A major part of creating or improving on a local search strategy is ensuring your business can be found within online listings when searched for by potential customers. While there are plenty of sources to find information online, by far the most popular is Google, who offer Google My Business as a functional platform for customers to find contact information and much more.
However, according to the Local Search Association, 56% of businesses haven’t claimed their Google My Business page at all. This means there is still an opportunity for businesses to not only claim their page but also optimise it to make sure it is providing more in-depth information than any of your competitors.
Have a read of our short guide detailing the different ways you can optimise your Google My Business page and improve your overall brand visibility online.
Complete the basic details
When you go to claim your Google My Business page, initially you will be asked to provide certain basic details, along with proof that your physical address is definitely you. Google will ask you to prove this information is true by either sending you a postcard to the address itself with a code on, or calling your business phone with a code instead.
Once you have completed this basic verification you will be able to enter details including:
- Business Name
- Opening Hours
- Phone Number
Be advised that this information will need to be kept up to date if there are any changes made to your business such as a new phone number or address.
Optimising your profile
After filling in basic information and ensuring it is kept up to date, there are many other details you can expand upon to make sure that your Google My Business profile is informative and useful for customers searching for your business.
Google My Business Posts
This is a useful feature that allows businesses to upload miniature posts, almost like social media posts to inform customers of upcoming events or website updates. This shows customers you are remaining active and are keeping those searching for your business in the loop about important dates in the future such as a one-day sale.
Photos and Videos
Again, just like a social media channel, uploading photos and videos are guaranteed to stir up interest about your business, encouraging engagement by posting quality content on a frequent basis. The more social and personable you are with your business, especially on a Google My Business page which is so easy to find, the better.
You are now able to enter up to 750 characters that detail relevant information about your business, including location, history and services offered amongst other things. If anything, this allows customers to quickly find out about your business before making a decision whether to visit you or not, without even having to click through to your website.
There is also the option of listing services in your Google My Business profile along with prices to match. This would be particularly useful for businesses such as hairdressers, gyms, spas, or anyone who offers multiple different services and has a price list normally listed on a website. This easy access for customers can give them another reason to choose you over a competitor, given the clarity of your prices from just one search.
If you have a business that takes bookings such as a restaurant or retail outlet that accepts appointments for an additional service, then you can easily link up your current scheduling software with your Google My Business page. This allows customers to immediately choose an available time slot and make an efficient booking, rather than having to struggle through a website instead.
You can also set up automated text messages that will be sent to customers who decide to text your business phone. This will provide a warm greeting to new customers who are making an enquiry and even a buffer so you have time to respond to them with a more detailed message. You can choose to have these sent when you are messaged, or use Google’s Allo app to store the messages online instead.
Check for Customer Edits
Once your business information is available for anyone to search for, you might also find that customers are able to interact with your Google My Business listing in several ways.
The ‘Suggest an Edit’ feature allows a customer to amend your business details if they feel they are wrong in any way. For example, if a customer believes the address is wrong they can enter another as a suggestion – this will sometimes be posted live if Google believes the new information is correct, so it’s best to keep track and check in frequently.
Customers can also fill in ‘Questions and Answers’ about your business, creating a small FAQ section in your Google My Business listing to help future customers understand about your products and services. These responses are checked by Google to see if they are useful to your listing and are subsequently posted.
Lastly, customers are able to write reviews on Google and post them straight to your Google My Business listing. As part of your ongoing local search strategy it’s best to manage these reviews and citations to make sure they are accurate and online reviews are kept as positive as possible, while dealing with any negative reviews personally.
There are many ways you can make your Google My Business page stand out, but the best way is simply to keep it updated with all the relevant information that your customers are likely to need in order to find your store.
It’s worth checking your profile on a monthly basis to see if there are any edits that need to be made.
Alongside making changes as and when they occur (such as a change of address) so your customers have no issues in contacting or finding you.
Since Google are always making improvements, it’s also worth checking back with this post as we add any future updates in, especially if you want to remain competitive online.