Have you thought lately about whether your business is doing its best when it appears on Google? Is your address correct? Phone number? Website link?
Taking the right steps to create your best presence on Google can positively impact a lot on your business’s day to day operations.
How? A great example would be correcting your phone number or listing one in the first place!
People want to be able to reach a business in a quick and concise manner. With the right phone number listed, you may find yourself answering many more calls during business hours. So, how do you start on the path to having better Google search results for your business? By creating a Google My Business account.
Let’s go over the easy steps to setting up a Google My Business account:
Step 1: Login into the Google account you use/want to use for your business. If you don’t have a Google account, create one!
Step 2: Go to google.com/business and press the “start now” option in the right-hand corner.
Step 3: Enter your business’s name.
Step 4: Verify your business via Google.
To understand why a Google My Business account is essential to having great search and maps results, it’s best to know the factors behind what causes your particular business to appear in a search. Google considers three important factors when completing a search:
Proximity is a relatively self-explanatory marker for a Google result. If you are searching for a “pizza place near me” Google is likely to use location services and find the results that are local to you. This means that when a potential customer searches for the product or service you provide Google will look at the search in terms of where the searcher is located and then calculate the distance from the searcher and to the nearest locations offering that item.
Prominence is one of the trickier factors that determine where your business shows up on a Google search. Prominence looks at how well-known your business is. If you have a business that has been around for decades, offline but hasn’t had an established presence online, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you won’t have good results in a search. An example of this could be a locally known historic landmark/museum or an established Bed and Breakfast. These examples are likely to be very well known locations throughout your town or city and for that reason, Google will know that they have prominence.
Additionally, when it comes to prominence Google will also take a look at a business’s presence online. They’ll take into consideration information like directories, articles, and links. They will be focused on your review ‘count’ so higher reviews and positive ratings will be calculated into the ranking of your business in a search. Lastly, your business’s SEO plays a part in how your site shows up, so be sure to use the best possible keywords on your website, social media and elsewhere online.
Relevance is all about how well your local listing matches up with what someone is searching for. This is where adding detailed business information can help Google to best match your business to the search terms when they are googled.
Setting up a Google My Business account isn’t the only task you need to do to get your business ranking better in searches. I’ve put together some helpful tips to get found on Google searches and Google Maps:
Define Your Business Attributes
On your Google My Business account hit the ‘info’ tab and select all the relevant attributes for your business.
When your aim is to have a strong digital footprint, you’ll want to be certain you're selecting attributes that best describe your business. But, what’s all the hubbub about attributes? This is where business owners can select specific qualities or features they provide. Things like “Outdoor seating”, “Dog-friendly”, “Dessert”, “Farm to Table” all of which then appear are badges on your account.
Not every business is going to have all attributes or highlights available to them. The available highlights are determined by the categories you enter, so be sure to use all 10 that are available.
Add Your Services
You should also add in the services you provide. When someone wants to find quick pricing for a spa or a laundromat this is a perfect opportunity for you to have a comprehensive list of popular services.
For example, you could have services such as:
Full Load Laundry- $10
Hand Folded- .58 Cents per Pound
$80 for 1 Hour Hot Stone Massage
$35 Full Set of Nails
Fill in a Description
People who search for your product or service want to know more about your business. This is where the use of the business description comes in handy. Google has a few rules about what isn’t allowed in your description. However, if you’re stumped on how best to describe your business to new customers, here are a few guidelines:
- Tell the visitor about what sets your business apart from others. How are you unique?
- Don’t include spam or URL links.
- Add an email address and phone number to reinforce that information
- Don’t pitch sales or offers (use the posts function for that!)
- Don’t hit THE CAPS LOCKS BUTTON BEFORE TYPING. See how annoying that is to read?
Don't forget to add photos to your GMB account. You want to be in control of your brand which means having professional photos that show off what your offer. Include photos of your products, store (interior/exterior), staff and other factors that give customers an idea of who you are.
When you have a product, sale or feature you want to promote you can do so by the use of posts. Using posts is a great way to cut out the middleman of social media. You won’t have to post on four different platforms (you can if you want!) and instead can quickly post a promotion on your Google My Business account. Why? It’s an easy and quick way for searchers to find your sales/announcements without needing to dive into your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.
Think about it: imagine you own a pizza parlor in a city that has 10 places for pizza. If 9 of those 10 depend on social media to spread their message of ‘Dollar Slice Days” you can be the one with an edge. When a person searches “Pizza near me” they’re going to find most of those 10 places but the Google results will show your business with a post about this week’s sale. It may be the tipping point for that customer after they’ve checked your reviews of course.
Respond to Reviews
Replying to your reviews (good or bad) is an important measure in owning a business. You wouldn’t ignore an in-person customer complaint or praise, would you? So, don’t do it online!
Be sure to always thank the person for leaving their review as well as for their business. It shows them that you appreciate constructive criticism and your customers. When answering a negative review give thanks, apologize and offer a means of communicating via email or phone to resolve the issue. When answering a positive review again you’ll want to thank the customer for their review and business but also mention something enticing. “Thank you for your review Suzie, we appreciate the feedback and your business. If you liked our cookies be sure to swing by on Saturday for our cookie decorating class, bring a friend!”
Lastly, you’ll want to update your Google My Business weekly to ensure that things are fresh and up to date. If your hours changed with a new season, correct them. Add a few new photos or try out a new category or label to see how it affects your insights. Switch up your posts with a new offering, product or coupon code specifically for Google users.
Spending 5 minutes a week is better than spending 20 minutes a month when it comes to your Google Business Page. Don't forget -- Google's watching to see which companies are relevant, and having up to date information is paramount.