How to optimize your Google My Business Profile
You may already have a Google My Business Profile, but are you using it to its fullest potential?
While auditing Tourism operator websites across British Columbia, I noticed a vast majority of small businesses that either did not have or were not correctly utilizing their Google My Business Profiles.
Google currently dominates the web as the world's most visited search engine, its understandable that marketing experts around the world recommend taking advantage of this accessible business listing.
Why Google My Business?
Your Business has the opportunity to show up on a search engine results page, be found on Google Maps and be eligible to appear in a Google Shopping search. This allows you to attract new clients and provide real-time updates that help manage expectations between you and your clients.
Your visitors can conveniently look up directions, view your business hours, discover your business website or social media, and learn more about your business or products.
This also allows you to communicate with your clients in the case of an emergency closure or set special holiday hours, which are vital to managing client expectations.
Read through Google eligibility guidelines; Not all business types will be eligible for this listing; you must see clients directly at a physical location or by going to them to provide a service.
Why Its Important to Use Regularly
Google My Business can be optimized by including keywords, posts, photos, and products. However, this is not a set-once-and-forget platform. To be successful with your listing, you should actively seek reviews from your customers and utilize the posting function to advertise special deals or keep your clients up to date.
Updating this listing regularly will help folks find your business when looking for a product or service within their region. This tool can be especially helpful regarding local SEO; your listing will be shown based on location. When your clients are performing a search using Google Maps, your business may be presented as an option if they are close to your location.
Google also offers a convenient way for your customers to review your business. Building trust through reviews helps you gain credibility and attract new clients. This service allows customers to brag about their above and beyond experience, and you can thank them or invite them to visit again!
Public reviews can seem scary to many small business owners; however, don't let the headlines prevent you from utilizing this service. Google's research shows that businesses with positive and negative reviews report more consumer trust than those with only positive reviews.
So, How Do You Get Started?
Open a new Google Chrome internet browser and visit https://business.google.com/
To make set-up easy, be sure to have the following information ready:
Business Location or Regions you Service
Business Contact Information (Phone, Email and Website)
A photo of the exterior of your business
750 character description of your business
Hours of operation
Photos of a product and a link to the product on your website
It's essential to provide the correct physical location. Businesses that serve customers at a location will be mailed a verification postcard. Businesses that serve regions can be verified through an email address.
Do I need to fill out all this information?
Yes! Google has three factors that determine local search ranking.
How well does your business match a search (Relevance)?
How far is your location from the searcher (Distance)?
How well-known is your business (Prominence)?
Google's research shows that customers are 70% more likely to visit your location or use your service if you have a completed profile!
Without getting too complicated, to match your business to the right client, you will need to tell the search engine what you do, where you are, and when a customer can visit.
Different Options for Different Industries
While this tool provides the same results for all industries, making your business eligible to show up within a Google Search, Google Map search, or Google Shopping search, different industries will see slightly different options to help them optimize their profiles.
Restaurants and Bars can upload menus, showcase popular dishes, and upload dish photos.
Hotels can displace highlights, check-in information, amenities, sustainability practices, and class ratings.
Service-orientated businesses can display a list of services or products.
Businesses may be shown different buttons based on their categories, like reservations, appointments, or orders.
Do You Have a Physical Location?
You can also access Google's Free marketing kit. You must have a full set-up profile and service customers at your location. This kit provides customizable posters, window stickers to remind customers to review your business, and ways to help you share your most up-to-date information like new reviews, promotions, or general updates. Visit https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com/ to get started.
So, How Do I Optimize?
Now that your profile is set up, let's talk about how you can optimize this listing!
Consistency: log into this tool at least once a month. You can review how many times this listing appeared in a search and see who requested directions. Eligible businesses may even be able to track calls made from a customer's mobile device.
Utilize the post function. Use this tool to let your customers know the most up-to-date information. Did you get new products in? Add a new dish to the menu? Have an unexpected closure? Be sure to add this information to your profile. This will help bring new traffic and set proper expectations if you deviate from your standard operating procedures.
If your business is seasonally operated, you can make your business as temporarily closed until your next opening season.
Use the entire 750-character limit for your description. On a very basic level, this written description should mirror the written description of your business that is found on your website or social media channels.
Utilize the profile features: If you are a service-related business and have products, be sure to advertise them on your profile, you can provide a quick link to your website where customers can learn more about your services.
Keep photos up-to-date. While you can't remove photos your customers have added of your business, you can manage expectations by ensuring up-to-date photos of the business's interior and exterior are present on your profile. Part of receiving great reviews is managing customer expectations; photos will help you do that!
Add physical attributes. If your profile is eligible, you can add physical attributes like wheelchair accessible, WIFI, LQBTQ friendly, Woman Led, and Trans-Inclusive. Before checking these boxes, ensure that your business is all these things. If you are not wheelchair accessible or have not taken any LGBTQ or Trans-Inclusivity training, you are opening yourself up to receiving negative reviews. By checking these boxes, this demographic of customers will have high expectations that their needs will be met.
Help, I Forgot How to log in!
Don't worry; this is a frequent ailment many of my clients face!
Google has recently updated how business operators can access their listings. To make things easy, follow these steps.
Open a Google Chrome Browser
Ensure you are logged in with the email that was used to set up your profile
3. Type your Business Name into the search field.
Google allows you to manage your profile directly on the search screen.
If you feel like you don't have time to do this yourself, click here to schedule your one-time Google My Business Profile set-up and optimization. Or, if you would like to learn more about this service and how you can maintain this for your business, click here to schedule a one-on-one coaching call!