With over 3.5 billion searches every day, the one place you should not overlook with your digital marketing efforts is Google. But for businesses that are only beginning to focus their marketing strategy on this popular platform, it can be confusing trying to learn all the intricacies that come with SEO and SEM. Thankfully, they offer a simple starting point known as Google My Business. This free and user-friendly listings tool is the perfect way to dip your toe into the world of marketing on Google. It uses one platform consisting of photos, operating information, reviews, and so much more to help businesses and organizations manage their online presence. While this same information should be found on your website, Google My Business (GMB) takes the content you provide and turns it into one consistent and easy to find search result.
Where to Begin
The first step is an easy one. You'll want to google your business to make sure it doesn't already have a listing created. It's possible that years ago somebody else within your organization already claimed your business and either totally forgot or thought that was all they needed to do. If so, step one is already taken care of for you. If the search does come up empty, you'll want to go ahead and claim and verify your business with Google. This will create the listing and let you fully start managing the information on it.
How to Optimize
It always starts with the basics. To begin, GMB is going to request your company name, address, and phone number. It's very important the information provided here is consistent with the information listed on your website. Inconsistencies can end up hurting your search ranking. After this initial information is provided, you'll also want to fill in website information, description, business category, and company attributes. Before filling these out, take a moment and think about what keywords you want to be found for. Don't be afraid to be specific and work a couple into your description!
It's All About the Images
After completing your basic info, you'll want to personalize your listing with a profile photo, a cover photo, and a video if you have one. The profile photo is used to show your identity when posting a photo or response to a review. Your company logo is ideal for this spot. A cover image on the other hand is going to be your preferred photo shown on your listing in Search and Maps. This could be anything from the outside of your building to a product photo or a photo taken by a customer that you really like.
Review your Reviews
6 out of 10 consumers now look to Google My Business for reviews on a local business. Unlike other listing sites, Google wants you to encourage your customers to leave a review (as long as you're following their review guidelines). These are a great way to help boost your listing and drive customers to your business. But this doesn't mean you can stand idly by as the reviews come in. It's important that you're responding to everything, both positive and negative. This shows your current customers that you're hearing their feedback, and it shows future customers that you care about providing them with the best experience.
Like any marketing strategy, it's important that you review analytics coming from your listing. Google has robust built-in insights that can help you find out how customers are finding your business listing, where they're finding you, what actions they're taking on your listing, areas they live in, and total phone calls you've received from this listing. With all the information available, you would be remiss to ignore it.
The best part about Google My Business is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other ways you can optimize your listing depending on what type of business or organization you have. Some of these additional features include a question and answer section, posting a menu or services, adding posts or business updates, editing your hours for a specific day or season, and more. It's evolved into an important tool to connect with your customers and should be one of the first steps in your digital marketing strategy. Still not exactly sure where to start? Contact the experts at Informatics.