Having a strong Google My Business listing can increase the chances of the business showing up in Google’s Local Pack as well as appearing in Google Maps and ranking higher in a local organic search – it’s a very powerful local business tool, and best of all, it’s free for businesses to set-up and get started!
Google’s Local Pack shown after a search for “Restaurants in Vancouver”. The Local Pack pulls information from Google My Business pages.
Follow these 5 steps to create GMB listings that will get noticed by searchers and Google alike.
Claim and verify the business’ local GMB listing. Go to https://www.google.com/business/ to get started. For businesses with more than one location, claim and verify each and every location. Claiming the businesses HQ is not enough. Remember, GMB is a way for people to find local businesses, not head offices!
Once the business listing is claimed and verified, it’s time to put it to work! Fully complete the listing with all information that is requested. Note: if you don’t complete this information someone else can so keep control by filling it out. If Google sends an email asking for a change to the listing to be approved, don’t ignore it! It means someone has suggested a change to the business details. You can approve or deny the change.
Make sure all of the following information is correct. Ensure the first three in particular are entered exactly as they appear on your website, and on directory listings:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Opening Hours
- Category of Business
Add lots of images of the location as these can also show up in an image search, and will also appear on the GMB page. Use images as a chance to really showcase what makes this business stand out from the competition. Remember to use keywords in the image names.
Once the basics of the GMB page have been completed, consider adding some more advanced features. Here are three of GMB’s newest features that local businesses might find valuable:
- Chat/Messaging – consumers can directly message or chat with businesses via Google results on mobile. Add this feature (currently not available in all countries) from the home menu and enter in the phone number to be used. Turn it on/off when the business is open/closed – you don’t want to be disturbed at night, especially as response time will be shown publicly.
- Posts – this is a feature that allows verified GMB users to draft content directly on Google. Click ‘Posts’ on the menu. Write a text post, add an image or create an event. The post will appear in both Google Search and Maps results for seven days or until the date of the event as passed. It’s a good feature to use to promote short-term sales and offers.
- Appointments – include a link on the business’ GMB page for people to make an appointment. Go to the ‘URLs’ section and enter the URL for the Contact Us page (if there is a specific appointment scheduling page on the website even better!)
Get customers to review the business! In order for the star ratings to show next to the business listing there must be some reviews. Good star ratings will capture searchers’ attention and give them more of a reason to choose one business over others.
Business owners have little control over what people write online. Most people like to write a review about either an exceptionally positive experience or an exceptionally negative experience. Don’t take reviews and ratings lightly and if possible respond to all online reviews, even the negative ones. A negative experience can be turned into a positive one if handled properly.
Did you know..?
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.
- 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose a business
GMB is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Check back regularly to ensure all is working as it should be, and that the information is correct.
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