Ranking your Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the most powerful digital strategies you can employ for your small business.
When someone searches for business online, GMB listings are near the top of the search results page. It’s right below the paid search ads but appears above organic search results. That means if you can rank in the top three GMB listings, you’re most likely to appear in Google’s Map Pack.
75% of searchers never make it past the first page on Google. If you’re not showing up high on the page, you’re not going to get many clicks. The top three positions average nearly 63% of all clicks. By the time you hit the #10 spot on the first page, the average drops to just 2.6%.
The map pack appears above the #1 position. Want to get featured in the map pack or rank higher in search? Improve your Google My Business listing.
There’s another important reason to make sure your Google My Business strategy is solid. Consumers are going to Google, searching, and leaving without ever clicking on anything. These are called zero-click searches. These days, Google shows much of the information consumers are looking for without having to click. That means more people on search engines may interact with your GMB listing than click to go to your website. You want to ensure your GMB listing is optimized.
An Easy and Simple Google My Business Strategy
We know you’re busy. As a business owner, there’s plenty of tasks to fill up your day. The last thing you want to do is manage a complicated Google My Business strategy. That’s why we’ve broken it down into an easy and simple approach. Follow these steps and action items to optimize your GMB listing.
Check Your Google My Business Listing
Your Google My Business strategy starts with making sure your GMB listing is accurate and up-to-date.
Make sure your business name, address, and phone numbers (NAP) are accurate. A shocking number of businesses have inaccurate listings. If it’s not correct, you’re losing business. 80% of those surveyed say seeing incorrect – or inconsistent – information about your business online causes them to lose trust.
In fact, you need to make sure they are identical anywhere your business appears online. Google doesn’t like conflicting signals. So, if it finds a different phone number of conflicting information on a directory such as Yelp, for example, it’s going to hurt how Google sees your business.
Seriously, no detail is too small. If your Yelp listing says “Ave.” and your GMB listing says “Avenue,” it might be an issue.
You also need to make sure you have verified your listing with Google.
- ACTION ITEM: Check your Google My Business listing for accuracy.
- ACTION ITEM: Make sure your GMB listing is verified.
- ACTION ITEM: Check and update your Google My Business information monthly.
If you’re wondering how important reviews are for businesses, think about this: 89% of consumers read reviews before buying products. Your reviews are important.
The best way to get high-quality reviews is to solicit them. Reach out to your best customers and ask them to provide reviews. Include a link to offer reviews in your email, add signage in your store, or put a sticker in your window. Even a few reviews make a difference. A study from the Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University showed that businesses with five or more reviews had a 270% greater likelihood of product purchases than those without reviews.
Even though a handful of reviews will help, you need an average of 40 online reviews before consumers say they believe your star rating.
One thing search engines and consumers like is fresh reviews. When there are current reviews, they carry more weight. They also signal fresh content which search engines love. That’s why it’s important to continue to solicit new reviews even if you’ve got plenty of them.
If there are negative reviews about your business, address them promptly, and try to resolve them. Studies show that a positive reaction to a negative review can be a net positive.
- ACTION ITEM: Get three new reviews each month.
- ACTION ITEM: Respond to any negative ones ASAP.
Here’s a simple way to improve your Google My Business strategy.
Businesses that add photos to their profiles see more traffic. They get 42% more requests for directions and 35% more clickthrough to their website vs. businesses that don’t post pictures, according to Google.
While quality images will be more attractive, you also need volume. One study showed that businesses that posted more than 100 images received more than 960% search views than average. Businesses that had just a single picture received 62% fewer views.
You need to build up your library of photos in your GMB listing. Make it a point to add some new photos every week.
- ACTION ITEM: Upload five new photos each week.
Google My Business posts can highlight specials, offers, or relevant information designed to attract potential customers. If you’ve got a sale going on, let people know. If you’re holding a unique event, make sure it’s included.
- New products of services
- Special offers or incentives
You can also use the type of content you post on social media as long as it’s relevant to people searching for your business.
A post on Google My Business is limited to 1,500 characters although only the first 100 may be visible to users without clicking, so front-load the most important information.
- ACTION ITEM: Post one new Google post each week.
Google’s free analytics provide a wealth of information that can help you make better, data-driven decisions about your business. While you can spend a fair amount of time going through the available information, you may want to focus on these four areas:
- Traffic source
- Traffic views
- Customer actions
- Search queries
Where Traffic Comes From
One of the things to take a look at is how customers are searching for your business. GMB insights provide a look at traffic through these lenses:
- Direct traffic
These are impressions from customers that searched online for your business or brand specifically.
EXAMPLE: XYZ Automotive Supplies
- Discovery traffic
This type of traffic comes when customers find your business by searching for similar products or services.
EXAMPLE: Auto parts store near me
- Branded traffic
These type of impressions are from customers that are searching for products or services you supply.
EXAMPLE: Where to buy Monroe shock absorbers
Knowing how customers find you can help you make decisions about what products and services to feature and the value of your marketing and advertising. Typically, discovery impressions add up to about two-thirds of total searches.
How Customers View Your Listing
You can also check to see whether customers are viewing your business on search or map listings. You’ll likely see more searches on maps than you might expect. That’s a result of people searching while using mobile devices. Voice searches more often default to map views and 71% of consumers now prefer to use voice search rather than typing on mobile devices.
This can also help frame your marketing and advertising, especially your mobile search strategy.
This goes beyond how potential customers viewed your listings by reporting what actions they took after seeing your GMB listing. This includes:
- Website visits
- Request for directions
- Phone calls from your listing
- Messaging or Chat
Under Insights, check the search query tab to see the words and phrases people used in searching for your business. This information is valuable when it comes to creating better Google Posts or using in paid search campaigns to make sure you’re bidding on the best keywords for your business.
- ACTION ITEM: Review GMB insights each month.
Managing Your Google My Business
If it sounds overwhelming, it doesn’t need to be. Use these action steps to get started and build your Google My Business strategy over time.
Keep in mind that while GMB is an important piece of your online marketing strategy, it’s just one piece. Where many businesses struggle is seeing how these pieces connect to form the bigger picture. You can waste a lot of time and money if you’re not sure what’s working and have a firm strategy in place.
That’s why so many businesses have turned to Surefire Local’s all-in-one platform to manage GMB listings and all your digital marketing efforts. It’s a more efficient way to manage and measure your digital marketing efforts and see how they add up to success. It saves time and cuts down on wasted effort.
Manage Google My Business & All Your Marketing in One Platform
Surefire Local provides the industry’s most complete marketing platform designed to help small and medium-sized businesses attract lifetime customers, grow revenue, and broaden reach in their local markets. Through its flagship product, Surefire Local Marketing Platform™, locally-focused businesses of all sizes can remove digital roadblocks hindering growth, gain insights, and take action to attract and engage new and current customers through measurable, multi-channel marketing.
Contact Surefire Local today and let us show you how we help businesses achieve local dominance and unlimited growth.