It’s no secret that Google is constantly advancing to stay as the front runner for search engines and keep up with users’ needs.
One way that Google enhances its user experience is through Google Business Listing.
Google My Business Listing is an online directory in which consumers can search for nearby businesses or services. However, unlike other online directories, Google listings can be more detailed and informational.
We have compiled a list of best practices for a Google My Business listing—but before we dive in, it is important to understand why your company needs a listing in the first place.
Why Do I Need a Google Business Listing?
Without a Google listing, you could be missing out on countless potential customers that are local to you! Unfortunately, many businesses overlook using this platform and miss the opportunity to reach thousands of consumers. When you’re ready to enhance your local presence, this list will help you see why you should be taking advantage of the free listing platform. Even if you already have a listing, it is important to review why this is such a useful tool.
1. Appear in Google Maps Searches
Many companies still don’t realize that Google maps can lead a significant amount of new customers to their business. By setting up an account with Google Business Listing, your business is automatically put into local searches.
This will undoubtedly increase your opportunity to reach new customers. Because, in all honesty, one of the biggest deciding factors for your customers when searching for a business that can solve their problem is the proximity to their current location. Everyone wants convenience and there are so many other businesses out there, you want to be offering plenty of advantages for choosing yours.
2. Appear in Google’s Local 3-Pack
Being listed on Google’s coveted local search 3-pack is extremely beneficial to your business. It allows you to not only appear on Google maps but to appear before the organic search results. This will automatically increase your visibility to potential customers.
Optimizing your odds of making it onto this highly sought-after list can be as simple as creating a Google Business Listing. If you have multiple locations, keep in mind that it is important you claim all of your listings. Once you have claimed them all, it is then key for you to follow the steps in this post to optimize each of those listings. In doing this, you will be better positioning your business to get discovered by potential customers.
3. Increase Customers Trust
Building enough trust is crucial in gaining new customers, and one of the simplest ways to do that is for your business to have Google Business Listing. People inherently trust Google. In fact, businesses that appear in Google are 2.7 times more likely to be considered trustworthy.
On top of that, thanks to the thorough vetting process done by Google which includes a multiple-step brand verification, they create a platform on which their users know they can rely. It’s all about that reputation. Having your business pop up in a Google local search increases your potential customers’ trust because they are already familiar with the search engine and likely use it as their go-to for other needs.
4. Boost Traffic
Looking to increase the amount of traffic to your website?
By having a Google listing alone, businesses are as much as 70% more likely to boost website traffic. Having a listing that includes your website will increase your traffic, ultimately increasing the opportunity for sales.
5. Learn Important Insights About Your Business
Insights can help determine where you need to spend more time, money, and marketing efforts. With your listing, you can access valuable data tools such as Google My Business Insights, Search Console, and Google Analytics. These tools can give you insights—such as how often your listing’s viewed and how popular your business is with current and potential customers—that can help you map out the changes you need to make to help your company grow.
This is a powerful way to know what is working and what is not working for your business. By having this information, you will quickly be able to improve your strategy.
Google Business Listing can help you appear in Google Maps searches, boost traffic, increase customer trust, and give you the insights you need to improve your tactics and overall game plan. Now that it is clear why it is such a valuable tool for businesses, let’s take a look at the best practices for creating and optimizing your listing so it optimally serves your business growth plans.
How to Get Your Business On Google Business Listing
Creating a listing can be done in 3 easy steps.
First, you will want to create an account and claim your business. To do this, you will first need to create a Google account that can be associated with your business. You can skip this step if you already have a Google account for your business.
Then you will go to google.com/business and click “Start now” located in the top right-hand corner and enter your business name. Once you have entered your business name, you will need to enter your address, if you don’t have a location be sure to check the box “I deliver goods and services to my customer.” Don’t forget to choose your business category and add your phone number.
You will want to create a listing for each location of your business, but manage them all under one account. Creating, or claiming your business listing for each location will help you rank in the maps results. You can claim multiple locations by following the above steps.
Second, you will need to verify your business on Google. You can do this in several different ways, if eligible:
- By postcard
- By phone
- By email
- Instant Verification
- Bulk Verification (for more than 10 locations)
Depending on your business, and if you use other Google business tools (Google Search Console), some of these verification methods will or will not be available to you.
Now that you have your Google Business Listing, you can begin optimizing it.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Listing
If you already have a Google Business Listing then keep reading, but if you don’t, create one here.
Now that you have set up your listing, it is time to start thinking creatively about optimization. There are several simple and easy best practices to keep in mind when optimizing your listing that will lead to increased traffic and more relevant, qualified leads.
1. Input Accurate, Complete, and Up-to-Date Information
All the information you enter into your Google My Business listing is indexed by Google. This will create a foundation for your local SEO. This information should reflect what is already on your website. In fact, the information needs to be exactly the same as what is already on your website.
Entering the wrong information will not only not help but actually cause Google to negatively impact your search ranking. That means when inputting your info, it is crucial you do so with the utmost care and attention to detail. Once all your pertinent information is entered correctly, it is time to focus on two other important aspects of your listing:
- Your business category
- Your company attributes
These pieces will help you go into specific detail in regards to the type of business you run.
First, look through the complete list of 2,395 business categories to ensure you’re classifying your business appropriately. Next, be as specific as you can—both your category and attributes combined should give a clearer picture of what your business has to offer. This can help answer possible questions your prospective customers might have.
At this point, now that all your basic information is accurate, you can focus on the visuals of your Google Business Listing.
They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words—and in this case, it can greatly increase the amount of clicks you get on your listing. A profile picture can go a long way with potential customers, so include photos of both the exterior and interior of your business and encourage customers to add their photos, too. Having user-generated photos will increase your business’s trustworthiness.
People like to see other people just like them enjoying the services you’re claiming to offer rather than just resorting to humoring your marketing department. That is to say, people like proof. Raw, unbiased proof.
2. Ask For—and Respond To—Reviews
Reviews are crucial for growth in local searches. Most people like a second opinion when making a decision. This simple fact makes the formula for a good Google Business Listing simple: good reviews will result in more sales while too many bad reviews can result in a loss of sales.
So now the question remains: how do you get customers to leave reviews? The answer is simple… ask them! Send your customers a review request in a few easy steps:
- Go to www.google.com/maps. Use the search bar to search for the name of your business.
- Select your business and then click the menu button.
- Click share then click copy link
- Using text or email, share the link with ALL past customers
Now comes the fun part. As the reviews start flooding in, respond to them—and I mean ALL of the reviews on your listing, including the negative ones (actually, especially the negative ones). This may seem like a waste of time, but there is a higher likelihood of a customer visiting your business if you have responded to both positive and negative reviews.
It shows that you’ve taken the time to remedy a situation that didn’t meet a customer’s expectation, shows you care about each and every customer, and gives you an opportunity to showcase your customer service.
3. Build Relationships With Your Customers Using Google My Business Messages
If we are all being honest with ourselves, most of us don’t like calling businesses. The majority of potential customers would prefer a text message over a phone call. It didn’t take long for Google to figure this out and come up with a solution—an instant messaging feature on Google My Business Listing. This feature allows you to give your customers the option to ask you questions via text rather than over the phone. And the best part is, this can be done directly from your listing!
However, this feature must first be activated. To activate messaging, go to your Google Business Listing dashboard and click turn on messaging.
Then, input the phone number that will be used for the chat. Lastly, verify your account with the code you will receive on your phone. You will now be able to respond directly to your customers via text message.
4. Track Your Buyers’ Journey Through Google My Business Listing Insights
It’s important to know how your customers came across your business. With a Google My Business Listing, you can track how your customers are finding you. There are two types of searches your customers use to find you:
- Direct – They search your businesses by name.
- Discovery – They search for a type of business.
With direct searches, you know that your customers already know about your business and are using your name or contact information to find you. With discovery searches, your customer will search based on a type of business or need rather than by your business name.
Now that you know exactly how your customers are finding your business listing, it is important to know how they are interacting with it. The good news is that Google My Business tracks your users’ actions once they are on your listing. With Google’s insights dashboard, you can easily access important data that will help you better understand what is valuable to your customers on your listing.
How to Manage Your Google Business Listing
Since your listing is now up and running, it is important to continue managing your listing for continued optimization. Google includes many features that will help you keep your listing active. It is important to regularly update and use all of the features. This will help in getting your listing ranked.
- Google posts are like social posts that stay on your listing. This can help you stand out from your competitors and help your customers notice you. These can be used as mini advertisements, so to speak. Include pictures and calls-to-action (CTA) to increase your customers’ interaction with your listing.
- Reviews, as we have already touched on, play a large role in your customers’ decision. Having current reviews is extremely important for your business reputation. Not only do reviews help you rank higher on the Google Business Listing, but they also help increase your Reputation Score.
Managing Multiple Locations
If your business has multiple locations, it is important to claim all of your listings on one centralized Google account. Because Google My Business Listing helps you rank in local map searches, you can see the importance of claiming all of your locations. Once you have claimed all of your listings, you must follow the steps above to optimize all of these listings. Using one centralized Google account will make it easier for you to manage each of your listings and get support from Google, if needed.
You can also add managers to different locations. Having someone local to that location assist in managing that listing will make your job easier. However, keep in mind that once they have been added as managers, they can edit and modify any of your listings.
Google also allows you to bulk edit your listings. This is extremely useful when updating changes that are relevant to all of your locations. However, it is important to use this tool carefully, as you want to be sure the changes truly are relevant to all locations.
Keep Track of User Interactions
Google has many algorithms that determine who ranks higher in their search engine. One key factor that decides who ranks higher is user interactions. Google now analyzes which websites are getting the most click-through-rates (CTRs) when searched. Although this may not be Google’s main factor in ranking algorithms, if you pay attention now, when Google does incorporate this into all search engines, you will already be ahead of the competition!
Even though this isn’t a main factor in ranking yet—Google’s tracking of which websites get more click-throughs on searches—experts predict that it will be soon!
Applying What You Learned to Give Your Business the Boost It Deserves
With Google Business Listing, your business is positioned to catch the eye of future customers that may have never gotten to know about you otherwise. Your customers are searching for you—or at least your products and services if they don’t yet know you—thus it is important to have your digital presence primed and ready to fight for the spotlight.
The internet is so saturated with other businesses nowadays, you need to do your part to help yours rise as close to being top-of-mind as possible. Google Business Listing helps improve your SEO, build trusting relationships with your customers, and gives you the data you need to track your customers along the buyers’ journey process.
Don’t miss out on this free tool that will help your business grow. Your success begins today. Just make the first move and request a consultation with us—we’ll make sure you get where you want to go.