What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a part of the Google suite of business tools. In a nutshell, it lists your business on a worldwide directory. It was designed to give business owners more control over what their listing looked like when it first released by Google. GMB has been around since 2014, and since then has become the new telephone directory.
How Can I Make Myself More Visible To Google?
So, how does this affect your business?
How can you use GMB to make your company more visible, and in that way get more clients?
Well, first you need to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) results work, and how to use them correctly.
Google is always looking for ways to make their clients lives easier. We have less time as people, and in turn have shorter attention spans. When Google brings up a search result, it optimizes it to have as much info on the actual search page, thus resulting in people having to click links less often. Your business, therefore, needs to have all this good stuff come up in the search result:
- Register your site with Google Search Console
- Make sure your site loads super-fast, especially on mobile
- Use the correct keywords in your page titles, meta descriptions and URLs
- Create backlinks to your site
- Follow Google’s instructions
- And, of course, link your site to GMB
All right, so once you have done all of this, how does it tie in with GMB? And how exactly, do you use GMB?
Can I Use GMB?
Once you have mastered the basics of SEO, you can progress to the next step in which you list your business on Google My Business.
The first thing that you need to know about GMB is that it is a free tool and comes as a part of the Google Suite. It can be found by Googling it, or looking in the Google Maps section. Most Android phones will come with it pre-installed.
Once your business is listed with GMB, you will come up not only on search results, but Google Maps too. It also has very handy feedback tools that will let you know who is searching for your business and how many times it gets clicked on. So basically, once you have linked your business site to GMB, it’s like free digital advertising.
Google My Business and SEO
Statistics show that one in every two people who search for a specific service of business near them are planning to make use of that business the same day. So, when a person searches for “Pet food shops near me” they are invariably looking to buy pet food a.s.a.p.
When your GMB profile is properly set up, all your business details are readily available and come up near the top of the Google search. To ensure this, your info absolutely HAS to be correct, up to date, and optimized.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into a step-by-step guide on how to set up your Google My Business account.
Create My GMB Listing
✓ Make sure that you are logged into your Google Account that you want to identify with your business. If you don’t have one, create one.
✓ Go to google.com/business and click on “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
✓ Type in your official business name.
✓ Submit an address. You can choose to hide your address too, if you don’t have a physical store location. This does mean that you will not show up on Google Maps. You can also choose to go to customers locations, ie that you deliver and people don’t come to you.
✓ Select your delivery area. This will obviously relate to where you are.
✓ Choose what category your business falls into. Here you have to be as correct as possible as this is the part that tells Google what sort of customers you want to attract. As of 2019 there are over 3000 categories, and Google allows you to select up to 10 business categories. There can be only one however, as in many things, so your primary category is what Google will use in its algorithm.
✓ Add your company phone number and website.
✓ Verify your business by choosing an option. You can do this later by clicking on “Try a different method – Verify Later.”
Is Google My Business Verification Important?
I think we need to stop here and just mention a few words about verification. If your business is not verified, Google won’t list it. And then this whole exercise has been in vain. There are a number of ways in which Google can verify your business, and the sooner you get it done, the better:
- Instant verification
- Bulk verification
As you can imagine, option number one is a bit archaic, and takes up to five days, if your post card even arrives. Phone, email, or instant are your best options for verification. Of course you need to have a mobile phone that can receive texts, or a valid email address. For instant verification you will need to have already verified your business with Google Search Console. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then stick to phone or email.
How To Optimize Your GMB Listing
So as GMB is such an accessible way of digital marketing, and making your business visible, there are possibly thousands of people in your area who have listed on it. So how do you make your listing stand out from the crowd? Once you have verified your business, you can now begin the process of making your listing look good and attract customers.
Step 1: Completely fill out your Google My Business information
As mentioned before, filling your information correctly and as fully as possible is key to getting the right feet through your door. Be sure to add all the info you can such as operating hours, amenities, contact numbers and addresses, and of course websites. GMB allows anyone to suggest an edit. This means that your data may periodically change without you knowing it. Be sure to check your GMB dashboard often to make sure that everything looks ok.
Step 2: Take star-quality photos (and format them properly)
You usually have about 2 seconds to grab someone’s attention. This means that your photos on your profile absolutely have to be eye-catching and relevant. Google will also check to make sure that the images do in fact have something to do with your business, and aren’t dodgy. Having an image on your profile will help you get into the 35% elite who have a higher chance of being clicked on, and in turn this will improve your SEO.
- Cover Photo: All photos need to be at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high and JPG or PNG files. Your cover photo is what people see first, so make sure it’s a great one.
- Profile Photo: Your profile pic is what shows up when you upload new images or videos. It is your stamp of recognition, and as such many businesses’ use their logo as a profile pic.
- Other Photos: Your GMB profile should be filled with images. Once you have grabbed users attention with your cover photo, and they recognize you by your profile pic, other photos will give them a better idea of who you are and what you do. In the case of our pet food shop, a photo of the outside of the shop is vital so that people will know they are in the right place. Images of your produce, specials boards’ and team are also great to put up. These way clients will already feel a connection with you before they even come to your business.
Step 3: Share Videos
Adding a video to GMB profile is not as hard as you think, and the payoff is great. Moving pictures are always more eye-catching than a static image. Also, Google owns YouTube, so linking the two is a no-brainer. There have been countless studies on how video creates more likes, links, and shares on social media, so incorporating it into your GMB profile should also be a no-brainer. To do this you need to:
✓ Log into your GMB account
✓ Click on “Photos” on the panel on the left. Look at your top right, there will now be a videos option.
✓ Click on the tab, and upload your video
✓ OR, click on the blue plus sign and choose your video to upload.
As I am writing this, there is no way yet to integrate your YouTube account with your GMB account. Undoubtedly this will happen in the future as the almighty Google realizes that there is a need for it. But for now, you have to follow the steps above.
Step Four: Post regularly on Google My Business
Posts, I hear you ask. Yes, GMB posts. Like the things you put on your social media. These work like little mini advertisements for your company, and keep your profile flowing nicely, which is good for your SEO. Google hates static websites and profiles. There are four types of posts that you can do on your GMB profile:
- What’s New
A fabulous little tool to use in your GMB posts is the CTA (call-to-action) button. People with one simple click can directly get in contact with your business. If you’d like to learn more about gaining and managing clients in Thailand then we’d also highly recommend our other article The Ultimate Guide to Make Money in Thailand. Otherwise, here is a short list of what GMB allows you to do with the CTA button:
- Order Online
- Learn More
- Sign Up
- Get Offer
- Call Now
Posts should have a combination of text and images, just like any other social media content post. The post comes up on your profile when someone searches for your business. Once you have published your post, you can even share it to other platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You should be posting at least once every seven days, and using fresh content with every post. For best performance, larger companies often post every day.
Slightly misleadingly, GMB posts are NOT like other social media posts in that only the first 100 characters show up on your listing. If they are clicked on, then the whole post will be visible. Because of this, you absolutely have to make sure that your first 100 characters are gripping enough to get potential converts to click on your post.
Step Five: Amass Positive GMB Reviews
Google loves reviews. As do humans. When a person is first finding out about a product or service, they look at what people have to say about it. A couple of great reviews can sway a potential into being a convert in your sales funnel. But how does one get great reviews? There are a number of ways to do this:
- Be really great at what you do.
- Have incredible customer service, both online and in reality.
- Reply to your reviews. There is nothing worse than either complaining of complimenting to a wall.
- Placate unhappy clients.
To Sum It All Up
Using Google My business is not hard. In fact, it is easier than opening a Facebook page. A GMB profile is as important as a Facebook page too when it comes to free digital advertising. Getting a handle on your business’s SEO is a vital part of getting clients, if you can’t be seen, they will go somewhere else. To get yourself up to date with all the ins and outs of digital marketing, how to get a great SEO score and much much more, be sure to check out our other articles here. Remind yourself you are in it for the long run and it’s all part of how to become a digital marketer.