Does your business have a Google My Business (“Google Maps”) listing? Is the information up to date? Are you encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews?
Google My Business (GMB) listings – now branded as Google Business Profiles – can provide high visibility in Google search results for shoppers’ searches related to your business. Listings are completely free to claim and have expanded from businesses with physical locations to now also include service-based businesses that operate within service areas.
Accessing Your Listing
To claim your business profile or update an existing listing, simply visit google.com/business. Those seeking new or unclaimed listings will need to complete a simple verification process via postcard delivery. For existing listings, multiple users can be invited to co-manage a business’s profile. If your business already has a claimed listing in search results, check with your team to see if someone has access and can add you to the profile’s authorized users.
Completing Your Business Profile
Complete GMB profiles with accurate information and quality reviews indicate your business’s popularity and trustworthiness to both Google and potential customers.
While simple business details are easy to skim past, take time to ensure fields such as your business’s name, address and phone (“NAP”) are free of typos and consistent with your existing online presence. Slightly differing formats of your business’s name or differing phone numbers can have a negative impact on search visibility. For brick and mortar businesses with multiple locations, claim a listing for each storefront to maximize visibility and ensure customers easily find the location closest to them.
When setting up a new GMB listing or reviewing an existing profile, ensure you’ve claimed your primary business category and any related ones. For example, our agency selected “marketing agency” as our listing’s primary category though it is relevant and helpful for us to also have a presence for “advertising agency” to potential clients.
Lastly, complete as many fields as are applicable to your business. Taking time to include items such as a well-written business description and professional photos can improve your listing’s ranking among competitors and increase the likelihood of a potential customer contacting you.
Customer reviews are a vital part of a GMB listing, indicating to Google and potential customers the expected quality of your products and/or services.
Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews by including your profile’s link (found in the Info section of the GMB dashboard) in follow-up correspondence or via QR codes on countertop displays. Your business then has an opportunity to respond to reviews, thanking customers for positive feedback or addressing negative reviews. While only the customer can remove a negative review, businesses that respond to these with an objective explanation of the situation and an offer to remedy the poor experience fare much better in consumer opinion.
Similar to social media platforms, Google allows businesses to post important updates to your GMB listing such as an upcoming sale or an announcement. Regularly publishing important content keeps customers informed and indicates your listing is being actively managed. As often as possible, incorporate a call to action with each post to inspire a customer’s next step with your business.
A Google My Business listing is free to claim and offers significant Google presence to potential customers, especially when combined with additional SEO efforts. Review your business’s GMB listing(s) today to ensure information is accurate and develop a schedule to periodically check for any needed updates. As you post important announcements on social media, don’t forget to include relevant updates in the form of GMB posts as well.