Claim Your Listing
…and be sure to verify it by going to https://www.google.com/business. This is the first step in ensuring Google knows your business exists and that your local information is correct—that is, the name, address, contact information, business hours, and website. You can also add information about parking and the types of payments your business accepts.
Fill Out as Much as Possible
Next, be sure to follow the prompts to fill out as much information as you can. All of the pieces listed above are important, and Google will walk you through what kinds of information they want you to supply.
There’s an important caveat to note: Google allows anyone to make suggested changes to your business listing. While some people have cried foul about this, saying that malicious troublemakers can make changes that turn customers away, Google claims that it encourages customers to get involved. The malicious attacks aren’t common, but they have happened. So, it’s important to log in and review your Google My Business listings and information regularly and just make sure that everything still looks correct--you can always change it if it is out of date or if someone has tampered with your information.
Enable the Messaging Option
If you’re willing to chat with customers through text, this is a great way to do so. Potential customers can find the messaging option on your Google My Business listing and send you a text. You can have an automated message set up for quick replies, or you can sign up with Google’s Allo app to have the text sent to your account rather than your personal number.
Another great feature of Google My Business is the “Questions and Answers” section. When someone asks a question, you have the chance to answer it for them. Keep an eye on which questions people tend to have—you can use this information to make your listing or website better, or even to create an FAQ page where you can answer the questions all at once.
Just like the suggested business changes, anyone can answer questions. So be sure to check periodically and make sure that no one is asking and answering questions in ways that don’t reflect your business practice.
Post on Google My Business
The posts show up in the Knowledge Panel when people search for your business. You can add a link and call to action so that people follow the link to a landing page, store link, or something else you want to promote.
To make your post more visually appealing, be sure to include an image. You can also make the text a little more flavorful by adding emojis. There is speculation that this might help ranking results as well—Google allows you to search using emojis, so if someone is looking for something such as food, you could include that emoji with your post. That may just give you a slight advantage over other competitors who don’t optimize for emojis (although we can’t say this is a “make-it-or-break-it” technique for ranking).
Here you can see how the latest post looks in the GMB dashboard (top) and how your posts display in the Knowledge Panel when people search for your company (bottom).
Google My Business Reviews
We’ve written about the importance of customer reviews before, but it’s worth noting again: Your customer reviews affect your ranking. People search for businesses with four-to-five-star ratings, and having more reviews helps your business rank higher in the search results—you may even appear in the coveted “3-pack” if you have enough positive reviews.
A few tips to get your customers to leave reviews:
Leave a link on your website and social media accounts so they can easily find their way
Brick-and-mortar stores can post signs reminding customers to leave reviews. You might try flyers, window clings, or reminders on your receipts.
Collecting email addresses with customers’ approval is a great way to add them to a mailing list. You can then send out reminders and direct links to your review page.
Train your staff to verbally remind customers to leave a review when they check out. There’s no need to be aggressive—just a friendly reminder before the customer steps out the door should do the trick.
Ace Your Business Description
Finally, make sure that your description is SEO-friendly and lets people know what your business is all about. This is your chance to hook people—so don’t waste it! You only get 250 characters before the description is cut off in the Knowledge Panel, so make sure that any pertinent information gets put at the beginning of the description. Follow these guidelines to have the best chance of getting your description successfully published. Of course, we offer these services at Zoek, so if you need some help, feel free to ask!
Google My Business is changing all the time, so there may be many other ways to make the most out of your account. However, these tips should be a good way to get started with GMB and get your company on the right track to increased online visibility. If you want more information or assistance, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out!