Get Started with Google My Business For Beginners!
Google My Business (GMB) began life in 2014 and has become increasingly important to both business owners and consumers. The Map which pops up after you’ve typed in a local search, works as a point of engagement and a vehicle for transactions between businesses and their local customers. GMB is particularly useful for reaching a local audience looking for services and products near to their place of work or home,
Despite this, many businesses are still not using GMB or not using it to its full potential. In fact nearly 40% of SME’s still do not have a GMB profile and of those that do, a fraction are using it to its full capability. In this blog, we explore 10 ways you can make the most of Google My Business, and become a household name in your local area! Let’s dive in…
Claim your listing!
Sound obvious, but the first step to local success is to claim your GMB listing for your business. To get listed, sign in or register at www.google.com/business/. From here you can either claim a business in a category similar to yours, or us the ‘add your business’ function. Google will need to verify your business by sending you a verification code by post (mostly), from which point you can start managing your GMB account and really getting the most out of it.
Complete as much as possible
Make sure all the information you add to your listing is accurate and up to date. This includes your business name, address, hours of operation, business category and product/services information. Make sure the telephone number you display is correct and is preferably a local number. Choose the categories that best describe your business. Try to be as specific as possible – there are usually a few variations on and generic descriptions such as grocer, law firm, accountant are less likely to capture local traffic. Choosing too many categories can also be problematic and in some cases can stop your listing from showing completely. Google is continually updating the categories so be sure to check back over time and see if another category is more suitable.
Become a local favourite
Google have recently announced that they will award the top 5% of local business a ‘Local Favourite’ badge. Having this accolade will help maximize visibility for your business across Google platforms. To qualify, Google is favouring business that are best at optimising their GMB profile by keeping their information accurate and up to date and using all of its functionalities.
Make use of Google posts
Google posts are a neat function that sit at the bottom of your GMB profile, Using posts, you can add something new or interesting about your business, such as special offers or new products and services you have launched. Google will let you know when the post expires and how many people have looked at it so you can see what information works and what doesn’t. By keeping posts regularly up to date, you are not only letting your customers know what you are up to, it will help keep you visible when someone searches locally for you. There’s anecdotal evidence that they might also help with local ranking.
Make full use of every character
Make sure you use every character available to you. Remember, every sentence, word, character tells the buyer more about you. More complete descriptions will also improve your search ranking in Google. Just as you’re able to better communicate who you are to customers, you’re able to tell Google the same information and they will rank you for more search queries.
Another big ranking factor is to encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing. Your star rating is also displayed on the map to searches so a high rating can also improve your click through rate. You should also ensure that you reply to all your reviews in Google to ensure that your customers know that you care.
Get your shortened review link
Google gives you the chance to create a memorable shortened review link that you can send to your customers to get reviews. This kind of shows how important Google thinks reviews are so use the link to get some good ones!
Add your products to GMB
You can add product pictures and descriptions to your GMB profile. These also show up on the panel page of Google Maps, making your business more visible. Update this information as regularly as possible to maintain your search status and get ahead of your competitors.
Pictures paint a thousand words
Business with photos receive 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t. Google wants you to add images to your GMB profile and will tell you how your images are performing compared to the competition. A recent study showed that businesses with more photos get more clicks, direction requests and views on Maps and search.
Check out what’s new
Google are always adding new features and functionality to their GMB platform as it grows in status. Be sure to go back into your dashboard regularly and see if there are any new features. Make sure you use these as soon as they come online to maximise your returns!
Google my Business is a fantastic tool to help you become visible in your local area and stay one step ahead of the competition. The secret to using it successfully is to keep your profile accurate and up to date and use every service and function that is provided for you. Good luck!
Caroline Phillips is the owner of Alba SEO Services which offers quality SEO services to SME's. Established since 2013, Alba SEO has a track record of success.
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