As a local business, your Google My Business page is an important tool to help drive customers to your physical and online stores as well as gaining valuable visibility by potential customers in your local area.

Whilst statistics show that only 5% of Google My Business listing views result in a call, click or enquiry, your listing can increase brand awareness and help drive customers to your door on the same day that they searched.

Benefits of Google My Business

Despite Google My Business listings being a very powerful tool for local business owners, many haven’t set up a page or populated the listing they do have. As well as being completely free, the benefits of setting up a Google My Business page are:

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Easily manage where you are placed on the map
  • Manage and respond to customer reviews
  • Upload quality images of your business
  • Provide contact details for your business such as your website, phone number and address
  • Let customers know what time your business is open
  • See what words and phrases your business listing appears for in Google

Google shows three local listing results in the SERPs, by completing the following tasks and fully optimising your listing you can maximise your visibility and gain customers that may have gone to your competitors instead.

Set Up/Claim Your Listing

First thing first is to set up your Google My Business page. To do this, go to the official Google My Business page and click ‘Manage Now’. You will then be able to search for your business name and see if a listing already exists, if it doesn’t then click ‘Add your business to Google’. Go through and ensure you fill out every field correctly, especially your address and website.

If you don’t have a physical store that you work from/customers can visit, instead of entering an address you can specify which locations you serve.

Choose The Best Category For Your Business

Whichever category you select will influence what searches Google deems your listing relevant to. You can’t create your own category however there is a very extensive list of categories provided by Google, so at least one should fit your business.

Ensure that you look at all your options and don’t select a very generic category such as ‘Clothes shop’ when the category ‘Designer Clothes Outlet’ is much more relevant to the service you offer. By selecting a very broadly related category, you are very unlikely to appear in the top 3 results.

Upload High Quality Images

It’s surprising how many business listings don’t have any images at all. High quality, relevant images can help your listing stand out from the rest and also make your business appear more trustworthy to customers that don’t know you yet. Having no images gives a poor first impression and Google has stated that listings with photos generate twice the amount of interest as those without, so ensure you have a good variety of images, including:

  • Images of your premises
  • Team photos
  • Product products
  • Anything else that highlights your business in a positive manner

Data Consistency

Google looks for consistency and legitimacy when approving listings, so it’s crucial that your business information is the same across all websites and citations. Whilst you may think you have filled out your address the same everywhere, you may have forgotten to enter your county in one instance or put ‘Rd’ instead of ‘Road’ somewhere else.

In order to ensure your business information is exactly the same everywhere, pick a default way in which you write out your address and phone number, and stick to it at all cost. You should also work on building up high quality citation links into your website so Google can verify your address via those links too.

Use A Local Phone Number

Using one consistent phone number amongst your listings is important, but equally as important is ensuring that your business phone number is a local one. Using a phone number with a local area code rather than a mobile number, for example, shows Google in another way that you are a local business based in the area you say you are. It also looks more professional.

Ensure your local phone number is in a prominent position on your website, not only to verify to Google that it’s your real number, but to drive leads. If potential customers can’t find your phone number quickly and easily, how are they going to call you?

Abide By Google My Business Guidelines

If Google sees or suspects that you are trying to manipulate the system in a way that goes against their guidelines, you will be suspended. Not only will this be time consuming to fix, it’s also bad for business for your listing to disappear from the SERPs completely.

Important guidelines to abide by:

  • Use only your actual business URL in your listing, not a URL that redirects to your website
  • Ensure the business name field contains only your business name, not keywords or location
  • Only one listing is allowed per business location
  • Do not provide an address for your business that isn’t a storefront or address that customers can visit you at, such as a home address or PO box

Create A Review Strategy

Once you have set up your listing, start encouraging new and existing customers to leave positive and honest reviews of your business on your Google My Business Listing. It’s no surprise that the listings in the top 3 results happen to have reviews. Google aims to provide searches with the most relevant information and the best businesses in their local area, so it’s wise to actively seek out reviews to enhance your listing as this may be the difference between you and your competitors.

Do you need enhancing your Google My Business listing and gaining quality, industry relevant citation links into your website? Get in touch to see how we can help!