Marketing is essential for all businesses and there’s an increase in demand to have the right digital marketing. Competition is fierce, and if you want your business to stand out from others, you need to have effective search engine optimisation (SEO).
Google My Business is one way for businesses to increase their visibility online, to optimise their business for keyword search engines. It’s a form of local SEO and it’s easy to get started. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool created for businesses and companies to manage their online presence. It targets Google, as the name suggests, as well as Maps and Search, and it gives your customers an easy way to find you. It’s essentially a local business listing, that allows you to input information about your business – name, address, category; and allows customers to leave reviews, add images and ask questions (which you can respond to).
Benefits Of Google My Business
There are over four billion internet users worldwide, and Google holds 92.47% of the market share for search engine usage. By signing up for Google My Business, you’re giving yourself access to promote your business to any number of those people. Here’s what else it can do for you:
1. It gets your business on Google Maps: So, when you do a local search for a particular business type, your name and address will show up on Google Maps.
2. Promotes your business in Local Pack listings – If you’ve ever done a search for a local business and at the top right-hand side of the page you see a map, with a few local businesses listed – that’s Local Pack. It’s usually one of the first things shoppers will look at when searching for local businesses.
3. Helps to build trust with customers and enhance your local rankings. A major drawback for businesses in a digital world is the lack of trust – there are too many businesses that promote themselves as something they are not. By having a GMB listing, you’re showing customers that you are, in fact, a legitimate business in their local area.
4. Allows people to give reviews. If you pride yourself on positive feedback for great products or services, your GMB listing is a great way to boost your appeal to customers. Around 90% of people read reviews before they make a purchasing decision and GMB gives you the chance to promote your positive reviews.
5. GMB increases traffic to your website – showing up in local searches gives local customers more exposure to your business, and they are more likely to click onto your website to learn more about you.
6. It’s a great tool for insight into your customers. GMB comes with a range of features that can give you an idea of who is looking at your page. It can show you the number of views your profile is getting, the engagement, clicks to your website link, and you can even see details of the people who are following you, including their age, gender and even which country they’re from.
How To Set Up Google My Business
Setting up your Google My Business is easy.
- Step One: Set up a new Google account or access your Google My Business login.
- Step Two: Visit google.com/business and click Manage Now
- Step Three: Enter your business name – if there is a business with the same name, you’ll be given other options so there’s no duplication.
- Step Four: Enter the address of the business, tick the box and click Next. If there is no address where customers can visit you (a digital marketing agency working at home, for example), leave it blank, then tick the box, tick Hide My Address and click Next.
- Step Five: Specify your service areas. This is where local listings benefit. If you service a particular area, this will help with local SEO. You can enter one or more regions or cities.
- Step Six: Choose your category. This is really important as it will determine how people find you when they do a search.
- Step Seven: Add your contact phone number and website URL. If you don’t have a website, you’ll be given the option to create a Google Website.
- Step Eight: Verify your business – a postcard will be sent to your business within a few days, with a code that you can enter into your account to verify your business. If you prefer, you can ask for phone verification or email verification – though these are not available to all businesses.
The Importance Of Utilising All Features Within Your GMB Listing
If you want to get the most out of your GMB account, you need to utilise as many of the features as possible – and there are a few. Aside from those mentioned in the steps above, here are some of the next most important, and how they can influence your listing:
- Your category and description help Google understand the type of business you operate so you can be sure you’re getting the right audience.
- Adding photos and videos to your listing can help to build trust with potential customers.’
- Google My Business Q&As can help you get to know your audience.
- Reviews give customers the chance to provide feedback for you and other buyers.
- Google My Business Posts allows you to promote offers and promotions, for free.
- Add your service menus and product collections to your profile so people can see what you have available, without having to trawl through pages of your website.
Google My Business Reviews
We mentioned earlier that 90% of people read reviews before buying a product or service, so having reviews about your business can help you target a larger audience. According to stats, 57% of consumers will only use a business with 4 Stars or more, and 50% will take notice of reviews added in the previous two weeks. As such, if you want to hit those potential targets, it’s essential you use GMB reviews, and keep them up to date.
So, how do you get reviews?
You need to target your customers and ask them to leave reviews – and if you want good reviews, target your repeat customers. The best way to do this is to send them an email with a link to your GMB page.
Write an email telling customers that you’ve started a Google My Business listing and would like reviews. You might promote a special deal to them – if they leave a review, they get 10% off their next order, or similar. Then include the URL to your listing so they can leave their review.
You can find that URL by searching for your company on Google maps, then open up the company’s map page and copy that URL. You can then put in your email LEAVE A REVIEW and hyperlink it to your page – or you can shorten the URL using a tool such as Bitly.
What happens if you get fake or negative reviews?
You can set up your account so that you’re alerted every time someone posts a review – this is a good idea to keep you on top of the reviews, good and bad. You can answer questions or respond to criticism in a timely manner, which is essential in today’s digital marketing age.
If a review is fake, there’s good news. You can remove it! Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as clicking a button, but you can report it to Google. First, you need to determine if it’s just a bad review or a fake one – if it’s a legitimate review from an unhappy customer, respond straight away to remedy the problem. If you suspect it’s fake, check if they are in your CRM or POS software first. Not there? Probably fake. Do you have any record of them contacting your customer service team? No? Probably fake. Are they missing specific details, such as the name of the person they liaised with? Have you received numerous negative reviews in a short amount of time? Did the reviewer mention another company to try to turn people to instead?
All of these could be signs of a fake review. If this is the case,
1. Go to the review
2. Click on the three vertical dots at the top right
3. Click Flag As Inappropriate
Make sure you only do this if you are certain it is fake, otherwise Google may penalise you.
If a review is negative, you need to make sure you respond in a timely manner. You can have them removed, but only if it violates Google’s guidelines, which includes spam, illegal content, offensive content, dangerous content, impersonation, conflict of interest (eg past employees), and so on. If you want to proceed, go to your profile.
1. Click Support on the bottom left
2. Need more help
3. Customer reviews and photos
4. Manage customer reviews
5. Email support
Remember, you need to respond to ALL reviews, not just the bad ones. Even if someone has just left you stars, make sure you respond (a simple Thumbs Up will do the trick in most cases).
Keep Google My Business Up To Date
GMB is one of the best ways for your customers to find you and get in touch. So, it’s essential that you keep your information up to date. If your business changes phone number or address, business hours increase or decrease, this should be your first port of call. If you want to celebrate a new seasonal line or a great deal, remember to use the Posts feature regularly as these are a great form of promoting ads on Google My Business. And of course, you need to keep on top of those reviews.
Setting up your Google My Business is easy, and if you can keep it up to date, it ensures you have control of the way your business is promoted across the Google search engine. Get in touch today and find out how we can help you.