Google My Business: Free Advertising in Local Search
Everywhere you go, there’s probably at least one person looking down at their phone scrolling through social media feeds, shopping online, or looking something up on Google. As a business owner, it’s important to make sure your business is visible on Google. Google is where a majority of online users go to find basic information about businesses whether it be directions, hours, customer reviews, a phone number, or even to view photos before going somewhere.
Google offers a free tool called Google My Business to help people find important information about businesses. The Google My Business listings appear as little “profiles” or “panels” at the very top of search results and in Google Maps. The more details you make available, the more Google will recognize your business as a relevant and useful result when people are searching for your products or services.
How to find your business on Google.
If you are unsure if your business is on Google, you can search for your business by name to see if a knowledge panel appears on the right side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). If so, check to make sure your listing is claimed so that you can start taking control of your listing by taking advantage of the many features offered by Google. If you do not see your business on Google, you can visit the Google My Business page for adding and claiming listings on Google.
Optimize your Google business listing.
Once your listing is created and verified, you can start optimizing your listing with all of the features available in Google My Business. You will be able to add your business’s hours of operation, update your phone number if/when needed, and make sure your address is complete and correct. There is also a section to add a description of your business to help people learn more about who you are. The more information you make available to a prospective customer, the more time they will spend looking through your listing to learn more about whom you are and what you can offer to them to help meet their needs.
Add photos to your Google business listing.
Google also allows you to add photos of your business, services, and goods to help give your customers a better idea of what your business offers. Google has a variety of categories in the photo section to help organize the photos. You can add external photos of your store or office, as well as, internal photos of your waiting area or other spaces throughout your business. These photos help to give prospective customers an idea of where to find you if they have never been to your location. It also helps them get a feel for who you are before they make a visit. Other photo categories include your team members, your products, photos of employees at work, and more.
Engage your viewers with Google posts.
Google My Business has a post feature which allows you to create and post content to engage your audience. The GMB post feature allows you to upload a photo, add copy, choose a call to action button, and link to any page on your website. Once you create and publish your post it will be visible right on the business listing for 7 days. After 7 days, you will need to create and publish a new post. As long as there is a post visible on the listing, people will be able to view more and see your past posts. Once a post expires, and if a new one is not published, then people will no longer have access to your past posts. So, it is very important to keep your posts up to date.
Manage positive and negative Google reviews.
Reviews are important and managing them is a must. Whether your business has a positive or negative review, it is important to respond to the customer. GMB allows you to respond to customers who have reached out to leave feedback about their experience with your business. If a review is positive, you always want to thank them for taking the time to leave a review and tell them you’re glad they had an enjoyable experience. If a review is negative, never take fault or place blame publically. It is best to say something like “Thank you for your feedback. Please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org or 555–555–5555 so we can hear more about your experience.” It is best to always take the conversation offline. It even looks good to have a back and forth negative conversation on your business’s Google listing.
Give them what they’re looking for with the Q&A section.
Customers may be seeking an answer about one of your services or products that your business offers, but they may not make it from your listing to your website before clicking somewhere off of your listing to find the answer. This is where the Q&A section on your GMB listing comes in handy. The Q&A section allows customers and business owners to ask and answer questions. It is important to stay on top of managing the Q&A section because other customers can also answer questions. To make sure the questions are answered with the best possible information it is best if the information comes from the business owner rather than other customers. Another way to use the Q&A section would be to post questions that are frequently asked by your customers and also answer them. This way you know the questions prospective customers will most likely ask is available and they also know that it is accurate information as it was provided by the business owner.
No time? No worries.
It’s understandable that staying on top of managing all of this can be challenging when you’re also running a business. ASAPmaps is a low-cost subscription tool that fully optimizes and updates your listing for you every single week with a new post and photo.
Originally published at https://www.tumblr.com on February 19, 2019.