How to Use the Free Google My Business to Get Leads
Google My Business (GMB) is a powerful universal platform adapted from Google Places for Business and the Google+ Pages dashboard. For business owners, an optimized GMB listing is an extremely effective way to get targeted traffic, show off reviews, promote featured content and direct your potential customers to call or message you immediately using direct links. It works in conjunction with a quick Google search for your product or service, plus your website to easily build a solid online presence. Also… it’s free. Really!
Beyond the basics like business address, hours of operation, and business category, Google My Business has been developed with a whole host of helpful features for your business profile.
- Google Maps can be used for any third-party platform to answer requests for directions
- Can show a 360˚ virtual tour
- Can manage and respond to client reviews
- Use a Q&A Section
- Can include a Booking section / booking button
- Can show Menu items for restaurants
- Has a section for Services
- Can send messages to and from clients using the chat feature
- Can publish information about new products, services, events and offers to Google Search and Google Maps via your business profile
- Can feature photos, product images and video
- Can schedule weeks of posts and updates using a social media scheduler like Pulbr or Hootsuite.
- Can discover how customers search for and interact with your business using GMB analytics
Once you have claimed your business and verified the basic information Google My Business will walk you through how to set up your business profile. All GMB really needs are the basics; physical location if applicable, contact information, business hours, link to your website and the business category will all ensure that your customers know where you are, how to contact you and how to learn more even before you create a single post. As business owners ourselves, we know that you’re extremely busy. If you’d prefer to have IdeaZone create your business profile and handle your weekly posts, we can absolutely do that. This will allow you to get the best possible results out of the Google My Business platform.
Use Highly Relevant Keywords
Just like on your website and social profiles, you’re going to want to use appropriate keywords and other SEO strategies to attract relevant traffic. As more Googlers use voice search and long-tail keywords, it’s important to include a variety of keywords not only recognized by Google, but by your clients as well.
For instance, if you’re an auto repair shop, the following terms rank the highest with the least amount of competition:
Auto repair shops, auto body shop (note the spacing here) and auto repair shops near me are all great terms you could use here. Use these keywords in your business description and in your posts to optimize your Google My Business profile. Your automatic presence on Google Maps helps too since Google will automatically detect where your potential customer is located and share local results first.
Complete Every Section of Your Google My Business Profile
As much as you can, fill in all the blanks so no question is left unanswered. Carefully select the most relevant primary and secondary categories for your business type. You’ll also want to write a complete business description. If you’re unsure of the categories, do a search for your main category and look at what your competitors have listed as their categories.
For your business description, include all the vital information – who you are and what your business does. You’re allotted up to 750 characters in the newly updated description section, making it easier than ever to share key information about your business.
Keep in mind that only the first 250 characters will be displayed in the knowledge panel. Customers will need to click to see the full description on desktop and mobile devices. Google My Business description guidelines will help you learn how to create the best story for your business.
Publish Google Posts Weekly
Keep your profile active and relevant with up-to-date posts featuring snippets from your site or blog, Q&A’s, customer testimonials, new product information, exciting industry news, or whatever works best for your industry. Keeping content up to date will help maintain search rankings. Of course, don’t just use any old piece of content. Use your most awesome content to really drive organic search results. A popular way to keep your GMB page updated with content is to break down your blog posts into bite-sized chunks and upload it to your GMB page.
Collect and Answer Questions
Google My Business allows users (or owners) to post and answer questions about your business. In fact, anyone who comes across your business can post a question. And anyone else can answer that question – whether their answer is factual or not. This being the case, you should monitor your GMB page for questions that people ask and ensure that you, as the owner, are providing the correct answers to people’s questions.
Even better, you could gather a list of common questions and then ask and answer them yourself, thereby further optimizing your GMB page and providing users with an FAQ about your company that they can access directly from Google search.
Collect and Respond to Online Reviews
In the same vein, encourage your customers to leave business reviews. Even bad reviews are okay, in (very) small numbers. A positive review can do wonders, but glowing review after glowing review can leave customers feeling suspicious, wondering if the reviews are accurate. By taking the opportunity to thank customers for positive reviews and taking the time to kindly respond to negative reviews, customers will again see that your business is responsive and attentive.
Of course, you should always offer to correct the issue causing the negative review in the first place. For best results, respond sincerely and offer to take the conversation offline to turn an unhappy customer back into a happy customer.
And if you feel that someone has left a review that is fake, spammy or offensive, you can try to get the review removed with the new Google My Business Review Removal Tool.
According to Google, business listings with photos get up to 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more click-throughs to their websites compared to those without photos.
Photos aside, a logo is THE most important image for your Google My Business listing. Logos add impact, credibility and recognition for customers. Think of all the times you’ve known what a McDonalds logo is without even having to think about it. With a great logo, your customers will instantly recognize who you are and what your business is. For best results in GMB, your logo should be in a square format.
Provide Interior and Exterior Photos
Any photos of the inside of your business will help prospective customers familiarize themselves with what to expect before they set foot in your store. Many customers really appreciate knowing the layout and appearance of the business in advance, particularly if they have any mobility limitations. Images of the parking lot, storefront, etc.… are also helpful for your customers.
Provide Product Photos
Most small and medium-sized businesses and businesses under specific verticals can include product photos, pricing and other detailed information through GMB’s Product Editor. A note: Product images will show up in image search for another pathway to your business profile.
Important Information About Optimizing Photos
- Use JPG or PNG format
- Keep photos between 10KB and 5MB
- Use images with a minimum resolution of 720×720 pixels
- Use in focus and clear images with good lighting, free of excessive filters. Photos should always be as realistic as possible.
Post Videos Often
Even more than photos, videos add a uniquely human and approachable feel to an online profile. Used in addition to a blog post, they provide a multimedia option for customers. For instance, a salesman at an auto dealership could post a video of their deal of the day, while an IT company could share a video of techs hard at work in the office. The virtual tour tool is another excellent way to utilize video on your Google My Business profile.
Important Information About Optimizing Videos
- Up to 30 seconds long
- Up to 75 MB file size
- 720p minimum resolution
You can optimize your Google My Business Profile in so many ways. By far, the best way is to create a complete listing and keep content updated and relevant at all times. Just like on page optimization for your site, there are a lot of moving parts and many areas that need regular maintenance and updating. Want to make Google My Business work for you? Contact our team of expert digital marketers and branding experts today. We’ll ensure your GMB profile, website and overall online presence is strong and synchronized for the best possible results.
Located in beautiful Victoria, BC, IdeaZone helps businesses the world over to create effective marketing strategies and high-ranking websites. Call or send us an email to learn more about how to boost your business using digital marketing.