How to Optimize Google My Business–The Ultimate Checklist
Having a robust online presence on Google My Business is one of the main factors when developing a local SEO strategy for companies with brick and mortar addresses.
One of the main benefits of this free Google My Business tool is to connect businesses with potential buyers whether you’re selling physical products or services.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business or (GMB) is a free tool built by Google to help businesses establish and manage their online presence on Google search and Google maps.
When searching for a business name you will see a card that contains all the information customers want to know about a business such as business name, location, working hours, reviews, website etc.
As you can see, you can learn a lot about any business that you wish to engage with if you go through their Google My Business listing and that’s exactly the point of the tool.
Customers are searching every day on Google for local businesses such as restaurants, plumbers, movers, body shops, etc., That’s why Google My Business is quickly becoming the best way for businesses to expand their marketing effort and overall reach.
If you’re on a mobile device, you will see the GMB listings at the top of the search engine results page ahead of the organic listings. If you’re on the desktop it will appear right below the paid ads and above the organic results.
Why Is Google My Business Important?
As you probably already know, Google is the one place where every business must have a business listing no matter where you’re located at. Google is the most important and most used search engine in the world with over 3 billion searches daily, so it’s a must to have any sort of presence on the world’s number 1 search engine.
It is now a reality that if you’re not on Google, you’re nowhere. That’s why every business must have a business listing there to be considered relevant. Your business will be considered more credible if your business information is complete and accurate on your Google listings, not to mention getting as many as 5 times more clicks.
The benefits of Google My Business are threefold:
1. Increased visibility on Google search engine page results
2. Better shopping experience for buyers through Google shopping listings.
3. More traffic to your website, social channels, and physical store (where applicable).
It may be easy to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing but you have to be careful with it and fill in all the important checkmarks in order for your listing to be fully optimized. Below is our ultimate checklist on how to do it.
1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
It may surprise you to know that anyone can claim any business name on Google My Business.
That means anyone can claim your business name on Google My Business if it’s not claimed, but that won’t be a problem after you claim your Google My Business profile.
Once you claim your listing, you can have full access to updating and editing your business information, adding pictures, managing reviews, and writing posts about your business updates.
Google is always evolving and that’s why you should always keep updating your Google My Business listing with new pictures, postings, and updates regarding your business information if changed.
2. Fill out Each Section
You need to fill out each field in your Google My Business profile. Filling out your information correctly is very important for optimizing your listing.
Inaccurate or incomplete information on your Google My Business listing can really harm your online presence and have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. A complete GMB listing includes the following:
· Business name
· Phone number
· Operating hours
Make sure to complete each field accurately, as it will make it much easier for your potential customers or buyers to find your business online easily, not to mention that Google will also rank you higher in the search results.
3. Provide An Optimized Business Description
When writing your business description, you need to make sure that it’s fully optimized for search, meaning that you need to insert certain keywords related to your business in the description.
You can enlist Zivvy’s help with this. Your description needs to capture your business message and explain the features, benefits, offers, and unique selling points that separate your offering from that of your local competitors.
There’s a character limit of 750 characters in the description field so only the first 250 characters will show up in the knowledge panel. So make sure that the top of your message is concise and don’t put in any extra links.
4. Choose Your Business Category
Choosing the right category is the first and most important step when creating your Google My Business listing because it helps future customers find your business listing in non-branded category-based searches.
This is also important when your business name doesn’t include the service you provide.
There are also important attribute listings for each category like: Which form of payment or credit cards you accept? Is there accessible parking? What amenities are there?
These and many other facts about your business help Google understand your business and rank your listing.
Make sure not to forget this category. Otherwise, you will lose valuable traffic to your business which will go to your competitors. You may also choose a secondary category if applicable.
5. Upload Photos to Your GMB Listing
Photos and images always get a better response from customers in any platform.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your Google My Business listing with a profile photo, cover photo, some general photos. You should also upload your logo to boost brand recognition and make sure that your customers can identify your business listing faster.
The photos in your listings should represent the look and feel of your business like what it’s like to visit your store/business and how your storefront looks like , plus any products or services that you offer. In a nutshell, your photos should represent your brand identity and help convert more traffic to actual customers since they can now imagine what it’s like dealing with your business.
You also need to keep in mind that images are part of the search results so for example when someone is searching for your business name and clicks on “images,” they can see the photos that you uploaded to your Google My Business listing. So don’t forget to upload photos to your GMB listing.
6. Upload videos
Videos are in many ways the most effective ways to engage and convert customers and we at Zivvy know exactly how important video marketing is.
Your business should leverage the power of video and make it an important part of your marketing strategy by uploading videos to your Google My Business listing.
There are two ways to promote video on your Google My Business profile:
1.You can upload your videos as a post
2.You can also upload your videos to your photos (when you click the upload button you will see the option of uploading a video or a photo)
7. Make Sure Your Information Matches Everywhere Else.
Google needs to verify your information and it does this by checking the consistency of your information on the rest of your business listings across different websites.
This may seem easy but little inconsistencies may confuse Google and decrease your optimization. That’s why it’s crucial that you check the accuracy of absolutely all your information about your GMB along with all the directories and websites that you’re listed in.
One trick to make this easy for you is to pick a unified way to write out your address. Also, use a consistent phone number so that all your listings match each other and also match the info on your website.
You also need to get your website listed on as many relevant directories as possible because this can help your search rankings.
8. Use A Local Number
Google will only show local business listings to local users and one of the most important factors in showing local businesses is a local phone number.
That’s why you need to use a local number with a local area code and keep it consistent with your website and all your business listings across the web.
This number also needs to be displayed on the homepage of your website if it’s connected to your Google My Business listing.
9. Get Google Reviews (And Respond to Them)
Getting reviews on your Google My Business listing is extremely important for many reasons. The first and most important is that your profile becomes more optimized which is important for your Google ranking especially if the reviews include related keywords to your industry.
For example, the following review would help for optimizing a moving business to rank higher on Google for moving companies in Tampa: “Joe’s moving is one of the best moving companies in Tampa”.
You may want to consult with Zivvy’s SEO experts about the best keywords to start your optimization effort with. Encouraging customers’ reviews is one of the best business practices and you can do that by inviting your loyal and happy customers to leave a good review with a 5-star rating about your business.
After they leave you a great review, you can use this review on your website and multiple platforms too, not just your Google My Business profile. Google Reviews are also crucial since Google started to show star ratings in their search results. So if you have a great rating, it will positively affect your traffic and overall lead flow.
Also, make sure to respond to any review whether it’s a good or a bad one.
Addressing reviews shows your customers that you care enough to thank them for their positive feedback or simply fix their issue if they’re not happy with something and turn them into happy customers.
10. Post to Your Google My Business Listing
Google My Business is Google’s social media arm and much like any other social media platform, you can post directly on your GMB listing.
These posts can be announcements of new products or services, new offers and discounts, or new events. By posting regularly on your Google My Business, you can improve your user engagement and brand loyalty, not to mention that future buyers will be tempted to claim the new discount you just announced.
Don’t forget to add a call to action to each post to increase your post engagement and start generating leads from your Google My Business posts.
We recommend that you post at least once or twice a week but if you can do it daily that will be even better.
11. Use the Q&A Feature
Google My Business listings has a new feature called questions, which enables anyone to ask a question about your products or services.
You can create your own FAQs to answer any possible questions users have. These answers will remain on your Google My Business listing.
If you want to optimize your GMB listing, then one of the best practices is to populate this Q&A section with questions and clear answers to them so that anyone who has a similar question can find answers online without wasting their time.
12. Setup Messaging
This feature enables users to send a direct text message to your business phone directly from your Google My Business listing.
Most customers are now on their smartphones and they use their phones and tablets to search for products or services, so enabling the messaging feature will give you a great opportunity to connect with your future customers.
To enable the messaging feature, you need to select the “Messaging” tab in your Google My Business dashboard.
There you go, these are our 12 steps for completely optimizing your Google My Business listing.
Creating and optimizing your Google My Business listing is one of the easy ways to improve your Google search results rankings. It may take a little time but it’s worth it.
However, once completed, you will be utilizing one of the most powerful tools a local business can use to gain new customers and keep ahead of your local competitors.
At Zivvy, we have one of the best search engine optimization teams in California and we would be more than happy to help you set up your Google My Business listing and also provide you with a Free SEO strategy session to complement your Google My Business setup.
Give us a call and one of our SEO experts will outline how Zivvy can help grow your business online.