Setting up and maintaining a regular pattern of activity on your Google My Business account is one of local online marketing essentials. For a My Business listing optimization checklist, keep reading – you’ll learn all you need from our today’s entry!
What is Google My Business marketing all about?
Setting up a Google My Business profile is one of the first steps to take for promoting your business locally online. With My Business profile, your business listing will appear on Google Maps and will also be ranked higher in the local search results. After linking to your homepage in Google features: My Business, Plus, and Maps, the information about your business is considered as more relevant in the search results. Anytime a user googles services or products that, as it happens, are offered locally by your branch – Google will then refer the users to the most relevant landing page. Google My Business listing causes the listing to appear more often in SERPs, which is crucial for small businesses and relatively small towns. My Business optimization benefits your overall SEO efforts, too. Those were the benefits of Google My Business in relatively small towns – in larger cities, GMB means branch location support and, as an effect, lead generation for you! If you’re still wondering, whether Google My Business is worth it, consider this – business listings are often displayed directly above the organic results.
Who can use Google My Business?
Are you wondering for what kind of businesses or industries Google My Business listing actually works? The answer is simple. For any of these. There are those, for which the online presence is particularly crucial – beauty salons, hairdressers, repair shops, hotels, restaurants or any type of retail. Is there a common denominator, though? It’s the local market, that’s their primal market. Any entrepreneur operating from any sort of headquarters should make sure it’s highlighted well on Google Maps. This makes an excellent marketing opportunity for companies lacking a cutting-edge, fancy or well-optimized website, and budget to make that happen. Online business cards from Google work for business owners, because they do so for the customers, who thus can:
- check the contact details of a local business,
- get out the precise driving directions,
- share company’s details to other users,
- voice an opinion in public and be answered by the business owner,
- enquire, directly to the right inbox,
- automatically dial the phone number,
- view photos the business’ photo gallery and add your own pics,
- suggest profile information changes,
- get to the homepage.
How do I set up a Google My Business account?
Essential Details Featured in Your Google My Business Listing
No Google My Business listing should be published without featuring the following information:
- Business name – in full and, above all, correct. Google allows descriptive keywords, but, mind you, hates stuffing, so tread carefully.
- Address – that’s the physical address the verification code postcard is sent to.
- Phone – it’s best to submit the landline phone first, if you’ve got one.
- Category – first, there’s a list of main categories to choose from, refined after with more precise categories narrowing down your business profile.
- Website – your business homepage URL.
- Service area – in particular, “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” information box; also, here you can decide whether the headquarters physical address will be displayed. Leaving this feature unchecked is recommended only when we don’t want the customers to know the headquarters’ whereabouts, which comes in handy in case of certain professions or industries that do not require customer presence in their own office (chimney sweeps or midwives, to name only few). Combining the two above is possible – check “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their location” box in one window, and in the next, enable the headquarters’ address visibility. SEO-wise, it’s best to allow anyone to see the business contact details and determining service area that coincides with the physical address or its general service area.
- Hours – you can, for instance, enter standard or non-standard working hours for holidays and so on.
- Photos – the headquarters’, of its outside, inside and the team at work.
- Local business URLs – feature used mostly by restaurants and service providers – additional links to pages of middlemen – platforms for menus and ordering, table reservations, appointment-making or product browsers.
- From the business – details visible in the Google+ business listing. Linking is permitted (nofollow, though) in the description, for various landing subpages. One of the best ways to introduce the company profile and present the offer.
Google My Business on-Maps Optimization
The presented above Google My Business profile configuration tips are essential, but there are still a few things to be done to improve your visibility.
Customer feedback responsiveness – establishing an official channel of communication
Positive customers feedback and ratings displayed on the company’s business page make the business itself appear more attractive and trustworthy. Simply, high customer rating encourage more people to use our service. Responding with an official brand profile is the best practice – respond to any comments or other events on the fly.
Systematic responses contribute to a much better-looking image and are more appreciated than replying to all reviews on a single day only. Ratings written by actual customers are trending in terms of lead generation efficiency. Google supports that trend, too, and Google Local Guides are proof of that concept. It features not only simple business, service or product evaluation, but also photos and short videos submission. Users can submit pics using desktop or a mobile device; videos submission is available only with an Android smartphone or a tablet. Regardless of whether it’s a review, or an additional photo or video, you want to attach, being signed into a Google account is necessary.
If the business owner spots strongly inaccurate images or videos they can file a removal request. Here, too, quick damage control pays off – prevents too many people from seeing the incorrect content.
Q&A – business-to-customer communication 101
Google My Business Q&A feature facilitates business-owner-to-customer communication. Basically, it’s a forums-like platform for customers, where they can inquiry anything regarding the business. The feature supports both desktop and mobile devices – ask away with anything! Google content policy allows for moderation of any content advertising other, competing or not, brands, linking or inappropriate language. Following an approval, questions and answers are visible to users and the business owner, and authors can edit or remove their post.
Posting questions and answering them is available only for signed in users. Posts by the brand owner are singled out with the business avatar displayed right next to them. Business profile admins need to check manually for new questions and answers, either on Google Maps or in Search Engine, unless the owner uses Google Maps app for smartphones or tablets, in which case a notification will pop up.
Embedding the Google Map widget on your website
Another useful Google My Business feature is website map embed. Mostly used for filling “Contact Details” tab, but sitewide or home page implementation does the trick, too. If the company has several branches in different locations, embed Maps on subpages with locally relevant offer. How to embed the Map? Simply find the business on the Maps, click the “share” button and then, in a pop-up window, click “place map”; copy the HTML code and implement it in the contact details tab. Mind that the Maps should display the business listing itself – not only show the general area based on the coordinates, which is a common mistake.
My Business Listings Ranking – Optimization Matters!
Competing businesses are often located near one another, which, when visualized on a Map, is plain as day. The ranking is determined by several factors:
- Match by Keywords – the keywords appearing in the business listing description need to match the queries as possible.
- Distance – of the branch from the device used to conduct a service or a product query.
- Users Activity – measured with the feedback ratings, number of photos submitted, photos effectively seen, questions asked.
Apart from simple completing the business profile, make sure the content is keyword-oriented. Always encourage the customers to publish feedback – that amplifies your business impact, and helps to build reliable business-to-customer relationships.
Google My Business Must-Use Features
Google updates My Business platform on an ongoing basis, adding new functionalities and expanding the range of services. In order to be ranked high on the Maps, an account needs to display a consistent pattern of behavior of quick responding to users and frequent business listing updates. The features below are the means for that:
Google My Business posts
Last year Google started supporting posting by business listings owners. It allows sharing additional information, displayed in the SERP page or Google Maps. This helps you keep your customers posted about the most recent bargains, brand novelties and business events. Each entry can feature a photo, which makes the content all the more attracting to the target audience. Those posts can be further shared on social media, via by email or linked to. Posts stay active for seven days.
Integrating Google Plus and My Business account
Having a Google My Business listing yields integration with a Google Plus account. In most cases, integration kicks in automatically, if it does not, you can do it manually:
- While signed into a business account go to https://plus.google.com
- Click the profile picture in the upper right corner, select “All your Brand Accounts”
- Select the Brand Account for which the Google Plus is to be created.
- If your business has no G+ set up yet, there’s a solution-button, on the left: “Join Google+”.
- A window will pop up, where we confirm the decision.
- Brand new profile is ready for editing and posting the very first post.
Google My Business Website Builder
Google My Business owners are offered an additional tool – Website Builder, which allows you to set up a simple one page in business.site domain. Basic details, such as address and opening hours are completed automatically. Additional details are, for instance, a description, photo gallery and homepage link. Website Builder is dedicated for those who own businesses, but have no website, and reach their customers mostly via My Business listing.
Age of a My Business Listing
The age of a Google My Business listing is a trust factor for Google, therefore often address changes are not recommended. Any changes in the business name, category or URL are followed by a history reset. Seniority pays off – business listings with longer history rank better in the Maps, so prior to any resources investment in setting up an account, think carefully, so that the profile does not need core data updates any time soon.
Insights – Google My Business analytics
My Business account analytics tools provide insight into the profile’s visibility among customers and the impact the business listing has on customer behavior, including conversion.
The data offered include, among others, information on the effectiveness of channels displaying your business listing, business awareness, the number website views from the link in the listing, the number of customer calls, direction requests, the number of photo views and analysis against competition. These Insights, together with the data available from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, will make a full set. Data from 90 days back max is stored and available for downloading. Signing up for a Google My Business account means an automatic Google+ profile set up. A correct completion with genuine and rich business details, together with frequent content updates, in the form of posting, positively impacts Google rankings. Following a My Business physical address verification, you can customize your Google+ URL, making it more user friendly (instead of a string of numbers).
Google My Business listing is crucial for building a brand awareness locally. Optimizing for Google Maps is actually rather simple. In fact, following a few tips guarantees success. GMB is also a great solution for small businesses, allowing online marketing without a website, offering a strong search engine and Maps presence.