6 Easy Google My Business Tips for Your Small Business

How is your hospitality business represented on Google? Google My Business is a search engine optimization layup – if you know what to look for.

Whether you’re a hotel, wedding venue, winery, event management company – or any location-based business, really – Google’s unique ability to capture consumer intent makes it the channel to optimize for. As a hospitality digital marketing agency, we’ve paid keen attention to Google My Business, which launched in 2014 as a way to give businesses more control over what appears in the search results (both on Google.com, and in Maps) when someone searches a business’s name. Basic information (think hours, address, etc.), photos you want to spotlight, messaging, and Q&A are a few of the features that comprise GMB. While the suite of tools is a boon to those eager to use it, it also puts less-digital-savvy businesses at a disadvantage. (By the way: if you’re completely new to Google My Business, this article walks you through how to get set up.) With that in mind, we outlined six ways to build a strong profile so that you get the most out of Google My Business.

Consider it an Extension of Your Website, and Update Often

All the basic fields – name, address, website, phone number, and business description should always reflect your business’s reality right now. When any of these things change, your first instinct may be to update your website, and then your social media profiles – but don’t forget Google My Business. Remember: about 80% of searches happen on Google.

Monitor and Manage the Reviews

Google My Business offers excellent visibility to businesses – but if you’re not good to your customers, this is the area you’ll be exposed. Make sure you respond to negative reviews, in particular (others are watching!), and check this section frequently. When you’re logged into your GMB account and tap the “Reviews” tab (next to the star icon) you’ll be able to see, filter, and respond to your reviews using three tabs: “All,” “Replied,” and “Haven’t Replied.” Google makes it easy to immediately see and reply to all reviews – good and bad – so you can thank a customer for their positive feedback, set the record straight, or apologize, if needed. Just click into the GMB settings tab and check the “Customer Reviews” box to be alerted to all new reviews via email.

Take the Conversation to Text

Have you noticed that nobody wants to get on a phone call these days? Wedding venue marketing expert Alan Berg told us as much, and the reluctance to jump on a call applies to other businesses, too. iMessage has conditioned us to send messages and expect quick replies, rather than picking up the phone. Google My Business offers a mobile app that lets you opt to receive and respond to messages from customers (prospective or otherwise) with your mobile device. You probably won’t want to use your personal phone number, but there are also third-party apps that will give you a second phone number that you can use for your Google My Business listing.

Curate the Imagery You Want Visitors to See

When reading about a business, people want to feel a sense of place, and even the most descriptive writing is no substitute for vivid photos and videos. The photos you upload to your Google My Business profile will be mixed with the photos that your customers upload, but you can tag them (think “exterior,” “interior,” “food and drink,” “rooms,” etc.) to make it easy for visitors to browse through. Be sure to keep your photos fresh, too – if you only have imagery that’s a few years old (or more), people will wonder what’s changed. Finally, if you get just one thing right, make sure it’s your profile picture. It’s the first thing people see on this page. Imagine, “If this were the only photo someone sees about my business, would I want it to be this one?” Choose carefully.

Don’t Forget the Extras

If you’re a hotel, sometimes it’s the amenities you offer that are the difference between you and a competitor getting the booking. Have laundry service? Pet-friendly rooms? A spa? Google My Business makes it easy to denote these things so that people quickly scanning a listing can qualify their choices and make quick decisions. Be comprehensive with the details – sometimes it’s something little that drives a booking.

Use Insights to See How You’re Doing

The information offered within the “Insights” tabis perhaps the richest section of Google My Business, helping you understand the rewards you’re reaping after configuring your profile. In this section, you can see things like the queries people use to find your business (sorted by unique users), a pie graph breaking down how customers are finding your business (divided by Direct, Discovery, and Branded queries), and where customers view your business (search vs. maps). You can also view the types of actions they take on the page (visit your website, request directions, call you, message you, etc.), how often they’re looking at your photos, and how many photos you have compared to competitors. It’s a treasure trove of information, and you can use the results to refine your listing and drive even more attention.

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