Ah, Google, our go-to search engine and constant companion. This might be the one online relationship you can’t live without, which is just how Google likes it. However, as much as Google wants you to love itself, we wanted to go a little in-depth about one particular part of your relationship with Google, called Google My Business. This guy has the power to gain your business lots of new leads, improved SEO rankings, and promote content on an entirely new platform.
Sounds nice, right? Pretty great relationship goals? Well, in order to get all of these great features up and running, first you have to optimize your Google My Business listing, which requires putting in some work on your end.
At this point you might be thinking, I already have a fairly solid relationship with Google My Business, don’t I? I’ve claimed my domain and have a verified account, what else should I be doing?
Do yourself a favor - just Google your business. What do you see? Does a business location pop up on maps? Is there some basic information listed, and a couple of reviews from over a year ago? Yes, you might have a ‘relationship’ with GMB, but it seems to be a little on the rocks if you want to have great authority with Google.
The way your relationship with Google works is based entirely on what it knows or doesn’t know. The relationship can only grow stronger if you provide it with the right information. If you don’t help Google promote your business by optimizing your GMB page, it won’t be invested in helping you rank.
So if you’re ready to get serious about how to optimize your Google My Business page and take this relationship to the next level, we have some thoughts that will keep Google (and your potential customers) extremely interested.
This might seem self-explanatory, but when it comes to the Google dating game, never skip out on the essentials. If you assume everything you need is already there, like your basic business information, who’s to say it’s the most accurate? Or even content that will interest your customers?
At the very least, the most essential things for your GMB page are:
Google lets you pick up to ten business categories to qualify what kind of business you have, but it’s the first one that holds the most weight with your rankings. Make sure it’s the one that encompasses your business, and then focus on other niches for your follow up categories.
It’s important to make sure your business information is up to date, and match what’s on your website, or else you risk misleading your customers. For example, if you have an old address currently listed on GMB, Google Maps will provide your customers with the most recent information it knows - which happens to be that old address. Sending them to the wrong location will just send them straight to your competitor, which is the last thing you want.
Moral of the story: no one likes being lead on. So, avoid being dumped by Google (and your customers), by keeping up to date, accurate business information on your GMB account.
Your business description is a great way to expand on services outside of your existing categories. Use this space to describe important aspects of your business, such as specific services, or features exclusive to your company. You’ll only have 750 characters to do so, so make sure it’s as specific as possible.
However, for Google to help you out, you have to use the keywords in your description. The right keywords give you the right rankings, and Google will take care of you so long as you lay out the groundwork. So, pick ten to twelve target keywords that are relevant to your services, and scatter them throughout your description. Follow up with other keywords related to your services. It keeps Google interested, so you can get more leads.
But if you need a little guidance finding the right SEO and keyword strategies for your business, take a look at our 5 SEO Basics for Everyone.
If you’ve ever been set up on a date, typically you ask to see a picture beforehand, right? It just makes you feel a little more secure about the situation. Well, the same rules apply for optimizing your GMB account: pictures make Google, and your customers, feel better about your business.
However, you don’t want to use a couple of lower quality images and call it a day. Use high-quality photos from recent projects that accurately reflect what customers can expect from your business. It’s better to have a few amazing pictures than dozens of low-quality photos.
Another great feature on GMB? Existing customers can upload photos to your GMB profile when they’re leaving a review. Just remember to filter those photos and reviews properly, so you’ll never have low-quality photos being shared online.
But, what’s even better than a photo? A video, of course! Videos are a great way to deliver succinct content to your customers, enticing them to learn more about your company without ever leaving Google.
Videos have definitely become a new way to create engaging content. The key to GMB videos is keeping them short but informative. Most videos can’t upload if they surpass 100 MB, so just keep that in mind before uploading.
You can upload videos in two ways on GMB: store them under your photos, or by creating individual posts. With photos, there’s a chance they can receive a little less traction, and get lost in the shuffle of all your other photos. However, the videos you upload have an autoplay feature, so your customers will at least get a sneak peek before they watch.
A video post gives your customers a front-row seat to hear all about your company, and can really make the difference in whether or not you’ve sold yourself to your customers. Whatever you decided to upload, just make sure it’s quality content.
Watch our free on demand webinar "Unlock Massive Local Customers" to get a special pro tip about how to get the biggest impact with your images and videos! !
This is a very important part of your GMB account. Customer reviews are one of the first things that pops up on your GMB listing, and if you want to gain new leads, it’s important to show potential customers that you’re responsive to feedback.
Review are especially powerful if you’re a local business. On average, 68% of consumers are inclined to purchase from a local business if they see positive online reviews. That’s a lot of new leads you could be getting, just by providing the best customer service practices and responding to reviews.
Show your appreciation for the clients that take the time to review your business. Between local SEO keywords and those positive reviews, you’ll not only rank well, but you can see lots of traffic from your GMB account.
However, not all reviews are glowing. Yep, those negative reviews you’d like to avoid? Even if it’s just one or two, you can’t pretend like they don’t exist. Your customers will find it misleading if you only answer the positive reviews, and ignore critical feedback.
All you need to do is address their problem in a calm, professional manner, provide them a few alternative solutions, and leave contact information in case they want to talk. Chances are, they just wanted to feel heard on an online problem, and it’s doubtful they’ll contact you again. But, your current and potential customers will feel reassured that you addressed the negative review, and that is the difference in keeping or losing a new lead.
If you to learn a little bit more about the true value of customer service, and the impact reviews have on your business, our Growth Made Simple podcast is a great place to start.
Sometimes, answering questions about your business can feel a little tedious. But, the Q&A section on GMB isn’t just for your customers’ benefit - it’s for yours as well. GMB is a great place to answer questions that new customers always ask you, and eliminate any possible friction or confusion about your business.
If you have an FAQ page on your existing website, take some existing questions and add them to GMB. This way, you’re customers can read up a little bit about your business, and ask any follow-up questions they want.
Watch our free on demand webinar "Unlock Massive Local Customers" to get a special pro tip about how to use the Q&A section to increase your leads!
Don’t even think about this one. Do yourself a favor and start posting now, because this is where you really seal the deal. Think of Google posts as an even better form of social media. Anyone who Google’s your business, or finds you in Google Maps, can see your posts. When you think about it, how often are people going to be looking up your business on Facebook or Instagram, versus Google?
Use Google posts to promote new blogs, launch a resource, or offer deals and discounts your company is offering. At the bottom of each post, you can select the appropriate call-to-action before you launch it, encouraging customers to ‘learn more’ or ‘buy now’ depending on what you’re offering.
Essentially, your posts are like extended questions on your dating profile. This is where all the great, informative, exciting stuff comes into play. If you talk up the right resources, no one will feel inclined to go to a competitor. They’ll go straight to your website to learn more, whether that’s reading a new blog post, downloading an ebook, or looking at the latest project you’ve completed. The one drawback of GMB posts - they only stay live for a week. So, be sure to upload posts on a weekly basis.
Watch our free on demand webinar "Unlock Massive Local Customers" to get a special pro tip about how to format posts that will bring new customers now!
If you’d like to take an additional step in generating leads, outside of publishing posts and resources, our eBook 50 Ways to Generate and Nurture Leads Online is a great place to start.
Yes, it takes a lot to optimize your Google my business page, but like any great relationship, you have to lay the foundation before things start to grow. If you only go through the motions, you won’t see many results, but if you take the time to set yourself up for success, Google will help you get there.
So, with this in mind, start wining and dining GMB, and I think you’ll have a pretty successful relationship.