Making sure that your Google My Business (GMB) listing is properly set up and optimized is one of the most important things you can do for your local SEO campaign. GMB is a free tool that business owners can use to manage their online profile across Google. This means that you’ll be using Google My Business to control information like your business address, opening hours, and phone number in the search engine listings.
1. Start by Claiming, Verifying and Optimizing Your GMB Listing
To get started, you’ll want to claim your GMB listing if you haven’t done so. You can sign up using this link: https://www.google.com/business
You’ll be sent a verification code by mail which you will use to verify your account once you log in. After verification, you’ll want to make sure that your business name, address and phone number (referred to as NAP) are correct. You want to use this same information when you try to get citations, mentions, and links for your local search campaign.
2. Create an Attractive Business Description
Google has recently added the ability for business owners to create a short description for their GMB listing. This description will help you stand out from your competition and give potential customers an idea of what to expect from your business. While you’re given 750 characters, only the first 250 characters will be displayed unless the user actually clicks “More” to read the rest of the description.
You’ll want to use this description to state what your business is about, what kind of expertise you have, how much experience you have, etc. While you have a lot of space to use, you can’t write anything you want in the description. You have to make sure that you follow Google’s business description guidelines. A common mistake that business owners make with their descriptions is posting promotions or linking to their site when that is not allowed.
3. Add Photos and Videos to Your Listings
Adding photos and videos of your business location, products and services give consumers an idea of what to expect. It also adds an element of credibility while helping your listing stand out from businesses that haven’t attached any media. Some helpful things that you should post photos and videos of including your storefront, store interior, the surrounding area, and samples of your work (product or services).
4. Be Aggressive about Building Reviews
Many businesses are not taking reviews as seriously as they need to. Reviews are one of the strongest ranking factors right now for local search. That’s why you need to try to collect reviews from satisfied customers at every chance. Integrate a follow-up process after an online sale is made and when a customer has been serviced in your store. Of course, bad reviews can also hurt your listing and rankings. So make sure that you’ve fixed any potential problems that may result in negative feedback.
5. Start Using Messages
Not many business owners know that they can receive text messages from their customers. To activate this feature, login to your GMB account and click on the messaging link on the left-hand menu. After you verify your number, you can set up your phone number and an instant reply message.
This is a great way to answer customer questions on the fly and secure sales or appointments. But if you do have a problem with using your business phone number for this feature, you can always use services like Google Voice to get a virtual number. The service will allow you to manage text messages and voicemails from an online user interface.
6. Using Google My Business Posts
Google Posts is a fairly new feature that was added around mid of 2017. It allows business owners to post a short blurb that will appear underneath their business profile. The posts will last seven days or be pushed down when a new one is made like a social media update. To make the most out of this feature, you’ll want to use this space to generate leads and push your current promotions.
For example, if you are offering a giveaway event, you may want to get users to submit their email address for a chance to win. This will allow you to follow up with these email leads later. If you have an ongoing promotion like a 20% off sale, you can post coupon codes and instructions on how to take advantage of the limited time offer. Since you have a small amount of space to work with, you want the content to be focused, concise, and use a strong call to action.
7. Consider Accepting Appointment Bookings
Google’s new booking feature can help you generate more customers if you’re a service-oriented local business. If you enable this feature, users are given the option to choose the date, time, type of service, and staff to book. Many consumers are more likely to choose a business if they can conveniently come in at their desired time frame. If you decide to use this feature, make sure you have a system to keep track of appointments and confirm them so that you’re aware of any cancellations.
These are just some of the things that you should work on to improve your GMB listing and search rankings. There are other things that you can do further enhance your listing and local SEO campaign. If you need help with optimizing your Google My Business account, let us know. eSasson Studios is a Miami based web design and SEO firm that has helped many local businesses succeed with their local search and marketing campaigns.