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Google My Business (GMB) is a useful online tool that you can use to easily manage your online business listing. Initially released in June 2014, GMB has undergone a lot of updates since its inception—all of which happened with the intention of enhancing user experiences and giving businesses owners more space to promote their brands in creative ways.
These days, it’s absolutely imperative for your online marketing strategy to aptly incorporate GMB so that search engines and prospective customers can easily find your business. To maximize the benefits of having a GMB account, you must do everything you can to ensure that all the information presented there is up to date, relevant to your business, and speaks to your core target audience.
The more information you include about your business in your GMB listing, the more interest you can drum up from your prospective customers. Incomplete listings seem sloppy and lazy and are unhelpful from a customer’s point of view.
With that said, here are a few key tips to help you get maximum benefits from your GMB account.
GMB has two key features that can help enhance overall user experience for your prospective customers and help them gain a better understanding of what your business is all about:
The categories feature allows you to categorize your business so that it shows up in related searches. Google allows you to select up to 10 categories, which you can change or update whenever you see fit or when new categories are added—don’t worry, this happens a lot.
Unfortunately, you can only choose one primary category for your business—that’s the one that appears in your knowledge panel. But you can choose nine more secondary categories, which increases your chances of appearing in more related search results. The only difference is that primary categories appear in your listing, but secondary categories don’t.
Categories only give a small taste of what your business is about. The business description section, which also appears in your knowledge panel directly below the reviews, goes into a little more detail. Google grants each GMB moderator (business owners) up to 750 characters to briefly describe their business in their own words. Use that space wisely, though, because only a small portion of it will be displayed on the knowledge panel. To read the full description, users have to click on the “Read more” button.
Furthermore, writing a business description in tandem with including categories allows you to feed more information into Google, so that your business will rank higher in related search queries.
When performing online searches for specific types of products, services, or businesses, most people need prominent visual aids to help them gain an understanding of what they’re being offered. Uploading high-quality images and videos in your GMB listing allows potential customers to get even more of an in-depth taste of what your business does and what you sell.
If you own a restaurant, for example, it’s not enough to simply categorize yourself as a certain type of restaurant or describe your cuisine verbally. You need visuals to accompany your listing. Take professional pictures of your top-selling dishes and upload them to your GMB listing like you would on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, so that potential customers can see for themselves what you have to offer.
You should also include photographs of the exterior of your establishment along with staff pictures, so that your customers can familiarize themselves with your business. It’s easier to support a business when you feel a personal connection to it and that’s exactly the point of posting images and videos.
According to Google, “businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than business that don’t have photos”.
Include as many visual aids in your GMB posts as possible to entice and engage more customers. If you own a service-based business like a landscaping or paving company, then you should upload before and after images to showcase your work. Customers or online reviewers can also add their own images of your business or products. Just be sure to moderate these images to guarantee quality and relevance.
Taking the time to read through and respond to reviews—especially the negative ones—shows your customers that you truly care about your business and adhering to their needs. Oftentimes, the decision to support a certain business or purchase a specific product is based off of online reviews.
Customers want to learn about the experiences of others and maybe even try to learn from their mistakes. Of course, most reviews are based off of personal biases and should be taken with a grain of salt. But what potential customers are really interested in learning is how businesses handle problems and complaints.
Crafting a carefully worded and courteous response that illustrates how you intend to resolve the problem is your best course of action. This accomplishes three things:
1. It shows other potential customers that you’re a professional business owner
2. It demonstrates that their feedback matters
3. It proves that you’ll work toward finding a workable, satisfactory, and mutually agreeable solution
Positive reviews also deserve a respectful and courteous response. It can be as simple as thanking the customer for supporting your business and for their feedback. Some businesses even offer incentives for customers to review their businesses like a small discount on their next purchase or an entry into a sweepstakes.
Business information like your company name, hours of operation, phone number, and location should be updated as often as necessary. But you should be uploading new posts at least once or twice a week to build or maintain a high-ranking status.
Want to become a GMB master?
Numero Uno Web Solutions is one of the leading Internet marketing and SEO firms in Toronto. We cater to a wide range of businesses across North America. Contact us today to learn how we can help you enhance your GMB listing for better rankings.
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