Optimising your Google My Business (GMB) is a crucial component of local SEO. GMB can be a great way to drive traffic from local searches. Many businesses do not optimise their listing. Many other organisations do not even claim their listing. Do not be one of those businesses.
As Google themselves point out, there are several reasons why you should claim your business on Google:
- Appear more credible
- Appear in local search results
- Convert more customers
- Persuade past customers to repurchase
- Improve the effectiveness of online ads
Here are 15 tips to improve your Google My Business listing.
Claim your listing
Firstly, search to check if you already have a listing. Head over to Google and search for your business name. If you can find your business, you will want to claim and verify that you are the business owner.
If there is no listing for your business, then you will want to create one. Just head over to Google My Business and sign in with your Google account. You will then need to follow the prompts to add your business.
Complete as much of your profile as possible
Complete your Google My Business listing as fully as possible. It will be easier for Google to determine which search terms to show your business for if you provide more information.
A completed listing will also provide more useful information for visitors and could help increase enquiries. Research shows that businesses with completed listings on Google are twice as likely to gain customer trust, 38% more likely to receive in-store visits, and 29% more likely to get a purchase.
Include keywords in your listing
Just as with standard optimisation for search engines, you will want to make sure that you use your target keywords throughout your GMB listing.
If your business name contains your keywords, excellent. However, do not try and stuff keywords into your Google My Business listing business name if it does not already include your keywords. Use your real business name; otherwise, it looks a bit ‘spammy’.
You will also want to use your target keywords in your business description. We will cover your business description in more detail later on.
Ensure your contact information is correct
This tip should be a no brainer, but make sure that your contact details are correct. There is not much worse when it comes to your business than having the wrong contact information, and your potential customers have not been able to get in touch with you.
Contact details to check are:
- Physical address
- Telephone number
- Website address
- Appointment links
Use the Google My Business mobile app to respond to messages
Another way that you can communicate with the visitors to your Google My Business Messages feature. You can download the Google My Business mobile app, and then receive and respond to messages via your Google My Business listing directly on your phone.
Use attributes if appropriate
There is a section where you can add attributes of your business. GM prepopulates the list of attributes, so you cannot add custom attributes. This list is not very long, but if you find something relevant, you can add it as an attribute of your business. For example, one of the attributes you can currently select is ‘Identifies as women-led’.
Add products to your listing
You can add any products you sell to your listing. Click on ‘Products’ in the left-hand navigation, and then the ‘Get started’ button on the next page. A window will open where you can then add all of the details about your product.
Add your services to your listing
As with the products above, you can also add your services to your GMB listing. Click on the ‘Services’ link in the left-hand navigation. On the next screen, you can easily add your services.
There are two types of items you can add to your services. You can add business categories and also custom services. You can only choose from a predefined list for the business categories, although you can add your own custom services.
Write an engaging, keyword-rich description
Write a keyword-rich, engaging description for your business. You can only add 750 characters, so make the most of the space provided.
Try and include content that your target audience would want. For example, benefits that are unique to your business, or features that your customers might not be able to find elsewhere.
Upload photos of your business and products
Add photos of your business, products and services to your GMB profile. Fantastic imagery could sell how excellent your products are, or pictures of your team could help make a human connection with your audience.
Imagine a restaurant that posts high-quality photos of their dishes. These images could help make their food come alive compared to just some text. Google has some data that shows that businesses with photos get 42% more requests for directions than those that do not.
Add your business hours and keep them updated
Make sure that you add your business hours to your listing so that your customers know when they can contact you. You can also add ‘more hours’ for things like online operating hours and the times you offer delivery, as well as ‘special hours’ for things like public holidays.
Ask happy clients for reviews
When looking at a list of business or products, which item are you most likely to click on and trust? The ones with a four-star or five-star rating and lots of positive reviews, or the ones with no stars and no reviews?
Ask clients that loved your offering to leave a Google review on your business listing. You can even send them a link to leave a review. To get the URL your clients need to visit to leave a review, log in to your Google My Business account, and go to the home page. If you scroll down, you will see a section ‘Get more reviews’. Click on the ‘Share review form’ link, and in the pop up that appears you will have a URL you can copy. Just send your clients the URL and ask them to leave a review.
Respond to reviews
You should also respond to reviews, both good and bad. If somebody leaves a positive review, make sure to thank them, and say that you are glad they enjoyed your products or had a great experience.
If you receive a negative review, you should respond in a non-confrontational way and attempt to resolve the reviewer’s grievance. Post an email address in the response and ask them to contact you directly so that you can resolve their issue. If the customer is satisfied enough, they may go back and update the Google review to be positive.
Post offers and updates using GMB posts
You can post updates and offers on your Google My Business listing. You can post information such as COVID-19 updates, offers, updates about your business, and events.
Use Google My Business Insights to optimise further
Keep an eye on your GMB insights. There is quite a lot of information in your insights. Keep a log of when you make changes to your listing and monitor your results via insights to see if those changes have positive or negative effects.