When it comes to helping you to get your local business out there and discovered by residents in your surrounding area, local SEO is a recommended and invaluable tool.
Helping to bring your business details to the top of the Google search results, one reliable way to do this and that is through the help of Google My Business.
An online, digital version, similar to that of the Yellow Pages, Google My Business is an online directory that shows customers your contact details, reviews and even opening times.
Helping to boost a website’s visibility and online presence, we will discover within this article, how you as a small local business owner can begin to utilise and start using Google my Business to help drive more traffic.
What is Google My Business?
You may have seen it. A company profile that appears in the top right-hand corner of the search results. It may appear as a list of local businesses that meet the searched criteria, or instead as a company if the business has been directly searched.
Along with the highlighting of nearby companies that are offering similar products or services to that of those searched, the addition of this local form of listing can help show to potential clients, their opening times, location and ratings by happy customers that have been before them.
Although a seemingly simple and valuable tool, it is amazing how few companies embrace and claim their Google my Business and are therefore missing out on potential customers.
A simple investment that with a little bit of time and work can help improve your visibility, get discovered and lead to new customers and leads who otherwise may not have discovered your business.
Keep reading to discover how to begin using Google my Business and the simple tips to make sure that your listing is correctly optimised, helping you to come to the top of the search results every time.
How to optimise your Google my Business account?
Whether you choose to set up an account yourself or employ the services of a Professional Pay Per Click Advertising Agency, setting up and using a Google my Business account is relatively straightforward.
Although simple to use and with many benefits, helping to prove the value of optimising and updating your GMB account, you will be amazed at the many mistakes that people make.
Keep reading to discover the top tips to avoid and how you can begin to start optimising your Google my Business account.
Keep it up to date
This sounds ridiculous and a top tip that many business owners should be automatically doing? Apparently not.
The simplest and first top tip to help utilise and to optimise your account and that is to update it regularly with new and relevant information.
From checking that the core business information is correct, this being the name, address, website, description, phone number, category and attributes, you can minimise any negative user experiences and those customers calling up or visiting that discover the supplied information is incorrect.
When setting up your Google My Business account, you will need both a name, address and telephone number to do so, these crucial pieces of information need to be identical to those pieces of information found on your website. Any difference in information, no matter how small that you think it might be, can have an impact on your search ranking. Something that no one wants.
Keep it local
If you are a national company wanting to create a Google my Business for one of your regional offices, a top tip is to use a local number. Instead of using the national number, set up and use a local number instead. If using a local number, make sure that this number is featured on the website.
Consider keyword research
When filling in the vital business category and attributes into Google my Business listing, it is recommended that you should consider conducting keyword research.
Along with being specific to help put your business into the correct category, by using keyword research, you can see exactly what your audience and target customers are searching. This can help to increase your chances of being discovered within the search results.
It should be noted, that while the addition of keywords is recommended, keyword stuffing can lead to being penalised.
The power of visuals
Once you have added all the vital information, attributes, description and category, the exciting time has come to add some visuals. A key part, choosing an enticing profile picture can complete the listing and prove to potential buyers that your business can be trusted, while even resulting in more clicks onto the website.
Along with the use of a profile picture, business owners are asked to add a cover photo and even a video to help inform searchers and tell them about the services that they offer.
If you are a small business without the funds or the capacity to start taking photos and videos, then you are in luck! As Google My Business listing allows you to use user-generated images from customers. Once uploaded by customers, click the image found under ‘photos tagged of your business’ and set it as either your profile or your cover photo.
Respond to reviews
Reviews are a powerful and often overlooked tool. How often are we swayed by the reviews and experiences of others? If people are reviewing and sharing their experiences with others, comment and thank them for it. If these comments are negative, use this platform to respond and rectify any negative comments.
The lifeblood behind local search, if you are struggling to get customers to leave a review of their experience, it has been recommended by Google themselves that you ask your customers to take time out of their day to leave a review.
Open up communication
As a business, you want customers to be able to reach out and ask any questions that they may have. These questions when answered could potentially lead to conversions and sales. One way to increase these future conversions and that is by opening up communication channels.
Along with the supplied telephone number, address and website, another top tip to help customers to contact you effortlessly and that is the ability for them to directly message you through GMB.
Google my Business has the function of a messaging feature that can allow private messages between you and your customer. To use this neat feature, simply unlock it in the settings and allow customers to ask a question as SMS through your account listing.
An essential feature, this extra form of communication can be turned on and off when required and you have the option to update the mobile number as many times as required, with the number used for the chat feature remaining private at all times.
Post updates regularly
Another top tip and one that can lead to more conversions and interactions and that are to regularly post business updates. By taking time out to post updates on the business, whether as new products that are coming into stock, events you are intending or a company announcement, you can promote highlights while communicating with potential customers.
It is also recommended that when updating customers to include the addition of text, images as well as call to actions. Call to Actions that you might want to feature can simply be a buy now, sign up, reserve or get an offer.
Luckily for busy businesses, the duration that the posts remain live is fairly short, 7 days in total. Making posting updates about limited offers and deals worthwhile and with the option to reduce the time that the posts remain live, you too can create timely and hyper-specific posts.
There you have it, 7 top tips to help you use your Google my Business to the fullest and to ensure that your site is being found within an ever-growing market.
Super simple to follow and with many known benefits, by simply taking the time out of your routine to update and post exciting and relevant information too, you can help to optimise and promote your Google my Business listing.
By thinking local, the use of keywords and the addition of an up to date social presence, you too can help drive traffic and increase sales during these unsure and unfamiliar times.
How have you found using Google my Business? We would love to hear from business owners and to discover any challenges that you have experienced in optimising your GMB account?