Here’s the thing about the internet—you can have an amazing company with skills no one else has and prices lower than your competitors, but if you don’t show up in a Google search, no one knows who you are. People aren’t using YellowPages anymore and, though word of mouth is still a fantastic reference tool, people still want to do research on a company before hiring them.
Google My Business is one of the best free tools you can use to help your business stand out and crawl higher in the search results.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. That includes things like your business name, location and hours, as well as monitoring and replying to customer reviews, adding photos, learning where and how people are searching for you, and more.
Why do I need a business listing on Google?
The most important reason is to be found! Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search engine, and having this tool ensures that, when someone looks up your company, they find it with correct information.
Speaking of correct information, with all the local and federal COVID-19 regulations, it’s important you have a quick and easy way to let people know about hour or service changes. Misinformation can lead to a bad customer experience and missed opportunities.
Your profile can also lend credibility to your company. Customers are 70 percent more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing. Another study found that businesses with complete listings are twice as likely to earn trust from customers. And everyone knows trust is crucial when building that relationship with a potential or returning customer.
So how do I set it up?
That’s a whole topic we could get into. For now, I’ll let the experts over at Google handle that. It is an easy step-by-step process that will bring your business listing to life—but only if you do it the right way.
What is the right way to have a local business listing on Google?
We did the research and found eight helpful ways to optimize your listing in the best way possible.
- Fill out your entire profile and keep it up to date
What’s the point of starting a listing if you aren’t going to finish it? The more information you enter, the easier it is for Google to match your business to customer searches. These searches are also based on relevance, distance and prominence.
If you move locations or change your hours of operation, it is important to update these things quickly so as not to miss out on a sale or create a bad customer experience.
- Stand out with photos
Help people see what your business is all about. This includes adding your logo as well as images like your location and products. According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42 percent more requests for directions and 35 percent more clicks through to their websites.
- Post news, updates and special offers
You can create posts for your business to inform customers of anything you find important. These could include things like special offers, upcoming events, new products and more. The goal of posts is really to give people an up-to-date snapshot of what’s going on in your business.
- Add special features and attributions
Personally, I find this section to be the most important outside of address and phone number. Depending on what type of business you’ve chosen, you will have a list of different features you can select. Hotels can display class ratings and list amenities offered; restaurants and bars can upload menus, showcase popular dishes, and include a link for online ordering or reservation services; service-oriented businesses can display service menus and a booking button.
You can also add attributes to share more information your customers might care about like wheelchair accessibility, free Wi-Fi offerings, restroom options and more. There are even options to show if you are a Woman- or Veteran-owned business.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews
Like I mentioned earlier, word of mouth references are still incredibly useful, but they’ve shifted to a more digital platform. A good review could be the deciding factor that tips a prospective customer in your favor. A great time to ask for a review is after providing excellent customer service. This can be a verbal request or something in print you have in your store or online. This could even be in a follow up email or receipt.
- Build trust by responding to those reviews
Whether it’s good or bad, someone took the time to let you know what they thought about your businesses. Thank them! Let them know you appreciate the review and, if it’s bad, see what you can do to make it right.
Positive interactions build loyalty, but negative reviews give you an opportunity to listen and address issues that could be holding you back from being the best you can be. Just remember to be respectful and professional regardless of what the review says or who it’s from.
- Refine paid and organic reach with insights
Google Analytics is a true gift from above! You can track how many customers search for you, call you, ask for directions, click on your photos, and more. If you are running Google Ad campaigns, it also will show you two different sets of data. You are able to track what is working, what isn’t it, and where you need to make changes to get the most out of your marketing dollars.
- Utilize the application
There is an application that helps edit details and respond to posts when you’re away from a computer. If you have multiple locations, this is a rather handy tool since you can toggle between them easily. You get notifications when a review is posted or a suggestion is made about your business and even though you also get email notifications, we aren’t always looking at our emails.
It’s a lot to take in, but you aren’t alone. Our dedicated marketing team at Rooted Web is here to help you optimize your listing. Let’s chat!
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