What's in this article
Anyone with a business can use their Google My Business profile to help advertise their business online and reach their ideal customers. Here's how...
What's in this article
No matter what business you run, your Google My Business (GMB) profile helps your customers find you and learn about your business. As a critical part of local SEO, it enhances your presence on Google, adding information about your business in the SERPS (Google Search Results) and on Google Maps.
In your GMB profile you can add your closing/opening times, website link and contact details so people can find you. You can even create posts - updates to speak to your audience from Google's search results and customers can leave reviews of your products and services.
Map results, showing reviews and contact details from GMB listing
GMB is used by businesses both large and small, across the world. Local businesses can really benefit from Google My Business, as it is free to use and helps you get found by people in your area.
To qualify, you need to be a business who makes in person contact with your customers, during your opening hours. By "in person contact", Google specifies that customers come to see you or you go to see them. For more information, see the guidelines here.
So should I use it? Well, if you want more awareness, traffic and more sales outside of the standard web design services then the answer is yes! Read on to find out more...
Here are some examples of some great GMB profiles:
A popular local attraction needs a great GMB listing to tell people what it's all about, where to find it and what is going on. This listing does just that with location information, strong reviews and information about what is going on at the pier.
The Savoy London
This top hotel is well represented in the SERPS, using it's GMB listing to great effect, with strong CTA for booking a room, availability on various hotel portals and questions about the hotel.
Main airports are busy places and finding information online at a glance is key. Gatwick make the most of there GMB listing with Airline information, questions, flight links and the airports social media pages.
For most businesses, your local rankings are really important. Your customers are local, so it is essential you are found by them. A Google My Business profile is really important. If you accurately add information such as name, address and phone number (NAP) and opening hours, you can help Google to learn about your business and add you in the appropriate place in its search index.
This means your business will appear when users search for it. Imagine you are a locksmith in Crawley. By telling Google about your business in your GMB listing, you are helping it to show you when potential customers search for "locksmith Crawley" and related searches.
Lots of users enter Google and leave again without clicking on a site! Having a strong GMB listing means you appear in Google and your details are there without the user having to make any clicks. And if users want more info, they can click your website link to go through to your site and learn more and get in touch there too.
Anyone who is logged into their Google account can leave a review for your business in the GMB panel. Reviews also appear in the maps search, so they are a very powerful trust signal for local businesses. Reviews improve search ranking and give trust and credibility to your business - providing they are good reviews of course!
Reviews help with your search rankings on Google because they:
You should put a strategy in place for asking your customers for reviews.
To get started go to the official Google My Business site here: https://business.google.com/
You will need to login with the Gmail/Google account associated with your business. If you don't have one, it is well worth setting up a new one. Once you login to Business Profile Manager, you'll be asked to create your profile and add your business details.
All you have to do to check if you have a GMB listing already is to go to Google and enter your business name and address. If details of your business don't appear on the right or in Google maps then you can be pretty sure you don't have a listing already.
In the GMB site, you will need to verify your business to make sure it is genuine and you are the business owner. Instructions are provided, in the GMB site. Some businesses can be verified over the phone and others require a postcard to be sent to your business address.
In the GMB site you need to add some details about your business including:
People can message you straight from you GMB profile. You just need to sign in and enable messaging in your GMB account in the left hand navigation pane.
It's a good idea to add reviews as often and as regularly as you can. Ask your customers for reviews and send them a link to your reviews section on your GMB account to make it easy for them.
Chances are, at some point we all get a bad review. Maybe we deserve it or maybe it'd completely unfounded, but how you deal with it will make all the difference. Sadly there are a lot of fake reviews going about, so you want to make everyone aware if that is the case.
You can keep customers up to date about your Covid policies. It may be you are closed or that they can still visit providing they wear a mask. You can reassure people that you are compliant and still trading.
These are extra features that allow your users to know what your establishment offers. If you are running a restaurant, special attributes may include Delivery, Take out, Curbside pickup etc.
Some other important attributes are for Accessibility, such as Wheelchair Access, Passenger Loading Area etc.
If you don't have a way of integrating a product feed from you website to Google Merchant Center then you can use GMB Products.
If you sell products online you should read this guide here
Another nice little feature, you actually get the number of views in the search results if you google your business name:
No matter what business you run, be it an established company, startup, charity whether large or small, if you qualify for a Google My Business profile it is well worth taking advantage of it's various features. Marketing is generally expensive, which makes it even more important to optimise your GMB profile.
You can either do this yourself which makes this free advertising, or pay a professional to do it for you which still makes it potentially quite low cost compared with other forms of advertising.
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