Using GMB Features to Beat Competitors –
Running a local business is difficult. You face many challenges. One of those challenges is that of online businesses. Competing with online e-commerce sites is a challenge, but you have an advantage that these online-only stores not have: You can claim a Google My Business listing – and they or they can not.
Each eligible local business must claim and verify their local business on Google My Business (GMB). Verifying your Google My Business listing can increase the likelihood that your business will appear in the local Google and Google Maps package. (Now here are limited places, so no guarantee that you are going to appear, but it helps.)
Qualifying local businesses can claim this free Google Listing. Google My Business allows you to include basic information about your business, such as your name, address, telephone number (NAP), hours of operation, and other basic information about your business.
The good thing is that Google is constantly adding NEW features to Google My Business, making it an even more robust platform for you to show off your business. And the best news? The more you use these features to promote your business, the more likely you are to engage potential customers and the more likely your business will appear in search rankings.
Do you want to know more about these new GMB enhancements that will make your Google My Business listing stand out among the crowd? Let’s get started.
Several years ago, when Google My Business was connected to Google’s social platform, Goggle +, you were allowed to enter a business description. It was great because you could optimize your business description for keywords, explain to your potential customers why your business was different, and give more details than name, address, phone number, business hours. ‘opening, etc.
Recently Google has started allowing business owners to add business descriptions again! This is great news for all business owners and if you haven’t added your business description to your GMB listing yet, log into your Google My Business dashboard and get started.
Remember that your business description should be short: 750 characters. Plus, it can take up to three days for your description to post and Google will review it for quality, so no keyword stuffing! Make your description a quality description.
Another recently added new feature is the Services option. If you offer services, Google allows you to list these services directly on your Google My Business listing. Below is an example of a massage spa. You can add a “Section”, an “Item”, a Main “Price”, then an “Item Description” which can be up to 1000 characters long.
If you offer services, such as oil change companies, auto repairs, manicurists, chiropractors, dentists, hairdressers, lawn care companies, carpet cleaners, etc., you can essentially listing your services (with prices) in your Google My Business listing, and if you optimize your ad correctly, people viewing your ad could make a decision right away – and call you directly!
Google posts are the equivalent of mini social posts that appear on your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps) when people search for your business name. You can create a GMB post by adding an image, a call to action (CTA) and include a link to a landing page, a page on your website – or any other URL link.
You can create posts that encourage people to buy, learn more, book [an appointment], Get an offer, et cetera.
If you have an upcoming event, such as a sale or a business fundraiser, you can create an event with a start date and an end date. Normal messages remain “live” for seven days (however, “old” messages will still be visible in a carousel-like feature). When it’s time to create a new post, Google will send you a reminder (thanks Google!)
If you create an event post, your event post will turn off after the event ends.
When it comes to the images in your article, make sure to use quality images. It is better to use photos of your business over archival photos (everyone likes to see photos of a real company instead of stock photos.)
The best image size for Google Posts is 750 x 750. Try to center the main image on the photo so that it always looks correct if cropped. Do not use an image smaller than 250 x 250 (Google will reject it.) Keep in mind that if you have words in your photo or image, that text might be cut off on mobile devices. So if possible, stick with an image that makes an impact on its own and tell the story of what you have to offer in the text below the image.
questions and answers
Questions and Answers is another relatively new feature of Google My Business. As it sounds, Questions and Answers allows people to ask questions about your business and you, or anyone else on the Internet, can answer those questions. What does this mean to you as a business owner? You need to stay on top of the questions people are asking to make sure YOU are the one answering the questions correctly. Since anyone can answer any question, you want to make sure that the answers given are correct and that the correct answers must come from you.
What if you find someone has given an incorrect answer? Go to the Google My Business forum and ask for help from a Google Top Contributor.
Online reviews are very important to all Business. Asking customers for reviews may seem uncomfortable at first, but consumer research has shown that 68% of customers will leave a review online if the business simply asks them. (So the odds of people leaving reviews for your business are in your favor!)
Online reviews left on your Google My Business listing AND third-party reviews appear in your business knowledge panel when you search. In the example below, you’ll see that Google not only displays Google My Business reviews, but also reviews left on third-party sites: Facebook, Groupon, and OpenTell.
The fact that Google places such importance on reviews should tell you how important reviews are and that it is totally important to YOUR business.
Reviews can help your business stand out among a multitude of search results. Reviews are also a KNOWN local ranking factor. To get a review on Google, have your customers search your name in Google and they’ll see your ad appear on the right side (the knowledge panel) and they’ll see the option to leave a review.
All they need to do is click on “Google Reviews”.
And then they will have the opportunity to write a review:
After you start receiving reviews, be sure to respond to all reviews, even negative ones.
Photos and videos
People are visual. Google My Business lets you add photos AND now 30-second videos to your Google My Business listing.
You can take photos – what Google is blatantly telling you increases engagement – and now you can upload videos! Log into your dashboard and select the Photos option and you will see where you can add photos and videos.
It is important to note that Google wants to view photos and videos of your business. They do NOT want marketing videos with stock images. In fact, Google can delete your videos if the main topic of the content is not related to the location of the business. Also, keep in mind that it can take up to 24 hours for the video to appear in your Google My Business listing.
Another thing to know … Your customers can also upload photos and videos of your business! (Again, if you see any inappropriate videos or photos, flag them and if they aren’t removed, head over to the Google My Business forum and enlist the help of a Top Contributor.)
Here are some guidelines for Google My Business videos:
- Duration: up to 30 seconds
- File size: up to 100MB
- Resolution: 720p or higher
Tip of the iceberg
Now, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the features Google My Business gives you – and there are bound to be more to come. So log in to Google My Business frequently, find out what’s new and develop your business profile! Go start today.
** Ben Fisher is the Founder and Vice President of Marketing at Steady Demand.