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Google My Business is Google’s business listing tool which can include information like location, hours, products and services. At its most basic, it can provide everything a consumer would need to find, contact and shop with you. But GMB can be much more than that. Utilized strategically, it can position your business to succeed with those coveted “near me” searches, as well as give you the ability to post pictures and promotions. 

We highly recommend Google My Business (GMB) optimization to increase your business’ online visibility and find-ability. GMB provides opportunities to achieve more conversions, better rankings and better engagement online. Taking advantage of those opportunities could increase your organic site traffic. How? For one, Google prioritizes its own tools, so GMB listings often show up in searches higher than other organic results.

We’ve optimized content and images on the GMB listings for several of our clients to help them reach a wider audience. In one example, a client’s GMB listing became the number-two organic source of traffic to their website in less than a year of optimizing the listing (the search engine Google was the number one source of organic traffic). How do we know this? We used specific tracking links in this client’s GMB posts so we could accurately quantify traffic from the listing. 

Claim your listing

If you haven’t claimed (assumed ownership of) your business’ GMB listing, it’s essential you do so immediately after you finish reading this post. Whether you’ve been in business for a long time, or are freshly open, there may be a GMB listing for your company despite the fact that you’ve done nothing about it. Google can generate GMB listings for companies based on local listing information it “scrapes” online; this information may not be current or accurate. An unclaimed listing allows anyone to update the listing, perhaps adding inaccuracies or images that aren’t reflective of your business.

Claiming your GMB listing is relatively easy to do:

  • Search for your business’ name on Google
  • Your business should appear in the box on the right of the screen
  • Look for the text: “Claim this business.” Click it. Fill out the form
  • Enter an email address associated with your business
  • Google will email you with instructions for finalizing your claim

Even if your unclaimed GMB listing is accurate, it’s important to claim your listing (or listings if you have multiple locations; there may be listings for each of them.) so others don’t claim your listings and post inaccurate or inappropriate content and images.

How to optimize Google My Business

  • GMB recently updated its user interface, making it simpler for you to update your business information, add photos and post news, products or services. It’s also easy to find Insights on GMB. Insights offer a look at how your business listing performs for customers and prospects, even comparing your business to businesses like yours. More on Insights below. 
  • Once you’ve successfully claimed your GMB listing, you should optimize it by adding information, content and images to all the appropriate categories for your industry. Include pertinent information about your brick and mortar location, such as hours, parking information and a phone number. 
  • Include photos. GMB listings with multiple images tend to rank higher. You can share exterior and interior images of your locations, product images, photos of your services in action, and employee photos. In fact, posted photos are one of the most searched on elements of a listing.
  • Reviews are a key ranking factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, and they’re front and center on GMB listings. Be mindful when soliciting reviews from customers, though. Don’t offer rewards or incentives for giving a review. Instead, use content on your GMB listing to encourage feedback. For example, GMB lets you add updates about events, products or services. You can say, “Please let us know how we’re doing” or “We’d love to hear from you” in your content pieces. You can use messages like those in social media posts, in blog posts or in website content, and link back to your GMB listing.   
  • Add products and/or services to your GMB listing even if they already exist on your website. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to empower Google to highlight your top products or services. You can add an image, product name, description and link to products or services on your site. As mentioned above, Google prioritizes its own products, so a product description on your GMB listing may come up higher in a search versus the same product’s page on your website. 

Review your insights

You may not have used GMB Insights before, but it’s good to know they will soon change. GMB plans to update the interface in the coming months to include search query information and other metrics that show how your business is faring on GMB.

For example, currently you can see your listing’s performance during a week, month or quarter time period. A preview of the coming update looks like you’ll soon be able to see six months’ worth of performance metrics. We’ll post an update when the new metrics arrive.

These are the current insight panels you can view on GMB:

  • The first view shows how customers search for your business, either via your business name/address, via a search for a category or product type, or they find your listing in relation  to another, similar brand. 
  • The second view shows how customers or prospects find you on Google, either via a search result or on Google Maps. If customers need directions to get your physical location, showing up on a Maps view is important. 
  • The third view shows actions once someone finds you in search, whether it’s visits to your website, getting directions to you, or calling you. This is important for service-oriented businesses where there may be several questions customers need answered.
  • The next insight shows customers’ requests for directions as well as what regions customers are making direction requests from. If your business relies on customers finding your physical location(s), you want more prospects requesting directions. This is especially true  if you don’t have a detailed directions section on your website. 
  • The fifth insight shows how many phone calls you receive, including the time of day and day of week. This is important for customers, as they know when they might get a busy signal. Restaurants receive a lot of phone calls, for example, and customers want to know when they’re more likely to speak to a person quickly. Popular times is the sixth insight.
  • Finally, there’s insight on photo views. As mentioned in this post, photos are important to your GMB. The photo insights show you how many photos you posted versus customer-posted photos. GMB uses your business category as a comparison to similar businesses, so you can see what types of photos they post and quantities. Businesses that share a lot of photos tend to fare better on GMB than those that do not.

Maintain and update your GMB

Google loves fresh content, so when it’s appropriate, share updates, new images and products/services on your GMB listing. Think of these updates in a similar vein to your social media updates – but injected directly into Google.  Last year, Google added a Covid-19 section so businesses could share updates on hours, pick-ups and deliveries.

Keeping your GMB listing updated and accurate protects it from hurting your rankings. We recently ran into an issue with a suspended GMB listing, which was created from an incomplete website with inaccurate information. Google scanned the incomplete site, then created a GMB listing that included erroneous data – and that bad data got the GMB listing suspended. 

We predict GMB will continue to rise in importance among the social media channel food chain. If you have a social media posting calendar, add GMB to it. If not, and you could use some help claiming your listing, optimizing your GMB listing and strengthening your social media output in general – we’re here! 

This post answers the question, how to optimize Google My Business.

How to optimize Google My Business

Once you’ve successfully claimed your GMB listing, you should optimize it by adding information, content and images to all the appropriate categories for your industry. Include pertinent information about your brick and mortar location, such as hours, parking information and a phone number. Include photos. GMB listings with multiple images tend to rank higher. You can share exterior and interior images of your locations, product images, photos of your services in action, and employee photos. Be mindful when soliciting reviews from customers, though. Don’t offer rewards or incentives for giving a review. Instead, use content on your GMB listing to encourage feedback. Add products and/or services to your GMB listing even if they already exist on your website.

Grow your sales with this guide.

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