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How To Use Google My Business For Your Small Business

Google My Business Optimization For Small Businesses

By Trenton Erker

 

Published August 6, 2019

If your business is targeting local customers, and you have not yet set up your Google My Business (GMB) profile, then you will want to setup a Google My Business profile before going further with this article. 

Most business owners who set up their profile think that GMB optimization is a one and done process. Well, it isn’t. Your GMB offers several opportunities to regularly update your profile and give your company a competitive edge in the search engine results pages (SERP).

Keep GMB Information Updated

I recently visited a town that I knew had a 24/7 Safeway. I Googled that Safeway’s information just to be sure, their GMB profile showed up as expected, and to my delight, it said that it was still open 24/7. So you can understand why my surprise when I showed up at 1130pm and it was closed. 

I asked an employee on a smoke break when they started closing so early, and he told me that the store had closed at 11 for the last year. 

Don’t be this Safeway. Every interaction with your business is your brand. Every experience either hurts your relationship with your customer or adds value to it. Each extra step a customer or potential customer has to take to buy from you is an obstacle to the sale. Remove obstacles, and make it easy to buy.

What if someone tries to refer somebody to you, and your information is wrong? Is that how you want your first impression to be on a new customer? How about the embarrassment of the previous customer? 

It’s common for businesses to change locations and not remember to update their address. What’s a prospect to think if they show up at your old location?

Make it easy and convenient to contact you, refer people to you, and find you by keeping your GMB profile updated.

Encourage & Respond To Reviews

Some business owners think it’s a waste of time to respond to their Google reviews. Your Google My Business profile, and app, make it so easy to respond to customer reviews on Google that there is no reason not to reply to each and every one

Encourage Google Reviews

Google reviews are as good a personal recommendation. There are so many studies that have found that people use online reviews to make buying decisions just as much as word of mouth referrals. When is the last time you didn’t read a review of a business you didn’t know? Get as many reviews as you can.

How To Get Google Reviews

In order from worst to best ways to get reviews:

  1. The worst way to get a whole bunch of reviews is to provide your product or service and hope they go out of their way to leave a review for you
  2. A better way to get Google reviews is to ask someone to search for you and leave a review of their experience
  3. The best way to get a whole lot of Google reviews is to ask customers while they’re in the store and send them the link so that they don’t have to do any work. You can send the link to their email or text it to them

Get The Google Review Link

  1. They need to be logged into their Google account or Chrome (most people are)
  2. Search for your company on Google. Example: I search for “clarity online seo.”
  3. Click “Leave A Review” located just above your GMB reviews
  4. Copy the URL
  5. Make an anchor link like this Leave A Review For Clarity Online 
  6. Add it to your email footer and other electronic communication using the anchor link
  7. Add a button on your website with the link
  8. Shorten the link so that you can text it to people, and save the shortened link for future use. This is a shortened link of Clarity Online’s Google review link, shorturl.at/bgETX

Respond To Google Reviews

Reasons to respond to Google Reviews:

  1. 97% of consumers use reviews for purchase decisions (2017)
  2. Google’s official stance on responding to reviews “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business. Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business.”  This statement is then followed by “high-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.” See Google’s guidelines and suggestions for responding to good and bad reviews.
  3. Reviews are an SEO ranking factor – 15.44% of the decision to Google uses to rank companies in the Local Pack 
  4. Builds trust with new and old customers

(notice the top review – a 2 week response?! For shame Clarity, for shame)

Post photos

There is a strong correlation between more photos and more GMB profile views. Right now, we still only see a correlation, but it’s a strong one. Aim for at least 100 photos in your profile.

Post offers

Have something new to share? Did you share a special promotion on your social media platforms? Then why not at one more platform that is usually the first thing people see when they search for you or discover you online?

Even if you do not have something new, share the things that you post on your business Facebook page, Instagram page, etc. 

A great thing about Google My Business posts is that they appear under your business information. That means that the more you fill out your profile and the more that you post, the more “Google real estate” you take up, and the more real estate you take up means less visibility for your competitors. Look at our GMB profile, it goes all the way to the bottom of the first page. No matter who else is to the left on people scroll, we’re there for the entire scroll on the right.

Take up some of that real estate with enticing offers that make new and old customers want to contact you.

Post events

Let everybody know about your event. You post it on social media telling all of the people who follow you, but what about your customers who don’t follow you and the soon to be customers? Tell them about your event. 

When a current customer searches for your company info, they’ll find your phone number but also be informed about your company’s event. Any other consumer who stumbles upon your GMB profile will also know about your event. Plus, it takes up more of that good ol’ virtual Google real estate. Unless it’s a private event, there’s no downside.

Post events

Let everybody know about your event. You post it on social media telling all of the people who follow you, but what about your customers who don’t follow you and the soon to be customers? Tell them about your event. 

When a current customer searches for your company info, they’ll find your phone number but also be informed about your company’s event. Any other consumer who stumbles upon your GMB profile will also know about your event. Plus, it takes up more of that good ol’ virtual Google real estate. Unless it’s a private event, there’s no downside.

Continuously Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

There are too many benefits, no downside, and it’s too easy to not always update your GMB. Optimizing for search engines and people is not a one time job. It’s something that you must do all of the time if you want to grow your small business.

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