Google My Business can be a powerful tool for certain types of companies to get in front of more customers, but most people aren’t tapping into its true potential.
In fact, most don’t even begin to scratch the surface.
When most people create a profile, they just fill out the basic contact info and leave it at that.
That’s a good start, but there are a number of other details you can optimize to improve where your listing ranks.
These same details can also help to demonstrate your expertise, inspire trust, and turn searchers into leads.
And the best part is that it’s not incredibly complicated. It just takes time and consistent effort.
1. Contact Information
Obviously, you need to add your business contact information to your Google My Business profile, but that’s the bare minimum.
This includes your address, service areas, hours of operation, and your phone number.
Your description can help to improve your ranking, but also provides a great opportunity to give searchers a reason to do business with you.
A lot of people fail here by either writing a garbage description or simply not writing one at all.
Treat this like you would any other piece of content – focus on the problems you solve for your customers instead of rambling on about how long you’ve been in business, how large your company is, or any of the nonsense that people often use when they write about their company.
You need to make it about them and their needs, not about you and your ego.
As you might suspect, it’s important to include keywords that people might use when searching for the type of products or services you offer, but don’t go overboard.
Also, keep in mind that you have limited space here (750 characters) so make sure that the most important info is at the beginning or they may not see it.
Positive reviews can quickly transform your business from an unknown entity into a much more trusted one.
This is a concept called social proof, which is deeply rooted in human psychology.
Basically, it’s a shortcut to building trust because when people see that others have bought and have been happy with your products or services, many will assume that they’ll be likely to have a similar experience.
It takes a lot of work to get customers to leave reviews, but it’s definitely worth it because of the effect it has on building trust.
The key here is to ask when positive emotions are at a peak. This might be right after they’ve purchased, or it could be even earlier in the process.
It’s important to help your customers craft their review to ensure that it’s helpful to other potential customers.
You’ll want to give them guidance on key points to include which will help highlight the problems you solved and how that positively affected them. This makes the reviews much more effective.
Think about it like this…which of these reviews do you feel is more impactful:
“Richard is a great lawyer. I recommend his services.”
“When I was facing an IRS audit, Richard helped reduce the uncertainty and fear I felt by creating a solid strategy to defend me. He saved me thousands of dollars and made the entire process about as smooth and painless as I could hope for. That was really important because it let me focus on running my business while he fought for me. I was blown away by his expertise, attention to detail, and service. I highly recommend his services.”
The first one is positive, but empty, while the second one paints a clear picture of what a customer can expect if they work with Richard.
Make sure to respond to each review because it demonstrates that you care about your customers.
This is important for all reviews, but it’s especially important for negative reviews because it helps to offset the damage they do while also showing that you’re willing to address problems with customers.
Posts on Google My Business can help to increase visibility at that critical moment when a searcher is looking for what you offer.
They can help to increase conversions because they provide the opportunity to display a headline, image, text post, and a call to action button.
Current CTAs include:
- Order Online
- Learn More
- Sign Up
- Get Offer
- Call Now
People who utilize posts often use them to publish promotional types of content, but they can also be used to publish purely informational types of content as well.
The key is to entice searchers with value, regardless of whether it’s a promotional or informational type of post.
A well-crafted post coupled with a call to action can be a powerful way to get searchers to engage with your brand and begin the sales cycle.
That engagement could be an immediate phone call, or it could be getting them over to your website where they can buy something, read an article, book an appointment, or engage in some other way.
One quick note – if you click the icon in the bottom right corner of a post, you can get a link for that particular post, which you can then share on other social media platforms.
5. Questions & Answers
Considering that the entire foundation of SEO is based on answering questions for searchers, it should be no surprise that questions and answers can play a strong role in optimizing your Google My Business profile.
The beauty of this tactic is that you don’t need to rely on other people to find your profile and ask questions there. It doesn’t publicly show who asked the question, so you or employees can ask and answer these questions.
Q&A accomplishes two things:
- It can help your profile to rank higher, which results in more eyeballs on your company. More eyeballs on your company usually mean more leads. And more leads usually mean more money for you.
- It also helps to demonstrate your expertise to potential customers.
Your answers show them how much you know, giving them a better indication of whether you’re capable of solving their problem and whether they will enjoy buying from or working with you.
You can also use this to subtly bring up relevant issues they may not have considered, which can help to streamline the sales process later.
It’s critical to frame these questions from the perspective of the customers though. Don’t make the mistake of posting useless, self-promotional garbage.
Instead, answer the kinds of questions that you typically hear from customers and prospective customers.
Most Google My Business profiles have few or even no photos uploaded, which is a huge missed opportunity.
In most cases, a business owner or marketer will upload a few pictures of their storefront and call it a day.
That’s enough for helping people to recognize your business when they’re trying to find it in person, but by adding more photos, you can improve the ranking for your listing as well as showcase your products or services.
It’s important to utilize a combination of photos of:
- Your physical location.
- Your products.
- If possible, your products and/or services in use.
- Your customers/clients.
- Your staff.
It’s also important to consistently upload new photos.
If you haven’t uploaded any (or many) photos and you have a bunch ready to go, it’s fine to upload this batch all at once – as long as you continue to upload new photos.
It’s not just the volume of photos, but volume coupled with consistent new uploads that help improve your ranking.
Ideally, you should aim to upload at least one photo per week, but more is better.
As with most things in SEO, you should focus on quality over quantity.
We’re not uploading these photos just to improve our ranking, we’re also doing it to help potential customers get a better idea of how our products and services may help them.
So be sure to upload large, high-quality photos that represent your brand well.
You can also highlight the products you offer, giving searchers more insight into what you offer and increasing your likelihood of earning them as customers.
You even have the option of including a call to action linked directly to a page on your website. This part is pretty straightforward.
This tab is another way to highlight what you do for customers, but in my experience, your options are a little limited.
Google offers auto-suggested services based on your service category, and while there are a lot of logical choices that are simply missing, you do have the ability to add your own custom services.
9. Veteran-Led Business
Google recently added the ability to denote Veteran-led status on your Google My Business profile.
In my highly biased opinion on this topic, this is an awesome feature because a lot of people specifically want to buy products or services from Veteran-owned businesses whenever possible.
Especially fellow Veterans.
This creates a powerful opportunity to quickly increase trust with searchers, which increases the likelihood that they contact you.
Fairly recently, this stopped showing up on desktop, but according to Google My Business product specialist, Ben Baker, I’m told this is a known glitch that will be fixed.
It does still show up properly on mobile.
Dealing with Unwanted Changes
Occasionally, you’ll find changes suggested to your Google My Business listing that you didn’t make.
It could be from Google algorithmically suggesting changes, well-meaning searchers, or even from your competitors trying to hurt you.
But if you don’t regularly log in and decline these changes, Google will automatically apply them, which can hurt your visibility and the impression you make on potential customers.
I recommend logging in at least weekly to keep an eye out for these changes.
This shouldn’t be too difficult since you need to log in to create posts, upload photos, and respond to reviews anyway.
- How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
- 4 Tips to Boost Your Google My Business Profile
- How to Use Google My Business to Boost Your Content & SEO
All screenshots taken by author, June 2020