ven if you don’t know its formal name, you’ve seen it before. Practically every business has a Google My Business (GMB) page – a profile page that shows the name, address, contact information, hours, and other relevant business information whenever they come up in a search result.
In fact, GMB has become such a standard now that companies that don’t complete their pages are the ones that stand out – and not necessarily in a good way. And it does have its share of competitors (Yelp, Facebook Business, and Foursquare, for example), but a recent study revealed that Google owns 92.61 percent of the search engine market. That one statistic alone is your signal to ensure that your GMB profile is up to snuff.
Why is Google My Business Important?
Many of the reasons tie back to the massive amount of influence Google has over the world of online search. (It’s even become its own verb – to Google something). By updating and optimizing your GMB page, it helps you gain a bigger piece of that already huge pie. Here’s how:
- Increased visibility. GMB is one of the smartest ways to increase your visibility online. When someone searches for a business or service related to your industry, a robust GMB page is more likely to push your business to the top of local search results (including Google Maps).
- Improved customer engagement. GMB is an excellent way for businesses to interact directly with their customers by allowing them to leave reviews, post updates, and ask questions. Always remember, however, that engagement is a two-way street. (In other words, don’t post and run.)
- Accurate information. This includes business hours, location, phone number, website, and maybe even your social channels. Provide as many ways as possible for customers to find and/or contact your business. Bonus points for including a photo of your front door – it’s an easy way to let customers know that they’ve reached the right spot.
- Cost-effective advertising. This might be the best part about GMB – it’s completely free! That’s one seriously cost-effective way to widen your audience and increase organic growth.
- Insights and analytics. Google My Business is about more than just front-end info and design. It also provides insights and analytics that can help you understand your audience and how they’re interacting with their online presence. (Spoiler alert: It’s not always what you think!) It can also help you identify areas for improvement and track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
- Integration with Google Maps. This feature, which allows your business to pop up when someone conducts a “near me” search, is a great way to expand local presence.
How Do I Update My GMB Page?
If it’s been a minute since you’ve taken a look at your Google My Business profile, we put together an easy, three-step guide to help you get back on track:
- First, sign in to your Google My Business account. If you don’t have an account, you can create one for free.
- Once you’re signed in, click on the location or business you want to manage.
- You’ll be taken to a dashboard where you can update your business information, such as your address, phone number, website, business hours, photos, and more. (Make sure to revisit this information periodically so it stays accurate.)
Do You Have Tips for Optimizing My GMB Page?
Let’s say you “technically” have a GMB page, but it’s been so long since you checked on it that you don’t remember the password. Knowing that it’s a smart way to promote your business, what can you do to get it up to snuff? Here are some ideas:
- Complete your business information. Make sure that every blank that you can possibly fill in is filled in, and then double-check it to make sure everything is accurate.
- Choose the right categories. You’ll have the option to select categories for your business, so be sure to make smart choices. Being in the right categories helps Google understand what your business is all about and improves its changes of appearing in related searches.
- Add high-quality photos and videos. We don’t mean snaps from your phone here. Showcase your business, products and services in professional, clear images that let customers see exactly what you’re all about.
- Encourage customer reviews. They’re a great way to increase your visibility and even more importantly, build trust with potential customers. For their convenience, you could even create business cards with a QR code linking directly to your review page.
- Respond to those reviews. Whether good or not-so-good, be sure to respond to customer reviews ASAP. It’s a great way to say thanks, resolve potential issues before they escalate, and show other customers that you’re active and engaged. (It’s also a great way to use tone of voice and messaging to reinforce your brand identity, whether it’s elegant, playful, or somewhere in between.)
- Use Google Posts. Posts are much like other social media channels. It’s an opportunity to share updates, promotions, and events with your customers. A few examples include alerting customers to changes in hours due to holidays, announcing upcoming events, or showcasing limited-time products.
- Monitor and analyze your performance. GMB also offers insights and analytics for free. Keeping a regular eye on how your page is performing is an easy way to see where you’re excelling, and where you can identify areas for improvement.
Without a doubt, Google My Business is an essential tool for growing your online presence and reputation. If the process seems daunting to you, our expert staff can help you get started, optimize, and maintain your profile.