What is it?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool from Google that helps local businesses and organizations manage their business info on Google products such as Maps and Search. GMB helps people find and learn more about your business by displaying important information like Name, Address and Phone number, Website, Hours of Operation, Reviews and Ratings.
For example, let’s say someone is searching for a “taco shop near me”, they might see the following results:
Which will look very different for everyone based upon where they are located at the time of the search, if they are currently logged into a Google account, and if they are using a mobile or desktop device.
Notice the map and the three listings below? By clicking on one of those listings you will be presented with a map view of the business location as well as information from their GMB page. From here a potential customer can get directions to the business, see the best times to visit, look at photos (left by you or others) and see what past customers had to say about their visit.
You can find detailed instructions on how to set up your GMB here.
EXPERT TIP: Google hates inconsistent listing info, make sure your business information is correct. Ideally, it should match with what you have listed on your website.
Why use it?
Chances are Google has already created a placeholder GMB for you. So your listing might already be there, and it might be wrong. Having an incorrect phone number or hours can be frustrating for a customer and a bad experience, and worse a bad review. You want to claim and verify your GMB so YOU control how your business is viewed online and insure that all of the information being published on your company is accurate.
What you can do with GMB
Oh the fun you can have, outside of having a place where people can find your business, you can also engage and interact with your customers by the use of photos, reviews, and posts.
“Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.” – Google
You have several areas within your GMB listing that you can add photos such as:
- A Profile Picture
Your profile image will help customers recognize your business on Google. The ideal size: 250 x 250 pixels, in .png or .jpg format. A nice clear image that represents your brand that is not overly Photoshop filtered.
- Your Logo
A nice, clean and easy to view photo of your logo. Square-sized logos display best and should be in .jpg or .png format.
- A Cover Photo
Your cover photo is the large photo featured at the top of your Google+ page. The ideal size for your cover photo is 1080 x 608 pixels, in a .jpg or .png format. Your cover photo could be a picture of the exterior of your business, your employees or team members, or the interior of your location. Just make sure it’s clear, appealing, and well photographed.
- Additional Business Photos
Uploading additional, relevant and helpful photos of your business will help your customers in not only locating your business, but it will also show them all the great things your business has to offer.
Some ideas for additional photos include:
- Add a few images of the building to make it easier for people to recognize the business from any angle.
- Add some photos that capture the atmosphere of the business, such as common areas, front reception, patio, or dining area.
- Include some pictures of the products and services offered by the business.
- Don’t forget pics of employees and management to bring a human element to your listing.
- Even more ideas
What NOT to do with your photos:
- Don’t use copyrighted photos, if you don’t have the rights to the image, don’t use it.
- Don’t post poor quality photos, if it’s blurry, too dark or rotated, it might get rejected.
- Don’t post obscene or pornographic images.
Receive and respond to customer reviews
Your business will get unsolicited reviews, but good and bad. Don’t be afraid to jump right in and involve yourself in the conversation. It shows your business is on top of things and cares.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask your happy current clients to leave your business a review on your GMB profile. Google encourages asking customers for GMB reviews, as long as the reviews meet guidelines. So basically, don’t bribe your customers for reviews. Have a monthly newsletter you send out to all of your customers? That’s a perfect place to link to your profile so they can leave you a quick and truthful review. Awesome!
Post About Upcoming Events, Offers, or Special Product Releases
Recently Google has added the feature of Posts to a GMB profile. When you appear in a map result this provides an opportunity to entice customers to visit your business, while additionally making your listing stand out even more in search results.
Ideas for Posts:
- Events such as a product seminar, new release party, musical guest, etc.
- Offers/specials such as sales and discounts
- Product updates such as new merchandise
- Announcements such as “Open late this Saturday” or “Special guests this week!”
Some Quick Items to Note about Posts:
- Title (58 characters)
- Posts Details (150 – 300 words)
- You can include an image (minimum 720px by 540px, .jpg or .png)
- Call to Action (eg. “Buy,” “Book online,” “Learn more,” “Call,” or “Visit.”)
Tips for Effective Posts:
- The photo is clear, well-lit, and with good framing
- The headline and writing inspire action
- The post is brief and includes only necessary details
- There’s a clear call-to-action
Once you’ve published a post, it will appear to customers on Google Search and Maps in a few moments. To ensure that posts are timely, they’re removed from the default view after 7 days (or when the event date the post referenced has passed). However, a historical view of posts is shown under the “Posts” tab on mobile.
One quick item of note, you can’t just post anything and everything you want, you will have to abide by Google’s content policy which you can read here.
In a nutshell, NO:
- Spam, malware, and deceptive behavior
- Adult content
- Hateful or harassing content
- Personal and confidential information
- Graphic violent content
- Regulated goods and services
If you are a business that relies heavily on local foot traffic you cannot afford to not have a GMB page that is claimed and optimized. Plus, there’s tons of upside to using this platform to further increase the reach of any business. A well optimized GMB page can lead to access to more people, a better presence in search results and will grow trust with potential customers.
If you need help getting your GMB page supercharged for search, contact us today, we can help!
Passionate about digital marketing and helping small businesses succeed online, Shannon has over 15 years of online marketing experience. She loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them become better marketers.