As a small business owner, you’re constantly on the lookout for ways to improve the online visibility of your brand and offerings. With so many marketing options and strategies in the online world, it can be difficult to pinpoint effective and cost-saving ways to reach customers for your local business. One often overlooked tool that provides a number of benefits to local businesses is the Google My Business listing. Learning how to effectively set up and update your Google business listing can help you increase your reach and attract new customers in your area.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool and resource created by Google to help business owners manage their online presence and visibility throughout the search engine. The information included in your Google My Business Profile is the same information used to connect customers searching for your business and search terms related to your industry through the search engine and Google Maps. Getting access to your Google My Business profile is a simple process of claiming your listing and verifying you are the business owner for the location or locations selected.
Optimize Google My Business for Your Business
An effective Google My Business listing must be accurate and up to date to help build trust and awareness of your brand and ultimately lead to increases in sales and new customers. Take the time to go over the main elements of your Google My Business profile to optimize your listing and make sure you are visible to the most relevant target audience and customers for your business. Here are some general tips for optimizing your Google Business listing.
When selecting the category for your business it is important to select your primary business purpose. This selection will be used by Google to link your business to related search terms or keywords that customers might enter when searching for your business specifically or the types of services or products you offer.
Every business has different services or products that complement their primary purpose but may fall under a different category. With subcategories, you can select more specific services or products offered by your business to help customers looking for these specific offerings.
Verify that your business name and vital information such as your location and phone number are accurate and updated quickly whenever a change is needed. Confirm that the information within your Google My Business profile matches the information provided on your business website and other online sources.
Your business hours appear prominently on your Google My Business listing from the customer’s view. Keep your schedule up to date to make sure customers remain informed at all times of your daily hours and any closures due to holidays or unexpected events.
The ultimate goal of your Google Business listing is for customers to contact you directly or continue to your website for more information or to make a purchase. Verify that the website address for your business is accurate on your profile to direct traffic successfully to your site. With a website attached to your Google My Business listing you can increase your search engine rankings if your website is set up properly.
Google My Business will ask you to specify not only your service area but how you provide services or products to your customers. Make sure to specify whether you have a brick-and-mortar location or provide services on-location for customers. Include the areas you service to increase your visibility within those locations.
Types of Services
Through your GMB profile, you can list the types of services offered by your business. There are a number of preset options you can select or you can create custom service options for your listing to help customers discover all of your available offerings including services and products. Filling in the services sections can help increase the ranking of your Business profile.
Adding Your Logo
Your business logo is important to build your brand visibility and awareness with customers. Including your logo on your Google My Business profile will place your logo alongside your business name in your business listing, reviews, and messaging within Google.
Include a high-quality photograph of your business’ storefront to help customers find your location or to communicate something about your brand. Your cover photo will appear front and center on your listing when seen by customers.
Include pictures of your services or products within your profile to increase appeal for customers researching your company. Customers often lookup business online’ before making purchases and providing a gallery of offerings by your business can help them make purchasing decisions.
Create a short but engaging description about your business that will let your potential customers know a little about your company.
One of the most valuable resources of Google My Business listing is the ability for your online audience to easily read up on customer reviews and experiences with your business. Your Google star rating will appear directly below your name in search and map results within Google.
Build your reviews and ratings by asking your existing customers to share their positive experiences with your business on Google. Offer incentives such as discounts or special offers to show your appreciation to customers who take the time to review your business through Google. Positive reviews and ratings on Google show customers you are a trustworthy company and can lead to higher engagement and traffic for your business.
Posting to Google My Business
Stay engaged with the Google community by posting offers, images, and special events to your Google My Business page from time to time to stay relevant and visible to your audience and potential customers researching your business.
How Can Your Business Benefit from using Google My Business?
When customers search for your business through Google, the Google Business Listing is often the first information they will encounter. Businesses with complete and accurate Google Business listings are often viewed favorably by customers researching a business, and help to build trust in your brand. This resource is essentially a form of free advertising and marketing for your business. From your Google My Business listing, customers should be able to get much of your business’ information including your services, hours, locations, and even reputation.
Making sure to keep this information relevant and up to date will help you continue to provide the best information to customers while directing them to your website and to contact your business for services or products. Having a fully optimized listing can also increase your search engine rankings giving you more opportunity to reach more customers. Take full advantage of this powerful and valuable resource to help build and expand your business’ online presence in your community.