How to fully optimize your Google My Business listing
Everyone is looking
The internet has completely transformed business and culture. We have entered a golden age of information. You can find exactly what you’re looking for and a route to your destination in seconds. Need to go to the airport? Easy. Do you want to rent a car? Ended. Hunger? No problem. If you want it, Google will find it.
Currently, there are over 40,000 Google searches per second.
97% of consumers use the Internet to search for a local product or service.
88% of consumers read reviews online before making a local purchase.
In addition, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
50% of consumers who search a local store on a phone make a same-day visit.
And 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale within a day.
It is a very clear model. People search, then they go, then they buy. People use and trust the Internet. You need to take the facts and put yourself in a position where local consumers find you and your business.
Google My Business (GMB) Google My Business (GMB) allows business owners to list their business online, provide key information about their business, and attract new customers.
Here are some tips to help you get the most from your GMB ad.
Who is Google My Business for?
Google My Business is Google’s primary business listing service and has undergone various changes over the past two years. To be eligible, businesses must have a physical location or have direct interactions with their customers.
Google provides additional specific advice for chains and brands, departments of other companies, universities and institutions, and individual practitioners.
Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Top Contributor, has developed a “best practice” guide specifically designed for individual practitioners.
Your GMB Page allows you to control how your business shows up in Google search results, keep up-to-date useful business information, feature photos, and respond to reviews. Investing a little love and care in your ad can attract new customers the next time they search on Google.
How to settle down
1. Go to https://www.google.com/business/
2. Enter your business name, address, phone number, and category.
3. Begin the verification process.
Earlier this summer, we could only have verified our GMB ads via a postcard or a phone call. As of July 2016, Google started including email verification, making the process easier for business owners.
Get the basics right
Claiming and verifying your GMB listing is the very first step, as some people don’t even do it. Since Google wants to make sure that users find what they are looking for, it is essential that the GMB listing is accurate with up-to-date information.
So what information is needed for an optimized GMB page?
NAP (name, address, telephone number)
Something as simple as the name of the company can really trip people up. Some companies try to “play” the system by including a city name or a keyword, when it is not actually the name of the company. That’s a no no, and your GMB ad may be censored for spam.
So what is the best practice for entering your business name?
Directly from the horse’s mouth:
- If possible, use a local phone number instead of the central call center support number.
- Do not provide phone numbers or URLs that redirect or “refer” users to landing pages or phone numbers other than the actual business, including pages created on social media sites.
Your business name, address and telephone number are the most important parts. Make sure you get them correctly. Check them out. Then check again.
Choose specific categories that are relevant to your business. We have a much better chance of ranking for something specific like “organic juice bar” or “breakage and muffler repair” than more generic terms like “smoothies” or “auto repair”.
Google recommends only selecting one or two categories, but there hasn’t been a lot of data collected on the actual results of using two versus five categories. The important thing about categories is that they are specific and relevant.
It’s quite shocking that nearly half of all small businesses didn’t have a website in 2016. Setting up a website for your business is easier and cheaper than ever. Even for the technophobe, launching a website doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
Some advantages of including your website in your GMB ad:
It is enormous.
Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Mobile searches, especially for local businesses, are becoming increasingly important. Using an unsuitable mobile website on your phone is an incredibly frustrating experience for users. Don’t leave a bad taste in their mouths directing them to a website loaded with a clunky mobile experience.
Photos of your business were once just a nice aesthetic addition to your ad that could help you stand out, but they actually do impact search rankings.
According to Google, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more route requests from Google users and 35% more clicks to their websites than businesses without photos.”
There are a variety of types of photographs that are worth downloading:
Favorite photo – Recommend the photo you want your customers to see next to your business name on Google Maps and search. Google determines which photo will be displayed first using a number of factors, such as how the photo represents the services or products offered by the company. Photos of food in a restaurant, for example, tend to be highly rated. Although your first photo preference is taken into account, there is no guarantee that your favorite photo will be the first photo on Google.
Profile picture – Add a profile picture to help your customers recognize your business on Google. Your profile picture will appear next to your business name on your Google+ page. It must be a different photo from your company logo, which must be added in the “Logo” section.
Logo – Add your logo to help customers identify your business. Square-sized logos show up better on Google.
Cover Photo – Add a cover photo to showcase the personality of your page. Your cover photo is the large photo featured at the top of your Google+ page. Note that this photo will be cropped to fit a 16: 9 aspect ratio.
Additional photos – Add different types of photos to highlight the characteristics of your business that customers take into account when making purchasing decisions. You can add different types of photos depending on the type of business you run.
Their recommended best practice for photos:
Format: JPG or PNG
Cut: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
Minimum resolution: 720px high, 720px wide
Quality: The photo should be sharp and well lit, without Photoshop retouching or excessive use of filters. The image must represent reality.
Still not sure what types of photos are worth adding to your ad? Google provides a handy table to guide you:
Need help finding a professional photographer? Consult the directory of authorized photographers of Google.
Make sure to update your hours of operation regularly. Since the majority of searches are for a local business, they need to know if your business is open! This is one of those “micro-moments” that Google recommends you be prepared for.
Don’t forget to include vacation hours!
Remember that a complete and detailed list will increase click-through rates. The more you include, the better. Customers are looking for information.
Beyond the basics, here are a few other things you can do to fully optimize your GMB ad.
- Better understand how Google search works for local businesses.
- Try entering different local search terms to see what the results look like and where you are:
- [Your business name]
- [Your business category]
- [Your business name] + [city]
- [Your business category] + [city]
- [Your business category] + “Near me” (or other synonyms)
- Research the listings of your local competitors and investigate why some might rank higher than others.
- Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB ad. One of the most important GMB features that shows up in search (and maps) is your rating. Getting a high rating will dramatically increase click-through rates. Reviews are extremely important to any local business.
- Also encourage customers to register at your location and upload their own photos of your business. Google loves it when customers engage with your GMB listing and will reward that engagement with better search rankings.
- One final tip, and an entirely different box of worms, is to use paid social ads or AdWords to get more customers into your business.
- For More Robust Features For Fuller Advertising Campaigns – Try AdWords
Using Google My Business will help you get more leads and sales
Think about it. It’s almost free advertising. Why not start? The better your ad, the more ROI you will get. Google search plays a huge role in local business. Give it a good shot. Nail the basics and focus on your customers. This is really the most important thing. Who are you trying to attract? Create a profile they will like. Create visibility for your business and increase your customer reviews.