You may be wondering how you can give your Google My Business profile a boost. Optimizing your GMB profile means more visibility for your business, more engagement online, and ultimately more revenue for your business. Focusing on Google My Business and local SEO is the smart way many businesses are taking advantage of the Internet to market their products and services to local customers.
In this article, we will share with you 10 actionable Google My Business tips that will help you make the most of their listing and boost your local SEO. These are proven local SEO strategies we’ve used to double clients’ phone calls in a matter of months. Keep reading to discover how to boost your Google My Business profile.
- 1. Claim your Google My Business listing
- 2. Add photos of your business location
- 3. Keep your business hours up to date
- 4. Ask your customers for reviews
- 5. Respond to reviews, even the negative ones
- 6. Write the perfect business description
- 7. Add your years in business
- 8. Pick the right primary business category
- 9. Pick the right service area
- 10. Consider hiring a professional
1. Claim your Google My Business listing
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, chances are you already have a Google My Business listing. Open Google and search for your business name. If you already have a listing, you’ll see a panel for your business. It’ll include your business name, address, any reviews, contact information, and more.
And if you don’t see the panel, it means Google doesn’t know about your business yet and you don’t have a Google My Business profile.
Either way, the steps to create and claim your profile are easy! Here’s a full explanation of how to claim your GMB listing.
It’s important to claim your listing because it will allow you to make changes and update your business information. Most of the other tips won’t work without a claimed GMB so go ahead and claim yours now.
2. Add photos of your business location
Pictures show your business in a more personal light and help customers know what to expect when they visit.
Let’s say someone is considering visiting your restaurant but doesn’t have the time to call for an appointment or drive by before deciding if it would be worth their while. If they see pictures of your location, interior, and exterior views, it’ll be easier for them to decide.
What if you’re a local salon? Photos can show what styles are popular right now or how new treatments like hair extensions change someone’s look.
Eye-catching photos can drive engagement with your listing, which is a ranking factor for GMB.
3. Keep your business hours up to date
Making sure your business hours are up-to-date is an easy way to ensure that potential customers know what time you’re open. Nothing’s worse than showing up to a business only to find that they’re closed. Google knows this, so prefers to how open businesses in search results for time-sensitive queries.
You can add and edit opening and closing times by clicking on the Info tab on your GMB profile. Make sure your hours of operation are also updated on your website and match what’s on Google My Business.
Also, you can add special hours for specific services offered for your business. Right now these special hours are geared toward restaurants, but can be use by business in any GMB category. You can update your special hours by clicking More Hours under Add Hours on the Info Tab.
The current special hours are:
- Drive through
- Happy hours
- Online service hours
- Senior Hour
4. Ask your customers for reviews
Reviews are influential. Online reviews are read by 87% of consumers and they are more likely to visit businesses with many reviews Online reviews are also a strong ranking signal for search engine results.
The best way to receive reviews is easy – ask for them from your customers. You can do this during the sale in person, but it’s just as easy via email. You can create a template to send customers after completing a transaction. By including an easy link to the review site, you’ll make it easier for your customer to follow through with their review when they get home.
How many reviews do you need? Take a look at your competitors to see how many they have. Ideally, you should have about the same number of reviews as they have. But more than that is always better!
5. Respond to reviews, even the negative ones
Why should you respond to reviews? 70% of respondents to a 2020 survey said that they are more likely to use a business that responds to their reviews and 73% saying they always or regularly read review responses.
The way you respond to the review can make a difference.
For positive reviews, be sure to express your appreciation for their feedback and be as specific as possible. It’s okay to work off a template, but working something about their review into your response will make a huge difference.
For negative reviews, be respectful and apologetic. Accept responsibility for whatever they’re unhappy with, without making excuses. Offer them a solution if possible and show that you are committed to improving your service in the future. Remember, you’re not only responding to the unhappy customer, but also to the other potential customers who will read your company’s response.
6. Write the perfect business description
Your description on Google My Business should be clear, concise, and compelling. Google My Business descriptions can be 750 characters long, but only the first 250 characters of the description will be shown on screen, so make your first lines count.
You should write a compelling description of your business that includes your most valuable services and products. You should also mention the neighborhood and city you are located in and lists out the areas you serve.
Including this information in your business description is important because it adds relevancy to your business and will help potential customers find your business.
7. Add your years in business
Something relatively new, a company’s Google My Business profile is now showing how many years they’ve been in business. It’s not clear if this is a ranking signal, but it is prominently displayed in search results directly beneath your review stars.
To have your years in business shown, update your profile to include the year your business opened.
8. Pick the right primary business category
The category you choose on Google My Business can significantly affect where you rank for specific search terms and keywords. Your primary category should be the most one most specific and accurate for your business. Your primary category is shown on your business listing.
In addition to your primary category, you are also able to include a several secondary categories to help your Google My Business listing show in more searches. These should be related to your primary category.
To decide which category to list your business in, look at the top competitors. If they are all listed as a certain category, you should probably list your business that way too. Also, feel free to test out different categories. You’re able to switch categories around and make secondary categories primary to test if one category is better for your ranking than others.
9. Pick the right service area
If you travel to your customers to do business, or deliver your products to them, and don’t serve customers at your physical location, then your business is classified as a service-area business. Examples include plumbers, lawn care companies, locksmiths, and other businesses without office hours.
Google My Business is about ranking locally, so even if your business has an e-commerce component or you travel large distances (100+ miles), only include a service area near your business location. Your GMB won’t rank well for searches that distant, so it is best to focus on your immediate area. If you want to rank further away, it is best to open a second branch in the new location.
You can list up to 20 service area locations and you should use them all. Start filling in your service areas from largest to smallest.
- Your county
- Neighboring counties
- Your primary city
- Surrounding cities and towns
In addition, include your service areas inside of your main GMB description.
10. Consider hiring a professional
Hiring a professional Google My Business specialist can help you in boosting your Google My Business profile. You don’t have to spend the time and effort managing it yourself because someone else will be doing that for you
Contact Always Relevant Digital today to learn how our proven GMB strategies have helped boost the revenue of local businesses just like yours. In addition to the above, our Google My Business optimization service uses advanced strategies to rank your profile for the keywords that matter.