If you have a business, you need a Google My Business listing. So, let’s dive into what Google My Business is and why your business needs it!
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business or GMB, is simply a free business listing provided by Google. Your profile allows you to manage how you show up on Google Search and Google Maps. From sharing your products and services to showcasing reviews, using this free tool needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
Why is Google My Business Important?
Google My Business is important because it’s all about local SEO. Whenever someone searches for what you offer within Google Maps or using “near me” information from Google My Business details will be displayed. Whether we like it or not, Google is the authority of search rankings, so using their tools puts you on their good side and helps boost your SEO.
Even if your business serves customers across the globe, you can still benefit from Google My Business. Just be sure to pinpoint your home base as your service area, selecting the whole country won’t do you any good.
How to Sign Up For a Free Google My Business Profile
First, head over to Google My Business and login using your Gmail account. Next, you’ll enter some basic information like your business name and website. Then it’s time to verify your address so Google knows you are legit and located where you say you are. They’ll send a postcard (or sometimes make you share a video) to the business address you entered with verification instructions. This step is crucial. If you don’t verify your address, you don’t get a Google My Business Profile. And don’t worry about showcasing your address on your profile, that’s optional, Google just needs your address for verification purposes.
How to Optimize Your Google My Busienss Profile
#1. Complete all information, keep it accurate and up to date
Be sure to complete all the information in your profile. From business hours to listing your products and services, this information will be indexed by Google (aka Google will like you and show your business to people).
And please make sure your information is accurate and up to date. If your website lists different details than your Google My Business profile that could hurt your rankings.
Oh and don’t forget to stay on top of updating your hours during holidays and times when your hours change!
#2. Leverage Keywords
Keywords are Google’s way of understanding what people are looking for. You can use keywords in a variety of places on your Google My Business profile to boost your SEO:
- Business Description
- Image File Names
Let’s say you own a coffee shop in Cookeville. In your business description you might want to put “Coffee shop in Cookeville, TN serving locally roasted coffee”. That way when people search “coffee shop cookeville” or “locally roasted coffee near me” you are more likely to show up.
#3. Add Photos and Videos
Photos and videos aren’t just for social media, you can use them on your Google My Business profile to help boost your ranking on the web and within Google Images.
Here’s some ideas of images to use on your Google My Business profile:
- Headshots and staff photos
- Behind the scenes work
- Portfolio Work
- Education content
The key here is to make sure you use keywords in the file name for the image or video so Google can understand it. For example, if you sell cupcakes and post a photo of your chocolate flavored cupcake, you might use a file name like bestchocolatecupcake.png.
#4. Manage reviews
Reviews are the magic sauce to increase your credibility and authority with Google. Having regular and relevant reviews related to your offerings tells Google your business is active.
Plus, over 80% of consumers read online reviews to make purchasing decisions. And 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written last month. This means you need to keep those reviews coming. Don’t be afraid to ask customers to complete a quick review for you on Google. Google even has a link you can send customers via email that brings them directly to your profile review section.
#5 Turn on Messaging
Gone are the days of calling people on the phone (well for many of us anyways). Texting and social media messaging have become the communication methods of choice. Google My Business has a messaging feature you can turn on so you can easily communicate with customers when they are searching for you. We recommend turning this feature on to help simplify and enhance your customer experience!
#6 Create regular posts
You can and should add posts regularly to your Google My Business profile. This helps prospective customers get a sense of your business. And don’t forget to use SEO keywords!
Here’s some somes on things to post:
- Highlight new product or service offerings
- Use a gif of funny graphic that resonates with your audience
- Share updates, press features and testimonials
- Encourage customers to join your mailing list by offering a freebie
If you own a local brewery, you might create a post with an image of a new beer you’re offering that says “Come taste our newest beer, [insert name] at your favorite Cookeville brewery.”
Time to get to work
So there you have it, the nuts and bolts of creating and optimizing your FREE Google My Business profile. This tool is essential for business owners, especially local businesses. Think of it as your mini website or online front door. It’s the first step in getting Google to recognize your business and share it with your target audience.