Knowing that Google is Master of the Universe when it comes to search engine use and new customers finding your business, it is important you understand how important your Google My Business listing is to ranking in Google search results. Complete listings also influence search engine user behavior as one study shoes that users who view more complete listings are about 30% more likely to report an intention to visit a store or purchase from it (Gybo 2014).
Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. Additionally, if you want any chance of showing up in the life-altering Local 3-Pack which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).
7 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Ensure Business Name, Address and Phone is Correct
Google wants your name on Google My Business to reflect your business’ real-world name as it is used on your storefront and is known by your customers. Take note that they do not permit you to add extra information to your name, such as location (Great Smiles Dentistry – North Dallas), taglines, special characters or URLs. Additionally, you can’t use P.O. Boxes for your address and you should use your local phone number for each location as opposed to a call center toll-free number.
Remember that it is very important that your NAP not only be correct on Google My Business, but consistent across the Web, so make sure you are monitoring and managing your business listings.
Get More and More Reviews
Encourage customer to review your business by clicking “Write a Review” on your Google My Business page. This is a simple and factual statement: The more reviews on your Google business page and the better the rating of those reviews, the higher you are going to rank in local search results. Customer Review Management is a real thing, it is vital to the success of your business, and you need to be doing it yesterday. Have a plan and process in place to ask customers for reviews and make it easy for them to post the best of your reviews on Google.
You need to make time to be an active presence on Google and respond appropriately to reviews to show future customers that high value you place on your customers’ experiences with your business. You can only respond to reviews on “verified” Google My Business pages, so if you haven’t done this yet, go now to Verify a Local Business on Google.
Update Your Business Hours with Every Change
Many businesses change their hours seasonally or year to year. Look at the hours on your listing and make sure they are up-to-date. Navigating with Google Maps, and selecting a business that Google believes is closed or closing soon, you will be asked if you still want to go to this location even though it is closed or closing within the hour. Don’t lose customers because you have the wrong hours listed. While you are at it, update your payment options if they have changed to avoid disappointing paying customers.
Pay Attention to the Map
You’ve verified your address is correct. Now take a look at your location on the map and make sure the marker is in the right place. If the marker placement doesn’t make sense or it is on the wrong side of the road, you can drag the marker on that map to your exact business location.
Pick ALL the Best Categories for Your Business
Categories on Google My Business is one of those instances where “more is more”. Select all the categories from their list that apply for your business, and don’t be afraid to get specific. “Sports Bar” is more relevant than “Bar” in search results. This helps Google consider your business as a relevant result for local searches in that category. Don’t over-reach or misrepresent your business. Google is sure to notice and won’t be happy. But choose all the categories that represent the services or products your business provides.
You can find a complete listing of Google My Business categories by clicking this link and selecting the “en” (for English) tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet: Google My Business Locations Categories
Optimizing Individual Practitioners Listings
You know who you are:
- Financial Planners
- Real Estate Agents
- Insurance Agents
If you are a public facing professional, with your own customer base your name is your business name for Google My Business. If you work with clients and customers and they are able to directly contact you at the verified location during business hours then that is good enough for Google. For individual practitioners, Google wants you to create your own page, and you can include title and degree designations such as Dr., MD, JD, CFA, or Esq.
Photos, Photos, and More Photos
The right photo can go a long way in selling your business, but no photo is speaking volumes as well.
One survey shows that photos, reviews, and opening hours all have a large, positive relationship with consumer engagement. Showing photos of your business location (interior and exterior) not only help customers find your business, it helps build the trust customers need to overcome the fear of the unknown and try a new business. With photos, customer reviews, and accurate location and contact information consumers are more likely to take a chance on your business.
Complete, Accurate, and Verified Google My Business Listings Benefit Your Business
By optimizing your Google My Business listing you can expect higher ranking in local search, an increased click-through-rate to your business website, and a better search (and find) experience for the user. A search user, if you can rank high, is likely to become your next customer.
Use this free Local Score grader below to search the most important business listings and customer review sites to see where your business’s online presence is working hard for you and quickly find where you can make improvements.