Showing up at the very top of a Google search can mean money in the bank due to the fact that more than 30% of all clicks go to the first result listed (not including ads). As a local business, showing up in the top three listings is an opportunity to stand head and shoulders above your competitors. It’s also a way for you to beat all of those directory-listing services trying to get your customer’s attention. When it’s all said and done, your Google My Business listing is only as good as the content you post and optimize.
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To ensure you’re getting the most out of your My Business listing, make sure that you’re optimizing your information by doing the following:
- Enter your business location The format should be your business name, your physical address, and your phone number (it is important to keep this the same across all listings and update it whenever it changes).
- List your official website on your Google My Business listing. This will help Google improve its search results and display your listing for more Google users.
- Fill out your profile completely. This means you should include high-quality videos and images and provide as much information about your business as possible. Think about answering your customer’s questions before they have a chance to ask them – this practice makes for a great listing.
Have your business description sound natural and human, as opposed to stiff and formal. Don’t attempt to keyword stuff. Google will catch that.
Here’s a Good Example of a Great Business Description
It’s very important to add a profile photo to your GMB listing. Customers who see an attractive, inviting cover photo are a lot more likely to click on your listing than another one that doesn’t include a photo.
Below are the types of photos you can post to your Google My Business listing.
- Cover Photos
- Profile Photos
- Other Photos
**Other people can add photos to your listing as well. It’s best you treat your GMB listing the same manner you would your Facebook page. Your photos should portray what your business does.
General Photo Guidelines
- Format:JPG or PNG
- Size:Between 10 KB and 5 MB
- Minimum Resolution:720px × 720px
- Quality:Your photos should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, your images should represent reality.
Video performs very well online and continues to grow rapidly. A good practice to perform prior to posting is asking yourself, “If my competitor uploaded a video like this, would I make fun of them or envy them?”
Google My Business Video Requirements
Video posted on your listing must be:
- 30 seconds or shorter
- 100 MB or smaller
- 720p resolution or higher
Video creation sites and sources:
If you’re a non-technical person and or just don’t have the time to create your own videos, there are some excellent and low-cost ways for you to have someone else create them for you. You may want to look at Fiverr or Renderforest to see if you want to get some help with the project.
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Categorizing Your Business
Google My Business offers three different categories of businesses.
- Brand pages:Brand pages are a slightly different than other forms of local listings. These pages help brands, and organizations reach out to their fans. Unlike true local listings, these pages don’t include information about an entity’s physical location.
- Storefront business:If you run a brick-and-mortar business with a physical storefront, this category allows customers to locate you in the Google Maps feature and is what businesses like hotels, stores, and restaurants should be using.
- Service area business:This local page option is meant for businesses that go to a customer’s location to conduct your work. This is true for plumbers and delivery services as well as others.
Something that can help your Google My Business page rank higher is your company’s presence on third-party directory sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. Maintaining an active presence on these sites lets Google know that your business is participating as a member of an established community. Therefore, when you set up your Google My Business listing, it’s a good idea to set up listings on these third-party sites.
Make your listings effective. List the same information, consistently in every directory. This helps keep confusion down and everyone going the appropriate place.
One of the factors Google uses to rank your My Business page is links. Links play a huge part in Google’s organic search algorithm and when your site has earned a healthy amount of incoming links from other sites, Google is likely to give it a boost in local search engine report pages (SERPs.)
Your business name plays a key role in Google’s local algorithm. To help yours feature prominently, ensure that your business name features relevant keywords. This can help ensure that your company appears on relevant search queries.
Building Your Google My Business Presence
Once you’ve built and optimized your listing, it’s time to establish your ‘Google My Business’ presence. This means you should write and post relevant content on your company blog and get reviews from customers.
When someone leaves a review on your page, be sure you read and reply to each one in order to promote engagement and maintain an active web presence.
Post, post and post some more:
Think of GMB Posts the same way you do Facebook posts. Talk about what makes your business unique (pricing, customer service, product quality) and give readers a reason to either contact you, or visit your store.
Where Do Google My Business Posts Appear?
According to Google, posts may also appear on Maps, Search, and the Overview tab for listings based on various signals.
What Can Posts Contain on GMB?
Posts can contain text, photos, and videos. And remember that we are all in the business of building relationships and requesting the attention of those we serve. Everything I’m sharing with you here will lead to closer to that goal.
Categories of GMB Posts Right now, there are four posting categories:
- New Posts:These are posts containing general info you want to provide to the public.
- Event Posts:If you’re planning on being involved in an event in some fashion then you can use this post to promote that. These types of post require: Title and Start/End Dates/Times but you can also add a photo/video to posts like this, CTAs, and other information.
- Offer Posts:If you’re offering a promo, deal, or sale you can use this type of post to let people know.
- Product Posts: You can use these to highlight a specific product. For example, a clothing store may highlight a particular line of shoes they carry.
How to Manage Reviews
Ideally, you want your customers to leave reviews. You can encourage this by simply asking them, and by replying to reviews that customers post. When customers see that you interact with people who post on your listing, it motivates them to do the same. If a review is positive, thank the customer.
If the review is negative, be kind and make things right if at all possible. The last thing you want is to get into a disagreement or altercation in public.
How to remove a negative review from your listing
You cannot remove a review from your listing just because it is negative, but Google does allow you to challenge a bogus review. Be aware though that there is no guarantee it will be removed just because you formerly dispute it.
How to dispute a false review on your google listing
- From your GMB dashboard click on “reviews” (located on the left side)
- Find the review you want to flag, click on the three dots in the upper-right.
- Click “Flag as inappropriate”
How to turn off your GMB listing reviews
There is no way to turn off your reviews on Google. If you don’t like the reviews people post, respond thoughtfully while attempting to resolve whatever the issue is.
If you’re dealing with a false review, respond as if it were a legitimate complaint, while you wait for Google to reply to your dispute after you flag it as inappropriate.
If your business listing has been verified you can enable messaging. Enabling messaging allows customers to send you a text without sacrificing your privacy.
How to enable messaging for your GMB:
- From the GMB dashboard click on “messages”on the left-hand side.
- Click Enable. The option to message you will show up for users on mobile.
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I’m Connie Ragen Green, bestselling author, international speaker, and marketing strategist helping online entrepreneurs and local business owners to reach their full potential. Perhaps my training at How to Market for Small Business will make a difference for you. Use Coupon Code LOCAL for a significant discount.