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How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

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When used correctly your Google My Business listing is not just a place to find basic information about your business. It’s a powerful tool that can increase your revenue and provide valuable insights about your customers.

The number one mistake business owners make with Google My Business is not taking advantage of all the ‘extra’ opportunities it gives you to promote your business on page one of Google! How crazy is that?

There are 3.5 billion internet searches per day, of which approximately 75% of those searches happen on Google.

Let’s face it. Google dominates search. Most people don’t get past Google’s first page of search results. So, in other words, your customers are finding what they need on Google’s first page. Studies have shown that the number of click-throughs for each Google search result, have exponentially decreased by page two.

That’s why Google My Business is so important, it helps you to get on page one, even if your website is struggling to get there. Can you afford not to be on page one?

56% of local retailers still 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, visited that 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. But many businesses do no more than fill in the basic details, then call it a day.

They’re leaving money on the table. They’re throwing opportunity out the window. They need to optimize it. You need to optimize yours!

When leveraged correctly, Google My Business can lead to increased sales and improved customer loyalty. So, let’s take a look at how you can leverage Google My Business to get your business in-front of more people and make you a leader in your field.

Let's Optimize Your Google My Business Listing Now !

1. Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date

 

Your Google My Business listing has many different sections, and it’s important that they are correct and consistent across all your online marketing platforms.

Your Google My Business listing uses your name, address and phone number to begin the listing. This information will be indexed by Google Search and Maps, and provides the basis for your local SEO.

Make sure you enter exactly the same information that is shown on your website. If Google detects inconsistencies with the information you supplied it will negatively affect your search ranking!

When entering your address, make sure it matches with the correct longitude and latitude coordinates on Google Maps, and include the same post code provided on your website. It’s also better to use a local phone number not a national, or free phone one. Remember, think ‘LOCAL’.

Once you have entered your basic information, you need to choose what category your business will be listed in. Be as specific as you can, don’t use general business categories, instead of ‘Resturant’ use ‘Coffee Shop’ or ‘Sandwich Bar’ try to drill down to as specific a niche as possible.

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.

Next, you’ll be able to add some of your business ‘attributes’. Tell your visitors what they can expect from your business, use it to answer questions they may have. Is there free WiFi? An outside terrace, or a place to store there shopping while they use your facility? This will help your visitors have a better understanding of your business.

The category and business attributes sections are also a place to boost your Local SEO options, but be careful not to ‘over-optimize’ as this can be detrimental to your efforts. Try to word your descriptions in a natural way, that’s not only stuffed with keywords!

Now, it’s time to add some photographs of your business. An image really does speak a thousand words, so make sure you use images that portray your business in a good light. Google My Business gives you the opportunity to upload a profile photo, cover photo, and video to showcase your business. So, use them. You also have the ability to use images from other people that have tagged you in their images. You can find these in the “Photos tagged of your business” option. Encouraging your customers to add photos of their interactions with your business, is a great way to promote your business, as the images are from a source you don’t control, i.e. independent.

But they don’t have to just share their experiences in photos.

They can write about their experience too. Let’s take a look at step 2 of optimizing your Google My Business page.

2. Ask for reviews (and then respond to them)

 

Like it or not, reviews are the lifeblood of local search. Actually they are the lifeblood of all business. Just think about how you do your own online shopping. I bet the first thing you do when you find a product that interests you, is to read the reviews.

It’s a really simple equation:

Good reviews = sales.  More good reviews = more sales.

Even bad reviews can present you with opportunities. Bad reviews give credibility to the good reviews, they also give you an opportunity to ‘put right’ the problem, in a public way. Which gives you credibility and instils trust.

Almost everyone likes a second opinion. That’s why 90% of people read reviews before purchasing.

But how do you get reviews from your customers?

It’s simple. You ask them!

Google My Business actively encourages you to ask your customers for reviews. You can send a link to your customers easily.

Here's how to do it!

 

  1. Open www.google.com/maps in your web browser.
  2. Then, in the top left corner, search the name of your company.
  3. Select your business, click the menu option in the top-left corner.
  4. Click “Share or Embed Map.”
  5. Click “Copy Link.”

 

Now all you need to do is to send this link to all your previous customers via email or text. You’ll soon start to receive reviews on your Google My Business page. But, now you’ll need to respond to them, all of them, using the Google My Business dashboard. If the review was good, thank them. If it was neutral, ask what you could have done differently to get a better review. If it was bad, ask what went wrong, and offer some kind of apology or option to try again. The main point here is that you are seen to be actively trying to be better at what you do.

Why? Well, 44.6% of people said they would be more likely to visit a business if the owner responded to negative reviews.

3. Speak directly to your customers through Google My Business Messages

 

It’s almost impossible to think of every possible answer to questions your visitors may have, and publish them online. That’s why it’s important to publish your contact details in as many places as you can. You need to make it easy for those customers/visitors to get hold of you. Not only does your Google My Business account list your phone number, address and email, it also gives you the opportunity for visitors to message you directly from page one in the Google search results.

A study found 90% of business leads would rather receive a text message than a phone call.

That’s why messaging can be a highly effective part of your marketing strategy. It can lead to increased customer engagement and can help close the sale. Studies show direct SMS messaging even has a higher conversion rate than mobile advertising.

That’s why Google introduced its messaging feature as a solution.

From your Google My Business dashboard you can activate this feature and begin to communicate with your customers via SMS text, straight from your Google My Business listing. Answering questions, fielding comments, and thereby increasing loyalty. You can even add canned messages, for example, an initial reply to a received message could be something like, “Thank you for contacting us. We will respond to your request directly.”

Being able to communicate directly and openly with your customers and visitors helps to foster a closer connection between you and your customers. Your business will be seen as transparent, which in turn leads to increased credibility and sales.

In the next section we’ll take a look at how Google Posts can optimize your Google My Business listing.

4. Add posts to share business updates

 

Have yo ever noticed on some Google My Business listings, there are also some stories, activities, articles etc. listed?

Well these are what Google calls ‘Google Posts’, think of the opportunity like having a mini website, full of your blog posts and activities. The key here is to keep it up to date with regular fresh content. Because your Google My Business listing will be shown to many more people than possibly you website will.

It’s an opportunity to shout out about all that make you great.

Google Posts allows you to add text, photos, gifs, and even call-to-action buttons including:

When creating your post, you should consider:

  1. Google allows a maximum of 1500 characters per single post, but only 60-70 characters will show up on the mobile and desktop display if you use a CTA button.
  2. The entire text post will show on mobile if no CTA button is used.
  3. The image you choose should be high-quality, and connected to your activity or event. Google uses a 4:3 ratio, so the minimum dimension required is 400×300 pixels.
  4. Speak directly to your audience. Don’t use industry jargon, focus on sharing content that will move your audience to engage with the post.
  5. Google provides insights (more on that in a bit) and engagement metrics for each post, so use them to see how to improve your next post.

After clicking “publish,” you can check out your post on your listing, it is ready and waiting for view by all those searching for your business.

Google Posts disappear after a few days, so it’s important to be timely and specific when crafting your posts. Think about setting up a strategy to always ensure a fresh piece of content is published regularly. That way, you can better integrate your posts into your marketing plan and monitor their impact on your business.

5. Track customer paths through Google My Business Insights

 

It’s important to know how your doing, how your posts are interacted with and how your visitors use your information. Your listing on Google My Business gives you the tools you need to stay informed and tailor your efforts to achieve maximum payback. In the menu of your GMB dashboard you will find an entry labelled, Insights.

Google My Business Insights can tell you all you need to know about your listing:

  1. How customers are finding your business
  2. Where on Google your customers are finding your listing
  3. The actions your customers are taking on your listing
  4. Areas that your customers are coming from
  5. Total phone calls and time when customers are calling

Let’s take a look at the most important question:

How are your customers are finding you, and what happens next?

Your visitors find you in one of two ways: direct searches or discovery searches.

Direct Searches show that your customers know about your company already, and use your business name or address to find you.

Discovery Searches are where someone searchs for the business type or category—not necessarily the business’ name.

Once you work out how people find your Google My Business listing, you’ll need to understand what happens next.

Lush Domain Website Design in Surrey Google my Business Insights

 

Are they visiting your website?

 

Are they requesting directions?

 

Are they calling you?

 

Or, just browsing your photos?

 

Google My Business provides an in-depth look at your customers’ actions in your listing. It tracks your users actions in the insights dashboard, which can help you understand what your customers find valuable in your listing. Where you need to improve and what you need to avoid. You are also able to use Google Insights to benchmark your content, specifically your photo gallery, against your competitors. You can analyse your gallery’s photo views and compare them to other businesses similar to yours. Image SEO is often overlooked, as such it is a great opportunity to take advantage of.

All of the information that Google Insights gives you can be used to track your customers’ activities and conversion paths. These help to provide a solid understanding of your customers’ actions prior to reaching your website, or reaching out to you directly from your Google My Business listing.

Conclusion

 

The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it is” is perfect for many things in life that seem to offer you quick riches or chances to succeed. But, in this case nothing could be further from the truth. Google My Business is a free and valuable tool that you’d be crazy not to use.

There are many ways customers can find your business, but there is no denying that Google Search is an incredibly powerful gateway to your website. In-fact Google searches count for more than 80% if internet searches, and Google My Business positions your important business information right in-front of them.

It helps with your local SEO, offers a chance to engage with your customers via reviews or posts, and provides useful insights on your customers’ purchasing paths. It’s an opportunity to manage interactions with your customers and present important business updates in a place your customers are already looking.

Not claiming and then optimizing your Google My Business listing is like saying, “No thanks” to a lottery win!

If you need help sorting out your Google My Business listing, we'd be happy to talk to you about how we can help.

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Jon Morrow

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