Most people will agree Google is a large part (dare we say owner?) of the internet, at least from a marketing perspective. That means whether we like it or not we have to try to play nicely with the giant search engine. One of the easiest ways to get on Google's good side is through ensuring Your Google My Business listing is optimized.
While it seems pretty obvious how you can optimize your listing there are still many businesses out there that don't do it. And yet it's so easy to make these quick changes and additions.
- Fill out the entire profile. You know that quote about intentions and a certain road to somewhere paved with them? It's definitely true of businesses that say, “I'll just fill this out now and add the rest of the details later.“ Later never comes. Don't leave an incomplete profile. Google is giving you an easy way to catch the attention of its search engine. The search engine advises, “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.”
- Keep your listing up-to-date. If something changes with your location, the hours, the offerings, or anything else don't forget to change it on your Google My Business profile. Even if the change is temporary, as in a temporary closing of a location, always make sure your listing has your most up-to-date information. If someone is doing a Google search, you don't want them to be frustrated with the results on your business.
- Add all your locations. Make sure you add all your locations to your business profile. If you have more than 10, you can add them in bulk.
- Flag inappropriate reviews. While you never want to flag a review just because you disagree with it, there are times where people use extremely vulgar or otherwise offensive language. There are also occasions where trolls will say things about your business that aren't true. There have even been situations where people have reviewed businesses and there's no record of them being clients. If you come across an erroneous or offensive review, submit them to Google.
- Use keywords in your listing. Sure, you want to use the obvious ones but spend some time brainstorming on other keywords and phrases your customers could be using to find your services. Sometimes it’s not so much a subject as a question someone might ask. There is also a cool feature called Google Trends that helps you locate trending keywords. For instance, if you were a florist you would obviously use the keyword “florist.” But after visiting Google trends you may discover that “red roses” is trending in search because it’s National Roses Day. Using that phrase may help you get more traffic to your store or website.
- Add photos. Profiles with photos get attention. In fact, Google estimates that profiles with photos get 35% more web traffic then those without. Make sure you upload pictures for your cover and your profile but also add additional pictures of your location, your staff, and/or your goods and services.
- Use special offers. Google My Business also allows you to include special offers. An offer can mean the difference between someone choosing you or choosing your competitor. Use the post function to upload a special offer, news, or previews to future things in your business.
Google My Business is one of the easiest free ways to get traffic to your site. But it only works when you take the time to ensure you're using it to its full potential.
Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so.