show off your products and services, ask them to take pictures and upload as you receive them to keep content relevant and meaningful.
Photos are a visual representation of your business, take the opportunity to invest in good business specific photos that depict your business as customers would like to see it. Pictures of your exterior will allow users to easily identify your business. Interior photos will depict the environment that they will be stepping into, which will entice them to come visit your business. Other photos like team events, team members working together, products and services demonstrate company culture and provide customers with a glimpse into your business fostering trust. Which will entice customers to interact with your business.
Utilize Updates and Posts
Using the Posts functionality on Google My Business is a great way to engage and inform your clients before they get to your website. A post in not limited to one single style, you can upload a post that focuses on an update, an offer or a sale. Each has a specific function that can help you get accurate information to your potential clients.
Using the posts functionality on GMB is a great way to update clients on any news. Are you open? Are you experiencing a higher than normal volume of calls and emails and won’t be able to reach everyone on time? Use this basic format to update your clients on any information that may be pertinent to them. Shoppers will likely see your Google My Business Page before reaching your website, informing them before they take extra steps will foster favour for your brand.
You can easily post an offer on your Google My Business Page. Is there a new product you would like to inform your clients about? Use a post to show clients a photo of the product and highlight any information about the product.
Will there be a sale or event that you would like to inform shoppers about? Use a post to inform them of the sale or event timeline, what they can expect and even add a picture to highlight what will be on sale or what the event will be about.
The benefit of using posts to inform your clients, is that you can direct them to your website for more information, the online shop, a form on your website and you can easily set up calls straight from the post. The options are endless! They all lead to happy clients that will be happy to work with you again and refer you to others.
You may think that gathering reviews is not a worthwhile investment. We are here to tell you that it is. When you respond to reviews on GMB, whether positive or negative, you are building your customers trust. Replying to reviews demonstrates to shoppers that you are interested in your customers and what they have to say about their experience. This will also foster future reviews, as shoppers will have proof that you value them.
The most important reason for replying to reviews is that it can increase leads. When you respond to reviews you are increasing your visibility on Google and thusly, more people are willing to visit your location and/or website.
Should I Respond to Both Positive and Negative Reviews?
Both positive and negative reviews are beneficial to your business, as they increase your visibility on Google. Take the time to respond to all reviews, this is your opportunity to thank those that had a great experience and to respond to those that had a negative experience.
As mentioned, respond to the negative reviews. Let those shoppers know you value them and their experience and show them that you are willing to learn and improve your business. Apologize for what you can control and explain to them the things you cannot control but develop steps that can prevent these uncontrollable events from making a major difference. An example of an uncontrollable event is the weather. The weather has cancelled an event, in the future monitoring the weather and providing advance notice may mitigate the negative effects of the uncontrollable event.
When you respond to reviews you foster good relationships with your customers which will lead to more sales.
When responding to reviews keep in mind a few things:
- Be kind; regardless of the type of review
- Don’t get personal
- Keep your response short
- Thank ALL of your reviewers
- Do not use this as a sales opportunity
Ask For Reviews
Ask for reviews! You would be surprised how many happy customers would love to leave a review highlighting your great services and/or products, but they simply don’t know how to do it. Direct customers to your GMB page and let them know easy it is to leave reviews via mobile devices or desktops and watch reviews come in.
Ultimately, Google My Business is a great tool to use to put your business at the forefront of a shopper’s mind. When you have taken the time to optimize your GMB, customers will easily be able to find all the information they need, from store hours, updates and future events it is all there.
Your Google My Business page is now considered an extension to your social media account, so use it to your advantage by consistently updating the information shoppers will see.
Your Google My Business Page is likely the first page shoppers will see. Foster trust and brand recognition by constantly keeping information up to date. As a customer the easier it is to find the information that I need the more willing I will be to work with your business.