Google My Business is a free tool that every business should take advantage of. But only if you want more traffic and better SEO results. Surprisingly there are still plenty of businesses out there who either aren’t using this fantastic tool or are not taking the time to get the most out of it. S today we wanted to share our insights on how to optimize Google My Business listings.
Why do I need this?
That is a very common question we hear when discussing Google My Business. Why should a business invest time and energy with this tool?
- Increases the chance your business will appear in other Google applications such as Google Maps and Local Finder.
- It increases organic SEO rankings, more so with Google than other search engines.
- It is free, which is a fantastic price for something so useful.
How do I get started?
Getting started is very simple – you go to Google My Business and claim then verify your business listing. Frankly, many businesses will do those two steps and then they won’t do anything additional.
You need to take additional time to optimize your Google My Business listing. You should also periodically review your listing to make sure your data stays accurate.
Anyone, including customers and competitors, can suggest changes to your business listing using the ‘Suggest an edit” option. So rather than letting that happen, it makes sense to optimize your listing yourself. Periodically check your listing to ensure it stays up to date and accurate.
Optimizing Google My Business Listing
Here are the steps we recommend taking after claiming and verifying the business listing:
- Complete all of the information – There are a lot of questions available in your profile. Make sure to complete all of them. Leaving fields blank opens the door for not only edits, but you also might miss providing a critical piece of information that can cost you conversions such as hours or even your current website link. Ranking factors Google uses include relevance, distance and prominence. The more accurate your information is, the more likely you will appear in relevant searches. Make sure to carefully choose a business category that fits your business as closely as possible.
- Use Keywords – Much like traditional SEO, your listing will be better served by including important keywords and search phrases that are relevant to your business and industry.
- Include photos – On average listings with photos receive more requests for driving instructions on Google Maps and also higher click-thru rates to websites. It pays to ensure your business is well represented with photos so people can visually consider your business and if it is what they are looking for. Don’t forget, photos can be titled using keywords.
- Make use of My Business posts – Last year Google rolled out this fun feature which allows for better content for your business. You can upload an image, write up to 300 words of text, add CTA buttons, or add an event title. You can use this feature for upcoming sales or events, to promote recent blog posts, for featuring new products and more.
- Encourage reviews – Google is perfectly fine with a business asking for customer reviews as long as you follow their policy on the matter which can be found here. Reviews are a great way to display social proof about your business which can increase contacts and conversions.
- Utilize the Q&A feature – This feature allows people to ask questions they might have which can be invaluable to current and future sales. You should aim to answer questions regularly and remove any incorrect answers that might appear.
- Use the Allo app – Google’s Allo app is a text messaging app that allows customers to contact you directly. When the customer has a question, which can happen while looking at your listing, they can send you a message which the app will then notify you.
- Use Booking button – If your business uses appointments then you should make use of the Google booking button. This feature allows customers to click on the booking button to set up an appointment with your business using a scheduling partner. There are a few options for a scheduling partner and you do need to sign up with one to enable the feature.
- Schedule listing checks – We recommend that you check weekly on your listing by logging into the Google My Business dashboard. From there you can check to see if anyone has changed or tried to edit your listing. This includes reviewing the ‘quick questions’ feature that customers can provide.
The bottom line is that every business should take advantage of Google My Business listings. They are a great tool that is free and fairly easy to utilize. However, don’t fall into the common trap of doing minimal work just because it is a free tool! Take the time to properly optimize your Google My Business listing so that you gain the most benefit from it.
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