Google My Business (otherwise referred to as GMB) is a free tool on Google that allows you to edit and change your business listing that appears of Google Search and Google Maps. Aspects you can edit include your business name, location, opening hours, responses to customer reviews, adding photos, and much. You can use the tool to also find out where people are searching for you and how you compare to your competitors. There’s also an app now which means you can edit your listing on the go.
A great part of it too is that you can add your own content to promote blogs, offers, events and new products. This is ideal for showcasing what your business is all about and telling Google all about it so they know when to put you in front of the right person, at the right time.
There have been lots of rumours about Google potentially charging for this service in the future but for now it’s completely free and hopefully it will stay that way for the sake of consumers and businesses.
Recently, an update was rolled out that allowed businesses to add a ‘short name’ so that their listing included their business name in their listing. However, there has been some controversial problems arising with the businesses that have chosen to use this feature, and some accounts have been randomly suspended. Until the bugs even out it’s probably best to steer clear of this. You can read more about this on Search Engine Journal. Updated 10/07.
So why should you use Google My Business?
There are so many great benefits to Google My Business but here are the top ones:
- It increases your search visibility
- It helps hugely with local SEO
- It gives your consumers a better experience
- It pushes more traffic to your website
At the end of the day, you want to show up on Google so use Google’s tools! It’s important to follow Google’s advice and guidelines if you want to rank of their search engine results pages. Plus, Google My Business is so simple and easy to use you really have no excuse.
How do you use Google My Business?
First of all you need to claim your business. In order to do this you need to be able to verify that you are part of the business either via email, post, or phone call. Once this is done you’ll have full access to edit and change elements of the business.
It is important to note that customers can also change and edit elements of Google My Business so a) make sure you’ve claimed it properly you’re not just making adjustments as a customer and b) make sure you check regularly that no major, incorrect changes have been made without your knowledge.
Follow this link to begin claiming your business: https://www.google.com/business/
Once you’re all set up and verified you can start editing your business page.
There are various elements that you can change and edit on Google My Business.
You can add photos of your business to showcase different elements (this can also be done by users). In fact, according to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% more requests for directions in Google Maps!
You can change your cover photo, profile photo and add photos for other elements. Here is an example of what it looks like.
You can also add videos providing they are 30 seconds or less, 100 MB or smaller and 720p resolution or higher. People are consuming more and more video content so you might want to think about what video content you could include.
As far as your info goes, you can update your opening times, information about the company, your contact details and so much more. The more information you add the better but make sure it is consistent. Inconsistencies can be very negative for Google as they can’t be sure which information is correct and which is not.
You can also manage and respond to reviews. Responding to reviews is important and could be a whole blog in itself. If you’re looking for some advice on how to handle reviews and why they are important you can read the following blogs in the meantime:
As well as your static information, you can post regular updates to promote blogs, offers, events and even new products. Google has made this super easy and straight forward so you really have no excuse for not posting updates.
See below for examples on creating posts and how your posts appear on Google My Business.
What are our top tips?
Whilst it’s all well and good to set up your Google My Business you need to stay up to date and optimise your profile to increase your likelihood of being shown above your competitors.
- Keep your information up to date and consistent. This is so important for Google and for your customers, conflicting information is confusing for everybody and will affect your ranking. Also other people can update your listing so be aware of this and make edits when you need to.
- Respond to reviews and interact with your customers. This is the beautiful of digital – it’s so easy to interact with your customers so don’t miss this opportunity.
- Your posts will expire so make sure you add new posts regularly. Google will send you reminders when your post is about to expire so you won’t miss out.
- Use your insights. Google My Business provides lots of different insights so that you can find out where people are finding you and how you compare to your competitors. As always, look at your data and learn from it. Can you identify reasons why your competitors are ranking higher than you? What does your data tell you about your consumers?
So, now you know all about Google My Business, go set yourself up!
Google My Business is just one part of increasing your online visibility and is something we recommend to all our clients. If you want some more advice about increasing your search visibility, get in touch.