You have probably heard of Google Ads and SEO and their importance when it comes to optimizing search results. But just like many other small business owners you might not be familiar with Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) is the most powerful free online tool for businesses to gain traffic and attract local customers. Your Google My Business profile is your Google listing that appears on the Google search results page when users search for a business in their area in the same category as yours.
Optimizing your GMB account will help you to rank higher for local searches. Although this great tool can enhance your ranking tremendously, we have seen it overlooked or by countless small businesses. We have put together a list of our top 5 tips for small businesses to start winning over customers from local searches.
1. Pick the appropriate categories.
Upon setting up your GMB account, you have the option to add multiple industries as your business categories, one of which will be your primary business category.
The primary purpose of these categories is for Google to be able to classify businesses into different areas that users search for online and simplify the process of finding businesses based on the industries customers are searching for. If you want customers to be able to find you online, you need to make sure you have picked the categories that match the top services and products you provide.
Setting up the right business categories that match your expertise as precisely as possible will put your name on the list of local businesses when users search for related keywords and businesses.
There are many different businesses categories available for you to choose from; however, you can not add a businesses category that is not already in Google's List. PixelCutLabs has a complete and up-to-date list of business categories available in Google My Business in 2021, which we definitely recommend you check out to find the best categories for your business.
2. Post pictures and updates regularly.
Google's algorithm recognizes the consistency of accounts with regular updates and prioritizes active accounts over accounts with less frequent posts and updates.
Some examples of updates and posts to share include upcoming events or workshops or the launch of a new product. For adding photos to your GMB page, we always recommend posting on a weekly or bi-weekly basis instead of batch posting to keep your account active.
Many times, your GMB page is the first point of contact customers come across even before visiting your website. It is crucial that you upload high-quality and relevant images that represent your business most accurately. Avoid using stock images for your Google My Business page and stick to real-life images of your space, products, or even your team.
3. Keep your information up to date.
Many people make the mistake of building a Google My Business account and never coming back to it ever again. All the information displayed on your GMB page must be up to date and relevant. This includes your business hours, holiday hours, address, website, and contact information.
Not updating your information on GMB will most definitely lead to losing many potential customers. For example, if you work on holidays or have extended your working hours, but this change is not displayed on your GMB page, customers will assume you are closed when you are still operating. This also applies when customers can't contact you due to outdated contact information.
To avoid such gaps, make sure you are aware of public holidays coming up and you keep track of these changes so your information displayed online is always accurate.
4. Add your products and services.
Depending on the nature of your business and the categories you have picked you can your products and service offerings to your GMB page.
This will make it easier for users to understand what your business does more precisely and how you could potentially help them and fulfill their needs.
Make sure to also include a brief description for the items you add especially if this information is not clear in each item's name. Customers always appreciate profiles that display helpful information and make it clear. Having complete products and services sections, you have a higher chance of ranking higher especially if customers are searching for a specific product or service.
5. Handle Online Reviews Professionally.
Last but not least, it is extremely important to catch up on Google reviews that your customers have written about your business. We always recommend you find your Google review link on your GMB dashboard and share it with customers and ask for their reviews. Online reviews have been proven to significantly impact customers' purchase decision, so try your best to respond to all comments, both good and bad.
When replying to positive reviews from customers, it is important that you show appreciation and thank your customers for writing you a review.
Bad reviews, on the other hand, can be trickier to respond to. Often, customers express their dissatisfaction but don't provide enough information so you might not even be sure what led to this unsatisfactory experience. Although each situation might be different, the standard approach is to show sympathy and politely ask customers to get in touch with you through email or on the phone so you can improve their experience.
Keep in mind that reviews will always be shown on your profile and you do not have the option to delete reviews. Therefore, it is essential that you respond and handle situations professionally. By doing so, you will show your customers that you value their feedback, and their satisfaction is your priority.
Overall, Google My Business is an extremely powerful tool that can be transformative when used accurately and consistently. To rank higher in search results, aim to complete your account with as much of your business information as possible. If you don't have a GMB account, you can simply create one using your Gmail account and you can activate your account when you receive your confirmation code in the mail. If you need some extra help setting up and boosting your account, contact us and we will more than happy to help you.