If you search for your business name, it’s likely that Google already shows you a profile for your business in the right column. But have you taken the extra step of claiming that business profile?
If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to reach and convert potential customers.
In this post, we’ll tell you why you should do more on Google My Business, then let you know exactly what you can do.
Is Google My Business Really That Important? Yes, Yes It Is
Google processes north of 3 billion searches every day and has over 90% of the market. For many, it may be the first time they learn anything about your business.
So what happens when you get a bad review on your Business Profile? Or Google confuses your business contact information — “John’s Tires” — with info from “Jonathan’s Tire Warehouse”?
Naturally, you’d want to set the record straight, right?
If you have claimed your business profile and set up your Google My Business account, you can take action more quickly to address the review or correct errors.
Also, claiming your profile and posting on it can help improve your search rank — more on that later.
First, How to Set Up a Google My Business Account
Start by searching for your business name on Google. If details come up in the right column, look for the words: “Own this business?” Click on them.
From here, Google will walk you through what is required to claim the business listing. Consider carefully what Google account to use to claim the business. It’s best to use an account that will be accessible even if the individual who sets it up leaves the organization.
In some cases, you may learn that your profile was already claimed. This may have been done by someone who worked at the company previously or even an outside agency that was previously hired. Hopefully you can contact the individual who has access to the email account connected to your business profile. If not, you’ll have to go through some hoops to recover the account.
In order to have full access to your business profile, you will have to verify the mailing addresses in most cases. Google will send a code via snail mail, and then you will have to input it once you receive it.
This is often where the ball gets dropped when verifying a business, so set a reminder in your calendar to look out for the mailing from Google in 3-5 business days. Also, let administrative staff know to keep an eye out for it as well.
Once you have claimed ownership of your business:
- You get the ability to manage the profile and the account, including making changes as necessary to correct errors and problems
- You gain access to useful analytics to help you see what’s working and what isn’t so you can better connect with customers
- You have the option to use a variety of tools to improve visibility
- You can start communicating directly with anyone who has asked a question or written a review
In short: you’re ready to start using your new account! Here are a few best practices to make the most of Google My Business.
Google My Business Best Practices to Follow
Add more details to your business profile
A basic business profile is just that — basic. Now that you have editing access, add in any important information that isn’t there already. Name and address are great, but it’s also helpful to have business hours and links to resources like your website, social accounts, and any online shopping channels.
Don’t wait to update
One of the most frustrating things about having a Business Profile without a GMB account is that you often have to wait days for any changes (like an address change) to go through. Editor access means that any changes you make take effect immediately. Take advantage of this.
If people have asked questions or written reviews, respond — and do so as quickly and regularly as you can! Set up direct messaging and alerts so you never miss a thing.
When replying to a bad review, be cautious. Make sure you’re not coming across as defensive or blaming. Instead, mention what steps you have taken to prevent the problem in the future or how you attempted to make the situation right with this particular client.
Everyone knows that sometimes the problem is the client. When that’s the case, share your side of the story as objectively as possible.
In general, make sure you are not in a heated or emotional state when replying to a bad review. And consider having someone with nothing at stake in the situation review what you plan to post.
Also, here’s something to keep in mind when you get a bad review: studies have shown that people trust a company more when it has a few negative reviews than when a company only has positive reviews. Why? Because those few negative comments make them believe your reviews are real — and not somehow faked. People also put more trust in a company that is willing to own up to and try to correct its mistakes.
So, instead of looking at that trouble customer as a bad thing, you can silently thank them for the leg up!
Here’s where Google My Business can make a difference for SEO.
Google wants to point searchers to businesses that are currently active. It doesn’t want to send people to a business that isn’t accepting clients yet or has shut down. So it is looking for signals that your business is indeed still providing services or products currently.
One way to communicate that is by publishing posts on GMB regularly. Google has said that this is particularly valuable for new businesses or new websites, so keep that in mind.
GMB posts are similar to Facebook or Twitter. They are short messages often accompanied with an image.
The posts can technically be as long as 1,500 characters, but in our opinion you should go even shorter — 300 characters at most. And always include an image.
What can you do in 300 characters?
- Make an announcement. An address update. A phone number change. New hours.
- Post an event. Include a brief description as well as time, date, and start and end times.
- Feature a product or service. Nothing elaborate. Just a few lines about a particular product or service you offer.
- Share a testimonial. Toot your own horn! Draw attention to what people are saying about your business.
- Offer a promotion. Everyone likes a deal. Let people know when you’re having a sale (and how long it lasts) or create a digital coupon and send it out.
Need more help? Don’t hesitate to reach out to WR Digital Marketing.