Today we’re talking about some top tricks and features for leveraging Google My Business marketing to drive more traffic and leads to your business.
Ready? Let’s get to it.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to manage your business listing for Google Search and Google Maps.
Google has shifted its focus away from serving up websites to providing answers directly within the search results page – via a GMB listing. For instance, a customer wants to know when a business is open, what services they offer, or call them directly. They can now do all of these things without having to click a single link.
The rise of these “zero-click” searches means that more customers are potentially interacting with your business through your GMB profile than your website. As such, you want your profile to be optimized to stand out from local competitors and maximize engagement.
Why You Need a Google My Business Account
Google My Business is invaluable for local companies looking to increase their visibility online. From a single place, customers can see important things about your business, like:
- Name, address, and contact information
- Business category and services
- Hours of operation
- Images and videos
- Your reviews and Star Ratings
- And much more
Google My Business marketing helps your business be more discoverable. It helps keep customers informed, creating an overall better customer experience. Boosting consumer confidence leads to more traffic to your website and storefront.
Is Google My Business Good for SEO?
Google has set five main pillars for search engine optimization (SEO):
- Recency – How often are you publishing new content on your website, directories, and social media?
- Relevancy – Is what you’re creating valuable and useful? Does it provide answers to the questions people are searching for?
- Availability – Are your business hours set to open at the moment someone is performing their search?
- Prominence – Do others link to your website as a source for knowledge and expertise?
- Distance – Where are you in relation to the person searching? Do you service the area that person is searching about?
Google My Business influences all five of these pillars. By optimizing your listing, you help Google understand more about your business. The more Google knows about you, the more types of searches your GMB listing can appear in.
How Do I Increase My Visibility on Google My Business?
The most important step is to actually claim your GMB listing. First, you’ll need a Gmail account, then go to Google.com/business, hit “manage now,” and follow the directions. For more information, check out our comprehensive guide for using GMB.
Once that’s done, it’s time to start optimizing your profile. Here are the top features of Google My Business that directly impact visibility.
1. Business Information
Start by confirming your basic NAP data (Name, Address, and Phone). It has a really big impact on your visibility. Google Search is just a big computer and it takes things literally. For example, it may very well think that “Michael and Sons” and “Michael & Sons” are different businesses. Be meticulous with contact information, making sure it is accurate, consistent, and up-to-date on your GMB listing, website, and other digital profiles.
2. Business Category & Description
Select as many categories that make sense and be straight forward in how you describe your business. Focus on what you are, not what you do. For instance, you are a “Dentist,” not “The most affordable, family-friendly dental practice in town.” This information creates structured data that Google uses to match your business to searches.
3. Services List
When someone searches on a mobile device they are more often looking for something immediate and local. In fact, 82% of consumers use a “near me” or local search with their smartphone before deciding on a business. What a services list does is display a summary of everything you do directly on Google. This can dramatically improve lead quality since potential customers know exactly what you offer before they even make a call.
4. Service Area
Google understands geographic context when someone searches for a service or business type. So, make sure to establish your service area within your GMB profile.
Currently, you can add up to 20 service areas, targeting by counties, towns/cities, or zip codes. When setting up your service area, cast the widest net possible, then work down to more granular locations. Look at the county level first. Then start specifying whatever towns and cities you want to get into. Finally, include any specific, high-end zip codes that you would like to do business in.
Reviews are the lifeblood of digital marketing. They play an important role in:
- Improving your local ranking
- Attracting new customers with social proof
- Helping you learn about your customers
- Building your online authority
There are three places online that Google Search counts towards building your online reputation: GMB, your website, and Facebook. It should be your goal to get and respond to as many reviews as possible (both positive and negative) on all three platforms.
You can download our free ebook for a more in-depth understanding of the important role online reviews play in your digital marketing success.
6. Business Attributes
Attributes is a relatively new feature that is still being rolled out. As of right now, you can highlight three separate attributes on your GMB profile to help you uniquely differentiate yourself from your competition. You can mark if you:
- Are a veteran-led organization
- Are a women-led organization
- Offer online appointments
Google will be adding more categories, so take time to explore this feature and use it to further distinguish your business online.
7. Google Posts
The GMB post section is where you can share content like special offers, business updates, and events. Published content appears directly on Google in the Knowledge Panel.
Updates are short posts that show up for a few weeks then drop off. Are you sponsoring a community event? Has there been an industry development that customers should know about? A best practice is to post twice a week. The key point is to keep things relevant to your audience.
Unlike updates, you can set times and dates for when your events and offers will run. A lot of businesses will set up offers to run on a rolling schedule. The scheduling feature means you can integrate your GMB profile into a cross-channel promotional strategy, further increasing awareness of special offers and events.
8. Photos & Videos
GMB profiles with photos/videos receive 35% more clicks to their website than those that don’t. Make sure to add your logo, pick a high-quality cover image, and share videos that show off what you do.
Try to share new images or videos a couple of times a week. It can be something as simple as a quick 30-second update, a full 360-degree tour of the site, or a nice picture of some new inventory.
Three weeks seems to be the point where the trust factor starts to diminish. If you haven’t published something online in the last three weeks, consumers are going to starting asking questions – “They haven’t posted recently. Are they out of business?”
9. Questions & Answers
The Q&A feature enables any Google user to ask (as well as answer) questions about a business. This section appears prominently whenever someone searches for your profile. Providing answers on your GMB profile is a great way to create relevant content, provide additional helpful information, and engage prospects online.
Furthermore, these Q&A sections are used to populate the “People Also Ask” section on search result pages. Google’s goal is to tailor this information on the local level, whenever applicable, to be more informative to the general public. Appearing in the “People Also Ask” box can serve as another lead source, helping drive people to your website.
10. Appointment Link
Your profile should include a link that sends people directly to your contact page or appointment calendar. Depending on if you use a scheduling provider, you might have the option to incorporate a booking/reservation button directly within your GMB listing. This GMB feature allows potential clients to do a search and then book an appointment right away – creating a seamless customer experience.
Boost Online Visibility With Our All-in-One Platform
As a business owner, you likely don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to optimizing your Google My Business marketing. But you have to invest in your profile if you want it to drive any results. Fortunately, growing your visibility on Google isn’t nearly as daunting a task when you have the right systems in place.
Enter Surefire Local.
We offer an all-in-one local marketing platform that allows you to not only manage your Google My Business profile but your online presence as a whole. Our comprehensive local digital marketing solution empowers you to take charge of your digital footprint and your online reputation – all from one spot. To learn more, contact Surefire Local today to schedule your free demo!