Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Maps and Google Search. It allows your listing to show up locally for branded and non-branded terms, and if your just getting started with local SEO, it’s an easy way to focus your efforts. The only real requirement is that you cannot be a 100% online business entity.
Claiming Your Business Listing
- Log into the Google account that you want associated with your business (or create a new account if you don’t already have one).
- Go to google.com/business and select “Start Now”.
- Verify your listing to manage and your business information. You’ll typically receive a postcard from Google (with a code) to verify your mailing address.
GMB Optimization Best Practices
- Be sure your listing has the correct name, address, and contact phone number.
- Include at least five high-quality, high-resolution photos. According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
- Make sure you have all of the correct business categories selected.
- Work hard to make sure that your average review rating is at least 3 stars. More is better, of course!
- Regularly post updated photos of the interior, exterior, your team at work, or your products.
- Upload short video content. Video content must be 30 seconds or shorter, 100 MB or smaller in file size, and 720p resolution.
- Use Google Posts to promote sales, special events, and new blog posts.
- If applicable, use the booking button or appointment links.
- Regularly ask for reviews, respond to negative/positive reviews and answer questions on GMB Q&A.
- Regularly update your holiday hours. Confirming holiday hours reassures customers they have the right information before visiting or calling.
Google Posts allow you to post offers, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Google Maps. Google Posts are an excellent place to promote your special events and offers. Be sure to use high quality photos with a minimum resolution of 400px x 300px, in PNG or JPG format. The ideal length for your post is 100-300 characters
Consider adding a call-to-action button and build a tracking URL to measure the success of your post in Google Analytics. If your promotion spans longer than seven days, delete the expired post, recreate the post, and publish it again.
Remind your satisfied customers to review your business on their all favorite platforms such as Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc. If you send a newsletter, invoices or create blog posts, add links that direct readers and customers to your Google My Business listing, Yelp or Facebook to encourage subscribers to easily review your business. Remember, you cannot offer incentives in exchange for reviews.
It’s good practice to respond or acknowledge your reviews. Always be authentic when responding to negative reviews. Keep calm and don’t become emotional. This helps build trust with the reviewer and could possibly shift their perception of your business.
It’s my advice to any local business to create an attractive and relevant website that accurately represents your business, then shift focus to your Google My Business profile. Make sure it’s updated frequently, and that you encourage and respond to reviews.