How to Optimise Google My Business

Google SEO

How to Optimise Google My Business: A Comprehensive Guide

One of the most effective ways to enhance your online visibility and connect with potential customers is by utilising Google My Business (GMB). Google My Business is a powerful tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.

Google My Business is a free tool that helps businesses create a listing on Google Search and Maps, which can help them improve their online visibility and attract more customers.

Here are some other ways that Google My Business can help businesses:

  • Increase local search visibility: A well-optimised Google My Business listing can appear prominently in local search results, making it more likely that potential customers will find your business.
  • Generate more reviews: Google My Business allows businesses to collect reviews from customers, which can help build trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • Drive more traffic to your website: Google My Business listings can include a link to your website, which can help you drive more traffic to your website.
  • Promote your products and services: Google My Business allows businesses to create posts that promote their products and services, which can help you reach more potential customers.

Just for the record, Google My Business has undergone a major upgrade, and it’s now called Google Business Profile but I will still refer to it as GMB. Who knows what they will call it next year!

1. Understanding the Importance of Google My Business

1.1 What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence and appearance on Google Search and Maps. It provides a dashboard where businesses can control their business information, interact with customers through reviews and Q&A, showcase images and videos, and share posts and updates.

1.2 Why is GMB Optimisation Important?

Optimising your Google My Business listing is crucial for several reasons:

  • Local Search Visibility: A well-optimised GMB listing increases the chances of your business appearing in local search results when potential customers search for relevant products or services in your area.
  • Credibility: An accurate and up-to-date GMB profile adds credibility to your business. Users are more likely to engage with businesses that have complete information and positive reviews how they should be.
  • User Engagement: GMB enables direct interaction with customers through reviews, Q&A, and posts, fostering better engagement and building relationships.
  • First Impression: Often, a GMB listing provides the first impression of your business to potential customers. A compelling listing can influence their decision to visit your website or physical store.
  • SEO Benefits: Optimised GMB profiles can positively impact your organic search rankings, making your business more visible to potential customers.
Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

2. Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

2.1 Claiming Your Listing

Before you begin optimising, ensure you have claimed ownership of your GMB listing. Claiming your listing provides you with full control over the information displayed and allows you to make edits and updates. But please be aware this process may take some days or even a week or two.

To claim your listing:

  1. Go to the Google My Business website
  2. Sign in to the Google account associated with your business.
  3. Search for your business using its name and address.
  4. If your business appears, select it and follow the verification process. This may involve receiving a postcard with a verification code at your business address.

2.2 Providing Accurate Business Information

Accuracy is paramount when it comes to your business information. Ensure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all platforms, including your website, social media, and other directories. Google’s guidelines can be found on their website.

Include the following information in your GMB listing:

  • Business Name: Use your official business name. Do not stuff keywords or include unnecessary information.
  • Address: Provide the precise location of your business. Use a physical address and avoid using P.O. boxes.
  • Phone Number: Use a local phone number that customers can reach you at.
  • Website: Include your official website URL.
  • Hours of Operation: Specify your opening and closing hours for each day of the week.

2.3 Selecting the Right Business Categories

Selecting appropriate business categories helps Google understand what your business offers, improving the relevance of your listing in search results. Choose primary and secondary categories that accurately reflect your products or services.

Google also allows businesses to add additional categories, such as “services offered” and “products sold.”

To choose categories:

  1. Log in to your GMB dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the “Info” tab.
  3. Find the “Add business category” section and start typing relevant keywords. Google will suggest categories based on your input.
  4. Select the most appropriate categories for your business.
  5. Optimising Business Descriptions and Attributes
Writing a Compelling Business Description

3. Writing a Compelling Business Description

3.1 Your business description provides a brief overview of what your business does. Write a clear and engaging description that highlights your unique value proposition, key offerings, and any special features.

  • When writing your business description, try to use keywords that potential customers are likely to search for when looking for businesses like yours. You can find these keywords by using a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner.

Here are some other tips for writing a compelling business description:

  • Keep it concise and to the point. Your business description should be no more than 250 words.
  • Use clear and concise language. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your target audience may not understand.
  • Highlight your unique selling points. What makes your business different from the competition?
  • Use keywords throughout your description. This will help your listing appear higher in search results.
  • Proofread carefully before submitting your description. Make sure there are no errors in grammar or spelling.

Tips for writing a compelling description:

  • Be concise: Aim for a description of around 250-300 words.
  • Use relevant keywords: Incorporate keywords that potential customers might use when searching for businesses like yours.
  • Showcase your uniqueness: Highlight what sets your business apart from competitors.
  • Communicate benefits: Explain how your products or services can solve customer problems or fulfil their needs.

3.2 Utilising Attributes to Highlight Features

Attributes are specific details about your business that can help customers make informed decisions. These include options like “wheelchair accessible,” “free Wi-Fi,” “outdoor seating,” and more. Adding relevant attributes can attract customers looking for specific amenities.

To add attributes:

  1. Go to your GMB dashboard.
  2. Click on the “Info” tab.
  3. Scroll down to the “Attributes” section and select relevant attributes that apply to your business.
  4. Managing Photos and Videos

Here are some of the most popular attributes that businesses can add to their Google My Business listings:

  • Wheelchair accessibility: This attribute is important for businesses that want to attract customers with disabilities.
  • Free Wi-Fi: This attribute is a great way to attract customers who are looking for a place to work or stay connected.
  • Outdoor seating: This attribute is perfect for businesses that want to attract customers who want to enjoy the outdoors.
  • Accepts reservations: This attribute is helpful for businesses that want to manage customer traffic.
  • Open 24 hours: This attribute is great for businesses that want to attract customers who need or want service at all hours of the day.
  • Takes credit cards: This attribute is important for businesses that want to make it easy for customers to pay.
  • Parking available: This attribute is helpful for businesses that are located in areas where parking is limited.
  • Pet-friendly: This attribute is a great way to attract customers who are looking for a business that is pet-friendly.
  • Bike racks available: This attribute is helpful for businesses that are located in areas where people bike frequently.
Adding High-Quality Photos

4. Adding High-Quality Photos

4.1 Visual content plays a significant role in enticing customers to engage with your business. High-quality photos can showcase your products, services, ambience, and team, providing potential customers with a glimpse of what to expect. Photos should always be clear, well-lit, and representative of your business.

Add photos of:

– Exterior and interior of your business.

Products or services you offer.

  • Team members and staff.
  • Special events or promotions.

Ensure that your photos are well-lit, clear, and accurately represent your business.

4.2 Showcasing Your Business Through Videos

Videos are another powerful way to engage with your audience. You can create short videos that introduce your business, showcase behind-the-scenes footage, or explain your products or services in more detail. Videos should always be short and engaging.

Consider creating videos that:

  • Give a virtual tour of your premises.
  • Feature customer testimonials and reviews.
  • Highlight your company’s story and values.
Encouraging Customer Reviews

5. Encouraging Customer Reviews

5.1 Collecting and Responding to Reviews

Customer reviews can significantly influence potential customers’ decisions. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. You can do this through in-store signage, social media posts, and follow-up emails.

Tips for encouraging reviews:

  • Make it easy: Provide direct links to your GMB listing for easy access.
  • Ask at the right time: Request reviews after customers have had a positive experience with your business.
  • Incentivise feedback: Consider offering a small discount or reward for leaving a review.

5.2 Responding to Reviews Effectively

Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. Addressing negative feedback professionally and promptly can help turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal one. Responding to positive reviews shows appreciation for your customers’ support. Always apologise for negative experiences and offer to make things right.

Here are some tips about encouraging customer reviews and offering incentives for customers to leave reviews:

  • Ask for reviews at the right time. Don’t ask for reviews too soon after a customer has made a purchase or used your service. Instead, wait until they have had a chance to experience your business and form an opinion.
  • Make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Provide a direct link to your Google My Business listing on your website and social media pages. You can also include a QR code that customers can scan to leave a review.
  • Offer incentives for customers to leave reviews. This could be a small discount, free gift, or entry into a contest.
  • Personalise your requests for reviews. Address customers by name and mention the specific product or service they purchased or used.
  • Thank customers for their reviews. Even if they leave a negative review, take the time to thank them for taking the time to share their feedback.

Here are some specific incentives that you can offer to customers for leaving reviews:

  • Discount on their next purchase: This is a classic incentive that is always popular with customers.
  • Free gift: This could be anything from a small token of appreciation to a more substantial gift.
  • Entry into a contest: This is a great way to get customers excited about leaving a review. You could offer a prize like a gift card, a free product, or even a vacation.
  • Early access to new products or services: This is a great way to reward loyal customers and get them excited about your business.
  • VIP treatment: This could include things like priority seating, waived fees, or exclusive discounts.

It’s important to note that you should not offer incentives that are too expensive or that could be seen as bribery. The goal is to encourage customers to leave honest and genuine reviews, not to buy their reviews.

Tips for responding to reviews:

  • Be polite and professional: Use a friendly tone and acknowledge the customer’s feedback.
  • Address concerns: If a review mentions a specific issue, address it and offer a solution if possible.
  • Express gratitude: Thank customers for their feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.
Creating Engaging Google Posts

6. Creating Engaging Google Posts

6.1 Utilising Google Posts

Google Posts allows you to share timely updates, promotions, events, and news directly on your GMB listing. These posts appear prominently in search results and can capture users’ attention. Posts should always be relevant to your business and target audience.

Tips for creating engaging posts:

  • Keep it current: Share posts about upcoming events, limited-time offers, or recent news.
  • Use visuals: Include eye-catching images or graphics to accompany your posts.
  • Be concise: Aim for clear, concise messaging that conveys the main points.

6.2 Showcasing Promotions and Updates

Google Posts are a great way to showcase your latest promotions, sales, or events. You can include a call to action (CTA) button in your posts, directing users to take a specific action, such as “Learn More,” “Sign Up,” or “Buy Now.”

Q&A Management

7. Q&A Management

7.1 Addressing Customer Questions

The Q&A section of your GMB listing allows users to ask questions about your business, which you or other customers can answer. Monitor your Google My Business in this section regularly and provide accurate and helpful responses to user queries. It’s extremely important to always respond to user questions promptly and accurately.

Tips for managing Q&A:

  • Be proactive: Anticipate common questions and provide thorough answers.
  • Monitor for accuracy: If other users provide answers, ensure they are correct. If not, step in and provide accurate information.

7.2 Providing Accurate and Helpful Responses

When responding to user questions, focus on providing clear and accurate information. Address any concerns or misunderstandings, and strive to create a positive impression of your business.

Understanding GMB Insights

8. Understanding GMB Insights

Insights and Analytics

8.1 Google My Business optimization provides valuable insights into how users interact with your listing. Insights include data on customer actions, search queries, and how often your listing appears in search results. Insights can also help you track the performance of your listing and make improvements.

Key insights to monitor:

  • Search Queries: Understand what users are searching for when they find your business.
  • Customer Actions: Track how customers interact with your listing, such as visiting your website, requesting directions, or calling your business.

8.2 Using Data to Improve Performance

Use insights to make data-driven decisions. For example, if you notice that a significant portion of users are searching for a specific product or service, you can consider highlighting it in your posts or descriptions. Regularly reviewing insights allows you to adapt your strategy based on user behaviour.

9.1 Building Local Citations

Local citations are online mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on various platforms. Consistent citations across reputable directories can boost your local SEO efforts. It’s extremely important to always get citations from high-quality directories.

Tips for building citations:

  • Start with major directories: Ensure your NAP information is consistent on platforms like Yelp, Yellowpages, and Bing Places.
  • Local directories: Look for local business directories or industry-specific directories relevant to your business to create backlinks.

9.2 Earning Quality Backlinks

Backlinks, or links from other websites to your own, are an important ranking factor in SEO. Earning high-quality backlinks from authoritative local websites can improve your GMB listing’s visibility.

Tips for earning backlinks:

  • Create valuable content: Publish informative articles, infographics, or guides that other websites would want to link to.
  • Collaborate with local organisations: Partner with local chambers of commerce, non-profits, or community websites that might link to your business.

10. Consistent NAP Information

10.1 Ensuring Consistency Across Platforms

Maintaining consistent business information (NAP) across all online platforms is vital. Inconsistencies can confuse both users and search engines, potentially impacting your local search rankings.

Tips for ensuring consistency:

  • Audit your online presence: Regularly check various online directories and platforms where your business is listed.
  • Update changes promptly: If your business moves or changes its phone number, update the information across all platforms.

10.2 Managing Multiple Locations

If you have multiple business locations, create individual GMB listings for each location. This allows you to tailor information and updates to each location’s audience.

Tips for managing multiple locations:

  • Use a separate GMB account for each location.
  • Customise descriptions and attributes to reflect each location’s unique features.
  • Monitor and respond to reviews and questions for each location individually.

11. Optimising for Mobile Users

11.1 Mobile Friendliness and Accessibility

A significant portion of users access GMB listings from mobile devices. Ensure that your GMB profile and website are mobile-friendly to provide a seamless experience.

Tips for mobile optimisation:

  • Use a responsive design: Ensure that your website and GMB profile adapt to various screen sizes.
  • Test loading speed: Mobile users expect quick loading times. Optimise images and minimise code to improve speed.
11.2 Ensuring Accessibility for All

Accessibility is crucial to ensure that everyone, including individuals with disabilities, can access your business information. Provide alternative text for images and ensure your website is compliant with accessibility standards.

12. Managing Special Features
12.1 Booking and Reservations

If your business offers services that require appointments or reservations, integrate booking options into your GMB listing. This makes it convenient for users to schedule appointments directly from your listing.

Tips for managing bookings:

  • Use a booking platform: Integrate with a reliable booking platform that syncs with your GMB listing.
  • Keep availability updated: Regularly update your availability to avoid scheduling conflicts.

12.2 Menu and Product Listings

For businesses in the hospitality or retail industry, showcasing your menu or product offerings directly on your GMB listing can be beneficial.

Tips for menu and product listings:
  • Use structured data: Add structured data markup to your website to provide Google with detailed information about your products or menu items.
  • Keep information current: Regularly update your menu or product listings to reflect any changes or new offerings.

To optimise your Google My Business listing you need a multifaceted process that involves careful attention to detail, consistent management, and a customer-focused approach. By implementing the strategies outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can enhance your online visibility, attract more customers, and create a positive and lasting impression of your business.

Remember that GMB optimisation is an ongoing effort; regularly monitor insights, respond to reviews, and adapt your strategy based on user behaviour and industry trends. With a well-optimised GMB listing, you’re poised to stand out in local search results and drive meaningful engagement with your target audience.

How to Optimise Google My Business

How do I optimize my Google Business Profile 2023?

To optimise your Google Business Profile in 2023, ensure accurate business information, provide engaging descriptions and visuals, encourage and respond to customer reviews, use Google Posts to share updates, monitor insights, and maintain consistency across platforms.

How do I get my Google listing on top?

To get your Google listing on top, focus on optimising your Google My Business profile, obtaining positive reviews, building local citations and high-quality backlinks, and providing relevant and valuable content.

How Google My Business can boost your business growth?

Google My Business can boost your business growth by increasing online visibility, attracting local customers, and fostering engagement through reviews, posts, and accurate information.

If you need help then Webprecision will help you optimise your website and your GMB profile. Just contact us.

About the author

Steve Baron is the Founder & CEO of Webprecision. He founded Baron Marketing Ltd, an advertising company he ran for over 20 years, as well as several online startups.

He is a past mentor for Business Mentors NZ and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Waikato, Majoring in Economics & Political Science. He also holds an Honours Degree in Political Science from the Victoria University of Wellington.

He is a published author of three books and a prominent guest editorialist for newspapers throughout New Zealand. In his spare time, Steve is the Clerk of the Scales for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, is a Bridge Grandmaster and enjoys walking, running and cafes.

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