Are you already using the Google My Business app for local marketing and SEO? If not, you’re missing out on this invaluable resource that can help increase your visibility in your service area.
Google My Business (formerly known as Google Places) can greatly improve your online presence, particularly on Google Maps, Google Local Pack, and Google Knowledge Graph. With more than 90% of consumers finding a business using the internet, your online presence matters.
You can use Google My Business to create a GMB listing and manage your company’s presence on one of the most popular search engines. In your Google My Business account, you can include vital information such as your business name, service area, phone number, business hours, and more. You can also promote your events and deals as well as interact with your reviewers. With Google My Business listing, it will be easier for you to let your locality know that your business exists.
Why You Should Use Google My Business
Having a Google My Business profile can have a huge impact on your local marketing and SEO. If you skip on it, you will miss out on reaching potential customers which in turn could affect your sales and revenue.
If you already know what is Google My Business, you probably already have an idea why you should use this tool. Here are some of the most compelling reasons:
1. Setting up your Google My Business profile is free.
There’s nothing better than a free tool like Google My Business. Whether you are a startup, small business, or an established large entity, it will cost you nothing to create your Google My Business profile and use the platform. There’s a paid service though which is the Google Guarantee.
Aside from its zero cost, it’s also a good thing that you can sign up for a Google My Business account anytime as long as you have a Google account. Google allows you to use the full features after verifying your business via google search console and receiving the Google My Business card along with your pin.
2. Google My Business makes your information easily accessible online.
Google My Business is a cost-effective way to advertise your business to anybody who’s using Google to find a product or service provider locally. It’s a free tool so use it to your advantage.
More and more people have been using Google to check for nearby establishments such as a pizza house, boutique, movie theater, and restaurant. If you don’t have a Google My Business profile, you are missing that big opportunity to be found by these users.
Also, having a Google My Business account allows you to display vital information about your business. Business information such as your location, hours of operation, and what your business offers can help Google determine if your establishment is the right match for what a person is searching for. If your establishment is the right match, it will then include your business in Google search results.
Your business listing on Google may appear in any of the following:
- Google Maps app
- Google Maps for mobile or desktop browser
- Google app search
- Google Assistant voice search
- Google Home voice search
If Google knows the searcher’s location, local search results will be triggered when Google thinks that there’s a local intent. This means that even if that person will only search for “Italian restaurant” without adding the location or the phrase “near me,” Google listing will show the nearby local businesses. And this is where you want your business to show up. You want your business to be on top of Google listing.
3. Google My Business helps you manage reviews and user-generated content.
Feedback and reviews are important in building your credibility or reputation online. Many people see positive reviews as a sign that a business is trustworthy.
With your Google My Business profile, your customers can leave reviews or share their stories right from their mobile devices. You can even join any conversation about your business. And most importantly, with your Google My Business profile, you can respond to reviews as soon as possible.
When you have a tool where you can read the positive or negative reviews about your business, it allows you to know your level of customer satisfaction. It will give you an idea of whether those who buy your products or use your services are satisfied or not. Also, with your Google My Business profile, you can promptly respond to reviews. If people see that you’re actively addressing customers’ reviews, it will help improve your brand trust.
4. Google My Business helps you rank on Google.
On a popular search engine like Google, you don’t want your business to be at the bottom of the long list of search results. The higher you are on the list, the higher your chance to get noticed by people searching for a relevant product or services in the area.
You can use Google My Business profile to your advantage to improve your search ranking. For instance, as the search engine favors those Google My Business profiles with more relevant information and customer engagement compared to outdated business profiles, you would want to make yours as detailed and updated as possible.
We now know the potential benefits of having a business profile on Google. Your next step after creating a profile is to optimize your Google business listing with a precise strategy. The goal is to identify which GMB listing Google rewards, see in detail what works for them and then build your own optimization strategy!
How to Set Up Google My Business Account
If you’re convinced that having a Google My Business profile can indeed help your business grow, the next step is to get started in setting up your account. You can follow these simple steps:
1. Sign up for a Google My Business account.
You need a Google account to set up Google My Business. If you don’t have a Google My Business profile yet, you can claim it on Google. If you are a brand new company, you could simply sign up for an account then start creating your profile.
2. Complete your Information.
After signing up, you need to enter your business information. Business owners should add vital information such as their business name, business address or location, business phone number, service area and other contact information, business hours, and industry type. When creating a Google My Business account, make sure that the information you provide is accurate, complete, and engaging. As much as possible, fill out all the fields with relevant information.
After you enter your business information, you can then proceed to add photos to your Google My Business profile to entice potential customers to choose you. We will talk more about this under Google My Business optimization.
3. Verify your business account.
Verifying your account is a crucial step to finally get started with creating a Google My Business account. After reviewing your information and checking for accuracy, you’ll have to verify yourself as the business owner.
Business account verification can be done via mail, phone, email, or Google Search Console. But regardless of which platform you choose, it will require the use of a verification code. The quickest way to verify your business is by using Google Search Console. However, it only works if you have already confirmed your business Google Search Console.
On the other hand, if you choose to verify your business using the mail, phone, or email, Google will send you a verification code. You should receive the verification code immediately.
After successfully creating your Google My Business listing, it will appear in Google Search and Google Maps. They are two popular places where your business can get many customers.
Creating a Google My Business profile is just the initial step to increase your online presence. It’s important to remember that your competitors too may also have their Google My Business account. If you will not be proactive in optimizing your GMB listing, then you will not get as much benefit from Google My Business.
Google My Business Features
..You Can Take Advantage Of
The business Description has a limit of 750 characters but only 250 characters will fit in the snippet of the Knowledge Panel. Make sure that your first 250 characters contain the most vital information you want others to know.
When writing your description, don’t waste your characters with fluff words or with promises that you know you can’t fulfill. It is also not the best space for showcasing your special offers. Instead, make your description amazing by staying on point. Google has provided some guidelines that you can follow when making your business description.
Business Photos and Videos
The internet is all about information, and information is not only text-based but also photos and videos.
Google My Business allows you to upload photos and videos for your business profile. Photos should be actual pictures you’ve taken at the business site and not stock photos. Make sure to upload high-quality photos and videos.
For photos, the minimum resolution is 720px by 540px and in JPG or PNG file formats. On the other hand, for videos, Google accepts different formats including MOV, FLV, AVI, WMV, MP4, MKV, MPG, M4V, MTS, and M2TS. The maximum size that you can upload is 100 MB with a maximum length of 30 seconds.
Under this feature, you can add mini-posts or ads that will show up under your company’s Knowledge Panel when a user will search for your business. You can make many sorts of amazing posts on your Google My Business profile such as general or “What’s new” posts, event posts, sales, offers or promotions, featured products or services, and more.
For your posts, you could add a photo, a post description with a maximum of 300 words, and a call to action.
Google posts used to expire after seven days, but it is no longer the case now. For this reason, we invite users to take advantage of this feature, have a full audit on the competitor’s publishing frequency and strategize to double that amount of post. The Google posting strategy must be built around what works for the competitors. Gmb Crush helps you to analyze the total post count and the publishing frequency so that you can mirror your competitor’s strategy, then strategize to win!
Restaurant business owners can also add to their Google My Business profile their list of menu items. This means that if a person is checking a local restaurant, they can see your menu right away without visiting the website.
Under your menu listing, you could add a Section name such as Breakfast, Lunch, and Desserts, and then under Section, you can list down the specific dishes. With this feature, you can feature your complete menu on Google My Business.
For non-restaurants, there’s also a feature called Services list which allows you to provide a list of the services you offer. And when you do, don’t forget to include the pricing.
If your business entails scheduling appointments, the Booking Feature is perfect for you. Google has partnered with scheduling software programs so make sure to check if you are using one that Google supports. If you do, your customers can schedule an appointment directly from your Google My Business listing.
Question and Answer
The Q and A feature is a great way to proactively engage your existing and potential customers. With this feature, anybody can ask a question and anybody can answer questions. This can have pros and cons.
The cons of this feature have a lot to do with other people answering the questions with the wrong answers. So you better be the one checking your Google My Business dashboard for both questions and answers so you can answer questions correctly and in a timely manner. You can also flag answers that are incorrect.
If you want to be more proactive in answering questions, you can also add frequently asked questions (FAQ) to the Q&A list. This will ensure that those questions that people frequently ask are already answered. It will reduce having duplicate or repetitive questions being asked.
Google My Business Insights
One of the most vital sets of information you can get from your Google My Business account is Insights. In your Google My Business dashboard, you can see the Insights panel where you can get more information about customer engagement from your GMB listing. The Google My Business Insights will include information about the number of views your GMB listing had, how people found your GMB listing, where your customers searched for your business, and customer actions with regards to your business listing.
You can use Google My Business Insights to keep an eye on local searches. It contains many relevant information about your performance in local searches. As a business owner, you can use those insights in your GMB dashboard to know what’s working for you so you can keep doing it and improve your strategies to stay on top of the competition.
How customers find your business listing
All the queries, from the insights section, are great opportunities to use within the
text of your GMB post, because it’s almost like Google gives you the keys to the
It tells you these are the queries that are giving your Maps listing
impressions and if you use those more, you will get even more impressions. How?
Step 1: Extract all the different search queries that have given your Maps listings
Step 2: Put them in a spreadsheet
Step 3: Give your content marketers that list of keywords and then have them work
the content into a posting routine, posting schedule for your GMB posts.
Where customers view your business on Google
Another graph in your Google My Business dashboard is dedicated to giving you an insight into where your customers are coming from, which can be from Google Maps or from a traditional Google search.
If you see high traffic coming from Google Maps, most likely many of your customers are using their mobile devices in searching for your business. It’s important to note that when it comes to mobile searches, more than 70 percent of users do their searches via voice rather than typing. To better serve your customers, make sure to optimize your website for mobile device users.
From your Google My Business dashboard, you’ll also see graphs showing your Customer Actions. From these GMB graphs, you can get valuable information to understand your customers’ behavior and use it to your advantage.
There’s a graph for each type of action which includes Visits to Website, Direction Requests, Phone Calls, Messaging or Chat, and Direction Requests, among others.
One of the common uses of Customer Actions insight is for sales forecasting. For instance, if you know how many people who clicked the driving directions actually visited your establishment, you can use this information to set your projected sales.
Another use of Customer Actions insight is for determining the best time of the day to show your ads or social posts. Say, you get more phone call actions during a specific time of the day like 10 o’clock in the morning. To maximize your reach with ads and social media posts, you would want to cover that said time to reach as many customers.
Photo insights will show your number of photo views as well as the photo quality. If you are in a competitive market, you would want your photos to be on par with what your competitors have.
Moreover, if you have enabled your messaging, you can also see insights on how they fared.
GMB Local SEO
6 Effective Ways To Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
You can polish your Google My Business listing with these tips!
1. Complete your business profile and add more relevant information.
To maximize the frequency of how customers will find your business when doing local searches, ensure that you complete filling out your business profile and include as much information as possible. Doing so will help Google match relevant customer searches with your Google My Business listing.
To complete your business profile, you need to add your location, contact details or contact information, category, attributes, and other relevant details. Those details will tell users of Google search what you do, where you are, and when you are open for business.
It’s important to note that Google local ranking is based on these factors:
- Relevance – This refers to how well your Google My Business profile matches a business search. A business profile with detailed information will help Google understand your business and match that information to relevant searches.
- Distance – The closer your business location is to the searcher, the more Google will favor you in the search results. If a person will not indicate his or her location, Google will calculate the distance based on what it knows about that person’s location.
- Prominence – You are most likely to rank high if your business is well-known. Google may base how prominent you are based on the information it has about your business, considering all other online resources such as articles, links, and directories. Customer reviews are also taken into consideration.
Additionally, as your business changes, make sure that your information stays up-to-date. This is especially true for your phone number and location as users rely on them to reach you.
2. Add personality to your brand by adding photos and videos.
Photos and videos can tell your story and add personality to your Google My Business listing. They will give others an inside look at what your business does and what your business is all about. You can share your behind-the-scenes, social projects, menus, actual events, and other things that can capture the attention of your customers.
When you add photos and videos to your Google My Business page, make sure to add genuine pictures that truly represent your business. They should be professional and in high resolution.
Also, prioritize adding a relevant logo and cover photo to your business profile. Much like Facebook and social media accounts, your logo and cover photo are the first things that your customers see.
Photos and videos are important in showcasing your products or services. According to Google, business profiles with photos get 42 percent more requests for direction.
3. Post your updates and special offers.
Do you run special deals or exclusive offers? You can take advantage of Google My Business to post those promotions so that when a user will include the keyword “special deals” or “special offers” when searching for a local establishment, your Google My Business listing will appear. Make sure to keep your posts updated.
Aside from posting promotions, you can also use Google My Business to let your customers know of your upcoming events, new products, and other future activities.
4. Take advantage of Google My Business’s special features.
Depending on your business category, there are special features that you can use to customize your Google My Business listing. For example, hotels can show their amenities and class ratings while restaurants can display their menus or showcase popular dishes. If a special feature is available for your category, take advantage of it.
5. Encourage customer engagement.
Generally, customers trust other customers more than they trust your words. This means that a review can be a deciding factor in whether a customer will choose you or not. Moreover, high-quality positive reviews will increase your business visibility and the likelihood that a customer will visit your location.
For your local marketing and SEO, encourage your customers to leave a review for your business. And if they do, make sure to also leave a response on time. This goes for positive and negative reviews as well as questions. And make sure to respond to reviews or answer questions in a professional manner and in your brand voice.
Positive interactions with your customers by responding to reviews can help build loyalty. It will also show that your business is serious about meeting customer satisfaction and you value their feedback. Even for those who left negative reviews, you can still turn things around if you address their concerns.
6. Use a third-party tool to manage your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a powerful resource that can help make your business more visible online. However, maintaining a successful Google business listing and keeping up with your competitors who are also using this tool is easier said than done. You need a good strategy to make your listing stand out, and you need to spend time updating your information and responding to reviews. If you need a helping hand, you could use a third-party tool such as Google My Business GMB Crush.
GMB Crush is an audit tool for Google My Business. With just a few clicks, this tool will help you analyze your competitors’ categories, listing descriptions, keywords, reviews, and Google My Business posts, among others. This is important because knowing what your competitors are up to will give you an idea of how to outrank them on local SEO.
You need to optimize your Google My Business listing so that ultimately, you’ll land on Google local 3 pack.
Google Local 3-Pack
When you go to Google to search for a local business using keywords such as “near me,” the search engine will display a list of potential businesses that’s relevant to your query. The first three businesses you’ll see are what’s considered the Local 3-Pack. The businesses in the local 3 pack are shown on a large map with their location marked with balloons.
The Local 3-Pack gives internet users concise information about the featured business. By simply clicking on the name of the business, customers can easily access some vital information about your business including your star rating, phone number, directions to visit the location, hours of operation, questions and answers about the business, reviews, and other details.
But what’s so important about being included in the local 3-pack?
In the past, there used to be seven then five businesses listed in the pack. It was in 2015 when the local pack was further reduced to three to improve ease of usage, convenience, and relevance.
Having your business on Google local pack is an opportunity for free exposure. This in turn can increase organic local traffic to your website. Many studies show that the click-through rates of those included in the top three search results are considerably higher than those that are not included in the pack. Also, the first business listed in the Local 3-Pack enjoys about a 34% click-through rate.
On the other hand, customers or internet users are less likely to engage with business on Google if they appear below the Local 3-Pack.
There are many factors that determine the possibility of seeing your business on Google 3-pack and it is worth your time and effort to prioritize optimizing your Google My Business account to increase those chances. If you are too busy for this task, third-party tools such as GMB Crush will make it easier and quicker for you to optimize your Google My Business listing.
What Is GMB Crush and Why Use It?
If you are looking for a tool that will let you maximize your use of Google My Business, GMB Crush can do that for you.
With GMB Crush, you can gain a better understanding of what’s working for your competitors to rank higher. Specifically, GMB Crush will make these things possible:
- Give you important insights about your competitor’s titles so you’ll see if they are stuffing their GMB titles with keywords just to improve their ranking. If they do, you can ask the Google team to review your competitor’s listings.
- You can analyze the additional categories that your competitors are using. You can also see how those categories are ranked. With such information, you can then log in to your Google My Business account and make the necessary changes to your listings based on that information.
- Understand how your competitors structure and optimize their Google My Business account descriptions. That is valuable information to give you an idea of how to create an even more compelling description for your Google My Business listing.
- Know the posting volume of your Google My Business competitors in the last 90 days. With that information, you can strategize to post more frequently than your competitor. Generally, the more posts your Google business profile has the better your Google ranking will be.
- And much more… 🙂
Using GMB Crush is like having an upper hand in the game. You would already know the strategies of your Google My Business competitors and it’s now up to you what to do with that vital information you have.
Yes, you still need it!
With more than 90 percent of business decisions that start with a search engine search, it means that you are missing out on a significant number of prospective customers if you don’t have a website. Even if you already have a Google My Business profile and it can work as an important touchpoint for your business in local searches, a good website is still a must for a variety of reasons.
At the moment you can’t add a shopping cart or collect payments through Google My Business, but at GMB Crush we truly believe that Google is moving toward this direction. In our opinion, in the close future will be possible to book a local service, or purchase local products directly via Google My Business. In fact to each GMB is already possible to add products, services and assign them a price. For the restaurant’s listing is possible to integrate with “Reserve with Google”
Moreover, a business website is crucial for establishing your credibility as an entity. Through your website, you can show that you have a legitimate business operation. You can also feature all your products and services with more details than what you can add in business listings such as in Google My Business.
About What is Google my Business
Can I use Google My Business even if I don’t have a storefront?
Yes! Google My Business is also for home-based businesses. You can create your listing with or without adding your physical address.
Why do I need to verify my business?
Business verification allows Google to confirm that you are the rightful business owner so that you can have permission to manage your Google business profile. You need to verify your business as this will help keep your account secure so that no one else will be making any updates on your Google My Business profile.
Is it necessary to use Google My Business if I already have a website?
Yes, having a Google My Business profile will make a big difference in your local SEO even if you already have a website. In fact, Google My Business will help make your website more visible in Google search and Google Maps.
Is there any hidden fee to use Google My Business?
None as Google My Business is absolutely free.
Can I use other tools to optimize my Google My Business listing?
You absolutely can. There are numerous powerful tools out there such as GMB Crush that will help you make the most of Google My Business to stay on top of the competition in an easy and legal way. If ever you’ll choose to use any third-party tool, make sure to check how it works and how it can benefit you in the long run. Some tools or platforms don’t really work as they promised and they will just make things more complicated for you.
The right tool to use with Google My Business is one that is easy to use and will give you results with just a few clicks.
Google My Business listings will let your clients showcase everything you can offer for people in a specific service area.
Once you’ve created your Google My Business account,or if you are managing multiple listings for your clients, you can then get started in defining the best optimization strategy, and improve your Google business profile so that your establishment will standout.
You can’t fully compete in a local search if you or your clients don’t have a Google My Business account. So if you are thinking about improving your client’s marketing and local SEO, make Google My Business a top priority across your upselling services and strategies.
Google My Business is free and is easy to set up and use so there’s no reason for you to skip it. Once you have created your account, you may see the results almost instantly.
SEO Lover, my motto is Action Over Words.