Google has an average of more than 1.2 billion unique users every month. If you own a local business, Google is indeed a fantastic opportunity to market your brand. This is where Google My Business comes in.
Think of it as the controlling dashboard for all things related to your business. For most users, It is about getting their companies listed in the local search results. While it is the main reason why people use GMB, it can also be about giving would-be consumers a comprehensive summary of your products or services as well as the values of your brand.
Let us say you have your Google My Business listing set up. That may be one thing to be proud of, but that does not mean you have completed your local marketing strategy. It is like buying a new car. It can be very expensive, and you can add luxury leather seats or a sophisticated sound system, but without gas, it will not go anywhere.
The same thing applies to GMB. You can create your profile, but you cannot just put your feet up and wait for customers to start lining up to try your product. Although you now have an advantage over your competitors, you only covered the first step. There are still so many things to do, including optimizing the listing and making sure you stand out from the crowd.
There is no denying that competition continues to get tougher as each day passes. Therefore, it is significant to spread the word about your business. One way to do that is through Google My Business. After setting up your page and verifying your company, you still need to modify some parts of your profile to improve your visibility.
Here are the next steps…
This is pretty self-explanatory but even small details matter as you enhance your listing. The very first thing is to make sure that you have your business name, address, and phone number (NAP = name, address, phone) correctly. Unfortunately for many local companies, they do not get this far, and this is why you should take advantage of the situation.
Some tips to have a winning NAP
While GMB is about and for businesses, you can benefit if you give your own NAP. One huge factor in the improvement of your overall ranking is your website. Google’s algorithms have become so advanced, so they do not just pay attention to keywords any longer.
So, on your website, include your NAP where you can. For instance, if you run a mechanics shop that has many locations, it helps to have a page on your website for all of them where you also add their specific NAP. It would be even better if you can embed a map for the location. These things can benefit your GMB listing when you add your website URL, giving you a more significant chance of ranking higher.
Google has emphasized how vital images are when it comes to business listings. You cannot get away with just one image – or worse, no image at all. Uploading photos will dramatically improve your profile on GMB.
Here are some tips for this area
You can also upload images of your team members.
The most significant thing about uploading images for your business listing is that all the photos should come in high-resolution. Show off your products and make sure the quality of the images is right to make yourself look good at the same time.
Aside from traditional photos, you can consider adding a 360-degree virtual tour as well. You may need to hire a trusted professional who will help you create the virtual experience for your customers.
Many business owners who join GMB overlook the categories section, which is a crucial part of a business listing. If you want customers to find you, take advantage of categories. The problem though is that many would either ignore this section or they select the incorrect ones.
According to Google, you can know the right category for your business by finishing this sentence: “My business is a…” Most people tend to choose their category based on the statement, “My business does…”
What Google means is you should forget about the features of your business. Instead, you should focus on your products and services. When you can choose the correct category, Google will appropriately provide your business as a recommendation to the users. Meanwhile, if the category is wrong, Google will not recommend your business, meaning you will likely lose potential customers.
Bright Local performed a survey in 2016, and they discovered that online reviews are now the lifeblood of small companies that operate locally today…
As you can see from the figures above, it is imperative to get reviews – especially positive ones from your loyal customers. Also, Google uses these reviews to rank up a business in the search results. Therefore, the more reviews you have, the higher the chance it will appear in the Google Maps 3-Pack.
Google My Business is quickly becoming a critical part of advertising one’s business. If you are determined to the best choice for consumers in your area or town, you should have a GMB profile. Check out how some small businesses utilized GMB as part of their marketing strategy:
Evolve Wellness Centre is a yoga studio in Kensington, London. The company uses Google My Business to promote their services. Currently, they have 16 Google reviews from their clients with a high rating of 4.9 stars. However, it is not what sets them apart.
Evolve Wellness Centre took advantage of GMB by providing their open hours as well as how long the customers tend to stay. They also provide the busiest time of the day, which allowed other customers to plan their visit, so they find the yoga studio comfortable and peaceful.
As mentioned above, categorizing your business is extremely important. For some companies, this section is easy as pie. However, there are some that may have confusing categories for their business. Take for example Hard Rock Café in Broadway, New York City. They described themselves as a “music-themed chain with an American menu.” They have provided all the necessary details about their business, including operating hours and they encourage reviews as well.
On the other hand, Third Rail Coffee is a coffee shop in Sullivan Street, NYC. They label themselves as a “small, sunny spot for a caffeine jolt.” Just like Hard Rock Café, they also invite reviews, and they have provided pictures as well as open and close hours. These two are similar businesses, but Google categorizes them separately. For Hard Rock Café, it is an eating and drinking establishment, while a coffee shop, such as Third Rail Coffee, is under the category shops and shopping.
We do not want a negative review for our business, but it can happen. Even the best run companies will end up with an unhappy customer from time to time. Whether it is because the customer service person was having a bad day or there are supply problems that are out of your control, these things can occur.
Negative reviews can be bad for your business, but they do not have to be if you respond to them. Otherwise, it can cost you money and potential customer loss. For instance, this fish n chips restaurant in New York, “A Salt & Battery.” They have a 4.3 stars rating on Google, which is quite good. However, some customers left bad reviews for their experience either while dining or ordering online.
Since Google allows responding to customers’ reviews, the company chose some negative ones to deal with. One reviewer mentioned that he had a bad review for the restaurant but changed it to five stars eventually because he was able to speak with the manager and they came to an agreement. Some reviews, even the positive ones, have replies from the owner, either thanking them or promising to make it up to the unhappy customers.
It is a known fact that small businesses like yours may not have a social media expert to find and deal with these negative reviews. However, as the owner, you should allocate some time in responding to them to provide clarifications or corrections. A simple apology can even appease some customers and may drive more people to your business because of the high engagement.
There is much-needed emphasis when it comes to consistency in Google My Business. A great example is Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ. This business continually updates their GMB page with the use of engaging posts, such as feature articles that talk about their restaurant. They also upload images of their dishes, and they inform their customers about their current deals and promotions.
Lockhart also uploaded some videos of their staff at work, along with tutorials on how to prepare a brisket. The shared content adds value to their audience through educating them. As they continue to do this, it increases the likelihood of their company to rank higher for their relevant keywords in the local search results.
When you want your Google My Business page to stay on top of the game, you need high-quality images. Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino does this excellently. When the company appears in the search results, one of the first things that people typically look at is their photos. Because they use photos that look good and come with high resolution, it sends a positive message about their business.
Additionally, the casino also filled out every section of their profile, including their NAP and business category. They have also provided a short description to let the readers know what their company and services are about. They have also linked their Google+ page to GMB in which they have claimed a custom URL for it.
Your account on Google My Business will appear on different Google products.
Therefore, you can say that GMB is sort of an information hub. According to surveys, 44% of small businesses do not claim their business listing. You want to make sure you are not one of them. If you already have a website, a presence on Yelp and other similar sites, and Google, GMB can complement all these online places.
Using the tips above, you can optimize your GMB listing to help rank up your business in the local search results. With the right address and other business information as well as some engaging photos and videos, you have a fantastic opportunity to attract new customers in your area.