A few weeks ago I found something on my front porch. It was….a phonebook! Like a printed on paper, bound, yellowpages phonebook. As a kid I remember using the phonebook all the time. I also remember using the Thomas Guide maps to help navigate my mom to my new friend’s house. But does anyone use these things anymore?
The stats (and our own behavior) will tell you, “no”. I honestly never even took the book out of the bag it was delivered in.
After all, 60% of Americans use smartphones and tablets to search for local products and services. And that number only continues to grow. As a business, how can you use this to your advantage.
This is where your Google My Business listing comes in.
Google My Business (GMB) is a listing of your business’ operating information, reviews, posts, and so much more.
Isn’t all of this on my website?
Although most of this information can (and should) be found on your website, Google My Business indexes the content you provide for consistency across Google Search and Maps. So when your customers search for you, it will be waiting for them. Still not convinced?
Benefits of Google My Business
- It’s free!
- Get your business to show up in the local 3 pack
- Increased credibility
- More reviews = more business
- Control, index, and display pertinent business information
- Interact with potential customers and manage your online review reputation
- Curate customer photos, videos, and other user-generated content
- Gather insights regarding how your customers are arriving on your site
Did I convince you? If so, read on for how to optimize your listing.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Before you can optimize your GMB listing, you first must claim and verify your business. This is simple and easy, and gives you access to all of the features GMB has to offer. To this go to google.com/business and input the basic information (name, address, phone number, website) about your business.
Then, you’ll be required to verify your account by submitting a code that is mailed to your business address. This step is necessary to unlock all GMB features. Your confirmation postcard will arrive within a few days.
Once you verify your listing, you can access your dashboard to start personalizing your listing.
But don’t stop there. You’re not done! Most companies make this mistake. They claim their Google My Business account, add the bare minimum details, and abandon it. They’re leaving money on the table.
Claiming the account is just the start. There are so many ways you can use it. You need to optimize it.
When leveraged correctly, Google My Business can lead to increased sales and improved customer loyalty.
Here are five steps you need to optimize it in order to utilize Google My Business to make more money for your business.
1. Ensure your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date. This information will be indexed by Google Search, Maps , providing a foundation for your local SEO. Your information should be consistent with what is currently listed on your website. Actually, you need to ensure the information is exactly the same. Inconsistencies in the information will negatively impact your search ranking.
2. Ask for reviews (and then respond to them). Reviews are the lifeblood of local search. 90% of people read reviews before purchasing!
It’s a really simple equation: Good reviews = sales. More good reviews = more sales. But, bad reviews can also present you with an opportunity to make things right and respond in a respectful and constructive way.
But how do you get reviews from your customers? It’s simple. You ask them! I share more on how to that here.
3. Add posts to share business updates. Reviews are user-generated content. But what about content you create? That’s where posts come in.
Google opened its post feature to all businesses a couple years ago. This feature allows you to share content about your business in a variety of ways. Some examples include:
- Highlighting a new line of fall clothing with various product images
- Showcasing an upcoming event you are trying to promote
- Sharing a text update on a recent company advancement
Google Posts allows you to add text, photos, gifs, and even call-to-action buttons including:
- Sign up
- Learn more
- Get Offer
4. Track customer paths through Google My Business Insights. As with any marketing tactic, it’s important to measure the impact of your Google My Business listing. Google has built-in tools to help with that.
Google My Business Insights can tell you:
- How customers are finding your business (direct vs. discovery vs. branded searches)
- Where on Google your customers are finding your listing (Search vs. Maps)
- The actions your customers are taking on your listing (Visiting your site, clicking on directions, browsing the photo gallery, calling you)
- Total phone calls and time when customers are calling
There are many ways customers can find your business, but there is no denying that Google Search is an incredibly powerful gateway to your website. Your customers are looking for you (and your competitors).
Is your digital presence ready?
Google My Business positions your important business information in front of the eyes of potential customers who are looking for your product, service, or experience.
It helps with local SEO, offers a chance to engage with your customers via reviews or posts, and provides useful insights on your customers.
On top of everything, it is a free and valuable tool that you’d be crazy not to use. You need to take control of it today.
How will you optimize your Google My Business listing to generate additional revenue for your business?
If you want help getting the most out of Google My Business or other channels, let me know.
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