Our previous article on the importance of Google My Business Listing (GMB) talks about GMB as a free tool that lets businesses appear better on local search engines. If you own or manage a local business, it’s important that your business shows up when needed by customers. A Google My Business listing helps your brand appear more credible, so it’s imperative for you to set it up and claim it.
Google My Business helps you get customers and even possibly, add more traffic to your website! Closely tied with Local SEO, what a Google My Business listing really wants to achieve for brands is greater exposure and visibility on the digital landscape.
But don’t just claim your listing; like your other social media assets, it’s crucial that your business information on Google My Business is complete and accurate! So, here’s a simple guide to setting up and optimising your Google My Business listing so you can appear and cater to your customers’ inquiries better.
This guide offers three steps to optimising your business listing, mainly:
- Setting up your Google My Business listing and claiming your business
- Filling out necessary details on the knowledge panel
- Maximising your account by using Google My Business features
Now without further delay, here’s how you can set up your Google My Business account!
Setting up your Google My Business listing and claiming your business
- Visit google.com/business and click “Start Now”
- Log into your business’s Google Account. If you don’t have an account yet, set it up first.
- On the next fields, enter the name of your business and its address. Google will also give you the option to include your location or not on Google Maps and Search. Of course, you’d want to be discoverable! We encourage you to be transparent and include your address if you want to reach more customers (and for your customers to reach you). If you choose “Yes”, the complete address field will appear. Finally, you also have an option to drag the marker across the map for accuracy.
- Next, choose the category that best describes your business. This helps Google connect you to customers who are searching for the services you offer. It helps to anticipate and enter the most common SEO keywords your prospects might use to improve your searchability. Wanna know how to improve your searchability in 2019? Read our list of hacks here.
- Next, enter your contact details. Make sure you enter your most updated and active contact numbers, as well as link to your website (if any).
- Finally, once you’ve supplied the necessary business information, you’d be asked to choose a verification option. Verification can be done by email, phone, postcard, instant or bulk. Typically, the easiest way to verify your profile or listing is by mail since you already have an account attached to the listing. Note, however, that unless Google verifies your listing, they won’t make your business profile available on their tools (Google Maps or Search). Make sure your business is verified first before moving forward.
Filling out necessary details on the knowledge panel
The “knowledge panel” or “knowledge card” appears on the right side of Google when you do desktop searches. It basically carries some of the basic yet useful information about a company, including the company name, category, Wikipedia snippet, address, reviews, and so on. It tells prospects or customers what they need to know about your business, so it’s essential that you fill this portion out carefully.
Here’s a snippet of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s knowledge panel.
The knowledge panel pretty much gives out an air of professionalism and credence that aids people’s decision to engage with a brand. So, it’s important that you take the time to build your knowledge panel.
While you have control over most sections of the knowledge panel, there are areas that Google doesn’t allow you to edit. This includes the Wikipedia snippet, subtitles, images other than the main image, and “People also search for” (a section on related businesses). If you want to know more about how it works, you can read this article on knowledge panels by Yoast.
Maximising your account by using Google My Business features
Google mentions that businesses who attach images to their listings are 42% more likely to get driving directions to their locations compared to businesses who don’t have any. Images impress customers and give business a boost of legitimacy that they need to attract prospects more. On your listing, you can add a logo, cover photo, and other business-related photos. You can also add images of your products and building or workspace exteriors or interiors. Google also adds that the images should be at least 720 x 720 and on either a JPG or PNG format for better resolution.
On your Google My Business dashboard, you also have a chance to create content that users can see when they find your listing on the search engine. Posts could come in different forms, like photos, videos, website links, or events. This is specifically ideal for businesses who would like to promote their products or shout-out their upcoming events. Like other social media handles, this impresses not only upon Google but also to your customers that your site or business is active, making it more likely for them to engage. Additionally, this content also appears on Google search, as well as maps results.
All these features are just helping you offer a more convenient experience for your customers. If you’re in the service sector, this feature is a good addition. Used in conjunction with Google’s scheduling providers, you can now also add a booking feature to your listing! Now, people can start booking and scheduling appointments with you directly from your Google My Business listing. This is a win-win situation for both you and your customers. Your customer no longer have to leave Google to secure an appointment with your business!
Questions & Answers
Think of the Q&A section as your chance to invite prospective customers to be try out your products or services. If their questions are left unanswered, they may decide not to engage. Mostly connected with Google Maps, the Q&A portion works in two ways. Either customers pose the questions to certain businesses, or businesses include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) list to organise the common inquiries about their website for people’s convenience. Nonetheless, it’s important for businesses to respond to these inquiries. This makes it easier for people to find exactly what they’re looking for. An FAQs list is also for your own engagement team, so they could condense the time it takes to respond to the questions individually.
Take note of two things, however: First, you don’t get notified of questions posted directly on your Google My Business account. You have to manually navigate to the “Questions and Answers” section and click “See All Questions”. You can, however, get notified on your Google Maps app. Second, just like anybody can post questions, anybody also reserves the right to answer it for you. It’s then possible for your nasty competition to swoop in and do the talking for you and mislead people. So, make sure to regularly check your Q&A section so questions don’t get unanswered.
Services & Menus
Unveiled last year, the “Services” section is another feature added in conjunction to “Menus”, which was rolled out a few months earlier. What these sections do is they allow businesses under health & beauty, service sectors, and food industries to display their menus and service lists. Provided you fall into these industries and your listing is not connected to the third-party provider, then you can utilise these features. This is exactly the type of information new customers want to see reflected on your listing.
Want something that screams “we care about you” to customers? Then respond to reviews on your listing! The good and yes, even the bad ones. Managing customer reviews can help you extend your appreciation to good reviewers and even foster their loyalty. This shows potential customers that you are enough to take the time to accommodate reviews and respond to them. BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review also says this about reviews, “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations”. Favourable engagements thru reviews also lead to better customer management, which may lead to even favourable community management.
Get the best out of your Google My Business listing!
Yes, it takes time to build your listing on Google. But the benefits do make the extra time and effort worth it! Google My Business is a good venue for promoting your brand, but more so a huge aspect of digital marketing.
Hopefully this guide could help you manage your listing better. Still unconvinced? Let us help you focus on your business! Leave the marketing to the experts.