We love to talk to people about the importance of getting their brand listed with Google My Business, also known as their Google Business Listing (GBL).
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool offered by Google to help businesses and organizations manage their online presence across Google platforms such as Google Search and Google Maps. By claiming your business on Google My Business, you can verify and edit information for your brand in order to help people find you and understand what services you’re providing.
Where do you find a Google Business Listing profile in your search results? What’s it look like?
When you search for something online, the vast majority of us use google.com, right? The brand is so successful, they’ve become a verb. You don’t say, “I’m going to research that.” You say, “I’ll google it.” So, when you search for something on Google, you type in your search term and, voila, you get results. But which of those results are Google Business Listing results?
You can recognize GBL results by their appearance inside a box in the search results and a map noting the location. Sometimes they’re served on the right side of the page, sometimes directly in the feed.
The big benefit of claiming and managing your GBL is that Google wants to keep you, the user, on Google. Google is a company with its own agenda. It’s hard to remember that sometimes … we just think that we can ask it a question and get the “best” answer. And, for the most part, we can. But what if there are multiple answers that are equally ‘good’? Google chooses which to serve up above the others, and if it has an option to serve up a result that is within its own Googley-circle (such as a Google My Business listing), they’ll serve up their own linked content results first.
That’s a long-winded way of saying that they will give priority to businesses or organizations that have an active GBL profile. Look at that! An easy lift for your SEO and a way to boost your visibility online.
How to Find and Claim Your Google Business Listing Profile
You can click here for full instructions directly from Google on how to claim your Google My Business profile.
Make sure you’re logged into your Google Account. You can access this through your Gmail dashboard or any other access to your Google Account.
At the top right of the page, you’ll see the nine dots symbol beside your profile picture. Click that and select My Business from the drop-down options (you may need to scroll down within that window to find it).
It’s important to note that, if you’ve never worked on or used a Google My Business listing before, you’ll need to first set it up using the link above or simply search Google My Business Listing and follow those instructions to get it set up.
Clicking this will take you to your Google My Business dashboard where you can manage multiple locations or accounts. For us at Spry, we obviously have lots of accounts in here as we offer GBL management as one of our managed services.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to go through the process of filling out as much of the information about your business as you can. Plan to spend at least an hour or so on this initial branding of your GBL profile.
You’ll need to choose a business category and then input lots of data about your specific organization. You can select a profile picture and a cover image, and also add in at least a few other pictures pertaining to your services, the location of your business, and/or pictures of you and your staff to start building your digital relationship.
Also, while you’re filling out the business description, remember to use specific keywords and phrases that you want your business to be affiliated with (keyword research, anyone!?).
Google My Business- Managing the Profile Over Time
Bare minimum, as a business owner or manager, you should spend this first hour or two on your GBL profile and get it set up so that it can bring attention to your business. Ultimately, you could ‘set it and forget it’ and just let it do its thing. It will bring your brand some benefit in this manner, but, like most marketing tools, you’ll find much more benefit if you tend to the profile on a regular basis.
Best case scenario, you spend some time every week or so checking on the profile to be sure everything is still in order and updating your GBL posts. Lately, there’s also the specific COVID-19 updates (more on that in a moment).
Tips & Tricks for Google Business Listing Posts
Yep, you read that right! Google My Business gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your audience through posts, very similar to social media platforms.
These posts can, and should, include a picture to grab attention. The text content is limited to 1,500 characters, so you can put in content that is quite long if you want to. You can also add a button to the post such as a link titled LEARN MORE or a CALL NOW button (the phone number linked will be the one on your profile, you cannot input a separate phone number for a post).
One important thing to note is that the GBL posts expire and drop off visibility on your main profile after one week. Viewers will still be able to see previous posts if they visit your posts section, but they won’t be served out in the same manner. For this reason, we recommend you post at least once per week to keep your latest post active and show recent activity on your profile. This is a great way to provide some authenticity to your brand.
The posts section also allows you to post a COVID-19 update (no pictures), an offer, an update (regular post), or an event.
Google My Business Reviews
Another critical section to focus in on is the Reviews section for your business. Customers can leave you a review with a 1- to 5- star rating and with or without a comment. It’s good practice to respond to every review you get, good or bad, and remember that your responses are viewable to the public so it’s important to respond in an appropriate manner.
If you find that you’re getting undeserved negative reviews, there are steps that you can take to appeal to Google to remove them from your listing. However, if the person has a legitimate grievance with your company, you can’t count on Google to remove a negative review just because you’re unhappy that you received that review.
Plus, asking your clients, customers, or patients for reviews of your business is a great way to boost your listing and those testimonials can even be repurposed for social media content. Plus, Google makes it easy for you to ask for these reviews by providing a simple link that you can include in many types of marketing campaigns.
COVID-19 Specific Updates for Google Business Listings
Google has put together resources for small business owners. You can find many of them here.
They’ve also implemented specific COVID-19 updates for all Google Business Listings and have reached out to owners to encourage them to use these tools to spread the word on how their business is functioning or has been impacted by the Coronavirus.
So spend some time getting familiar with your GBL profile and the myriad of options it offers to users. You can look at insights to see how your profile is performing and where you might improve. There’s even a messaging feature.
Many business owners overlook the value in Google My Business simply because they don’t even realize it exists. Do you have questions about this service or are you ready to outsource some of your marketing efforts? Reach out to us! We offer Google Business Listing posting as one of our managed services.
If you liked this and want to continue the conversation, consider joining SprySpace – the Facebook group where digital marketers go for education, support, and virtual giggling.