Anyone who has used the internet has seen Google My Business (GMB). Unfortunately, most people who have seen it don’t fully realise what it is. So just to make sure we are all on the same page, Here is a quick explanation.
Google My Business is the box of information Google displays in the SERPS when you search for a company name or brand. It includes links to the companies website, images, directions, contact details and lots of other great stuff.
If you are still reading this, congratulations, you are in the small minority of people who want to do more than add their address to Google My Business. This is such a powerful tool and yet most people use it once and then never look at it again. That is a bigger mistake than giving a toddler a shot of bourbon and handing them a nail gun. GMB is crucial for local SEO and reputation management. Never looking at it means you are abandoning your reviews, ignoring free advertising opportunities and letting strangers edit your business information.
If you have never signed up for Google My Business then open up that computer and let's get busy. Sign in and claim your business. You can do that from here. This is easy and quick, you just enter your location and some business information. Then Google will send you a postcard. That is not a joke, they send you an actual postcard like your aunt did when she went on that trip to Egypt. However, instead of telling you about how it took her 5 tries to get on a camel, the Google postcard comes with a code on it. Google sends a postcard to the address of your business as a way of verifying that it is a real place and that you own it. You can then use the code to verify your GMB listing.
Before the code even arrives you can start work on your listing. On the home page start by filling in all the information you can.
Those are just the basics though and the more information you add, the better, especially if you want good local SEO.
With that in mind we have also added our normal business hours and special closed hours for holidays.
We also want to make sure people can easily contact us so we have added our phone number and website. We could also include an appointment URL if we use an online appointment booking service.
Once the postcard arrives with the code, our GMB page will have all the crucial information so we can get it up and running immediately.
This is the point at which most people stop using Google My Business but we are not even close to done. So let’s look at all the other cool stuff you can do once your listing has been approved.
Responding to reviews
Business owners know that customers love to talk about their experiences. Thanks to Google reviews now they can share them with the whole world. The problem is that unless your business is universally beloved, you are probably going to get some bad reviews. You can respond to any google review on your GMB dashboard.
It is actually a great idea to respond to all your reviews both good and bad. Praise good reviewers by thanking them for their feedback and using it as a chance to highlight something you can be proud of. Avoid arguing with bad reviews, simply apologize for a bad experience and outline what you will do to fix the problem. Conversely you can try to tempt the bad reviewer back to make amends.
This strategy is the start of online reputation management. It shows that you are engaged with your customers and that you not only take reviews seriously, you act off the back of them.
Monitor suggested edits
Google My Business listings can actually be edited by your customers and other web users.
While Google may try to notify you of suggested edits via email, the only way to make sure that incorrect suggested edits do not go live is to check Google My Business regularly. If you do not do that incorrect edits could go live without you ever knowing. That means your customers are getting incorrect information about your business which could damage their buying experience.
Google My Business Posts
Using posts in Google My Business is another great way to engage with this tool. A post is a bit like a tweet that only appears in your GMB listing. You can use text, photos and even make the post an event. You can also add a reserve, sign up, buy or get offer button. This is great if you want to push customers directly to an offer or help people engage with a piece of content quickly.
Posts also allow you to advertise a specific service directly in the search results around your brand. An example would be the bellow noodle bar. They are advertising a build your own noodle bowl offer that targets customers searching for them. This can help businesses highlight sales or specials and advertise new products.
Once you have added all the information you like it is time to step up your picture game. You can add pictures of the interior and exterior of your business. This helps people find it and gives them an idea of what they can expect. You can also upload your logo and (prepare your selfie sticks) even take pictures of yourself or other staff. This makes your business look more human and relatable.
Google is always adding new features to their tools and Google My Business is no exception. Currently clients in the United States are able to take advantage of a booking feature. People can actually set up a booking schedule on the Google My Business so web users can book in seconds without needing to integrate a booking system into their website.
All these great tools are at your fingertips, all you need to do is dedicate a little time to GMB. If you are interested in learning more you can check out our step by step guide for setting up all of these features. You can contact us and we will take care of your digital marketing needs.