About Google My Business
When you use Google to search for anything, you will always get local search results for the area in which you are located. Google wants to provide the most relevant information when searching for local businesses. This is why the local search results will always give you the closest local business to your location, followed by the next closest, etc. If you use Google maps to search, you will also get the same relevant local search results.
As a business owner, Google is the most significant source of free customer leads you will find. Before Google can start sending you customers, you have to register your business information on the Google My Business platform. Once registered, your business will also be listed in Google maps.
If you still need to register your business name with the platform, refer to this article to help you. Once your business listing is registered and verified, return to this article to optimize your listing.
Why Optimize your Google My Business Listing?
There are three main reasons you should optimize your business listing.
When your business listing has complete and accurate information, it is more attractive for customers to review. Customers can search for your services and find you because you have keywords in your listing that Google has indexed, which makes it easier for your business to be found.
If you did a Google search for “plumber near me” and found the two listings below, which one would you call first? Most likely, the one on the right for a couple of reasons, but the first is more welcoming seeing a picture of the team in front of one of their vehicles. It makes them look more professional. They also have many reviews that provide social proof to people that they do a good job. They also have listed their business address, showing you they are a stable business with an office.
My point is the listing on the right will get a higher customer engagement because it has been optimized.
Increase your Ranking
When your business profile information is complete, Google will rank your listing higher than other incomplete business listings. The best placement you can have with your Google my business optimization is the Google 3 pack. When you search for a business or service on Google, you will see the Google 3 pack listed in the search results. It will be listed below the ads at the top of the page but before the organic rankings.
Get More Customers
Google my business aims to allow customers to find your business. Once a customer sees your completed listing, they will engage you either by calling, visiting your website, or even sending you a message in Google my business.
Optimizing your Google My Business
Once you get through the initial setup and verification of your business listing, here is how you can optimize it. First, go to https://www.google.com/business and log in to your business listing. Here is what the dashboard will look like.
#1 – Complete all Relevant Profile Fields
In this article, I will cover the most critical areas of your business profile to update and optimize. However, Google likes you to have as much of their profile completed as possible, so make sure you look at all fields, even if they are not listed here.
#2 – Business Description
The business description area allows you to add up to 750 characters of text to help customers understand your business products or services. In this field, you should have several keywords that customers use to search for your business.
I don’t want the term “keywords” to confuse you, so I want to explain this quickly. As a business owner, you should know all the appropriate terms, phrases, and business lingo. For example, if you are a real estate company, customers may search for the keyword “Realtor” or “MLS” in their search. Hence, having these words in your business description makes it easier for Google to connect the person searching to your business.
#3 – Hours of Operation
Google expects local businesses to have specific hours of operation. Your hours will determine your relevance when a person searches based on the time of day when you search.
A person searches for a real estate company, and the time of day is 5:10 pm. Google wants to provide the person searching with the most relevant search results, so if there were two real estate companies close by, one closes at 5 pm and the other closes at 6 pm. Then Google will return the company that is currently opened first in the search results based on the hours of operation.
Don’t forget to include business hours for all holidays as well.
Make sure you choose the best primary business category, which is important in how Google matches your business when customers search for you.
You can select a total of 5 categories, so fill in any other categories relevant to your business, the important ones being first and the least essential being last.
You cannot customize the categories in this area since Google only allows you to select from their list.
#5 – Question & Answers
This is an underused area of Google’s business profile. All businesses have standard questions that customers have. This area is perfect for asking and answering them, so they are available on your business profile.
Having this on your business listing can help customers decide to use your service without ever having to speak to you.
#6 – Add Products & Services
Google wants to know what products or services you offer so they can better match a search request to your business.
If your business sells products, the Edit products area is a great place to display them. If you have an online store, then it’s best to enter the online store link under the Bookings area of your profile.
If your business offers various services, this Edit services area is where you can list them all. Google limits you in choosing your business category but allows you the freedom to enter any specific service you provide in this area manually.
#7 – Messaging
To use this feature, you must first enable it. Once enabled, customers can message your business directly through Google’s platform.
Google can see your interaction with your customers through the Google My Business platform. They will rank your business higher based on performance, so use this platform as often as possible.
#8 – Add Update
Google likes it when you have activity on your business profile. This area allows you to post messages to your customers. They can be informational or even promotional. If you have a special on your services, you can post it, so your customers see it when searching for it. Here are the messages you can send to your customers.
#9 – Photos & Videos
Google likes it when you have many pictures and videos of your business. These do not need to be professional pictures. Your cell phone will work just fine. Get pictures of the front facade, workspace area, any equipment you may use, and company vehicles. You can upload your company logo and cover photo as well.
Shoot a quick video from the owner or manager of the business with a sincere message to a potential customer on how you can help them and what your business does. This will deliver a personal connection that will get customers calling you instead of your competitors.
#10 – Reviews
I saved the best optimization feature for last. Google loves it when its customers provide business reviews on their platform. The more good Google reviews you get, the higher Google will rank you in the 3-pack.
Getting good reviews allows potential customers to see how other your business has treated customers in the past. Statistics show that 87% of consumers who search for services will look at and trust the reviews left on Google.
Getting reviews sounds easy, but it does take time to follow up with your customers to ensure they leave you a review. Every business owner should prioritize this because the more good reviews you have, the more customers you get.
Most companies outsource this to a third party or use software to handle their reputation management automation.
Optimize Google My Business Conclusion
Google is a business owner’s best friend. They have designed a platform for small businesses to make it easier for customers to find the local products and services they are looking for. They make it easy for business owners to register their businesses on this platform and get free customers. You must follow a few of Google’s best practices, and you will get more business in no time.
I hope you find this article helpful and wish you the best.