Google My Business (GMB) is a free Google service intended for local businesses. This free tool offers numerous advantages for business owners looking to become more visible on the world’s largest search engine.
More than just another method of promoting your company on Google, GMB allows you to improve your local marketing strategies by making your business more visible in local searches.
Here are the best ways to take full advantage of your Google My Business account, increase web traffic, attract potential customers, and boost lead conversions.
What is a Google My Business Listing?
Once known as Google Places for Business, Google My Business (GMB) listings are essential for businesses looking to attract more customers.
This free tool allows you to list your business’ location, address, and essential information that customers searching for your business may be looking for, such as:
- Your business’ description
- Opening and closing hours
- Contact information (phone number, email, social media account tags) Upcoming events
- Cover photos
If you’ve ever used Google to search for businesses local to your GPS location or current area (e.g., “Places to eat near me”), the search engine typically returns a small number of results closest to your current location.
All the eateries Google shows have one thing in common: They have GMB profiles, and their owners spent the time to set them up. Businesses with no GMB profile do not show up on Google, potentially depriving them of customers.
According to Google statistics, as many as 50% of mobile device users and 34% of desktop users conducting a local search for a specific business will visit that business on the same day.
Simply visiting your Google My Business dashboard and setting up your profile puts you on the (Google) maps, making you more visible to local searches and boosting your local advertising strategy. However, if you’re looking to become a top result, you’ll need to know how to optimize your GMB page.
Claiming or Creating a GMB Listing
As a business owner or manager, the first step is determining whether your business is eligible for a GMB listing. Next, you must meet the following criteria to create and set up your Google MyBusiness listing:
- You must run a business that interacts with customers in person.
- You must be currently open or about to open (within 90 days of sending an application).
- You must be the business owner or an authorized manager or representative.
Examples of eligible businesses include restaurants, bars, independent grocery stores, auto body shops, and many other local and hyperlocal businesses.
If you’ve recently acquired a location that was once another business, you may find that the corresponding GMB listing still shows the older company. In that case, you may need to claim the GMB listing instead of attempting to create a new one.
Search the business on Google, look for a link titled “Own this business?” or “Claim this business,” and follow the instructions so you can use Google MyBusiness to attract more customers.
Optimizing Your GMB Listing
Follow these tips and recommendations to manage your Google MyBusiness profile more efficiently and improve your local search success.
Verify your business’ basic information
One of the simplest ways to improve your online visibility for your business is to review your listing’s description and ensure everything is correct and updated.
Verify that your GMB listing correctly depicts your business’ name, description, address, phone numbers, opening and closing hours, website, and social media accounts.
Update photos as often as possible
Photos are not just a way to show off what your business does; they drive traffic and are a critical element for success. According to Google statistics, GMB listings with photos receive 35% more clicks through to their websites or corresponding social media profiles.
If your business has a logo, upload a high-resolution logo image to your GMB profile. Business photos should be updated often, highlighting features, products, or other aspects of your business that you want to show off to potential customers.
Take advantage of the mobile app
Google offers a Google My Business application for Android and iOS devices, allowing you to manage your business’s GMB listing from your mobile device without needing a personal computer or a laptop.
Interact with customers via Messaging
Enabling the Messaging feature allows mobile users to send you direct messages and feedback, giving them an additional way to contact you. Not only is it a convenient alternative to placing a telephone call, but it also allows you to set up an automated response, which can include links.
For example, if you run a restaurant, the automated message could include a link to your website, redirecting the user to your menu.
Manage your customer reviews
Your GMB profile allows your customers to write online reviews, serving as a valuable additional form of feedback and word-of-mouth advertising.
However, keep in mind that not all reviews are positive. Managing negative reviews is critical for customer satisfaction, but did you know that if you respond to them within 24 hours, it may even benefit your small business marketing strategy?
Timely responses increase your business’ relevancy and may help you achieve Google Local Pack status, letting users searching your local area see your business in the top results.
Although Google My Business is not a complete replacement for more traditional forms of advertising, such as Google Ads, it is a powerful tool that local, customer-focused businesses can use to complement their current marketing strategies. Not only is it free, but it is also powerful and offers many features tailored for promoting and showcasing your local business.