4 Easy and Effective Google My Business Optimizations for Small Businesses

Imagine you own a storefront or office on the busiest main street in your city. However, your store does not have a sign. Nor do you have information listed anywhere on your doors or windows about what it is you do. 

Your lights are off and your entrance is hard to find.

Do you think you’d be successful attracting customers? Probably not. 

Does this sound like a silly scenario? Of course it does!

Unfortunately, this is exactly what some businesses are doing by not utilizing (or fully optimizing) their Google My Business Listing. 

Google is the largest search engine in the world used by roughly 1.7 billion users per day.  And 46% of those users use Google to search for information on local businesses. In other words — Google is that premium main street estate, and the My Business listing can be your big bold neon sign!

Wait, what is a Google My Business listing exactly?

A lot of small business owners are familiar with Google Adwords and even SEO, but haven’t heard of Google My Business. Or, they’ve claimed their business on Google but aren’t sure what to do next. 

So what are we talking about exactly?

You may have noticed when you search Google for a local business (by name or category) a window appears on the right side of your browser with a featured business matching your inquiry. You may have also noticed in those results that some businesses include more information than others. This is the Google My Business Listing. 

The best part? It’s completely free (but charges are coming). If you haven’t claimed yours yet, here’s how to do it.

In this article, we’ll discuss 4 ways to make the most of your My Business listing:

  • Nailing the basics of your My Business listing
  • Plotting out a winning review strategy
  • Being engaged
  • Staying relevant

First, nail the basics 

We know. Google can sometimes feel like the enemy with it’s changing algorithms and confusing SEO rules. But Google’s ultimate goal is always very simple: help users find the best match to their inquiry. It’s up to you to give them the information they need to make you that best match (and make sure it’s always correct)! 

In order to optimize your My Business account the first step is to fully fill out all of the information Google is looking for:

  • Business name and description (be sure to include your top keywords)
  • Contact information 
  • Website
  • Hours
  • Address 
  • Phone
  • Service areas
  • Business category
  • Etc.

Make sure you log into your account regularly to keep this information updated, and to make sure no one else has made incorrect edits to it (which you can read more about here.) 

After your listing is completely filled out, you’re ready to dive into the more advanced features of My Business. 

Plot out a winning review strategy  

You probably already know that reviews can be a powerful tool for your business. But do you know just how powerful? Here are a few stats that might surprise you:

  • 64% of consumers check reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more

In a nutshell, you need good reviews to attract more customers. So how do you get them? The simplest way is just to ask for them! (Note: while Yelp strictly prohibits asking customers for reviews, Google does not!

There are a ton of innovative ways to collect reviews. Work with a dedicated service to help collect reviews, put a note on your website, email signature, receipts, invoices, etc. and ask customers to leave you one. If you need help creating a strategy for getting reviews, bring on an experienced partner who can help you implement one. 

When asking for reviews there are a few important rules you’ll need to follow:

  • Never offer to pay someone for a review
  • Never offer any type of reward or incentive in exchange for a review
  • Do not add fake reviews 
  • Do not use any type of software that blocks negative reviews

In short, keep your review strategy honest. Customers (and Google) will see right through any attempts not to. 

Be Engaged 

It’s always best practice to respond to each and every review — the good and the bad — with a positive, professional response.

Review responses aren’t just nice, they make measurable difference in brand trust (for both the person who left the review and anyone else who reads it). In fact, 45% of consumers say that they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.

So don’t beat yourself up if you get a bad review, everyone has their days! Simply address it as kindly as possible, and know that handling it properly can help negate any damage that was done. 

Stay relevant 

Speaking of being engaged, don't stop at answering reviews. Utilize the My Business Q&A feature to answer customer questions, post Google updates about your business and keep your content fresh. 

You should treat your listing as you would a social media channel. It’s a way to constantly be in touch with (and in front of) potential customers, and a time investment that can pay dividends. 

Another way to keep your My Business listing engaging is to add media. Using photos and videos can give customers a good idea of your company’s look, vibe, and personality that can be hard to express with words. More importantly, it can also boost your ranking.

Need more help? Ask the experts

We understand that creating and maintaining a fully optimized, fully engaged Google My Business listing can feel like a big undertaking. Especially if you’re a busy small business owner who is already wearing 100 different hats. 

The good news is— we can help! GoSocial’s Google My Business Management package is included in our summer sale right now at 40% off. This full-service package will help you create a high-performing listing that will increase engagement and give you a competitive edge. Grab it here and let us help you start turning your My Business listing into a customer-converting machine.  

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