1. Set up your Google Business listing
The first step is to set up (or claim) your Google My Business Listing. Go to Google My Business page and click “Start Now” in the upper left corner.
Did you know that anyone can list your business on Google? That’s a little scary, but fear not—you as the owner can claim your listing which grants you the access to edit and update your information, to post timely information, and to manage reviews. The claiming process requires a few steps, but it is a must.
2. Complete your listing
Fill in every relevant field that Google offers. You want to make sure the profile is as complete as possible and that every piece of information is accurate.
The impact of inaccurate or inconsistent listings is not one you can afford. A complete Google My Business listing includes:
- Business name: The legal / official name of your business.
- Address: Full address of your business.
- Phone number: A number with a local area code is recommended. That’s one extra signal to Google that you are actually local. Make sure the number you use for your Google My Business listing is also displayed on your website.
- Category: Choose a relevant category. This will help Google decide which searches your local listing belongs in.
- Website: Your website URL.
- Hours of Operation: The hours your business is open. For days when you have unusual hours, like holidays or special events, you can set special hours.
- Description: What you offer, what sets you apart, your history, or anything else that’s helpful for customers to know. Allowable limit is 750 characters. Keep in mind that only the first 250 characters show up in the Knowledge Panel, so prioritize your information. Finally, no links or HTML.
- Photos: Showcase your products and services to people who are looking for what you offer. Consider hiring a Google approved photographer to create a 360-view virtual tour of your business for customers. According to Google, listings that have a virtual tour and photos generate twice as much interest as those without.
Depending on your industry, there may be additional fields such as menus for restaurants.
A complete listing makes it as easy as possible for potential customers to find and contact your business. In addition, the more complete your listing is, the more favor you will receive from Google when ranking you in results.
3. Make sure your information matches everywhere else
One thing Google’s algorithm looks at to verify the legitimacy of a listing is a consistency in how it’s listed across different websites. While that seems simple enough – your address is the same each time you enter it somewhere – it’s easy for little differences to slip in. Maybe you wrote out the Road part of the street name one time, and shortened it to Rd another time, for instance.
Pick a standard way to write out your address, a consistent phone number to use, and make sure all your listings match both each other and the information you provide on your website. And work on getting your website listed in as many relevant directories as possible.
4. Encourage reviews
You’ll notice that the local businesses listed in the map snippet of a local search usually have star ratings next to their name. Google wants to provide the most useful information to its users, and users want to find the nearby business that seems the best. In both cases, it benefits your business to have a high star rating.
Ask your happy customers to take a few minutes to give you a review on Google. Include an encouragement on promotional materials you hand out or put up in your store. A gentle nudge or a reminder of how much it means for your business can make your loyal customers that much more likely to take the time to say a few kind words about you.
Rankwell customers have the option of having a review widget installed on their websites – you can see it below. This is standard with all our Local SEO plans – no additional cost.
This greatly simplifies the process of getting reviews!
Also dont forget to Respond to Customer Reviews. Even Negative ones
The reviews on your GMB page can be a deciding factor in whether or not a buyer engages with your brand. Just check out some of these statistics about Local Consumer Reviews:
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
- 30% of consumers say they’ve judged a business based on its responses to reviews
When making a purchase decision, people look to others for their opinions. We all do it. And we do it often. We want to learn from the experiences of those who have purchased before us. Always respond to your reviews. Positive reviews give a good impression of your business and should be easy to respond to.
5. Post to Google My Business
Just like with other social media platforms, you can now post directly to Google My Business. Your posts show up on the “Posts” tab of your listing, but might also become visible on your Google Maps or Google Search result, depending on relevance.
Through Google posts you can make announcements, create events, highlight products, and run promotions. The information in these posts is that which customers need in order to stay engaged with you, which is ultimately what leads them to choose you over competitors. In addition, each post type has a call to action button, making the experience from discovery to engagement seamless.
There are many ways customers can find your business, but there is no denying that Google My Business is an incredibly powerful gateway to your website.
It positions your important business information in front of the eyes of potential customers who are looking for your product, service, or experience.
It helps with your local SEO, offers a chance to engage with your customers via reviews or posts, and provides useful insights on your customers’ purchasing paths.
Here at Rankwell we have been optimising local websites and GMB profiles for a long time. If you want the results and outcomes listed above but prefer to leave it to experienced SEO specialists then you should speak to us.