Creating your Google My Business profile (GMB) is incredibly important if, as a business, you are serious about attracting local traffic, local customers, and local revenue. Failing to claim and verify your business Google My Business listing can significantly increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder and generally on Google Maps – all of these are also important for supporting local rankings.
What is a Google My Business Profile?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool rolled out by Google to help business owners manage their digital visibility and online presence; and enables businesses access to free local exposure.
Google My Business gives your customers information about your business to help them to understand; who you are, where you are, what you sell, why you exist, when you are open, and importantly what other customers thought about you (reviews).
Tip 1: Claim Your Profile
You may see your Google My Business Profile showing on the Search Engine Results Page, however, you may not have claimed it. Editing or Improving your business’s Google My Business without claiming and verifying that you are the business owner (or work for the business) is not possible.
Tip 2: Claim Your Business Short Name
Once you have created and/or claimed your Google My Business Profile, the next optimisation opportunity is to claim, your Business Short Name. This is a shortened or customised name, often different to that of your business name or legal entity name, to make it easier for local search users to find your business. It is not advisable to stuff this Business Short Name with keywords as it contravenes the guidelines; however, your Short Name should be something associated with your business or the name that customers commonly use to refer to the business.
Tip 3: Make Sure Your NAP Is Accurate
If you’ve recently changed your business address, telephone number, opened up a new branch / store, or have changed the legal company structure behind your business then there is a possibility that your NAP information will be incorrect.
Take a couple of minutes to check that your NAP (Name, Business Address, Phone Number) is correct, and is consistent with your other directory links and local citation listings.
Tip 4: Maximise The 750 Character Business Description
Writing the Business Description is extremely important, this is your ‘sell’ to your potential customers. This should describe;
– what your business does
– what your USP’s are
– why people should use your services or buy your products
– how long you’ve been in business
– why should people trust you
While this sounds easy, often summarising what your business does over 750 characters can be a challenge. We recommend, selecting 2 or 3 keywords that best advertise what your business does, and building the text around these keywords. It might take you a couple of attempts to get it right – but show it to friends and family and get feedback – and then upload it.
Tip 5: Don’t Let Bad Photographs Let You Down
Every Google My Business Profile will show a photograph or image as part of the profile. Quite often the pictures shown on GMB do not do the business justice, and aren’t inviting for customers to encourage them to work with you.
If you don’t think that the building front, that the business operates from looks appealing then we would recommend uploading images of inside the office / retail store. If your business is fully-remote or your business operates from a residential address, then images inside/outside of the building may not be suitable, in this case we would recommend uploading images of the products or the company logo.
Tip 6: Choose a Business Category (and Sub-Category)
The category and sub-category that you select for your business can heavily impact the performance of your Google My Business profile, and the performance of your website across the Search Results pages generally. If you categorise your business incorrectly, Google may not deem it a relevant search result, and this may impact the exposure your business gets for the Industry, Product and Service keywords you would like to be ranking for.
Tip 7: Encourage Google Reviews
Google Reviews are one of the most important inclusions within the Google My Business profile.
A review, both positive and negative, is one of the most influential factors in the buying process. We often listen to word of mouth recommendations when we talk to family and friends – and reviews are no different. So, encourage your customers to leave reviews on Google for your business. There are tools and software available to automate the process of requesting customers to leave you feedback, so this process doesn’t need to be a chore.
Aside from the influence on buying decisions and promoting the positive impact your business has had on your customers; Google Reviews is also a significant ranking factor. If you look at the Local Pack and Local Finder, you will generally see businesses rank higher / better when they have multiple reviews; and likewise, businesses with no reviews may not appear at all.
Tip 8: Now You Have Reviews, Respond To Them
Some business owners dread sourcing reviews, because they’re concerned that some of the feedback from their customers will be bad, and that they don’t want the bad reviews to appear in the public domain in case they put prospective customers off.
But marketing surveys and studies have shown time and again, that businesses who can rectify negative feedback and adequately remedy the issues that their customers experience, can be as positively influential as getting a good review.
So when you start to receive reviews, embrace the 5* feedback by thanking them for their endorsement of the business; but also embrace the negative reviews and see it as an opportunity to correct poor service, and use it as a continuous feedback tool for your business processes.
Tip 9: Add Your Social Media Profiles
If you provide products or services that sell based on impulse and/or visual display, your Social Media channels will likely be full of great artwork, videos, and product demonstrations (including User Generated Content) – you likely invest heavily in making sure that your Social channels look, feel, and perform great; so give prospective customers, who find you through Organic Search, the opportunity to see this content. It might just influence them to buy!
From a technical perspective, you need to make sure that your Social Channel NAP information, matches that of your Google My Business NAP information – any discrepancies could have a detrimental impact.
If you aren’t investing in making sure that your Social channels are updated regularly with content that will inspire your community to engage with your brand, then why not? Even if you provide services that you can’t photograph, sharing content, and advice through Social Media is a great way of creating an audience regardless of Google My Business.
Tip 10: Check In To GMB Insights Monthly
The landscape of Organic Search is continuously changing, and this means that the services and support that Google My Business can bring to your business is continuously changing too. We would recommend that you set up a recurring calendar invite to remind you to check-in to Google My Business Insights, to see what new features you can embrace; and add new content to ensure that any ranking factor changes are covered to give you the best possible opportunity of being connected to your audience. At the end of the day, we all want to grow our customer base; so why turn down a free opportunity to do so!
Want to get a Step Ahead of the Competition?
As Local SEO becomes a more prominent part of a business’s digital marketing strategy it becomes harder and harder to stand out as your competitors gradually improve their strategy. If you are in a particularly saturated industry sector, where Local SEO is paramount to you attracting local customers, and you want to get a step ahead, then contact us.
We have worked across multiple industries, and varying business structures to find the marginal gains you need to get you appearing prominently in the Local Pack, Local Finder and Google Maps.