These days when there a jillion businesses out in the world, and many of those doing similar things as your business, it’s hard to stand out (as a Charlotte web developer, we get it!). It’s easy to get lost on page five of a Google search, and let’s be honest, no one reads past page one, maybe page two. How do you shine like a newly polished pair of shoes? We recommend Google My Business (GMB).
GMB is a highly detailed business profile. Sure, your business information is also available on Yelp, but Yelp focuses primarily on reviews. GMB focuses on everything because, hi, it’s Google. That means a GMB profile has not only pertinent business information such as your address, phone number, and business hours, but also reviews, photos, Q&A, and even posts that allow you to promote special offers and services.
When you use GMB, your business information shows up in a Knowledge Graph – the box at the top-righthand corner of Google search results when someone searches for your business name. Your business information also shows up in the “local pack,” or the three Google listings beneath the map when someone searches for, say, Charlotte web designers.
What’s the best way to optimize GMB? Keep reading.
1. Use Everything
First and foremost, populate everything you can in GMB. Pictures, products, services, posts, frequently asked questions, all of it. The more filled out your GMB profile is, the better. That makes sense if you think about it because Google cares about information. The more information you give, the more Google likes you (not exactly, but kind of). That means at least one live Google Post every week, too, with a baller thumbnail image and compelling text in thumbnail view.
2. Stay Engaged
The other tip for optimizing GMB is to stay engaged with your listing. That means things like not only updating the questions and answers as they become relevant, but also responding to reviews. Prospective clients/customers like to see that businesses care. Responding to reviews is one way to demonstrate that. And if someone leaves a bad review, responding to the review gives you the opportunity to either make things right, apologize, or tell your side of the story. New clients/customers read those more than you think.
Speaking of reviews, if you can, be systematic in how you ask your clients or customers to review your business. Reviews that mention the business by name, or specific services your business offers, are more likely to be seen in the small snippets in the Maps results, according to SEO experts.
Similarly, you can film reviews because one, a video carousel will materialize by doing so, and two, you’ll have more content. People read more than they watch so a video is a win-win.
3. Choose good photos
Along the lines of filming reviews, also use great photos, and I don’t mean stock images. Use photos of the people who work at your business, the folks your customers or clients are likely to bump into (6 ft apart and wearing a mask of course). Brightlocal reported one study where replacing a default store image with local store images increased listing engagement by greater than 20%! Use photos of your workers standing by vans with your signage or wearing an apron or whatever. When people look at photos of your business, they’re doing so because they’re interested in scoping you out before making a leap to in-person contact. That’s even more true in the time of COVID-19 when people want to know if they’ll be safe visiting your business.
Keep in mind as well that not all your customers or clients will find you using a desktop or laptop computer. Many people will use their smartphones or tablets. Are your images cropped with that in mind? (Side note: If you need help creating a mobile-friendly website, we’re an N.C. web design company that can do that for you. Just give us a shout.)
Also, the thing with Google My Business is users can suggest or add content to your listing as well. What images are they uploading for your business? Get someone to monitor that on a weekly or even daily basis. You don’t want an unsavory image popping up when someone googles you.
4. Leave a message
Another feature of GMB that you might not give much thought to is the “leave a message” option. Enabling messaging makes it easier for people to message you quickly and/or make an appointment. Ease is the name of the game when it comes to business and having multiple avenues for clients/customers to contact you is the way to do it.
To sum up, GMB can help you stand out like a tall person in a crowd of shorties, but only if you take advantage of it. As you put together your Google My Business listing, think about what’s important to you, what you want to communicate to your audience, and then put it on display. And that means literally as well – show those pretty pix, highlight those stellar reviews, demonstrate your superb customer service. In the end, it will be worth it. If you’re looking for help setting up your GMB profile, as a full-service N.C. web designer, we’ve got your back. Reach out. We’re here.