Every business benefits from a Google My Business Listing, but none more so than a local business. The advantages of showing up in the local “3-pack” when someone searches for businesses “near me” are immediate and impactful. From the serviced based shop, to the “hidden gem”, claiming your Google My Business profile is a must! This is an easy win for your SEO strategy.
You don’t even need a website to use GMB, and you’ll still reap the benefits!
Google My Business – A Quick Run Down
There is a ton of information out there on how to setup your Google My Business listing, but here is the quick and dirty run down:
- Claim your business listing
- Fill out the profile information completely
- Submit to Google
- They’ll mail you a code
- Complete your listing by entering your code.
That’s it! You’ve claimed your listing. Now start adding some photos of your merchandise, write a few snippets, add some events to the calendar, whatever it is, put up some content!
Make Google My Business Work For You
Now you’ve got you’re awesome listing filled out with the basics, approved, and spit-shined! Now let’s really make it work for you. Keep it up-to-date, fill it with useful information, encourage customers to leave reviews, respond to those reviews, and update your Google My Business profile often.
Make sure you always keep your hours up-to-date. Don’t forget holidays or special events when you will be closed to the public. Many people set up their normal business hours and leave it. Your customers won’t be happy if they think you are the only restaurant open on Christmas Eve, only to find you haven’t updated your hours.
Fill out that description so folks don’t have to guess if you really have the product or service they want. Google does a pretty good job serving results on searches, but they aren’t perfect. This can be especially important if the categories don’t quite match up. Speaking of categories……
Within Google My Business you can choose up to 10 categories for your listing. You get one primary category, the rest are secondary categories. For some of our clients, the primary category isn’t the perfect fit, but we find the absolute best match and then optimize with secondary categories. The ability to use so many different categories gives a business many opportunities to be found in the search results. As a bonus, these descriptions also improve your search rankings in the results!
This one can be a struggle for some businesses. I know it doesn’t seem like this would make a huge difference, but according to Google:
“Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions to their location and 35% more clicks through to their websites.”
That’s a pretty big bump in response for a few relevant, high-quality photos. If your business has a product or is a restraunt, this can really drive people to choose your business over another. However, even if you are a landscape company or a plumber you can utilize photos of your work to gain some level of trust before they even call you.
Promote Offers, Events, AND Content
Using Google My Business to promote offers and events has been around for a while, but in 2017 Google also made it possible for your shared content to show up on Google Search and Google Maps in the Knowledge Panel. Whatever you want buyers to know, you have the opportunity to have it attached to your profile.
This is also another great way to make promo codes available to searchers or let them know about special sales, and events happening at your store. Again, you are giving them a real incentive to click through to your site or run by your store before they’ve even gotten off the search page. By including a call-to-action, promotion, or special event, you become the stand out in a sea of competition.
Leveraging those Google My Business reviews are an excellent, stand-out way to build social proof and gain some built-in trust with those potential customers. Encourage your current customers to leave reviews easily-print out a call for reviews on receipts and invoices, offer coupons or discount coupons if you like, whatever it takes to get some reviews flowing in. Google uses reviews as part of its ranking factors and a large percentage of future customers will take your online rankings into account when searching for a product or service.
Don’t just leave those reviews languishing on the internet though. Respond often, good or bad, don’t let your reputation handle itself. One or two negative reviews don’t have to be a death blow, but they must be addressed. Good reviews need a thank you or other sincere forms of appreciation. If I’m searching for a business and find a well-managed review section, I am way more likely to remember that and leave a review myself once I’ve interacted with a business. Do you do the same?
Google My Business For The Win!
Don’t leave this totally free, social-proof building, relatively low-friction advertising avenue out of your marketing plan. Your business will benefit. It gives you a chance to show up in the “3-pack”, maps, and the sidebar. There is no downside to claiming your GMB listing today and making a small investment of time to reap limitless rewards.
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