If your business relies on local trade then Google My Business is a great way to get in front of your target customers when it matters.
Google is the world’s most-visited website. The site currently holds more than 92% of the search engine market share. This presents a huge opportunity for businesses to flourish by using this tool to correctly raise brand awareness, improve their website traffic, acquire new leads, and increase conversions.
In addition to that, there are lots of features that brands can use to their advantage. “Google My Business Listings”. Creating a Google My Business profile is an important way to attract new customers to your business through Google search and Maps.
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What is Google My Business
Google my Business Profile is a free business listing from Google. It allows you to provide details and photos of your business, including your location, services, and products.
Creating this free profile is a great way to increase your visibility across Google services. Information from your Google my Business Profile may appear in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping.
Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing. But Google My Business is a tool that helps owners significantly increase their online footprint.
How to set up a Google Business Profile
Use the following steps to set up your Google my business profile.
Step 1: Sign in to Google my Business Profile Manager
If you’re already logged into a Google account, you’re automatically logged into Google Business Profile Manager. Otherwise, enter your usual Google account login details or create a new Google account.
Step 2: Add your business
Enter your business name. If it does not appear in the drop-down menu, click Add your business to Google. Then select the appropriate category for your business and click Next.
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Step 3: Enter your location
If you have physical location customers can visit, select Yes. Then add your business address. You may also be asked to position a marker for the location on a map. If your business does not have a location customers can visit but offers in-person services or deliveries, you can list your service areas. Then click Next.
Step 4: Fill in your contact information
Enter your business phone number and website address so customers can reach you. If you prefer not to be reached by phone, you don’t have to enter a phone number.
Step 5: Verify your business
Enter your real physical address, not a post office box. This information is only used to verify your business and is not displayed on your Google Business Profile or shared with the public.
Enter your address and click Next. You’ll be offered the applicable options for verifying your account. Physical businesses will need to get a postcard by mail to verify their location. Service-area businesses can be verified through an email address.
Once you receive your five-digit code, enter it on the next screen (or go to https://business.google.com/) and click Verify or Verify business.
You’ll get a confirmation screen showing you’re verified. On that screen, click Next.
Step 6: Customize your profile
Enter your business hours, messaging preferences, business description, and photos. (We’ll get into the details of how to optimize your profile content in the next section of this post.)
When you’re ready, click Continue. You’ll find yourself in the Business Profile Manager dashboard.
From here, you can manage your business profile, view insights, manage reviews and messages, and create Google ads.
How to Claim a Business on Google
Claiming your business on Google is one of the easiest ways to reach new customers–but you need to make sure you follow some best practices in order to get the most out of your listing.
Ensure Your Information Is Accurate, Comprehensive, and Up-to-Date
There are many different parts of your Google My Business listing, so let’s start with your core business information:
- Phone Number
Google My Business requests your name, address and phone number (otherwise known as NAP) to begin the listing.
This information will be indexed by Google Search, Maps and Google+, providing a foundation for your local SEO. Your information should be consistent with what is currently listed on your website. Inconsistencies in the information will negatively impact your search ranking.
When inputting your address, make sure it matches with the correct coordinates on the map and include the same zip code (5-digit vs. hyphenated 9-digit code) provided on your website. Additionally, it’s better to have a local number as opposed to a national or call center option.
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After you’ve provided NAP, you can focus on two very important pieces of your listing: your business category and your company attributes. These areas require you to be specific in regards to what type of business you operate. You should consider your keyword strategy when adding your business category and attributes. While your category is meant to be very specific, attributes can paint a clearer picture of your business and the experience you provide.
Attributes allow you to expand your business’ capabilities in ways that might not be apparent from the business category you have selected. These attributes can be added to answer questions your customers will likely have and provide a better understanding of the business’ capabilities and offerings.
Ask Your Customers to Do a Google Review
Reviews are the lifeblood of local search. It’s a really simple equation:
Good reviews = sales. More good reviews = more sales.
Bad reviews can also present you with an opportunity.
Reviews can be a good indicator that you value your customers. It helps your potential leads decide whether they want to get involved with your business or not. Encourage your past consumers to leave a review on your My Google Business Listing.
After you start to gather reviews on your listing, you need to respond to them. Take time to write a message to each reviewer using the Google My Business dashboard.
Respond to Questions
Not only will responding to questions on Google My Business Listings boost your local SEO, but it will also serve as a basic FAQ page for your business.
Since Google sends an email to the business once a question is asked. You can start answering immediately. Just, log in to Google Maps, find the questions, and start typing out your answers. Upvoted questions will be ranked higher and will appear better on search queries.
Use Posts to Make Your Business Visible
Make your brand a lot more visible by posting business updates, announcements, events, images, videos, stories, and even GIFs on Google. The search engine encourages listing owners to create posts to promote their businesses. Calls-to-action or CTAs can even be included in your posts, making it easier for people to reach you when they find these ads online. Certain CTAs such as “Order Now, “Sign Up Today”, and “Give Us a Call” are a good way to grab your customers’ attention.
A good practice is to place your keywords at the beginning of the post. Only the first 100 characters are immediately visible to the reader, so you want to catch their attention right away so that you can keep them engaged. Also, you should make it a priority to create at least one post each week.
Track Activity Through Insights
Lastly, you want to make sure that you are tracking your progress through Google My Business Insights and Analytics. This can help you decide which part of your business and marketing strategy you need to focus on more. As long as you’ve got the numbers and data that you need, you can start tweaking your strategy to attract more people to your website and business.
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Google My Business Insights can help you determine the following:
How many consumers are searching for your business, have called your company in the past, clicked on your images, asked for your exact location, given you reviews, and read your posts.
Helps you decide which keywords and pictures are getting traction from your audience.
Make it a priority to check your insights at least once a week. Keep the numbers in mind and tweak your listing(s) according to what people like
Google My Business Listing serves as a free advertisement, and your business should take advantage of its benefits. It also provides ample information for your customers, which can help improve your lead generation and conversions in the long run. So, there’s no reason not to claim your business profile now.