A glamorous sports car and a gorgeous model will make heads turn anywhere. Can your business do the same? Possibly. By Google My Business optimization, you can definitely up your game.
No one said establishing a business was easy. You’ve worked day and night to get it off the ground. But it will all be for nothing if people can’t find it. Most digital marketers will tell you all about the importance of SEO and how it can help you rank on search. But that can be time-consuming and challenging. So, for now, an easier solution is to get noticed through Google My Business (GMB) optimization.
Every business owner needs to claim and optimize their GMB listing. By doing so, they can verify that they own a valid business and, therefore, are authorized to manage its presence on the web. More importantly, Google My Business has the power to drive customers and prospects right to your business. And with the current COVID-19 situation, you need all the help you can get.
In case you’re wondering what GMB is, let’s cover the basics quickly
According to eMarketer.com, nearly 91% of US smartphone users will search on their mobile phones this year. And since much of Google’s business model is based on mobile usage, it makes GMB a feasible option. Besides, as a free online tool, it’s not something that should be overlooked.
A GMB listing can provide information that customers might be looking for. But here, business owners can also upload photos, offers, events, reviews, and anything else that could inspire people to visit.
As you can see, the profile typically allows searchers to obtain a considerable amount of information at a quick glance such as:
- Business name
- Business type
- Store location
- Link to Google Maps, which allows people to see nearby areas and get directions.
- Operating hours
- Phone number
- Link to website
- Whether the business profile is claimed/verified.
- Overall Star Rating
- Popular times to visit
For optimal Google My Business optimization, ensure all the information is correct and consistent with what is currently listed on your website.
How can a GMB listing help my business?
Did you know that 88% of consumers who search for a local business on their mobile phone visit or call within a day? With enough data at their fingertips, customers can decide instantly whether they want to engage with your business.
So your Google My Business listing can:
- Increase visibility in search
- Display detailed information about your company
- Allow Google to understand your business better and lets your GMB listing appear in more searches
- Send more traffic to your website, social media channels, and physical location
- Enhance the shopping experience
So yeah, optimizing your GMB listing is one sure way to boost your local exposure. It improves the chances of showing up in the Google Local 3-pack.
Want to learn more about the secrets behind Google My Business optimization?
Well, then you’ve come to the right place. Over the years, Google My Business has added numerous features that can help businesses get the attention they deserve. If you’re not aware of these options, you’re not making the most out of your listing. More importantly, an optimized GMB page lets Google crawl your website for more information.
To get you on the road to success as quickly and effortlessly as possible, we’ve got all the information lined up for you. Let’s make the most out of this opportunity and place yourself in front of those who are searching for your services or products.
1. Select the right category
There are 3942 Google My Business categories. Though you can only select one primary category, Google allows you to select up to 10 additional categories.
Be sure to select the right primary category for your business. Pick one that accurately describes your business. You may even want to do competitive and keyword research to understand which one is best for you. You should also choose additional categories to help explain what your business does and what services you provide. This can improve your Google rankings.
For example, if you own a taco shop, what do you choose, a Mexican restaurant or taco shop? Research to see what primary categories your competitors are using and ranking for in the local pack results. If there’s too much competition in the primary category, selecting the niche category can help you step out in the crowd.
2. Add a business description
Even with the huge number of categories to choose from, it can be difficult to find one that accurately describes your business. This is true, especially if a business is too niche-specific or is a single-location business that doesn’t have a narrow focus. That’s when your description comes in handy.
Business owners are allotted 750 characters, 250 before the “Read More” separator. This is your chance to communicate your business’s value to your audience through your products and services. Notice how Arctic Baby Bottoms, a cloth diaper boutique store, describes itself to consumers and Google. Thus appropriate descriptions can also improve your search rankings.
3. Upload quality, high-resolution images regularly
Exceptional photos can help your listing really stand out. Consumers can get a glimpse of what your business is all about. Synup.com stated that GMB listings with photos are twice as likely to be considered reputable. More impressively, Google reported that businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location and 35% more clicks through to their website than ones without pictures.
Google prefers high-quality photos taken in well-lit areas that have no significant edits or excessive use of filters. Plus, different recommended dimensions are required for different types of photos.
- Acceptable Image Formats: JPG or PNG
- Sizes: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
Consider adding the following photos to your Google My Business listing:
- Profile photo
- Cover photo
- Exterior and interior photos
- Product photos
- Team photos
There are additional ways you can further optimize your GMB listing. Some techniques include:
- Using high-quality images taken by a Google-trusted photographer makes your business look even better.
- Producing a 360 view virtual tour of your business for customers can generate twice as much interest.
- The cover photo is perhaps the most important. It sets the tone for your business while also helping customers understand what to expect. So choose a cover photo that accurately represents your business.
- Google looks at metadata attached to images you post on your GMB listing. Utilizing geotagged images allows it to recognize whether or not the geotag is local to the area.
- Up-close pics of products, the interior setting of your business, and even the sales reps can make customers feel more confident in their expectations about your business.
These simple steps not only help local search rankings but also Google My Business optimization. Local SEO experts agree that taking the time to do so is definitely worthwhile.
But by creating a memorable experience, satisfied customers are more likely to promote your brand by adding pictures to your GMB page, tagging your business in social posts, and leaving positive reviews. But don’t forget to sort these pictures as Images By Customers.
4. Use Adwords location phone extensions
Local extensions provide information such as your business’s phone number, address, operating hours, ratings, etc. It can be displayed in various places such as Google Maps, Google Search, Google Search Network Partner Sites, etc.
In order to get the best local exposure, link your Google My Business with the Adwords account. This makes sure that your customers have the correct local information with local extensions. Additionally, Google AdWords location phone extensions allow people searching on mobile devices to call, get directions, or visit your website with a single touch. Moreover, according to synup.com, ads with location extensions get a 10% boost in Click-Through Rates.
5. Add posts to share updates
Google Posts lets you create and share content about your business on a GMB listing. You can add text, photos, gifs, or CTA buttons such as Buy now, Sign up, Get offer, Learn more, etc. So the opportunities for expanding local reach here are endless, from showcasing a new product to promoting an upcoming event to highlighting a recent company policy.
When you create a post on GMB, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Create an engaging post that communicates directly with your audience.
- You have 300 words for each post.
- If you use a CTA button, only 60-70 characters will appear on a mobile screen or desktop display.
- Use only high-quality images. Google uses a 4:3 ratio, so the minimum dimension is 400×300 pixels.
Google Posts are time-specific and typically disappear after seven days unless a shorter time frame has been selected. Therefore, for Google My Business optimization, you will need to organize an editorial calendar designated for your Google Post content and integrate it into your marketing strategy.
6. Ask for reviews and then respond
Brightlocal.com reported that 90% of people read reviews before deciding on buying a product. And 73% of consumers trust a local business more because of positive reviews. Moreover, displaying reviews is beneficial for a couple of reasons; it adds user-generated content, boosting SEO rankings, as well as builds consumer confidence.
So the more reviews you have, the chance of boosting sales and revenue goes up considerably. The good news is that Google My Business encourages this. So simply ask your customers to leave a review. In fact, 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked.
Now you need to reply to all of them, which includes the perfect 5-star rating as well as the dreaded 1-star. Responding to a customer that gives a 5-star rating can possibly convert them into a passionate brand evangelist.
But more importantly, you need to handle the negative reviews with finesse. Ignoring them can damage your local image. It’s important to reach out and resolve the situation not only to pacify the angry customer but also to show other people that you are a business that acknowledges customer complaints and strives to resolve their issues while aiming to improve online experiences.
Bonus tip: Make sure your website and content are optimized for search.
While GMB listing is a great way to show up on search, don’t let it be your only strategy. You’ll need to incorporate additional SEO services to the mix, such as local SEO, link building, content optimization, and much more. SEO can help strengthen the authority of your website.
Moreover, a website that is optimized for both customers and search engines is more likely to make it to Google Local 3-pack. So even if SEO takes time and money, the rewards will be well worth it.
These are, by no means the only ways to achieve Google My Business optimization. There are several other ways to enhance your business’ online visibility. But by taking advantage of everything that this resource has to offer, you’ll be one step ahead of all the other brands out there.
And now that you know some of the tips and tricks, you’re better equipped to get your business noticed. More importantly, you have more knowledge on how to market your business and lure in more potential customers.
So are you ready to make heads turn?