04 Jun The Ultimate Guide to Managing Google My Business (GMB)
More and more customers are reaching out to businesses directly through Google than ever before. In fact, a study by MOZ on Google searches shows that 34% of searches result in no click at all. How is this possible? Simple: users are looking at the branded search result with the Knowledge Panel, which includes the Google My Business (GMB) listings.
What is Google My Business?
GMB has fast become an indispensable search, review and marketing tool for local businesses that enables potential customers to quickly find, learn about and engage with your business, all from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Your GMB profile is a snapshot of your business, and includes an About Us, Contact Us, Testimonials, 3d Party Review Snippets, Micro Blog and Gallery, all rolled into one.
Who Should Use GMB?
We think every business should have a Google My Business listing, but it’s absolutely crucial for local businesses that receive most of their business from the town or surrounding area.
Why is GMB So Important?
Local searches on Google have skyrocketed, and GMB should be thought of as one of the most important interest presence when it comes to attracting new customers. Here are some interesting statistics to consider:
- There has been a 900% increase in mobile searches for “____ near me” as well as time sensitive searches such as “____ near me open tonight”.
- Around 94% of businesses listed on GMB receive more than 1,000 views on search per month. Some businesses receive ten times that or more.
- Over 84% of searches are classified as “discover” searches. This means that users are looking for a new spot or are searching for a new service or product they had no idea about. This is the perfect opportunity for your business to show up organically in their search through your GMB listing.
Taking all of this into consideration, it makes perfect sense that you need to treat your Google My Business listing the same way as you do your website. It needs to look as good as possible, and include relevant and up-to-date information in order to attract potential customers.
How to Optimise Your GMB
While this is technically Google’s page, not yours, you still have a lot of control over it. Ensuring that your GMB profile is completely up-to-date is the best way to complement your SEO strategy and improve your Google ranking, which in turn results in more visibility and potential for leads.
TIP: Check your GMB listing frequently as users have the option to “suggest edits”, which means sometimes that incorrect information can be added by users.
Update important information such as your business address, operational hours including public holidays, contact information, links to your website and social platforms. Google estimates that just by including your business hours increases your requests for driving instructions by 13% and the clicks to your website by 42%.
If you are a brick and mortar business such as a restaurant, hotel or retail store, you have the option to add a link to your service page or your menu. For professionals, you have the option to add an appointment link as well.
When writing the business description on your listing, use keywords (including your location) that people will use to find you on Google. Keep in mind that although you can use 750 characters for this description, only 250 characters show up before they get cut off in the SERP, so use the most important keywords in the beginning.
Adding posts and photos frequently shows Google that you are active with your profile, which positively influences your ranking. Here are some ways that you can optimise your photos:
- Try to upload at least one new photo every week.
- Upload your company logo as the thumbnail image.
- Choose a suitable cover image that represents your brand.
Choosing the correct category description is very important to show up for the correct and relevant discovery searches.
Google posts are a fantastic and free marketing tool to inform your customers of any new products or specials you’re running, or any update you would like to share. Do keep in mind that Google posts are only available for certain industries. Aim to post at least one to two times each week. Here are some Google post ideas:
- COVID safety protocols you have in place
- A link to a blog post, with a short description (Find out how blogging works for business)
- New products along with a link to your website where customers can purchase or view more information
TIP: Include relevant emojis, as Google indexes emoji-relevant search results.
If you have a hybrid business with a physical business address, but you also offer deliveries, you can show both your physical address along with your service locations, of which you can add up to 20 service areas.
When you receive a positive review, Google acknowledges that your business offers high quality products or services, which increases your organic search ranking. Google knows that user generated content is more compelling than the content a business owner might add. The results that Google will show for your business include reviews, photos and other information.
Also, positive reviews improve your brand image, increases brand trust and encourages positive buying recommendations. This is crucial seeing that 93% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase or booking.
Be sure to respond to all reviews (both negative and positive) using keywords, which will also boost your SEO strategy.
Add attributes to answer customers’ questions quicker. This could include things like wheelchair access, free Wi-Fi, secure parking on-site, amenities, activities and any other important and useful information they might want to know.
Google has also released several new GMB features to help companies cope during the pandemic. You’re able to specify new restrictions and services such as curbside service, limited options, and mandatory mask requirements.
The Map Pack
This is where your business will appear if you are within the vicinity to someone searching for your services. It isn’t limited to a certain amount of distance away from a business either. In other words, if you are a fair distance away from a user, but your business performs well and receives amazing reviews, you can easily rank in the Map Pack for their search, overshaddowing the competitors who might be physically closer to their location.
Ready to Set Yours Up?
It takes a little bit of time and commitment to maintain your GMB listing, but considering the huge benefits your business can reap from doing so, you simply cannot afford not to! If you need a hand with maintaining yours, give SOMS digital marketing agency a shout, we’d be more than happy to assist in setting yours up and/or maintaining it, to help grow your business.