What you need to know about Google My Business and how you can use it to promote your business online.
If reaching a local audience online is important to your business, you will need to pay particular attention to your local SEO efforts.
If you’ve ever searched for a coffee shop, restaurant, medical professional or retail outlet in your area then there’s a good chance that you’ve seen some of Google’s local business listings, both in your search results or on the right-hand side of your search results if you happened to type in a specific business name.
Local SEO tactics not only ensure that consumers can find the most relevant information but it also helps local businesses get found by the right customers, customers that are generally ready to make an immediate purchase too.
Creating a Google My Business listing
To get started, you will need to create a Google My Business listing for your business. These are the steps you will need to follow:
- If you don’t already have one, create a Google account for your business by clicking here.
- Once you have that, navigate to google.com/business and click on Start Now
- Insert all of the relevant details including your business name, address, contact number, and website. If you happen to work from your house, you will have the option to hide your address if you don’t service customers there.
Verify your business
Now that you have a listing, you will need to verify that you actually own or work for the business in question. Google will give you the option to verify your business by phone, email or via mail.
Mail: Google will send a postcard to your business address that contains a verification code
Telephone: Google will call your business and give you a verification code
Email: Some businesses will be eligible to verify their listing using email. An email will be sent to you with a Verify button
Once you have your code, log back into Google My Business and enter the verification code that you received.
Making the most of your listing
Now that you’re all set up, there are a few things that you can do to get the best return on your Google My Business listing.
- The more information the better. Go through your listing and add as much information as you possibly can. The more accurate and detailed your listing is, the more valuable it will be. Information such as your operating hours is incredibly important, especially if you’re looking to attract local customers.
- Add photos. Google has discovered that listings with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location and 35% more clicks through to their websites. Add photos of the inside or outside of your business, photos of your products or services or even photos of happy customers. You will also need to add a profile photo that will help users recognise your business as well as a cover photo to make your listing more attractive. Photos should be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall, and either a JPG or PNG.
- Add videos. If you have some high-quality videos available, add them to your profile to change things up. Rather only add videos that would be of interest to potential customers and that have been produced by a professional. Videos should be less than 30 seconds and files should be smaller than 100 MB.
- Encourage reviews. Once your listing is live, encourage your customers to leave some positive reviews if they feel so inclined. A study by BrightLocal found that 90% of all customers will take reviews into consideration before making a buying decision so the more positive reviews you have, the better. If you already have some customer reviews, be sure to reply to them individually to show that your business is engaged and cares about what your customers think.
- Start posting. Once you login to your Google My Business dashboard, you will see that you also have the option to create posts. These posts are very much like social media posts and will show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing. It’s a great way to share interesting content and updates with your customers or to promote any upcoming sales or events.
- Booking Button feature. If your business deals with customer appointments and bookings and you’re making use of a Google integrated service such as Bookatable, Setmore, Booksy, Genbook or Rosy, customers will be able to make a booking directly from your listing.
- Make use of messaging. Customers now also have the option to send text messages to your business and this functionality gives businesses a great opportunity to engage with customers too. To set this up, click on Messaging in your Google My Business dashboard to insert the number that you want to receive text messages on and the message that customers will see once they send a text to you. Prefer to not receive text messages on your personal mobile device? Use the Allo app to keep them separate.
While Google My Business may seem like it plays a smaller role in your overall SEO strategy, it’s still incredibly important to pay attention to the information you are offering to customers and what they are saying about your business in return. You could have the best website, products, and service but if customers don’t feel like your business is easily contactable and that they can trust you, you will be driving a lot of local business to your competitors instead.
Work Google My Business into your content and social media strategies to make sure that you’re actively responding to customers and are always posting fresh content that will keep customers coming back for more.
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