Are you looking for ways to expand your reach on Google without spending additional money?
Google My Business (GMB) is an excellent resource for helping customers find you. Considering that Google dominates search engine market share, both in the US and globally, investing time into optimizing your GMB profile is a worthwhile endeavor.
When you search for a business on Google, if its name is an exact match or triggers a close enough keyword, a profile will appear on the right-hand side of your search results:
This box includes the business’s name, address, hours of operation, and contact information. Most importantly, it contains buttons for people to immediately go to their website and to get directions to the business. On the mobile version, the Google My Business box also includes a button to call the business directly.
Will people actually use this? Absolutely. Forty-six percent of all searches on Google are for local businesses, and adding “near me” to search queries has more than tripled since 2015. Even more telling, among mobile users, 50 percent of those searching for a business online will visit it the same day. An effective GMB profile will deliver easy-to-use results to potential customers, which in turn will deliver clients to your door.
Google My Business is such a powerful tool because it’s simple. If you’re a customer looking for a quick solution, this box right at the top of your search results will supply all the information you need without requiring any digging. Mobile users, on the go and looking to take action fast, will find it especially convenient. Even in today’s tech-savvy world, calling a business is a popular way to receive instant answers and make an important decision— whether it’s worth your time to go into the business.
A well-crafted profile makes finding the right business easier on users who don’t want to search all around the web for answers. They see everything they need to know within the box. With this in mind, optimizing your profile is a great way to entice people to consider you and your services.
First, head over to the Google My Business sign-up page to create your free GMB account. Their simple setup process takes less than 10 minutes. If you have a Gmail account, or if your business is using the Google Suite services, setup will be even easier. If not, an email confirmation will be sent to your inbox, allowing you to log in via your existing work email.
Once you’re logged in, you’ll see several tabs on the left-hand side of your browser, which take you to different areas to manage. The Home Page, where you’ll start, shows you a breakdown of performance, reviews, posts, similar businesses, and more.
From there, click on the Info tab to fill out information pertinent to your business. Remember, most people are looking for the essentials—your phone number, address, and hours of operation—to take some action. Adding these items is your first priority.
Next is the pictures page. Upload pictures of your business here. If you have images on your computer, uploading them is as simple as a drag and drop. Make sure to add your company logo and attractive pictures of the interior of your location. Even if your company is one clients rarely come into, having photos of employees working around the office will create a good impression for prospects researching your business.
After the basics are set up, you’re up and running! This, however, is just the start. Next you’ll want to establish a system to keep the public informed about what’s current at your business.
When a potential customer searches for something and sees your GMB profile, posts will appear at the very bottom of the box. Posts are updates that you can create in different categories to display targeted information to your audience.
Here, searchers can find news about business updates, products for sale, offers, and events. Unlike a post on a website, these do not stay visible indefinitely until you put up something new. Since Google’s latest update, Google My Business posts will be visible in the box for only 7 days, unless they’re for a future event. However, people can still click “View All” to see a history of posts. There are four types of posts, each offering different features appropriate to different types of information for prospective clients.
This simple type of post allows you to add a photo, description, and link to a page. If you’ve made a change or upgrade to your company’s services or amenities, the What’s New post is for you.
For instance, a local hotel that wants to draw in more customers to spend the night might post about their newly enhanced complimentary WiFi, or the recent inclusion of vegan-friendly options in their free breakfast buffet. If there’s something new to know about your business, post about it!
This post option allows you to add a picture, title and event details, the date/time of your event, and a link to more information. When you have a specific event coming up that you would like to inform the public about, this post gives them all the information they need.
To return to the hotel example, suppose that your hotel is hosting a business convention. Creating an event post will help keep prospective guests in the know, and may help to attract additional guests looking for convenient networking opportunities. Use the link section to lead interested customers to a web page where they can register for the event immediately, whether it’s your own site or that of the organization hosting the convention. Helping facilitate registration for the event will help ensure that they end up at your hotel.
To promote limited-time offers, this type of post is ideal. Maybe you’re running a seasonal special, or you want to drum up more interest in a new product and you’re offering a discount. As with an Event post, you can add a picture, title, details, and time frame to an Offer post. You also have the option to include a coupon code, a link to access the offer, and/or terms and conditions.
When you want to introduce a new product or highlight a bestseller to drive sales, create a Product post. This type of post includes a photo, product name, price, product details, and an optional link to purchase the item on your website.
To make your Google My Business profile stand out, you need to create a system to keep the information on your profile current. Having recently updated information available allows newcomers to form a great first impression of your business, and will show repeat customers that you are on top of things.
Don’t be intimidated—you don’t need to invest a great deal of time to keep your GMB profile current. Keep in mind that the GMB box is small, and posts are only up for a limited time. You just need to show your prospects one update within the last 7 days.
The best way to stay on track with making sure that you have one new post each week is to plan ahead. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes at the beginning of each month to plan out the next four posts. Looking ahead at what’s coming up can help you map out the content—for example, if you have a sale coming up, make sure to announce it in an appropriately timed post. In weeks when you don’t have specific events or time-sensitive offers to advertise, you can use Product or What’s New posts to remind clients of what you have to offer, introduce new team members, or just generally let your customers know what is going on with your business.
Users have the option to open the “View All” section to look further into your business, if they enjoy your current post. This section will keep all your posts since you began your Google My Business listing, creating an archive of information over time. If you make a habit of regular posts, prospective clients will end up with a wealth of impressive knowledge to browse.
Your GMB listing also allows customers to leave reviews. Many businesses spend a great deal of time trying to get reviews through platforms such as Yelp, which are admittedly also essential with Google’s ranking factors. However, given that Google commands the greatest share of search engine traffic worldwide, the reviews on your GMB listing are now often the first place a user gets secondhand opinions of you. If you’re soliciting positive reviews from satisfied customers, you’ll want to make sure to direct them here as well as to other review sites.
To find the proper link, search for your company through Google to bring up your My Business box. Underneath the photo section at the top, you’ll see where it says Google reviews:
Click the blue text, which will open up a new box with all previous listed reviews. On the top right, a blue box will prompt you to write your own review.
Clicking on it will open up a window where you can write your own review. Copy and save the link in the URL. It’s quite long, but this is the information you’ll need to add as a link for people to write reviews of your business.
To build the number of reviews in your resume, make it easy for your customers to weigh in by adding this link to the following places:
Obviously, having positive feedback in your GMB listing can only make your business look better to new prospects.
Google My Business is a fantastic tool to expand your reach on the most popular search platform. It’s easy to use, requires minimal time to set up and maintain, and it’s free. Google also provides insight on how to optimize your listing on their Google My Business Support Line. The number is 1-844-491-9665, and the wait time is usually less than 3 minutes to speak with a human being.
Of course, creating and updating your online profile is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing your company. Developing a comprehensive marketing plan tailored to the needs of your business and putting in consistent effort to execute it is essential to finding and attracting the customers you can best serve. Connection Marketing can create this plan with you from the very start and follow through with all the necessary resources to carry it out. For a free consultation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 610-1092.
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