Leverage Google My Business to give your content (and SEO) a boost. Here are tips, tools and information on verifying and promoting your business with GMB. Knowing how to use Google My Business is standard for every digital marketer, right? While there are plenty of lengthy-but-vague help docs out there, finding answers to specific problems can be challenging. To take some of the leg-work out, we’ve created a handy worksheet and chart tool to determine your eligibility, and to help understand what to do if you have multiple listings or service area businesses (SABs). We’ll also help you understand how posting content to your Google My Business listing can support your business in a number of ways.
As content marketers, we often fail to acknowledge a significant part of our responsibility is to ensure our intended audience actually becomes exposed to our content. One way to do this is to update your Google My Business listing weekly as a channel to share your current content. Content particularly relevant to Google My Business is locally-focused content (for example, events or specials.)
Did you know, on average, businesses receive 943 Search views and 317 Maps views each month? This data, from a 2019 BrightLocal study of 45,000 anonymous local business listings, shows there is a great opportunity to get more views, clicks, and actions as a result of your localized content. To see the proof, you can check out Google My Business Insights to gather data on how many people viewed your listing, saw your post, clicked on it, and engaged. However, Google My Business Insights may not always be accurate. Consider using Google tracked links in your posts to more accurately report clicks and engagements right in Google Analytics. Google My Business helps digital marketers get views on their content without having to wait for Google to rank it in the top ten search engine results. The benefits of posting on Google My Business go beyond acquiring views and clicks on your latest content. Regular posting can earn you a coveted spot in the local 3-pack, which is the top 3 business listings for relevant search terms, and this placement alone is a valid reason to add a new post at least every 7 days. Additionally, the same BrightLocal study also revealed a typical business receives up to 59 actions per month on Google My Business. These actions can be clicks through to your website, requests for directions, or phone calls.
The majority of actions are in the form of clicks, but unless your Google My Business listing is optimized, you could be missing out on actual phone calls or in-store visits. Your posts on Google My Business signals to Google indicating your business is the right one to display for related searches locally. Reviews on Google My Business are critical. They effectively represent your customers’ confirmation your business is reputable, especially when you take the time to respond to each one; positive or negative. In fact, a prompt, empathetic, and helpful response to a negative review can be more valuable than a positive review. We all make mistakes. Consumers appreciate those businesses willing to accept and fix them in a timely fashion. An important point, and perhaps the most important of all, your posts show potential customers what’s new with your business at exactly the right time – when they are looking for it. A 2019 study from Ben Fisher reported only 17% of the businesses reviewed had a post within the last 7 days.
So, more than 80% of businesses did not have anything new to share with searchers who are actively looking for their businesses.
Keep Your Listing Complete & Accurate
Before you create any content, ensure your GMB listing is complete (address, telephone number, business hours, business overview, products/services, etc.) and accurate (links to your website, social accounts, other relevant sources of information.) This may seem basic, but far too many small businesses neglect the details and Google is all about details.
You can experiment with creating content specifically for your Google My Business listing. It’s important to remember the intent of the person viewing your listing is likely more transactional. This means you can take a more direct sales approach: offers, specials, or what sets your business apart from your competitors.
If your business sees customers at its location, you can describe the experience you want your customers to have when they arrive. Videos, photos, and even introductions to the team members they will meet are all great ways to encourage customers to visit you. Make your Google My Business page inviting for your customers. Think “Daily Specials,” “Seasonal Offerings,” or even weather-related: “Our Patio is Open!”
Invest in working with a Google-certified 360 virtual tour professional to add videos to your verified listing, or create your own video to introduce yourself and your business. (Be sure to also upload this to YouTube and optimize your channel for the best results; another important topic on its own.)
Your shop, office, or business photos should be used as your cover image. Try including photos of your work or featuring your products. Share projects you are proud of or which have garnered a special review. In fact, many of your contributions to Google My Business should come in the form of photos. There’s compelling evidence that businesses with 100+ photos in their Google My Business listing get more clicks.
Check to see what questions potential customers are asking about your business and answer them in a blog post shared on your listing.
Yes, it does – at least locally. It can help in a few ways. Not only does a verified and optimized Google My Business profile stand a better chance of being in the local 3-pack, putting your presence at the top of search results, it can also indirectly help your website rank. It does this by providing social signals to Google, by driving traffic to your website, and by providing social proof in the form of reviews.
Google says local search results are based on “relevance, distance, and prominence.”
A content marketing platform can help you manage all of your content better. It brings planning and clarity to your content calendar and ensures you stay on top of creating regular posts within Google My Business, which is an easily forgotten task. Having a content marketing platform brings structure and focus to your content marketing plan and helps you to draw upon the expertise of multiple team members with features to make collaboration easy. A content marketing platform gives you a process to work from and analytics to help you to better understand how your activities are working. If you can identify activities that are making a positive impact, then you can use these ideas for future content items.
Google My Business is a free tool, which has a direct impact on current local businesses. As with anything, you need to feed it to make it grow. Google will not connect-the-dots for you. The intention of Google My Business is to provide searchers with immediate and accurate information. Achieving rank takes time and this isn’t useful for relaying information that will go stale quickly. And, in so far as it’s a tool offered by Google, one has to believe Google puts a high stake on content maintained there.
It’s a lot to expect for digital marketing managers and small business owners to become skilled at Google My Business, on top of the myriad of other marketing activities required to foster a presence online. Because of the vague help documentation from Google and frustratingly long response times from Google, it can be tempting to leave it for another day. Ultimately though, think of the last time you performed a local search and how easy Google My Business made the process of choosing where to go. Once your listing is verified successfully, your time investment is likely only an hour or two a month and we suspect there are many further opportunities to come with this great, free business tool.
Contact Vella Crew to learn more about how to optimize your channels online.