Help Your Clients Perfectly Optimize Their Google My Business Listing
Just when you think you’ve mastered your local SEO efforts, Google strikes again!
OK, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration but since there have been recent updates to all the functionality you can take advantage of with Google My Business listings, I figure now’s a good time to address all the ways you can optimize this space to help with your local search efforts.
Start at the beginning
And I mean, the very beginning. What exactly is Google My Business and why does it benefit your business?
Well, in a nutshell, it’s a tool provided by Google for businesses and organizations to use to “manage their online presence across Google, including Search, Google’s Local Pack, and Maps.” It allows you to manage business information, interact with customers, and expand your online presence.
For local businesses, claiming and verifying your business with Google My Business is one of the first steps that need to be taken to get started with a successful local SEO strategy.
Now, claiming and verifying your listing is just the first step. The work doesn’t end once that’s complete, in fact, the work to optimize your listing has just begun.
Fill in all the information you can
There is a bunch of basic business information you should include in your listing, including your address, local phone number, hours, business category, photos/videos, services/menu (when applicable), and website. For your business category, be sure to get specific, so instead of saying “marketing” you could say “small business marketing consultant.”
Filling in this information is not only informative for your audience, it can help deter competitors from filling in the rest of your listing. See “suggest an edit” in the screenshot to the right? People are actually able to make suggestions and edits to your listing, which you obviously don’t want them to do. Be sure to login into your GMB listing consistently to ensure all of the information is accurate.
In addition to the basic information, Google is now allowing people to add more substantial business descriptions to their listings, which is great for adding more detail for people to find out who you are and what it is that you do. Just be sure to adhere to Google’s guidelines when crafting the copy.
Boost Google reviews
One thing I did not mention in the section above is to build your Google reviews because this warrants a section of its own. Online reviews are becoming more and more important for building trust with customers and it is essential you get as many 5-star reviews on your listing as possible.
If you don’t have time to manually reach out to each of your customers, consider using a service like Grade.us to help you out.
It’s also important to respond to all reviews on your listing, both positive and negative. It helps to show you are engaged with your audience and value their feedback.
Take advantage of Google Posts
This is still a relatively untapped area that not many people are taking advantage of. Google posts appear prominently on your listing (appearances-wise it kind of looks like a social media post). You can get creative with them by including images and CTAs. I’d recommend using this if you have an awesome recent blog post, an event coming up, a promotion…the list goes on.
Pro tip, these posts can be especially beneficial in mobile searches as that’s where they really pop (this is a big deal considering the majority of searches on Google are now conducted on a mobile device).
Research mobile messaging
To piggyback off the mobile search topic, have you heard of the new messaging feature Google has added to the mobile version of Google My Business Listings? Let me preface this feature by saying it may not be for everybody, but it is definitely worth looking into as an additional way to book an appointment with you.
As you can see in the photo to the right, mobile listings now have a message button (provided you set it up). When a person clicks it, they get taken to a text message with your phone number ready to go and can start a text chain with your business.
It’s a very convenient way for users to get ahold of you, but you must decide if you want that kind of immediacy and those kinds of notifications, potentially on your personal phone (note, you can edit the number that appears in the text so that they don’t have access to your actual personal number).
Allow users to book through Google
If you have a business where customers have to make appointments, you can set it up so that they are able to do so through your Google My Business listing. This process can make it easier for both you and your customer. It’s basically a win-win.
Customers like to feel like they can have a conversation with you. It helps to establish an emotional connection. Your listing has a Q&A section at the bottom. If you decide to use this feature, be sure to be responsive and active, because, like the suggestion feature, anybody can respond to the questions, so be sure to stay on top of it.
There you have it! Are your clients aware of all of these features? If not, it’s time you let them know!