Google My Business – Why is it so important?

Hands up who hasn’t got a Google My Business (GMB) listing for their brand?

Well, now’s the time to get one and fast. With the disappearance of Google Plus – anyone actually notice it’s gone? Google is now throwing its attention to GMB and essentially GMB is becoming your homepage.

From this listing customers can:

  • See photos
  • Call you
  • Find directions to you
  • Read Reviews
  • Ask Questions
  • See your latest news

And now, people can even start following you!

For most, I think we have a listing and have just left it to do its thing, so here’s where the competitive advantage lies. Focus on GMB and you could really see an improvement in the number of enquiries coming through and possibly even your search viability (although I’m sure Google will be denying any link).

So where do you start?

First if you haven’t already, get yourself a listing.

You will need to fill in some information about your business, like name, location etc.  When writing your business name don’t stuff it with keywords, this will not help your visibility on Google. In fact probably the opposite. It’s all about consistency so make sure you use the exact same business name everywhere across the internet so search engines know they all belong to you.

Next you decide whether you want your location to show up on the map. If you work from home you will probably decide against this and then rather than show your location, Google will show a red outline of your service area – this works well if you provide services for a wide region.

When choosing your business category choose the most accurate one you can. If you set this up a few years ago, go back and check yours is still the most relevant. This is an area that has been updated significantly over the past few months and there might be a better option for you now, and this can help get you more visibility on Google.

Next, add your phone number. A local number will help those selling products and services to a local area if you want to rank for a particular area. Make sure the phone number is the same one you use everywhere else – back to the emphasis on consistency!

Once you’ve filled out the basic info, you will need to verify your listing. This is done via a postcard sent to the address you give. This is so important to get your full listing so don’t skip it. The postcard should come within 2 weeks, sometimes they don’t come at all, so go back and get it resent if this happens. If you don’t, you won’t have access to all the GMB features.

Once you are verified, make sure you fill out the listing as much as you can:

  • Photos
  • Opening Hours
  • Additional categories
  • Services
  • Description using keywords

Then you can ask customers to post reviews on your listing, these will show up on you GMB listing. When asking for a review, why not put a few questions in the email which might help steer customers to talking about the services or products which you want to focus on, or the skills you feel differentiate yourselves from your competitor.

If you get bad reviews, don’t ask for them to be deleted, instead respond to them honestly and openly. If mistakes were made, hold your hands up. No one expects a brand to be perfect, but how it recovers from mistakes is so important for prospective customers. So the response isn’t necessarily for the customer who wrote the review, as we’ve all had that one customer who nothing goes right for and there’s nothing you can do to win them back. Instead the response is for those people, like me who look at the bad reviews first!

What’s new?

More recently, GMB has added the ability to add posts to your listing, There are four different types of post:

  1. Add Update
  2. Add Event
  3. Add Offer
  4. Add Product

The one that will give you most exposure is “add update” as you see more of the preview. However all will display in your GMB listing, so it is a way to get more exposure on Google. Make sure you use the call to action button linking back to your site to the relevant page. Events and offers automatically disappear once the date has passed.

Another new feature is “messaging’

You can only switch this on through the GMB app so you’ll need to download this. Make sure you turn on notifications so you know when someone has messaged you. It has a default message which you will need to amend to be in your brand voice and to set expectations of when someone might expect a response.

If you would like us to set up your Google My Business listing so it is optimised, please get in touch. If you have a listing and need help with anything, we are also ready to help.

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