Creating and optimizing your Google My Business should be the first step in your local SEO strategy.
By creating a Google My Business listing, you can show up in Google Maps as well as the 3 Map Local Pack.
It’s a solid first step in getting your business found online and to be seen by the masses.
Google My Business, or GMB for short, is a directory created by Google for businesses for local businesses in your area pertaining to your search.
GMB can be a great way of putting your company at the top of the search results.
Even before the first organic results!
Your listing is where customers can learn more information about you, leave a review, check your hours & availability, location, phone number, and plenty more.
GMB is especially important when customers are searching for your services in their respective area.
By having a Google My Business listing, you can also rank in the Local Pack.
You can show up for searches like this:
If you’re searching for “best of” or “near me” queries, you can’t show up on the 3 Map Local Pack without a Google My Business listing.
If having your business listed in the top of Google’s directory doesn’t sound good enough, it’s one of the best ways customers can reach you.
Be Seen by Customers
More and more customers are using search engines like Google to find local businesses like yours near them. You don’t need to be a restaurant or a car wash to be able to list your business on GMB. Anyone can!
Make sure customers can find your business when searching for services that you provide.
When creating, or reviewing your listing, make sure you’re adding value to your GMB listing by updating it with relevant information like your services, hours of operation, photos, and any special notices that your customers might find valuable.
When it comes to your GMB listing, and as a business as a whole, reviews are make or break.
A business that has no reviews or under a 4-star rating are in trouble.
Meanwhile, a business that has plentiful 4-star & 5-star reviews show a sign of trust to customers first coming across your business.
Are you sold on Google My Business yet? You’ve got nothing to lose!
If you want to get started on setting up your Google My Business, you can follow these easy steps.
Step 1. Go to https://www.google.com/business
Step 2. Create an account
2a. If you already have an account, simply login
Step 3. Enter your business name
You will be prompted to enter your business name.
If you see it from the drop down, select it.
If you do not see it, you will click on the blue text to ‘Add your business to Google’.
Step 4. Enter your business category
You will then be given a dropdown of all types of business categories for you to select.
It goes without saying, that you should choose the category most closely associated with your business.
Step 5. Enter your location
You will need to provide the location of your business.
This will set the location of your business on Google Maps where customers can get directions to your business.
Step 6. Fill in your contact information
You can also add your business’ phone number, website, and Social Media pages to your listing.
Step 7. Click finish to start managing your listing
Once you’ve clicked the finish, you’re on your way to managing your listing!
Verification takes 3-5 business days
It’s also worth noting that after finishing your setup for your Google My Business listing, they will mail you a confirmation to the address that you registered your listing with.
It will generally take 3-5 business days to get this confirmation form, and it will contain information on verifying your account.
Be on the look out for that!
What better way to let customers know more about your business, than from yourself.
With your business description, you get to let your brand’s voice, mission statement, or a message from the owner stand out and gain the trust of searchers.
Here’s a helpful tutorial from Google on how to change your hours for your business. This can be especially important around the holidays if you will have special hours of operation.
As mentioned earlier, one the most important features on your Google My Business listing are reviews.
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal,
When it comes to reviews, make sure that you’re responding to all reviews. Good or bad.
When your audience sees that the owner of the business responds to customer’s feedback, it shows that the business took time out of their day to respond and cares about their customers.
Lastly, reviews that are detailed and rich of helpful context are more than enough to win over a customer’s trust and most likely their business.
It’s important to always be on top of your reviews and to even set up an alert whenever your business receives a review.
This can assure timely and adequate response to any type of review if needed.
This is where your business can really shine.
Make your listing stand out by adding photos that you think your users will find helpful.
Showcasing your store is one of the best ways of grabbing the attention of searchers.
Even if your store isn’t stunning, customers are interested in seeing photos of your store and appreciate the opportunity to view it before they visit.
When it comes to photos, get creative! Photos don’t always need to be of your shop.
Want to show off a positive review? Turn it into a photo!
Want to showcase your services? Turn that into a photo as well!
Statistics can also be an interesting spin on photos.
If you’re a plumber, you can use the following example:
Seeing something as compelling as this, can make an average searcher into your next customer.
If you’re a restaurant, you have the ability of having a link that goes straight to your menu.
Users can click through to check out the food or drinks you serve.
If you’re a business that does a variety of services, you can list those on your Google My Business listing!
They might not show up as prominent as your star reviews, or photos, but it’s a good way of telling your customers, as well as Google, what services you provide.
When checking out your listing, right below your reviews, you’ll find posts.
Posts are a great way of telling customers what’s new with your business.
Alongside updates of your business, you can:
Posting regularly can be a strong indicator to Google that you’re an active business, and can prioritize you over your competitors in the local pack results.
You can turn on messaging on your GMB listing to let customers directly message you from your listing.
By turning on messages, searchers will have the ability to call, click to your website, get directions to your store, and now have the ability to directly reach out to you.
You can see from the example below, how this feature may seem subtle, but by allowing this feature gives you yet another means of communication with your audience.
If you want searchers to have the ability to directly set up appointments on your Google My Business listing, you can do it!
By providing your scheduling provider (Zoom, Google Hangouts, Calendly) you can allow searchers to set up an appointment with ease.
You can see what it would look like for your listing below.
For more information on how to set up scheduling for your listing, check out Google’s article.
Questions & Answers
Just like how you should always be responding to your customer reviews, you should also be responding to any questions that users ask on your listing.
By having a Q&A section, it allows users to see that you are responsive, as well as answer any of the same questions that they also may have.
In the example below, you’ll see a good question asked in regards to parking.
If your business doesn’t have any users asking questions on your listing, and you know that something like parking is on your customer’s mind, you might even think about having a family member or friend intentionally post a question on your listing.
It might seem a little bit sneaky, but it beats a blank. Letting your customers know that you have available parking, or curbside pickup, or any other extra amenities that you offer, puts the spotlight on you.
It makes you seem responsive, and adds that little extra polish that might turn a searcher into a customer.
Lastly, but surely not least is video.
Video might seem like it is difficult to pull off, but there is no better way of gaining trust with your audience, than with video.
You might need to have a professional videographer shot and edit the video, but it can really be worthwhile.
And there you have it! I hope that you found this article helpful in aiding your efforts in getting your business found online.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll hopefully see you on the next one.