Nowadays, if you’re looking for something…
Their first course of action is usually to search for it using Google.
Where is the best place to eat?
Is there a nearby dental clinic around?
What is the most popular fashion product?
How much does it cost to build a website?
Or is there a digital marketing agency in my area?
When these questions are keyed into the search bar, Google provides answers to these questions.
If you’re searching for a particular product or service, Google will also list down the top businesses that are relevant to what you’re searching for.
For example, if you are looking for a Mexican restaurant in Miami, Florida…
There are about 52 million results.
However, to make it easy for people looking for some tacos and quesadillas, Google shows a list of the top restaurants with their business information and reviews.
If you own a business, you obviously want to be on top of these search results.
That’s because most people would only look at the first few results.
Not everyone will have the time to look until the end so if you’re on Page 10, the chances of getting seen are much lower.
But how do you actually improve your visibility?
The key is to optimize your Google My Business listing.
If you’re not familiar with what that is or you still don’t have a Google My Business profile, then you should seriously start making one ASAP.
Having a Google My Business profile allows you to list your business location on Google Maps and appear on local search results.
This profile is very important because it can help drive more customers to your business.
If your competitors are not using Google My Business, you obviously will have an edge.
But what if everyone has a profile?
How do you boost your listing?
In this post, I’m going to discuss some techniques on how you can optimize your Google My Business profile for improved visibility!
1. Provide complete business information
Just having a Google My Business profile is not enough.
You have to make sure that you provide all the business information that Google is asking for.
When you’re creating your Google My Business profile, you will be asked to fill up several fields including your physical address, phone number, category, website address, list of products and services, and more.
When filling out these details, you have to make sure that you are putting in accurate information.
Avoid spelling mistakes by double checking everything before you click submit.
Don’t use shortcuts or acronyms that could be confusing not only to people searching for your business, but also to Google.
Having complete business details will help Google match you more accurately in search results.
It will also help people have a better idea of what your business does and will encourage them to click more.
Think about it…
If you’re looking at two similar businesses, one with complete details and one with only the business name on it…
The natural choice is to go for the business and give you more information.
When more people are clicking on your listing and visiting your website, this also increases your relevance – which is one of the criteria Google uses to rank search results.
2. Make sure your location is correct and verified
If you’ve used Google Maps before, you’re probably familiar with those little red pins littered all over the map.
These red pins indicate the location of the businesses you are looking for.
For example, if you’re searching for dental clinics in Los Angeles, there will be red pins on the map to indicate the location of the clinics.
You have to make sure that your business location is pinned accurately.
This is very important because if you pin it wrongly and a customer is unable to find your business, you might be reported as a fake business.
Another technique to make your Google My Business profile more visible in local search results is to verify your location.
The best way to do this is to check whether you have verified your location.
There are several methods that you can do this…
You can verify your location by standard mail, by phone, or by email.
You can go to your Google My Business settings and follow the instructions provided.
You might be wondering…
Why do I need to have my location verified?
Isn’t it enough to just put in my complete address in my profile?
Is it worth it to go through the hassle of verifying by mail?
Well, if you want to rank higher, you need to verify.
Google wants to deliver the most accurate information to people using the search engine.
So, if someone looks for a specific business in a certain area, Google will logically show those with verified locations.
This will guarantee that the person looking for a service will get the most relevant results.
3. Display accurate business hours
Have you ever experienced going to an establishment that advertises they’re open 24 hours, only to find out that they’re closed when you get there?
How did you feel?
I felt frustrated and annoyed because it was a waste of my time.
The great thing about Google is that it shows the operation hours of the businesses that are listed in the search results.
This makes it easier for customers to determine whether they still have time to go to a certain location.
For example, if the nearest pet shop in your area is half an hour away but according to their business listing, they will close in 15 minutes, then you won’t have to waste time going there only to find out that it’s closed.
So, unless you’re a 24-hour convenience store or a laundromat that’s literally open 24/7…
It is advisable to put in the actual business hours that you follow.
If you’re open at 9 AM and you close at 6 PM then that’s exactly what you should put.
Don’t be tempted to put in 24 hours if you’re not really open at all times.
This will be considered as misleading information and could turn off potential customers.
4. Select the correct category
When you create your business profile on Google My Business, you will be asked to select a category.
The category is important because it describes what your business is all about.
It will help people determine if this matches what they are looking for.
At the same time, having an accurate business category makes it also easier for Google to find you.
When choosing a category, you have to choose the primary product or service that your business is offering.
The more specific you can get, the better.
It’s also not possible to add your own category nor is it advisable to do so.
You have to choose the closest category that best describes your business.
But take note, avoid choosing multiple categories because this might just confuse people.
It’s really very simple…
For example, if you are a coffee shop, choose “coffee shop” as your primary category.
Avoid putting additional categories that do not really describe your business.
Again, this will just confuse potential customers and could hurt your ranking in the search results.
5. Be proactive in asking reviews from your customers
The availability of the internet has democratized information.
Many customers are not satisfied with reading generic business information.
They look for customer reviews to see whether a product or service is worth buying.
If you have a Google My Business profile, this will allow your customers to write reviews.
Having these reviews will show potential customers about the experience of other people in relation to your business.
If you find reviews already listed on your profile, take time to respond.
If they are positive reviews, acknowledge them and thank them for their feedback.
This will help you maintain a good relationship with these customers and could encourage repeat business.
If the reviews are negative, you also need to respond.
Whether the negative review is true or not, don’t blame the customer or become defensive as some people might see this as making up excuses.
Instead, you should still thank the customer for their feedback and apologize for their bad experience.
Keep your response short and simple.
Here’s an example of a response that you could write up:
“Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate you taking the time to help us improve our product/service. We are truly sorry that you had an unsatisfactory experience. We would like to discuss this further and see how we can do better. Please reach out to (email address or phone) at your earliest convenience.”
Offering to discuss the issue offline like the example above is advisable if the issue is still unresolved.
This will show that you are truly concerned about your customers.
But what if you don’t really have any reviews?
Don’t be shy to ask your most loyal customers to give you a review.
It’s better if your customers write the review themselves so they are authentic and sincere.
If possible, ask them a few days apart so the comments will not all be done on the same day – as this might look like spam.
6. Upload updated images
Majority of people respond better when the communication is visual.
It’s not uncommon to immediately jump to photos first before reading the information.
I’m even guilty of this a lot of times.
That’s why it’s very important that you have great-looking photos in your Google My Business profile.
Remember that these photos will represent your business so getting a professional photographer is a small investment that you should consider making.
Uploading your own high-quality photos is better than having badly photographed images by anonymous people.
Having photos on your profile will also show that your business is active and get more people to click on your listing.
This will help boost your profile and increase your visibility.
7. Add relevant posts
This is a relatively new feature for Google My Business profiles and not a lot of people take advantage of this feature.
If you have a profile, you can now add posts and this will also show when people click on your business.
Posts are similar to how you would post an update on your Facebook page or on your blog.
In Google My Business, you can add different types of posts like events, offers, products, and what’s new in your business.
If you regularly upload posts under your profile, this will signal to Google that your business is active.
This will give you an edge over competitors who do not add posts on their profiles.
But more than boosting your profile, having updated posts can immediately show potential customers what’s going on with you without them having to go to your website.
This can help drive more traffic to your business and increase your business revenue.
Optimize your Google My Business profile today
Do you want to optimize your Google my Business profile but you don’t know where to start?
Or maybe you’re too busy to manage all the necessary steps?
We’re here to help.
We have turnkey solutions that can help you simplify your digital marketing process and deliver amazing ROI.
Just contact us for a free consultation today!