• Optimize Your Google Business Listing (and Get 7x More Visits)

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Google has revolutionized the way search works, and it seems now it is revolutionizing the way Google works. Your business website is still a crucial ingredient in your marketing mix, but Google is making it easier every day for users to get what they’re looking for directly in a search, without having to visit a website.  Google My Business is enabling this experience when it comes to local searches. That’s why it’s more important than ever  to create, claim, and optimize your Google My Business Listing. Read on to learn how to align your business with Google and leverage its power to grow your business.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

What’s So Important About Your Google My Business Listing?

Google My Business itself is not a public-facing, searchable directory (such as Yelp), BUT  your listing on Google My Business is what many other public-facing, searchable directories pull from. This includes Google Maps, which has become its own hybrid form of a review site/business directory/navigation service.

Your Google My Business listing can also impact your rankings in search results on both Google Maps and regular Google searches.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some compelling stats that highlight the importance of not just a Google My Business Listing, but an accurate and complete one.

Businesses with a Complete and Accurate GMB Listing:

  • Are 2.7x more likely to be considered reputable
  • Get 7x more clicks

Complete and Accurate GMB Listings:

  • Are 70% more likely to attract location visits
  • Are 50% more likely to lead to a purchase

7 Ways to Maximize the Impact of Your Google My Business Listing

Claim Your Listing

Did you know that anyone can list your business on Google? That’s a little scary, but fear not—you as the owner can claim your listing which grants you the access to edit and update your information, to post timely information, and to manage reviews. The claiming process requires a few steps, but it is a must. Google is always evolving, and you need to be able to make adjustments to your listing to continue benefiting from it.

Complete Your Listing

This step is simple but potentially the most important: make sure you fill out every field in your Google My Business listing. This is important for Google but for listings in general. The impact of inaccurate or inconsistent listings is not one you can afford. A complete Google My Business listing includes:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Category
  • Website
  • Hours of Operation
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Depending on your industry, there may be additional fields such as menus for restaurants

A complete listing makes it as easy as possible for potential customers to find and contact your business. In addition, the more complete your listing is, the more favor you will receive from Google when ranking you in results.

Perfect Your Description

The description part of your profile should be used to add color to your listing. Use this space to highlight the features of your business that attract customers most and set you apart from competitors. You only get 750 characters here, so don’t repeat information that is already seen in other fields. Also keep in mind that only the first 250 characters show up in the Knowledge Panel, so prioritize your information. Finally, no links or HTML.

Upload Photos with Purpose

Customers are 42% more likely to request driving directions to a business if its listing has photos, and 35% more likely to click through to its website [Source: Google]. That being said, be sure to upload a profile, cover, and general photos and to do so with purpose.

While your profile photo should focus on brand recognition, your cover photo should shed some light on your brand’s personality and culture. As for the general photos, keep in mind that the goal of Google My Business is to make the the physical world visible online. Your photos should not be embellished with logos, text, filters, or other graphics. They should collectively give people an idea of what it’s like to actually go to your business—what it looks like, what products and services they can expect, and what the general atmosphere is like. The more a potential customer is able to envision going to your business, the more likely they are to do so.

Collect Google Reviews

Have you ever noticed that when you search for products or services on Google, business results in both Maps and Search have stars next to them?

Not only do star ratings impact which listings a user clicks, but they also affect how high you rank in results. Having positive reviews about your business makes it more likely to show up in the coveted local pack of results:

optimize your google my business listing local pack

 

Google is a trusted source because it seeks to display only the most accurate information, and there’s no better depiction of a business than actual customer reviews. To collect more Google reviews, start with these simple steps:

  • Ask some of your loyal customers to write a review to get the momentum going.
  • Respond to reviews. Knowing that they will be heard adds extra incentive for customers to leave their feedback.
  • Go above and beyond to provide a noteworthy experience for customers. “Playing it cool” is not the approach to take here. Customers appreciate good service, and they appreciate it even more when they can see the effort and intention behind it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask specifically for 5-star reviews.
  • Emphasize that reviews help others to make informed decisions. They help people who need your services to find your business.

Post to Google My Business

Just like with other social media platforms, you can now post directly to Google My Business. Your posts show up on the “Posts” tab of your listing, but might also become visible on your Google Maps or Google Search result, depending on relevance.

Through Google posts you can make announcements, create events, highlight products, and run promotions. The information in these posts is that which customers need in order to stay engaged with you, which is ultimately what leads them to choose you over competitors. In addition, each post type has a call to action button, making the experience from discovery to engagement seamless.

Become a Google Guide

Have you noticed on Amazon that in addition to the product description and customer reviews, there is a section for questions? Google Maps now offers the same for businesses. Anyone can ask a question about a business on their listing, and anyone can answer those questions. Frequent answerers become “Guides”, with different badges and milestones depending on how many questions they answer and useful information they provide.

Sign up to become a Google Guide so you can answer questions people ask about your business. These answers will show up in your Google My Business listing, and potentially even your Maps and Search results. For example, if you answer that your cleaning service uses eco-friendly products, you’re more likely to appear in a search result for “eco-friendly cleaners near me”.

 

Google My Business is striving to bring the physical world online, where it can be searched and accessed even more easily. Taking these steps to create, optimize, and maintain your listing will help Google to help your business get found by more of the right people.

 

For more help with your business listing on Google and elsewhere, download our free eBook below:

 

*This post was published June 2018 and updated November 2018

Kristen McCormick
Kristen McCormick
Kristen is the Content Marketing Manager for ThriveHive, where she geeks out daily over SEO, organic traffic, and A/B testing. When she's not equipping business owners and marketers to get their name out there through effective content, she's out pedaling the streets of Boston on her beloved bike.

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