“Google it” is a popular response when asking someone to recommend a product or service. The search engine giant Google introduced this catchphrase to the world. Nowadays, if your business does not appear in Google searches, you may lose your foothold in the industry, and disappear into the ether of the internet. By claiming your Google My Business (GMB) profile, your journey to success has begun. The next step is to optimize your GMB listing so that consumers can locate your business and become valued customers.
Before any other action can be taken, you must claim your GMB listing. If you do not claim the listing, another individual or organization may access it, and sully your business’s reputation without your knowledge. By claiming and updating it with the most current information, the chances of your business appearing on Google’s Local Pack, Local Maps, and Google Maps increases, and multiplies your organic rankings.
Claiming your GMB listing is just the beginning. To fully absorb the benefits, complete the profile with the most accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Include company name, mailing and street address, phone number, business hours, and payment methods. Make checking and updating your listing a regular practice, so that it stays fresh, informative, and easily accessible to prospective clients. Remember that anyone with Google access can change or add to your listing, so checking it frequently safeguards the account.
When visiting the GMB dashboard, you may select the “Suggest an edit” option, which allows you to make changes on your listing. Another option, “Know this place? Answer quick questions,” gives others the opportunity to inform the public about your business. This may be helpful or detrimental depending on who fills it out, so ensure the responses are beneficial and constructive.
You can create posts through the GMB dashboard, which will appear as “mini-ads” in Google searches. Posts can feature sales events, product promotions, holiday greetings, and more, which draws prospective consumers to your profile. Including an image, call-to-action, or links to your website enhance your posts. When creating a post, display images of the products or services you wish to promote. If the promoted post is a business event, you can set up the date, time, and a registration link via the post. Once the event date passes, it stays on your profile for a week, and then expires or “goes dark.” Google will remind you that the post will disappear after that time.
The booking button feature is available if you use one of Google’s supported scheduling providers and enables potential customers to schedule appointments through the profile. This makes connecting with new customers effortless.
A brand new GMB function speeds up the process of connecting with customers. If you wish to communicate with them efficiently, you can enable the Messaging option through your GMB listing. This feature appears through Chrome, and is only available to mobile web users. If you prefer to keep business messages separate from your personal text messages, the Google Allo app will retrieve messages from your GMB listing.
The Q&A feature further connects you with prospective customers by allowing users to ask questions about your business or products and services, and then you provide answers. In order to view the questions, you must have a GMB login and an Android phone. By downloading the Google Maps app, you can review questions, and receive notifications if users post new questions. Again, it’s wise to frequently check on this to ensure that the information listed is fresh, accurate, and free from sabotage.
Online reviews will make your GMB listing and business stand apart from the crowd. Of course, it helps if you have glowing reviews, but what’s most important is the presence of constructive and positive feedback for other future customers. The majority of consumers read reviews, and consider them as reliable as personal recommendations. Studies suggest that about 50 percent of consumers only select businesses that garner four-star reviews. If you receive a negative review, contact the consumer through GMB, and listen to their concerns. Even if they received poor service or disliked a product, you demonstrate customer appreciation by acknowledging them, and may be able to rectify the situation and retain the customer