As a digital marketing agency, our job is to help your potential customers find you. When it comes to SEO, that means increasing your presence and your rankings on Google.
Google My Business is a key component in that process.
If you’re asking, “what is Google My Business?” – don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s definitely something you’ve seen before but might not have known what it’s called. By the time we’re done with this edition of the WebMarketers blog, you’ll not only know what it’s called, you’ll know why Google My Business is an important piece of the search rankings puzzle.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you control how your business profile appears on Google Search and Google Maps.
Your profile includes everything a potential customer needs to know about your business. This includes:
- your business name
- address (if applicable)
- store hours (if applicable)
- customer reviews
Google My Business acts as a hub for your business. You can use it to add pictures of your products and services as well as respond to your customer reviews (something which we highly recommend as a valuable tool!). Another useful feature in your Google my Business account is that you can see when, where and how people are searching for your business.
Want to know more about how to set up a Google My Business account? Google’s support page is a good place to start.
How to Optimize your Google My Business Account
There are several ways to optimize a Google My Business account. It’s important to get these steps right, as that’s the kind of thing that can make a difference between being seen by customers and not being seen.
Information & Media
The first step to optimizing your GMB profile after it has been completely set up and verified is to ensure you have as much information as possible. Google asks a variety of questions about your business, and it is best to answer all of them with as much detail as you can provide. This makes it easier for potential customers to find information about your business.
Pictures and media play a huge role in optimizing your account. Display your up-to-date logo for brand recognition purposes, as well as photos and videos of your location, products and team. These are key components to build trust and inform your potential customers on what your business offers.
Great. So once you have added company information to your GMB profile, you’re all set, right?
Whoa, not so fast!
It turns out that GMB isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it task. You should regularly check up on your profile to see if your information is correct and up to date.
A lot of business owners don’t realize that anyone can make changes to your GMB profile by clicking “suggest an edit”. These changes include hours of operation, locations, company category, website and contact information.
Wait, WebMarketers, did you just say that anyone can make changes to a Google My Business profile!
Yup, we sure did.
Any Google user can come along and make “suggestions” for your business. These suggestions are supposed to have an embargo period before taking effect (in order to give you time to react) and Google is supposed to notify you of the suggestion. In reality, however, you may or may not be notified of this change.
Which is why checking up on your information regularly is important.
As well as being able to change the information on your GMB profile, Google also encourages users that find your business to answer questions of what your business sells or what services it provides. Again, anyone can answer these questions whether they are completely familiar with your business… or not. This means your competitors can also make unwanted changes to your business info.
Good reason to stay vigilant, isn’t it?!
Now for the good news: Wile doing your routine check up on your GMB account, should you find that anything is incorrect or out of date, you can change it back to show the correct information.
Our friends over at MOZ have plenty to say on the subject.
Google My Business allows you to make Google posts. These are similar to social media posts and are displayed in Google search and your Google My Business listing.
You can make a post about anything your business does that you feel is beneficial to shine a light on, these may include the following:
- Upcoming events
- Link to your most recent blog post
- New products
- New services
Your Google posts can include a link to your website or another call to action for your potential customers.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Reviews are incredibly important for your local GMB profile.
Not only is this beneficial in the SEO standpoint, helping you rank higher than your competitors, reviews are also the #1 influencer for consumer purchasing decisions.
As a business owner it’s vital that you reply to your reviews and manage your Google rating. As powerful as your GMB profile can be to provide your potential customers with information regarding your business, constant review management is equally important to increasing customers’ interest and trust for your business.
Responding to both negative and positive reviews is crucial for building your identity behind the business, and can often turn a negative experience to a positive one with the human response. Most potential customers can understand that every business can have a bad day from time to time, and will often overlook a couple of negative reviews if the owner has responded appropriately to the poor rating.
Read more about why you should start giving a #@&% about your reviews here: https://webmarketers.ca/why-you-should-start-caring-about-reviews/
Alternative Contact Options
There are plenty of other features that Google offers that can benefit your business. Some of these features work better for some industries than others.
Messaging – Google has the option to set up text messaging for your customers to reach you. Studies show that the younger generation has an aversion to phone calls. If your business requires communication to book an appointment, it may be a benefit to add text messaging as an option for your business.
Booking Button – Google has made the booking process easy by allowing users to book right from google. The user can pick the date, time & service needed. This also can be used as an alternative to phone call appointment booking for those who are not as comfortable on the phone. Providing these options can give your company an edge over competitors.
Questions & Answers
Questions & Answers allow people to ask questions about your business that can be answered by you. Although you have been as informative in your profile as you can, there will always be some questions that you miss, so this gives you the opportunity to offer more information about your business!
Create a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section on your profile to be proactive when it comes to customer questions. Identify the questions most often asked, then include this on your GMB profile.
A Healthy GMB Profile is Part of an Effective SEO Strategy Overall
Can you run your company’s Google My Business functions on your own? Absolutely! It just depends on how much time you’re willing to put in.
One thing to keep in mind is that, while effective, Google My Business is one piece of the larger puzzle that is SEO. That’s why we recommend hiring a marketing agency to run your SEO and search engine marketing (SEM) strategies.
At WebMarketers, we’ve handled SEO and SEM for hundreds of clients, ranging from solopreneurs to small and medium sized businesses. We know the ins and outs of the SEO field not only because we’ve been doing this for a good while, but because we’re hyper-vigilant when it comes to staying on top of changes to the Google algorithm and rapidly developing trends in SEO.
Contact us today to have a chat and start the process of improving your company’s Google rankings. We’d love the opportunity to connect you with more customers!