You’ve all seen the listing on the right when you Google search your business name. Did you realise the critical importance of creating and managing a Google Business Account? As business owners you can create a Google My Business listing so they show up in those searches. Google My Business also provides business owners with tools to gain insights into their audience. And it costs nothing to set up, it’s a free listing and very much worth a small amount of your time.
And importantly at a quick glance potential customers get an overview of your business to help them determine if they want to engage with that business.
What are the benefits?
For your time investment three things will improve for your business –
- More visibility when your business is being searched for
- A better experience for your customers
- Increased traffic to your website, meaning more sales calls
Over the last few years Google has created a local business dashboard to provide accurate and updated information about your business to web visitors.
This is important for potential searchers of your business to have accurate details and also assures Google that you are a legitimate business, a major plus for your search rankings. If you haven’t already created one it is IMPORTANT that your business has a Google My Business profile.
So the first step is to sign-up – https://www.google.com/intl/en_au/business/
If you are newbie or even have an existing listing it is critical that your information is accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date. If you have changed address or phone number at any stage you must make those changes on your profile – Google and its algorithm will penalise a website if information is not consistent.
There are many different parts to your Google My Business listing.
- Name – Business Name but make sure it is consistent
- Address – your actual location, not a PO Box.
- Phone Number – Use your main business number
- Website Address/URL
- Category – Choose the category that fits your business best. You may not find one that fits exactly – in that instance find the closest one and make sure you use the Description section to flesh out the details of what you sell and offer.
- Description of your business and services of about 700 – 750 characters. Tell the buyer more about you using key words and phrases that describe your goods and services. This description can also help improve your rankings in Google.
- Hours of Operation – make sure these are accurate, there’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than checking your opening hours and turning up and you’re not there.
- Cover Image of Your Business – make it clean and appealing, not a blurry image of your shopfront.
- Additional Images of Your Business – crisp and clear images make people notice you. You can even add a video in this section which always gets good results.
- Posts (like a blog entry) – you can use these to promote special events, new products or relevant information in your industry.
- Products – yep you can even put products with prices and buy now buttons.
- Services – List all your services separately and link them to an internal page on your website
If this is the first time you have set up your profile you will receive a white postcard from Google using standard mail with a verification code. Once received you enter the code in your Google My Business account. This information will be indexed by Google Search, Maps and Google+, providing a foundation for your local SEO.
Once you’ve set up your profile, don’t forget it. Make a note on your calendar to review it regularly, add any new details, update changes in the business and start using the tools included like Messaging as another point of contact for potential buyers or Business Insights to see what your customers are looking for.
Another important section are the Reviews. We’ve all seen them – the starred reviews underneath your listing. The higher the start rating the better chance of you receiving an enquiry. Did you know from your Business profile you can respond to these reviews – so if you have had a great review you can acknowledge and thank them via your GMB account or if you’ve had a less than complimentary review here is the chance to refute or explain your position.
You can also post in your account, similar to Facebook and you get more brownie points from Google for doing so, all helping your popularity in Google searches.
Google keeps evolving GMB – their intent is to give users a better experience (although it’s not too altruistic, they want this data for their own uses) but to stay in the game you have to play along with them and use their platform (for free) to claim your niche in the competitive online landscape.
However, if you are time poor (and which business owner isn’t?) or it all seems a bit too hard, we can do this for you on an hourly rate basis.
Depending on the complexity of the business this can range from 2-5 hours to set up.
Call us if you are interested in us helping you with this (08) 9350 9392