Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool designed for companies to manage their brand on Google Search and Maps. GMB provides a simple, straightforward way for customers to contact you in real time. Customers can call, get directions or visit your website in one click. If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, your competitors probably do, which means you are missing out on potential leads.
As a business owner, you need to maintain control over your brand image, especially online. Google My Business is the easiest way to manage your online presence across multiple platforms. Using this free tool can help build search engine optimization (SEO) credibility and increase organic page rank. Businesses that consistently contribute relevant, original content to their website, listing or blog have seen an impact on their SEO page rank.
There are many features to help you interact with potential customers. The platform allows the business owner to update information such as hours, description and service areas on Google. Easily add pictures, create posts, receive direct messages and respond to reviews. In addition to providing your company’s information, GMB offers extensive features for customer engagement, including the following:
One of the greatest benefits of GMB is the customer reviews. Research suggests that 84 percent of people trust online reviews almost as much as word-of-mouth referrals. GMB allows customers to rate and review your business. To boost your reviews, we recommend sending customers a follow-up email with a direct link to your listing.
It’s important to respond to reviews as they come in, positive or negative. Most companies experience a negative review at some point and clients typically understand. How you handle a negative review is critical to how future clients may perceive your customer service.
Pictures and posts can help people get a vibe for your business and feel more comfortable before contacting your company. Posts can be informative, promote new services or provide updates about your company. Photos can be anything related to your business, such as the following:
- Staff listing
- Marked vehicles
- Interior and exterior
- Photos of office
- recent projects
Setting Up Your Listing
You can set up your listing online in a few easy steps, but before you set up a listing, do a quick search on Google Maps to see if your business is already listed. Some clients find that their company already has a listing even though they did not set it up themselves. This is common—both customers and businesses can create account listings. In this scenario, you will need to claim the existing listing.
To set up or claim a listing:
- Go to www.business.google.com and sign in using your Google account.
- You will be prompted to enter the business name and information.
- If you see your business on the drop-down menu, simply click the listing and confirm the profile information.
- If your business is not on the list, continue to fill in the information required to create your listing.
- Verify the listing via phone or mail.
Before the listing is published, you need to verify your affiliation to the business. This can be done via phone or US Postal Service mail to a physical address. Unfortunately, you cannot use a post office box as your business address; however, you can use a personal address and hide it from the profile or set a service area.
Once your account is verified, you can make changes and optimize the listing. We recommend filling in as much information as possible, requesting reviews and posting consistently.
Once your listing is published on Google Maps, you can view valuable insights on how customers interact with your listing through the dashboard. You can track what queries are used to find your business and get a breakdown of calls, directions, website clicks and photo views. You can measure the amount of times your listing shows up on Google Search and Google Maps. Once your listing has been published for a few months, you should have enough data to better predict user behavior.
Google My Business gives customers unprecedented access to connect with companies. It’s a valuable tool that helps search engines better understand what your company offers. With all the available features, your brand can stand out and attract the right people searching for your services. If you want your brand to show up on Google, setting up a GMB listing is a great starting place.
Margaret Horn leads creative content and local search at K3 Marketing. Together with Andy Patel, CEO of K3M, they partner with business owners to help build brands and grow sales using PPC Ads and SEO strategies. Since 2005, K3 Marketing has helped home inspectors attract qualified visitors and convert them into leads.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary review of your marketing plan, call Margaret at 678-622-4947 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.