Claiming and verifying the Google My Business listing of your local business is a crucial procedure in any local SEO strategy. You get higher chances of having your business shown in Google Maps and Local Finder if you use this type of SEO strategy. To claim this free Google listing, input the essential information about your local business, which includes phone number, address, and business hours.
Over the past months, Google has offered additional features to improve your Google My Business listing
. By taking advantage of these new features, you can attract more customers and improve your rank in local search results. Read below to know more on how to optimize Google My Business listing.
Complete Your Profile
The first thing that you need to do is to provide all the necessary information to create your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Google will ask you some basic questions, like business hours, phone number, and address. When you're finished, your listing will show the basic data about your company.
What many business owners don't know is that anyone can edit your business listing. Your GMB listing has a "Suggest an edit" option and anyone can click it to make dramatic changes in your profile. That's why it's important that you complete your profile because if you don't, then someone else will.
It's also important that you log into your GMB dashboard regularly because these unwanted edits can actually be created without giving you a notification. Google is supposed to send out notifications to the owner when changes are created, but oftentimes, they don't. Here's how to spot any undesirable changes to your listing.
Log into GMB and click "Back to GMB Classic" on the dashboard. Changes have been made if you see "Google Updates".
Click on "Google Updates", then "Review Updates" to remove any false information that may have been created by any user.
If you notice a false edit, make a new post and explain the situation in the GMB forum. Get in touch with one of the Google Top Contributor
volunteers to seek for help.
You should also be aware that Google also sends questions to random people who know your business. This comes in a form of a link called "Know this place? Answer quick questions." Users will only click on that link and answer some questions about your business.
This feature isn't received well by some business owners because some competitors can take advantage and create havoc on other GMB listings. However, Google believed that this form of user-generated content helps to create a community and lets them experiment with various search strategies.
One thing's for sure, you need to check your listing regularly once your GMB listing is verified. This is also the best time to optimize your listing to get the upper hand in the competition.
Stand Out With Google My Business Posts
appear in your GMB listing similar to social media posts or mini-ads. They show up specifically on Google Maps and Knowledge Panel. Here's how to get started with Posts:
Log in to your GMB dashboard. The Posts option can be found on the left side.
Create Posts by adding a link to another page, a call-to-action, or an image.
There are a lot of things you can post on your dashboard. For example, you can set up an event, like a seminar about your medical practice, with the date and time. If you have a sale coming up, you can make a sale event.
To catch the attention of people in your Post, include an image. You need to realize that the image that you put on Google Maps is limited. You need to try on a few image sizes to ensure that the image fits right on the desktop and mobile versions.
A more fun way to improve your local SEO strategy
is to use relevant emojis to your Post. Google is starting to index relevant emojis in search results so using it might improve your ranking. Mostly, it's the younger people who are keen in using emojis when searching for something mobile.
To add an emoji in your Post, simply press the Window key and the "." or ";" simultaneously on your keyboard. A list of emoji characters will show and you can choose the emoji that you'd want to include.
Posts get life for one week or "go dark" when the event is done. Every new post will push down the old posts. The good news is, Google will remind you when it's time to make a new Post so it's not a problem if you're forgetful.
Get New Customers With The Booking Button Feature
If your business depends on customers making appointments, then you can take advantage of Google's Booking button feature. With this feature, customers can book an appointment using your GMB listing. This makes it even simpler to attract new customers because they can book an appointment without leaving Google.
The booking button will be directly added to your GMB listing if you made an account with one of the supported scheduling providers of Google. It will make it very easy to get new customers using this integrated GMB feature.
Connect With Your Customers Through Messaging
Do you know that Google watches for engagement in your GMB listing? A good way to communicate directly to people interested with your business is through Messaging. This feature allows customers to send you a message.
So how do you begin with Messaging? First, log in to your GMB dashboard. Next, click the "Messaging" option and set up a welcome message. If you don't want the messages to be sent to your personal mobile number, download the Allo app from Google.
The Allo app lets you use the same phone number linked to your GMB account. Whenever someone sends you a message, that message will be sent to the app instead of showing together with your personal messages. This app is truly a good way to separate your business messages with your personal ones.
Respond To Customer's Queries
The Questions & Answers (Q&A) feature is a great way to interact with your customers. As suggested by its name, this feature allows your customers to ask a few questions related to your business. You can then reply back with answers.
You can see this GMB feature on Google Maps on Android phones. To use, simply download Google Maps on your Android device and log in with the email address linked to your GMB listing.
Unfortunately, you can't see this feature on the GMB app. You need to install Google Maps on your phone or search your business on a mobile browser to check for any new questions that need a response.
Recently, a big improvement has been made by Google. They're beginning to send out emails notifying you of any new questions posted on your GMB listing. For better results, develop a friendly Q&A's list that your customers often ask.
Ask For Customer Reviews
To stand out among a throng of search results, ask your customers to give online reviews. Unlike Yelp, Google prompts business owners to ask for online reviews. Positive online reviews can increase your business' search result rankings
and build trust with consumers.
Multiple surveys reveal that a high rate of consumers trusts online reviews more than personal recommendations. When you ask for online reviews, make sure that you observe the proper guidelines for GMB reviews set by Google. If not, then your reviews could be deleted.
Recently, Google created several changes to improve their guidelines. Now, current and ex-employees can't make reviews. This is good news to business owners because resentful employees can't use this opportunity to leave hate comments.
Other changes in the guideline are the use of reputation marketing software and bribing to get a good review. Whatever the reviews will be, make sure that you leave a response to show that you care about the feedback from your customers. If you indeed receive a bad review, don't stress yourself over it.
Add Photos And Videos To Grab Attention
As the internet becomes more visual, so does your GMB listing. Putting photos and videos to your GMB listing is already easy if you have a smartphone. These visual elements can help humanize your brand and send a clearer message to your customers.
Uploading a picture to your GMB is super easy. Simply choose the picture that you want in your gallery and upload. To add a video, follow these steps:
Log in to your GMB dashboard
In the Overview tab, click "Add videos" or click on the blue plus sign
Now, choose the video from your storage or drag the video you want
Most videos are displayed just a few minutes while others take up to 24 hours to show. Ideally, the duration of the video should be 30 seconds because longer than that might bore people with short attention spans. The file size should not exceed 100 MB and the resolution should be at least 720p.
Remember that Google can delete the video if the main subject of the content isn't related to the business are. When making the video, make sure that it happens in the area of business and involve people that work at your business.
Add Business Descriptions And Services/Menus
To give an overview of your business, Google now allows you to add a business description on your GMB listing
. Of course, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow. One of them is to use a maximum of 750 characters, but Knowledge Panel only shows 250 characters and the rest will be cut off.
So you need to carefully devise your business description. Be succinct about it and include all the essential information and keywords. No display links are allowed.
If your business is service-oriented, consider getting a "menu" of services. GMB offers the new Services list feature which allows you to list all your services and categorize them properly. Prices can also be listed to make it easy for your customers to select.
Use Location Intelligence To power Your Business
If you own a single location business, you can build your online presence and get ahead of the local competition with location intelligence. Our software will cover all your basic marketing. We provide everything you need from local listings management to analytics monitoring.
Multi-location businesses can also manage location data, monitor customer pulse, and sync with external directories with location intelligence. You can manage listings and reviews for various business locations in one dashboard.
No other party can edit or make dramatic changes with your data because location data is secured. To improve your local marketing portfolio, give your agency the proper toolkit. You can
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It can be very difficult to update and optimize your business listing alone. That's why you need professionals to manage the task for you. A company that provides a local listing
marketing service in Arizona knows the best ways to promote your local business online.
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