Important: In order to reap the benefits of your Google My Business (GMB) listing you must:
Once you’ve got your Google My Business, it’s time to dive into this guide and learn how to optimize it.
Optimizing Your Google My Business
The key thing to know is that you shouldn’t just claim your GMB and forget it. There are lots of features you could be using that will help you bump up your Local SEO so the ideal customers in your neighborhood will be able to find you (and engage with you) that much easier.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but the first step once you claim your listing is to make sure you complete all the business info that Google asks for. The more data you give them, the easier it is for potential customers to find you, online and in person. If you don’t, anyone can suggest/make changes to your listing, including your competition.
So along with inputting the information in the first place, it’s a good idea to log into your dashboard frequently to make sure that information is still accurate and up-to-date.
[Of course, these easy, community-based modifications are not all bad. Often the people suggesting changes to or adding information about your listing are just loyal customers who are helping you beef up your listing because Google has prompted them to do so.]
So, what all can you do with GMB besides giving people the fundamental details about your business?
Google My Business Posts
These posts are a clever way to get content in front of search users. There’s a lot you can do with them:
- Share the date and time details for your next event.
- Tell people about the big sale going on just around the corner.
- Add a link and a teaser for your latest blog.
- Brag about your latest product (and share pictures of it).
- Want to spread holiday joy? Give potential customers a holiday message Post.
When you’re ready to create posts, you can click the button on the left-hand side of your GMB dashboard.
Quick TIP: It’s great to include images with your GMB posts, but make sure you test size and responsiveness for mobile/Maps/Knowledge Panel so you know your pics are streamlined with the rest of your GMB content.
If your customers ake reservations or set appointments as part of doing business with you, you’ll love this feature. If you have integrated scheduling software, people can book with you straight from your GMB listing. [If you use one of these scheduling providers, the button is automatically added to your listing.]
You can communicate with customers by text thanks to GMB. While it’s only available to mobile searchers (and not visible in Maps or the Knowledge Panel), it’s a great way to quickly and easily engage with customers and get their questions answered. [You can use this app if you don’t want GMB texts coming directly to your personal phone.]
Questions & Answers (Q&A)
Q&A lets people ask and answer questions about your business. You may have seen a notification from Google after visiting a restaurant asking you “Is this place family-friendly?” The answer you give helps that business update their GMB. A few pointers on Q&A:
- It isn’t visible in the mobile GMB app. You can only monitor ?s on mobile if you’re an Android user. [To do this, sign into the Google Maps app with the email you use for GMB, and they’ll notify you if you’re asked a question.]
- You will need to login to the GMB dashboard on a regular basis to see if you have any new questions that need answering (and to ensure that existing questions have been answered accurately).
- Cannot monitor the Questions on a mobile device unless you have an Android phone.
- Can use the Google Maps App on Android devices to manage the Q&A feature as the business. To do this, download the Google Maps app, sign in with the email address you use for your GMB listing, and you will get push notifications if someone asks your business a question.
If you ask for and receive reviews via GMB, they’ll show up next to your Google Maps listing, and in the Knowledge Panel. Reviews are a great tool to bolster your credibility and increase your visibility on users’ search results pages.
Just remember: a few bad reviews are unavoidable. Do your best to respond to all reviews (good and bad) diplomatically and quickly. This says “I care about your feedback and my business.”
All in all, Google My Business is a fantastic tool. But like many things in life, it is what you make it. So don’t hesitate to take advantage of all its nifty features in the ongoing effort to get your brand in front of the right business people online. Have you used GMB? How has it helped your business?