Google My Business
There is so much to think about when setting up a new business; your website’s design, logo design, written content, images to use, services to promote, setting up social media channels – the list is vast!
So it’s understandable then, that many people overlook the tools that Google provides, in order to get your business seen in the search results listings. If you’ve got everything else nailed down perfectly, but forget to optimise your visibility on Google, much of your time, effort and investment is going to be wasted. Honestly? There’s not much point putting in so much hard work when you’re limiting the amount of business you could win.
Audio 12.14 Minutes
Google My Business Is Completely Free
The best thing about Google My Business (GMB) is that it’s completely free! While you will find new clients via paid advertising methods such as Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn or similar, why wouldn’t you do everything you can to earn new business without having to spend any money?! In fact, many companies are working with it consistently, in order that they show in search listings more prominently.
GMB has itself evolved over time, in terms of the way it looks, and the information you can add to it. When you allow people to get a flavour of your company prior to visiting your website, you may find that they will stay longer on your site, and even encourage more people to make contact with you, or purchase directly from your online store.
So, let’s run through some key points, including some Do’s and Don’ts, in how to improve your ability to be found in Google’s search results.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS 3 STEP PROCESS
Register and list your business: Once you have registered your Google My Business account through an existing or new Google account it’s time to list your local business on Google. First, click on “Get on Google” and type in your business name to see if you are already listed. If your business name does not appear select the option “None of these match”, this will direct you to the next stage.
Fill in your business information: Following on from the pervious stage, you will now be presented with a page where you need to complete all of your business information such as name, location, description, images etc. Once you have filled in all your information click “Continue” to continue the registration process.
Verify your business: You will now need to verify that you are the owner of the business and that all the information provided is correct. You will then be sent a verification code to your Gmail account. Note that you cannot edit your listing until you have verified your Google My Business account. Once you have verified your account, Google will allow you to set up a Google+ page to further optimise your business.
What to Expect
Steve ( Growthlytics) has dedicated his career to Digital Marketing and his knowledge and skills in this area are second to none. These skills married with a solid knowledge of lead generation make him a huge asset to any online business.
US DIRECTOR AT MONEVO.COM
What is the purpose of Google my business?
How does Google business listing work?
What should I post on Google my business?
Do I need a physical address for Google my business?
Can two businesses have the same address on Google?
— Google my business
NAP + Website URL
The obvious first port of call would be to add your business name, address and phone number (NAP). Google always wants to verify all its business listings, so be prepared to wait a few days for a postcard to arrive in the post at the physical address you’ve entered into Google My Business. On it, will be a code in order that you then have to type in, which will “Verify” your business, and allow you to be shown in search results. Without it, your listing will remain unpublished to the wider world.
A small but valid tip would be to include one of your main keywords within your business name – for example, Growthlytics Ltd – Web Design and Digital Marketing. But be careful – you don’t want to be accused of “keyword stuffing”. This means that variants aren’t required, so we wouldn’t want to put Pay Per Click Specialists, PPC Specialists, Paid Ad Managers, etc. It’s unnecessary duplication.
The other obvious entry to add would be your website address. This is shown in the form of a URL which when clicked, will take people directly to your website.
What are your customers looking for?
Before you move on to other actions, you must put yourself in the shoes of your potential website visitors. What information would you like to know about the business? What would you want to see or read about, that would encourage you to think that this company would solve your problem, or have the right product?
A couple of things might come to your mind immediately – such as business hours, and photos. And if so, you’d be right! Imagine trying to find a lawyer that was open after 5.30pm – wouldn’t it be useful to immediately know whether you should visit that website? Adding your business hours makes you more relevant, which increases the chances of people visiting your website to find your contact details. That being said, they may just call you straight from your GMB listing, because you’ve already added your phone number! Either way, as long as they are making contact with you, regardless as to whether they visit your suite or not, is the main goal for most businesses.
During lockdown, you also have an opportunity to temporarily amend your business hours, using the “Post your Covid 19 update” link.
Images are key.
Images are key. If you’re visiting a restaurant, wouldn’t you like to see what it is like inside? Perhaps even a picture of the team that will be serving you, or what the food looks like. And why stop there! Multiple images on your website may slow down the time it takes your site to appear, but with GMB all the images are hosted on their servers, which means the amount of pictures to be added could be infinite! There’s no real downside to doing this – the more people see, the more they understand the nature or quality of your business.
If you’re in an industry where there are visual elements, whether through creativity, or before and after pictures, then adding images will help people to better understand the quality of your service offering. Even better than this, is to ask customers to wear something you’ve sold, like a t-shirt. They may be happy to share your post with their friends, which could lead to further sales.
Add as much information as possible
Again, using the restaurant example, you can highlight a new menu, along with its price, that would help increase your bookings. This could prove to be particularly useful when promoting special days, such as Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and so on. Share news as to “What’s New” or “Events” that you’re holding, and Google will showcase all of this, within the Google My Business listing.
Up until recently, you could only choose your business type from a pre-set list that Google would provide. Now however, you can add your specific services in addition to this. For example, you may have added “Marketing Consultant” already because it’s pre-set, but you can now add details of exactly what it is that you do, for example “Google Ads Specialist” or “Pay Per Click Manager”.
Always remember that any change to your services or opening hours need to be amended on your Google My Business account information. It can be rather frustrating to be led to believe one thing, only to find that it’s not correct or true.
This is worthy of its own section here, if only to stress the importance of them. A good advert or listing is one way to encourage people to visit your website, but reviews are a form of Social Proof, which provide unbiased views from real customers. The more you have, the better it is of course. However, if you have many reviews from people who have only reviewed your company, can be seen as false and untrustworthy, thereby having the opposite effect. If someone regularly adds Google reviews they become what Google call a “Local Guide”. And let’s face it, who would you trust more, someone who has provided 30 reviews with a range of 1 to 5 stars, or one person who has given only you a rating, and at 5 stars? This is the first time you have the chance to make a good impression, so be sure not to try and spam the system by creating multiple Google accounts, and reviewing your own business. You don’t want to run the risk of Google delisting you, after all the good work you’ve done on your website.
Make the most of the review section
— Negative Reviews
Now, you may occasionally receive some negative reviews – after all, not everything can go perfectly 100% of the time! But rather than let this get you down, or feel like shutting down your listing if there are a few too many, consider it instead as a fantastic opportunity to turn things around. At Growthlytics, we tend to look at the negative reviews first, in order to see whether the business owner has shown that they respond in the first place, and secondly, that they respond appropriately. Seeing that a polite response has been made can very often be even better than a 5 star review!
Why? Because someone could choose not to tell the full story – and you get the chance to tell your side. Let people know what you did to correct a mistake, or why it happened in the first place. When you can’t hear the tone of someone’s voice, a negative review can appear to sound more harsh than it’s really meant.
Responding to Google My Business reviews provides the following additional benefits;
People may reverse their initial decision and award you a higher rating
People may think that the reviewer was inappropriate, rude or just difficult
It engenders trust, because people can see that you genuinely care about the business, and that you strive to provide a first class service
As a result, we would always say not to worry too much about this type of review. Focus on providing excellent customer service; never get into a public argument; respond to ALL reviews; (whether good, bad or indifferent) and your overall Google rating will be strong.
If you find yourself struggling to gain any reviews at all, then one of your business processes would be to email your customers each time you have concluded a sale, or provided a service. To encourage this further, you could perhaps provide a discount on their next purchase.
— Respond to reviews
A word of warning – we’d wholeheartedly like to dissuade you from writing negative reviews for your competitors, or hiring someone to do that for you. Not only is this unethical, but it’s time you could be spending working on promoting your own company. And if Google sees this, it may have very negative connotations for your website. Our advice – stay honest, focus on quality, and you’ll build a business to be proud of.
Within GMB, you have the option of turning on notifications each time someone asks you a question or leaves a review. This give you the opportunity in real-time to respond back, which is especially important when receiving bad reviews. The earlier that you submit your feedback, the less likely people will only see the customer’s side of the story.
You can also turn notifications on for bookings, quote requests, Google tips to help your listing, and reminders where you haven’t yet responded within a certain timeframe. You’re never going to be tied to your desk 24 hours a day, so to help respond in a timely manner, you can download the app to your phone, and write your message wherever you happen to be at that time.
Here’s a Bonus For You
Part of this service includes “Insights”. This is where you can discover how people search for your business. Here, you can uncover alternative keywords that you perhaps should be using to promote your company. You can also track how many people called you, using your phone number you added to the listing. View this by day of the week, by month or by quarter, and you can potentially unearth some trends. For example, more people call you on a Tuesday morning, so why not then apply this to your paid advertising strategy, and push your budget out during the most popular days and times? This is free data you’re accruing, and it’s data that is relevant to you specifically… so make sure to take advantage!
— in summary
Let’s Wrap This Up…
Being found within the map pack – where people not only see your website address but also your location – is difficult and can take time. There is no special formula or quick fix to be found there, so all you can do is to concentrate on updating GMB regularly, with photos, updates, offers and responding to reviews. Google knows how often you update your content (which includes the content on your website) and the more often you do so, the more relevant and alive Google will believe you to be. So do it often, do it well, and make it a part of your working day. Consistency is key, so make this a habit rather than a “nice-to-have”, and at some point, you may start overtaking your competitors in the search results.
Is this just another thing you haven’t got time for when trying to manage all the other activities your company requires?! Reach out to us today, and we can create and arrange all of this for you.
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