Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
Be it an eCommerce brand or an offline brick-and-mortar store, regardless of the industry, size, or the kind of goods and services being dealt in — every business is continuously on the lookout for more clients, higher sales, and greater profits. And why not? After all, the entire motive behind starting up with any business venture is to earn, isn’t it?
And that is exactly what we want to assist you with as well.
In this guide, we share an array of different ways you can use to optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile. However, before we move to that, let us take a quick look at what GMB is and what exactly is its role in the success of your business.
Google My Business
Google My Business or GMB is a popular, free-of-cost local marketing tool developed by the famous search engine, Google. It is a business listing platform that can be easily used by small companies and big enterprises alike.
Easy to set up, it enables you to leave a mark through your online presence across both the Google search engine and Maps.
Why Should I Optimize My GMB Profile?
Now that we know what GMB is, the next question we come across is whether there is an actual need to optimize your profile.
While there are several benefits of optimizing your GMB listing, here are the top reasons why you should do it without delay.
Higher Web Traffic
Oftentimes, when a prospective customer is looking for a product or service online, they simply input the keywords and let the search engine do the rest, thus leading to the high volume of daily searches. In such a case, if you have an optimized listing on GMB, it increases your chances of being found amongst the top ranking list of vendors Google shares.
So by linking your website and social media handles in your GMB listing, you can easily raise your online as well as offline footfalls.
Enhanced Visibility in Local Searches
For local SEO, an optimized business listing on GMB can go a long way in enhancing your visibility on a search engine result page (SERP).
Searches like “mechanic near me” and “bakery in Brooklyn” are location-based, and for this very reason, you need to ensure that your name pops up at the top when someone scouts for the service you provide in a certain geographical area.
Customer Attraction through Ratings and Reviews
When scouting a new company, about 87% of customers tend to rely on the feedback of the existing or past clientele. This is because although a company can lay several claims to its abilities, consumers trust that their fellow users will be honest about their experiences with the brand.
Star ratings and reviews signify how satisfied a past consumer is with the firm’s services. Therefore, the ratings and reviews left by your customers can act as a major beacon to attract more clients.
Increased Engagement Opportunities
It is only when a business is more easily discoverable and accessible that the opportunities for engaging customers start flowing in more easily. Be it through the resolution of their queries asked through the listing or the responses you leave on each review, GMB lends you the opportunity to interact with your customers in one way or another.
Posting content that is both relevant and useful to your users is another way of keeping them engaged with your business. This material could include announcements, updates about upcoming offers, and so on.
Free Google Advertising
What can be better for a business than free-of-cost advertising? And when you optimize your listing so that your business shows up at the top of Google SERPs, customers start trusting that your business is genuine and high-quality.
How Can I Optimize My GMB Profile?
Did we tickle your curiosity yet?
If yes, let’s explore numerous ways in which you can optimize your GMB listing and attract new customers your way.
Complete Your GMB Profile
Incomplete knowledge is a dangerous thing and a half-filled business profile won’t do you much good. When setting up your GMB account, it is important that you fill out all the details, such as your company’s name, logo, complete address, phone numbers, category or industry you belong to, etc.
If you fill out partial information, it can be difficult for your potential clients in understanding your organization correctly or in reaching you when they want.
Ensure Uniformity in Name and Logo
The name and logo of any business constitute its first impression. So, it is vital that these elements are maintained uniformly not just amongst all web platforms that hold your information, but also with your physical outlets. This is to ensure that your customers do not confuse you for some other company.
It also assures your customers that you’re reliable and trustworthy.
Indicate the Correct Working Hours
Working hours are an essential aspect of every profile on GMB. After all, neither do you want customers reaching out to you at odd hours, nor do you want to lose their business. The simple solution here is to mention your accurate timings for each day of the week right there at the forefront of your listing.
This lets the potential consumers know the right time to get in touch while also indicating that you’re a thorough professional.
Confirm Consistency in Contact Information throughout Web Listings
Every one of us has faced a situation wherein we wish to interact with a certain service provider but their contact details turn out to be faulty. And then begins the struggle to find the correct information if we wish to work specifically with them. However, many times viewers opt to simply forego such a vendor in favor of one who’s easier to speak to.
Thus, by maintaining consistency in your phone numbers, address, and mail ids across various platforms, rest assured that no business is being lost due to incorrect contact info.
Do not Skip the Business Description
Describing what your venture is all about is another important step in the journey towards GMB optimization. Although several businesses can be clubbed under the same category, it is this description that makes you stand apart from your competitors. So make sure you write it in a way that shares all the essential information while also being to the point and precise.
You are provided with a space for 750 characters, and since masses frequently skip reading long paragraphs, make certain that the first 250 characters are put to the best use. Break up the text into bullets, if possible. Also, putting keywords herein is encouraged whereas sharing any outbound links in this section should be avoided.
Choose the Right Category
As we mentioned above, multiple companies can be a part of the same category. But that is only possible if you clearly specify the classification you wish your firm to be presented under. This makes it easier for the search engine to share relevant vendor information when only a handful of keywords are used to make a search. It has been found that the average business is found in 1,009 searches per month, with 84% of these coming from discovery searches.
Remember to be specific to avoid confusion and do not overdo it by choosing categories that are around your domain but do not represent your services.
Use Real High-Resolution Pictures and Videos
The use of visuals (images and videos) is highly encouraged when it comes to a GMB listing. It is so as to share with the potential clientele the true picture of your product, service, and your location. This makes it easier for the new customers to identify your store, especially amidst a crowded street with shops all around.
Also, make sure to only upload images with high resolution to showcase your business and its products instead of blurry pictures we frequently see business owners use. This helps your prospective clientele in viewing your product beforehand to ascertain its quality with a glance before they actually visit your store or order it online.
Add Special Features and Attributes
While mentioning your business’s category is a step forward in being specific, Google gives you the opportunity to clarify it further for your customers. The attribute feature was introduced in 2016 using which service providers can add smaller details about their enterprise.
For instance, hoteliers can easily display the top facilities they provide at their properties, like air conditioning, swimming pool, free parking, etc. Similarly, a restaurant can share its menu right there in the profile.
Product manufacturers and sellers can also upload their product catalogues which a consumer can go through to determine the nature and quality of their business.
Ask and Respond to Customer Reviews
Request your satisfied customers to drop a few nice words on your GMB profile. All they have to do is log into their accounts, search for your business, and leave a quick and honest review using the ‘Write a review” option.
However, simply getting this feedback is not enough. Ensure that you respond to each of them as well. And not just to the positive ones, but to negative comments too. This promotes a sense of trust and reliability in the consumers in regards to your enterprise and your services, which helps attract new customers.
Answer Queries by Consumers
You may often see that there are questions left on your business listing enquiring about anything, from your working hours to product-specific queries.
It is important that you answer them timely and leave no unresolved doubts because this is a section editable by all. Not only you, but another client can respond to the questions put up here as well which can lead to inaccurate or falsified information being shared.
To be on top of this situation at all times, you can set up an alert for new queries. The search engine also encourages you to compile a set of FAQs, and answer and upvote them yourself on the profile. This is so that correct details are circulated amongst your audience, as these can help determine whether a consumer would want to engage with your enterprise or not.
Post Regularly to Increase Organic Traffic
Similar to the various social media networks, you can also post a whole range of material to your profile. Be it an announcement, an event, upcoming offers, new collaborations, or product upgrades — it can all be curated within the GMB dashboard and then shared with your listing.
On your live listing, this appears towards the end under the ‘Updates’ section but can become much more prominent with the appropriate use of keywords in response to certain queries.
Posting more frequently, however, is not enough unless what you’re sharing is of relevance to your clientele. Good quality and engaging posts send positive signals to the search engine in terms of your SERP ranking.
Keep an eye on the types of posts that expire within seven days in case you want them to be reshared on the profile while setting a pre-fixed time period for your marketing campaigns. Adding in CTAs with each piece of content is a good idea to engage customers not just with the post, but with the business itself.
Keep Updating your Profile Timely
As a business owner, there can be times when you’re too busy with little to no time on your hands to focus on the smaller operational activities. Managing your GMB profile could be one of them. But this could mean you may forget to update your listing and the information put on there may turn obsolete.
For example, if you’re moving your store to a new location, it is sure to be a lot of work. However, did you update the address on your business profile? While this is a rare occurrence, there are multiple other details and attributes that you may have to keep updating every now and then, and putting it off can cost you high-paying clients as well.
Engage with Customers through GMB Message
Frequently, consumers find themselves in a situation where they wish to interact with the business on a slightly more private platform than their public listing, but they may not prefer to call. In such a case, it is crucial that you have the messaging feature enabled beforehand so as to not lose on any new business opportunities.
To set up the same, all you have to do is navigate to Customers, then Messages, then select Turn On. You can also set up an alert for customer messages under settings.
Track Customer Paths through GMB Insights
Data is the backbone of businesses as it is how an enterprise looks to formulate its marketing plans and more. Called Insights under the GMB, these analyzed sets of data let you observe the way your consumers are engaging with your profile or finding you on the engine.
Details about how your listing was found (directly or from amidst a sea of other vendors), what they viewed (pictures, reviews, Q&A), as well as their actions in the end (making a phone call, requesting directions, visiting your website), and so on can be accessed here. By tracking the paths your customers are preferring, you can design your future marketing strategies.
SEO has always been essential to building a strong online presence for any business. And focusing on optimizing your GMB and keeping it active is an integral part of that.
So, what are you waiting for? Begin today!