Google My Business (GMB, formerly known as Google Places for Business) offers companies a fantastic opportunity to appear in Google search results. The best thing about creating a Google My Business listing is that it’s free!
What is a Google My Business Page?
Google My Business provides you with the ability to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results.
You can display important information about your business, including the opening/closing times, contact phone number or a link to your website. More recently Google has also released a new feature allowing you to post a link to articles or up and coming events. More about that later.
The listing is free and should be regarded as a necessity by all businesses. If your business is an online business and you don’t have a physical shop then you should still consider having a Google My Business page.
Improve Your Businesses Local Search Visibility
Setting up your Google My Business listing is one of the simplest and most effective ways of setting your business up to be found online. More and more search queries are becoming geographically specific and Google’s algorithms have been developed to consider user intent.
You’ve probably done a Google search at some point such as, ‘places to eat near me’, then you’ll notice that Google returns a list of three locations where you can eat based on your current location. The three businesses that have shown as a result of your search query are one step closer to attracting you as a customer.
If these places to eat did not have a Google My Business Page then they would not have shown. Think about this in the context of your business, whatever product or service you may be selling. How can local searches benefit your business?
As Google makes regular changes to its algorithms, if you want to get found in local search you need to have a Google My Business listing and optimising it on a regular basis is very important.
How to Optimise Your Google My Business Page
After you’ve set up and claimed your GMB page for your business the next step is to make sure it’s optimised and you’ve filled in all the important information. You should aim to include as much information as possible on your GMB listing as possible.
When people have done their search, and seen your business in the search results, their next step will be to click on the business to find out more information, such as contact details and directions.
The way people search is changing and information needs to be instant. If you haven’t set an accurate business address then it won’t be easy for people to physically find you. If your business isn’t easy to find then people will go somewhere which is easy to find and you will lose that potential business.
This is the online environment businesses must now compete in, so make sure your business is taking advantage of the way people are searching online and not letting it hinder your ability to attract new customers.
Get Your Description Right
Take the time to write a good description to add to your listing and try make it as local as possible where you can so it’s more relevant to the user. The description is used as an overview about what your business does and keywords related to your business can be used here. Your Google My Business description can be up 750 characters but it’s worthwhile getting the most relevant information in the first few sentences. Try to include 2-3 keywords that describe your business best.
Add Posts to your Google My Business
You can now attract more interest by adding posts to your GMB profile. The content will show in Google search and on map results.
To add a post all you have to do is go to your GMB account and create a new post. You will be able to upload an image, write up to 300 words of text or an event title, which will include the start/end date.
There is then an option to add a call-to-action with a variety of button choices including ‘Learn more’, ‘Reserve’, ‘Sign up’, ‘Buy’ and ‘Get offer’.
The post option gives you great flexibility to promote events, share your content and promote your products or services, highlighting when you are running special offers. The post will last for 7 days before you will need to replace it with a new post. Google will email you a reminder to do this.
The screenshot of the Innovation Visual GMB page shows how we used the post feature to promote our Google Retail & Shopping Livestream event. As you can see a clear date and time is shown, alongside a clear call-to-action to ‘Sign-up’.
If you have set up Google My Business, but haven’t yet used the posts feature then hopefully you now know a bit more about the benefits.
Remember to keep an eye on your posts, as it appears that Google posts expire after seven days of posting them, meaning you will have to update them weekly. Events can be listed for longer and automatically expire on the day of the event, which is handy.
Add Up to 10 Photos or Videos to GMB posts
As of February 2020, you can now add up to 10 photos or videos to Google posts. This means you can do even more to elevate your posts and stand out from the competition. Images and videos can help tell a story and the ability to add multiple images will definitely benefit e-commerce businesses as it will help you add multiple images of products.
Add Images on a Regular Basis
You may have added core images such as the exterior/interior of your business, your logo and your team but you shouldn't stop there. Post images as much as you can. This will show Google you're active and it will favour you when it comes to showing you higher in map or local search results.
If you want to rank higher in search and map results then collect reviews. Reviews act as real world signals of what people actually think about a business and are a key factor when it comes to ranking in local search. Not only this, but they act as social proof to your potential customers and help them make a decision on whether to do business with. The best way to collect reviews is to ask for them. Seek out customers who you know what been satisfied with your product or service. To make it easier to collect reviews, set up a templated email but make sure you personalise it where possible in the send!
Respond to Reviews
Whether good or bad (and especially bad) – make sure you respond to all reviews so your customer knows you’re serious about doing something about their bad experience. This will also help other customers trust you as a brand. Acknowledge and thank customers who leave a good review as it shows a level of engagement at the post-purchase stage.
Finally, you can use your reviews as an opportunity to get better as a business; learn what people like and what they didn’t like and improve upon it. Reviews are valuable data to a business.
Update Information if Your Business is Affected by Covid-19
There's no escaping covid-19 currently and as a business you may have had to close your bricks and mortar store or building or alter service hours. If this is the case, then make sure that you take the time to update your Google My Business listing.
Not only will this show Google that you use the platform actively; therefore are more likely to rank higher in local search and map results but your customers or visitors will be kept in the loop about what is going on. Things that can be updated include service hours or whether services have been changed in light of the situation. Making sure you have a listing set up in the first place is also beneficial as customers will be able to contact you by messaging if they are not able to do so in the normal way.
Utilise the new Covid-19 post function that allows you to post Covid-19 related information that appears more prominently on your listing compared to other types of posts.
Don’t Miss Out on the Benefits of Google My Business
Make sure that your business has an up to date and detailed Google My Business page. If you have not taken the time to create and optimise one then you’re missing out on one of the best free ways of appearing in Google search results. All it takes is time and knowledge to optimise your page, so make sure you do it. You could see the benefits instantly.
Find out how to set up your Google My Business page with our step-by-step guide.