If you are in business, you want to do everything you can to get your company to rank highly on Google searches. Getting to the top of the search page will get you more traffic, more leads and more conversions.
Many businesses concentrate on their web site content, social media and ads to boost their online visibility, but an equally important element is the Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a free tool that essentially acts as a business profile.
You can manage your information to give consumers a better idea of what your business is all about. You can add relevant information like hours and location. You can respond to customer reviews improving reputation while increasing communication.
The tool also provides insight as to how customers found you and how many called you directly off the listing. There’s also a search and map feature that helps people find your business.
Google My Business can be a powerful tool, but only if you use it correctly. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your business profile.
Benefits of Boosting Your Google My Business Profile
Say you take two Google profiles and put them side by side; one that’s optimized for Google My Business and one that’s not.
A profile that’s not optimized may just have your name, address and phone number. An optimized profile will have additional details such as hours of operation, a nice picture and Q & A that tells people about your company.
The optimized profile is more engaging, but more than that, a profile that’s not optimized makes it look like you don’t care about your business. And if you don’t care about your business, why should anyone else?
Here are some other benefits an optimized profile can provide.
- Increased Engagement: When people see a profile that looks exciting, they will be more likely to visit.
- Boosted Search Engine Ranking: Google’s algorithm considers activity and quality of content when placing your business in search engine rankings. The content in your listing along with the increased engagement will push your business to the top of the page generating even more visits.
- More Conversions: More website visits increase conversions and that’s what it’s all about!
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes. If you are looking to optimize your Google My Business page, here’s how to do it.
Create a Google My Business Account
It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between a Google Business Profile and a Google My Business account. The account is used to optimize the profile.
The first thing you will need to do is create a Google My Business account and connect it to your profile. To create an account, go to Google.com/business and sign in using your Gmail account, ideally the one you use for your business.
Complete Every Section
There are several sections you will need to fill out when completing you account, but don’t get lazy! The more information, you put in, the higher you will rank in search engines.
The first section will be easy to fill it. All you will need to input is:
- Company name
- Phone number
The next section gets a little more complicated. It will prompt you for the following information:
- Category and Attributes
- Products and Services
- From the business
- Questions and answers (these are owner generated)
The final section will build over time. It includes the following components:
- Customer generated questions
Make Sure Your Contact Information is Correct
Mistakes in the contact information can negatively affect your ability to get to the top of search engines.
When it comes to adding your business name, make sure it is identical to your brand name or the one you use on your store signage. Using a location name or keywords can get you penalized by Google.
Make sure your address is an exact match to other listings on the web. Even small discrepancies like using St. instead of Street or Co instead of company can make Google’s algorithm question your credibility.
You will also want to make sure your hours are entered accurately. This will encourage users to visit your store and it will also keep people from leaving a bad review because they came to visit you only to find your business was closed.
Provide a Good “From the Business” Section
When you look at your business profile, you will note that there are two sections for the description. The description that appears just below your name is provided by Google. Therefore, you have no say in what is written or what will appear.
Google writes this to ensure consistency across the platforms. However, the search engine tends to do a good job in coming up with something appropriate.
The section you have control over is the “from the business” section. This will appear under the reviews section in your profile.
There are certain things you can do to optimize the “from the business” section including the following:
- Use the full 750 characters you are allotted putting the most important information in the first 250 characters.
- Use relevant keywords
- Don’t repeat information in other sections of your profile.
- Use this section to tell users what sets you apart from your competitors.
- Don’t use links or HTML.
Choose a Category
Choosing a category is a must when it comes to people finding your business. Besides the obvious, here are some reasons why it’s so important.
It Helps You Get Found in Discovery Searches: 84% of business profile views on Google come from discovery searches (the process of the consumer searching for a product, service or categorical term which results in your business appearing). This differs from direct searches in which the company comes up because the customer enters the name or address of the business. As opposed to discovery searches, direct searches typically account for just 16% of clicks.
Find Category Specific Features: Once you choose a category, you will be prompted to find category specific features. For instance, a restaurant might add menu items. A salon might add specialties such as whether they work with specific hair types… and so on.
Be Specific: When choosing a category, be as specific as possible. If you are a Mediterranean restaurant, make sure that’s the category you choose. If you just choose restaurant, it will make search results vague making it more difficult for customers so find you.
Choose Secondary Categories: Secondary categories will also help your brand stand out. So, if you are a hair salon, you might want to choose “blow-dry hair salon” as a secondary category to cater to more specific searches.
Select the Best Categories for You: Avoid going overboard by selecting too many categories. For instance, if you are a repair shop but also sell parts, try to stick to either repair sales or repair parts; whichever is best suited to your busines. Adding both will just confuse customers.
When setting up your account, you will have the opportunity to choose from a list of attributes. Attributes are anything additional your business offers. They can include things like “Wheelchair accessible”, “Kid-friendly” and so on. Check out this link to find out more about what attributes can be added.
Anyone familiar with marketing knows how valuable photos can be. They tell a story and help people get a feel of what your business is really like.
Photos also increase engagement. In fact, statistics show the users are 42% more likely to request directions for a business that has photos and 35% more likely to click through to the web site.
Google is also improving its image recognition features and will be starting to include photos in search results.
Adding high quality photos will make your business look more impressive. In fact, adding poor quality or stock photos can work against you, so it’s important that your photos look nice and impressive.
Adding photos regularly will show that your account is active and up to date and it will help you rank higher in search engines.
We all know how important good reviews are. If you have positive reviews on your Google profile, they will show in your listing. For instance, if you have five-star reviews, customers will see those five stars as soon as they search for your company.
If competitors pop up with fewer stars or no stars, customers will be more likely to click on your page before clicking on theirs.
Google also ranks businesses with more reviews higher on search engines.
There are a few things you can do to motivate customers to add reviews including the following:
- Make it easy for customers to review your brand by providing them with a review shortcut link. This can be generated using Whitespark’s shortcut link generator which is a free service.
- Have a link on your website that will take customers directly to your review page. Add a CTA to motivate them.
- Respond to reviews. This will start conversations, let customers know you care about what they say, and improve your SEO rankings.
Post to Your Profile
We all know how important it is to post on social media on a regular basis. It keeps your online visibility high and keeps consumers engaged.
Posting on your Google Profile has a similar effect.
Posts can be made using your Google dashboard and they will show up on the Updates section in your profile. They will appear on the bottom of the profile but may show higher up depending on a user’s search query.
Like adding images, posting updates makes your account appear more active bringing you closer to the top of search engines. It also encourages users to engage. Customers can even subscribe to your profile to be alerted when posts are added.
Ask and Answer Questions
Earlier in the article, we discussed how important it is to include question and answer sections in your profile. Questions can be asked and answered by you as a business, or customers can submit questions to be answered. When users read these questions and answers, it will provide them with information about your company that may make them more likely to covert.
Because maintaining a conversation is so important, make sure to answer all your customers’ questions. You can even set up an alert system to make sure you don’t miss any.
When posting questions, think of the FAQ’s your business is likely to be asked to ensure consumers get the answers that are most valuable to them. You can also include keywords to boost SEO ranking.
Add Products and Services
Adding products and services will let consumers know about everything you offer including things that may not be apparent in your name alone. It will also increase your chances of coming up in search engines if users are looking for those products.
When adding a product or service, include the name of the service, the description and the price. The user will see the full description when they click on the product.
Set Up Messaging
The messaging feature will send you text messages to alert you when a customer sends you a message on your profile. It will make for faster communication that can bring you closer to closing a sale.
To use this feature, just select the ‘messaging’ tab on your dashboard. It will give you the option to install the app via Google Play or the Apple App Store. Make sure to set up the alerts function as well.
Don’t worry about your phone number appearing on the profile. You will be assigned a different number by Google’s Allo App.
Now that you know what you need to do to optimize your Google My Business profile, what steps will you be taking to boost your bottom line?