It’s a fact: approximately 90% of customers consider reviews when making a purchase decision, meaning your business’s online presence and reputation are more important than ever. One of the most popular tools businesses utilize for their online presence is Google My Business. A free tool, Google My Business gives you the ability to manage your business information, interact with customers, and more. Optimizing your Google My Business’s listing is key to your local optimization and digital marketing efforts. Let’s jump into our tips on how to get the most out of your Google My Business listing.
1. Verify Your Google My Business Listing
Verifying your Google My Business listing unlocks the keys to the castle, giving you access to all of Google My Business’s features. If you have verified your Google My Business account - way to go! If not, don’t fret - it’s simple:
- Sign into Google My Business using your Gmail account
- Enter your business’s information
- Search for your business using its name and address
- After you’ve confirmed your business’s information, click submit
- You will be prompted to send a verification postcard to your business to complete the process. Most postcards arrive within five business days
Once you receive your verification postcard:
- Sign into Google My Business
- Select “verify location” on your business’s profile
- Enter the five-digit code on your verification postcard and submit
After you’ve submitted your verification code, your listing will begin showing up in search and Google Maps.
2. Add Photos
Once you’ve verified your Google My Business listing, it’s time to add images to your profile. Don’t underestimate the power of images in your listing: Google My Business listings that feature images receive 35% more click-throughs to their websites. You don’t need to pay to have professional photos of your business taken - a smartphone camera will do! Ensure you add your logo, a cover photo, and interior and exterior pictures. You can also add a video that showcases your business.
3. Utilize Google Posts
Google posts allow you to promote your services, blogs, offers, events, and more to your audience. The main benefits of utilizing Google Posts is that your content will appear in search and map results, giving your business the opportunity to promote content or services - for free. To ensure your posts stay relevant, Google Posts expire after seven days, while posts promoting an event last until the event has passed.
4. Respond to all reviews
If you’re a business owner, chances are you’ve received a notification about a less-than-stellar review. When this occurs, the first step is to take a deep breath. Once you’ve taken time to understand the review, it’s crucial to respond. Not only does responding to reviews build trust: just this month Google announced that responding to reviews improves your local SEO. Here are some tips for responding to negative reviews:
- Thank the person for their feedback. Explain that you appreciate the individual bringing their experience to your attention.
- Respond accordingly. Never argue with a person's review.
- Take the conversation offline. Most of the time, it’s appropriate to keep your response to a negative review short. End your response by telling the individual you will be contacting them offline to continue the conversation and find a resolution.
5. Google My Business is Ever-Changing
A critical component of Google My Business is to ensure you stay up-to-date on how the platform changes. New features are being added regularly, and it’s important to understand how these features can affect your business.
And it’s no surprise that Google is consistently updating and refining its platforms. In 2018 Google announced the shutdown Google+. A final timeline was recently announced: Google+ will no longer be available as of April 2, 2019.
Utilizing Google My Business will certainly have a positive effect on your business. This platform gives you the opportunity to connect and interact with potential customers, manage your reputation, and focus on enhancing your local optimization and digital marketing efforts.