If you joined us for our previous Marketing Mondays instalment, you’ll already know a little something about Google My Business, including how essential this service is to the digital marketing strategy of any local business. The incorporated map alone is a signal of how invaluable Google My Business is, as it gets your firm featured on Google Maps – to say nothing about how it can help your brand’s organic rankings. Furthermore, claiming your own firm’s Google My Business listing boosts your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack. This is the feature that appears on a search engine results page (SERP) displaying three local businesses specialising in whatever service has been searched for. It includes such details about these firms as their average customer rating, location, phone number and opening hours. It’s therefore really useful to get your business listed here if you are to spread awareness of your organisation among your target audience online.
An Optimised Listing Will Always Be Better Than An Incomplete One
In our last article, we talked about how you can easily claim, set up and verify your own business’s listing. However, within this continuously evolving environment of all aspects of Google and the broader search engine optimisation (SEO), Google My Business isn’t the kind of thing that you can just set up and then forget about. Instead, you should manage and optimise your listing on an ongoing basis to ensure it stays accurate, relevant and helpful – both for you in terms of promoting your brand, and your target customers who will often depend on your Google My Business listing for the most up-to-date information about your company.
The more accurate, up-to-date and location-specific details you provide for your Google My Business listing, the more favourably Google will look upon you in general, which means you’ll be able to look forward to stronger visibility in the SERPs. Plus, just think about the difference that a complete listing will make for the average person seeking out services like yours. If you haven’t made clear where your business is located, when it is open – especially during less predictable times like Sundays or the Christmas and New Year season – or what services you provide, you stand to lose out to competitors who actually have gone to the bother of including this information in their Google My Business listing.
But of course, the flip-side of this is that if you do provide such comprehensive details yourself, you could be seriously stealing a march on more neglectful rivals based nearby. That’s why it’s so important to know how to optimise Google My Business – not just how to set it up.
So, What Aspects Of Your Google My Business Listing Can You Optimise?
The following are all elements of your Google My Business presence that you can tweak, accessible via the left-side toolbar after logging into the service.
This is a really interesting feature that shows why Google My Business isn’t just something you set up and then leave alone. Much like a ‘post’ on a social network such as Facebook or LinkedIn, this functionality enables you to share timely text, video or photo content with those who come across your Google My Business listing.
Posts can be particularly helpful for communicating limited-time offers, recent news, temporarily restricted or expanded opening hours and indeed, anything else that might be of only momentary relevance.
There’s a whole wealth of information that you can add or edit for your Google My Business listing. The likes of your business name, category, address, service area, opening hours and phone number can all be provided for the benefit of human users seeking products or services like yours.
The Info menu will therefore be a key port of call for you when managing your organisation’s Google My Business presence, especially given that such basic details are often the very first thing a potential customer looks at when they see your listing and consider your services.
It’s one thing to know how to optimise Google My Business, and it’s quite another thing to know how to optimise Google My Business in accordance with the way in which customers actually interact with your listing.
Yes, that’s right – this is the part of your dashboard that enables you to discover such details as how many views your listing has received, how and where customers find your listing, the actions that customers take in response to your listing, and the other ways in which they may have interacted with your listing.
Such a wealth of information – also encompassing such things as how often your photos have been viewed and customers’ messaging actions (and we’ll explain more about Messaging below) – could be instrumental in your efforts to optimise your Google My Business presence for better results.
Another highly interactive aspect of Google My Business, the management of any customer reviews that may be posted to your listing isn’t just limited to trying to get as many positive ones as possible.
That’s because you can also publicly respond to the reviews that people share, providing answers that may be of interest to other people considering your services.
Whether you’re responding to a positive review to thank the poster, or a negative review to address the concerns expressed, you should – of course – show the utmost professionalism, as will help to make the right impression on past, current and prospective future customers alike.
Get this part of your Google My Business optimisation right, and you’ll be showing to both Google and human users that you are an active and conscientious business owner.
Not only can customers who find your Google My Business listing call you via the telephone number you provide, but if you activate the Messaging feature, they’ll also be able to send you direct messages.
It’s easy to get started – all that you have to do is download the Google My Business app from Google Play or the App Store, and then follow these directions to set up Messaging.
You’ll then be notified of any messages that you receive through the app. And if you’re worried about being overwhelmed by a large number of enquiries, don’t worry – multiple users can be logged into the app. This means, if required, you could have your whole customer service team connected to the app and ready to respond to messages as they come through.
It is via this section that you can add both photos and videos to your listing. These might include a logo to assist in your brand recognition efforts, as well as a cover photo that’ll enable you to show off more of your business’s personality, together with further images to draw attention to other aspects of your company.
Obviously, it’s a cliché to say that photos are worth a thousand words, but it’s true, which is why this is an aspect of your business listing to which you should pay particular attention. Google itself advises users to keep their images to the JPG or PNG format, between 10 KB and 5 MB large, and a minimum resolution of 720 pixels tall and 720 pixels wide.
Guidance is also provided on the Google My Business website for videos, including that they should be up to 30 seconds long, up to 100 MB in size and in a resolution of 720p or higher, if they are to make the best possible impression on visitors to a listing.
Did you know that you are even able to add a ‘menu’ of the services that your company provides, directly to your Google My Business listing?
You can take advantage of this functionality by selecting the ‘Services’ menu option and adding a section, or category name – for example, ‘Digital Marketing’ – followed by details about the item, including pricing information.
While this section might seem self-explanatory, it isn’t just your business’s main URL that may be handy here, but also further links for such functions as online orders, reservations and appointments, which you may be able to add depending on the category of your business.
Questions and Answers
Like the Reviews section, this is another very interactive component of Google My Business, giving you scope to respond to customer queries. Unfortunately, this is still a largely overlooked feature, with many questions often being left unanswered on business listings. Again in common with Reviews, the Questions and Answers on your Google My Business listing are public to give other people browsing the listing the benefit of that information.
This part of your listing can therefore serve as a bit of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, but be warned – anyone can step in and answer the questions that are left on your profile. It’s therefore highly advised that you keep a close eye on and carefully manage this section, to help to avoid any abuse or inaccurate information posted by bitter rivals or other unscrupulous observers.
So, It’s Now Time For You To Have A Go…
We’ve given you a good rundown of just what’s possible when you optimise your own company’s entry on Google My Business. If there’s anything that you’re still unsure about when it comes to how to optimise Google My Business, why not drop a line to the Success Local team today – by completing and submitting the below contact form – or call 01455 367 100.