Launched back in 2014, Google My Business (GMB) has become increasingly important to both merchants and consumers.
The digital information tool, 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,
At a recent event in San Francisco, Google announced that its platform was used for over three billion direct connections between merchants and users per month and three million bookings over the same period.
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 neighbourhood! 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, from which point you can start managing your GMB account.
Keep up to date
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 telephonenumber 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 – generic descriptions such as grocer, law firm, accountant are less likely to capture local traffic. Choosingtoo many categories can also be problematic and in some cases can stop your listing from showing completely.
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 top of your GMB profile, just under the business name. 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 high on search rankings and increase your chances of becoming a local favourite!
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.
Get positive reviews
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.
Respond to reviews (even the bad ones)
Reviews on your GMB can be a deciding factor in whether or not a buyer engages with your brand. Based on recent research, 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and a third of customers said they judged a business based on how they responded to a review. Responding to positive reviews is easy and helps to highlight success, but responding to bad reviews is just as important because it shows the business cares about its customers and is willing to engage.
Add your products to GMB
If you are an ecommerce site, you can now 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. Photos also add more colour to your profile and are more likely to grab your customer’s attention.
Check out what’s new
Google are always adding new features and functionality to their GMB platform as it grows in status. These will be announced via www.google.com/business/or you can learn more about what Google is planning by searching online. Make sure you use the new services 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!
About Alba SEOServices
Founded by Caroline Phillips in 2013, Alba SEO Services is one of Scotland’s most well respected SEO agencies. Based in Edinburgh, the company offers a range of digital marketing services from SEO, to web-design and social media management.
The company work with SME’s and large organisations across the UK, helping them to grow through effective search marketing. For a full website SEO audit and campaign get in touch with Caroline.
By Caroline Phillips, Founder of Alba SEO Services