14 Tips for Optimizing Your GMB Listing
Have you ever done a Google search and noticed a company’s profile pop up on the right side of the screen with all their information? Check out the featured image above, because chances are, you have! As a form of local Google ranking, Google My Business (GMB) is an easy way to get your business in front of people who are searching for a service or product that you just happen to offer.
Google My Business helps to put your business on the map, so to speak. The higher your GMB ranking, the more exposure your business gets. And the more exposure, the more customers! As a business, one of your (many) marketing efforts should include optimizing your GMB listing.
Here are all the details on why you should optimize your GMB listing, how to improve your local Google ranking, and the many benefits that come from this feature.
What is Google My Business?
GMB Listings are a great tool for placing high converting content about your business in front of consumers. Google My Business is a component of the knowledge graph — a free service that anyone can take advantage of to help put you in a very specific position on the first page of search results. It can include information such as your phone number, address, hours of operation, customer reviews, photos, and current promotions or offers.
The knowledge graph is an interesting approach from Google in an effort to place more relevant content in front of users searching for something specific. This is Google’s own proprietary platform that displays whatever information a user is searching for, also known as searcher intent. By having it displayed in this manner, the user isn’t required to click on a link and browse through a website to find the information they need. This also prevents the user from switching to a different search engine, like Bing or Yahoo — and yes, these still exist.
Tips for Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing
- Claim or Create Your Business
First and foremost, you must claim or create your business listing. While you may automatically show up on Google Maps if your business has been around for awhile, you must claim your business and provide your information in order to set up and modify your listing.
If you don’t see yourself on Google, create a GMB listing to get started. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a physical address, you can also define the areas you service. Google thinks of everything, don’t they?
- Verify Your GMB Listing
Within five days, you will receive a postcard in the mail with complete instructions on how to verify your business. Don’t forget to do this simple step when optimizing your GMB Listing!
Be sure to verify your listing or else your visibility and performance on Google will be negatively affected. Google won’t display your listing, allow you to edit your information, or gain access to analytics.
- Complete Your Profile
The more detailed and accurate the information you put in your listing, the higher Google will rank it (and the more legitimate you will look to potential customers). The goal is to provide your customers with as much information as possible within your listing.
When completing your profile, you will want to select the most accurate category for your business, write a succinct description, and fill in all of the necessary fields. Also, be sure to include a phone number with a local area code so that Google will tag you within the area. It should go without saying that there should be no spelling or grammatical errors here!
- Update Business Hours
Even if your hours are temporary, you must update this information on Google! Fortunately, Google offers the option to customize your hours for holidays and other events. The last thing you want is to forget to post your updated hours and have people show up to a closed business.
- Use Keywords
Just like your website’s SEO practices, GMB listings have their own set of rules you need to follow, too. Throughout your listing, include keywords and phrases that your customers are searching for in order to rank higher and show up in more Google Maps searches. For example, a hair salon will want to add “hair salon”, “hair cutting services”, “barber”, or “hair stylists” to their profile descriptions to coincide with a variety of possible searches.
- Stay On Top of Reviews
Whether they’re good or bad, we recommend responding to every review left on your Google My Business page.
Respond to a positive review with a quick thank you for their support. If someone leaves a negative review, offer your sincere apologies and a helpful solution for rectifying the situation at hand. The more you engage with your patrons, the stronger your local Google ranking and the better you will look in the eyes of customers.
- Answer Questions
Similar to reviews, don’t ignore any questions that have been asked. Answer them all promptly, professionally, and with clear and helpful responses. This practice will boost your GMB ranking and provide others with any info you may have missed in your descriptions.
- Add Photos
Business listings with photos usually outperform those without. Include a relevant profile photo and several high-quality, relevant images of the interior and exterior of your business and geo-tag them so Google can recognize you. Food businesses will want to add images of their dishes, drinks, and menus.
- Include Special Attributes
Providing a list of your business’ attributes will enhance your listing and allow customers to quickly decide if your business is in fact what they’re looking for. Attributes include what your business is known for, what forms of payment are accepted, your amenities, if your business is minority- or female-owned, and so on.
- List Products and Services
Most businesses don’t do this, and they’re really missing out on a great opportunity to rank! You can include a brief summary of your products and services to provide your customers with more information than they could ever dream of! Your customers will appreciate it, Google will reward you for it, and you will reap the rewards. It’s a win-win-win!
- Post Regularly
Similar to a social media feed, you can post updates on your GMB profile that can be viewed along with your listing. Use this space to highlight upcoming events, changes in services or hours, new products, and incentives.
- Look at Your Analytics
Google’s Insights feature can help you understand how your GMB listing is being interacted with. You can look at these analytics and discover how and where customers are finding you, their actions, the number of phone calls to your business from the listing, when photos are viewed, and how many times they click for directions to your business.
Here, you can also see the direct searches for your business versus discovery searches — which is when consumers search a broader category/product/service and click on your specific listing.
- Be Honest About What You Do
Always be transparent about what you offer and the type of experience customers can expect from working with you. Otherwise, poor reviews will result from incorrect information and disappointed customers. Never put XYZ, if you don’t offer XYZ.
- Keep Up with Profile Maintenance
Once you’ve done all this work from the steps above, you must keep your profile and all of its information updated as often as possible. If you’re too busy with having a business to run, hire someone to do the work for you. Regular maintenance will pay off when your business is consistently showing up on users’ Google Maps, and increasing your overall traffic and sales.
Ready to Start Ranking?
Optimizing your GMB Listing is just one of many, many ways to bring in more leads and traffic. However, SEO strategies aren’t straightforward or easy to implement. Several checkboxes must be completed in order to rank, and rank well.
Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can improve your organic and local SEO rankings.