What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) listing service was developed and launched by the search engine giant Google, in 2014. Google My Business for contractors has quickly established itself as one of the dominant online local business directories mostly due its tight integration in Google Search and Google Maps. Any type of home improvement business, large or small, absolutely should create a Google My Business Contractors profile to manage their information and optimize their local SEO ranking.
Contractors that have a brick and mortar storefronts can update their store hours, address, and contact information to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for customers to use that search in Google.
An example of this would if you are needing gas, but left your wallet at home and only had your phone which had Apple Pay and needed to find the closest gas station that accepted one of those payment types. So you open up your Google Maps App and select gas stations from the menu options.
The search returns several gas station listings from which you now have to select the closest gas station to you, which accepts Apple Pay, to fill up and avoid running out of gas, for the 4th damn time this month.
Now you simply click on each of the gas station results until you find a listing that accepts Apple Pay.
Bow that you’ve found a gas station in google maps that has the “accepts Apple Pay”.
Now you just have to activate the map directions and drive to the location.
And I will throw this in, just because a business lists as accepting Apple Pay doesn’t necessarily mean they actually do take it. Ran into that problem a week ago, hence this blog post.
Why is it important?
Just like in the example above your customers will use Google Search or Google Maps at different points in their buying cycle, whether they are looking for more broad information on things like “attractions to see in Orlando” to more specific requests like your business name or “Wawa near me”.
Your local contracting business is indexed and displayed to internet users based on the information Google has on file. If Google has accurate and updated info on your business then it will be able to do its job of matching the users search queries with your business based on relevancy and proximity.
Brand Search vs. Non-Brand Search
Branded Search and Non-Branded Search are both equally important, and Google My Business has a major coordinating role in the search visibility of these 2 types of searches.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more complex than simply ranking your business on Google My Business alone, but by optimizing your contractor Google My Business page m, Google will have more accurate information on your home improvement business category and association with your contracting website to assist with non-branded keyword searches.
Brand Search refers to your business name, and variants of your business name.
Variant 1: “Marketing Media Wizard Home Improvement SEO”
Variant 2: “MMW Contractor Marketing”
Non-brand search refers to a more broad-based search, made up of search phrases that are relevant to your business.
Example: “Contractor Digital Marketing Agency”
Example 2: “Contractor SEO Experts”
Starting Point With Google My Business
By using the same Gmail account for all your Google products such as: Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and any other Google products will help you to stay organized, and link them together, as all of these products work in tandem.
With our Google Account, we can check to see if a Google My Business page already exists for your business. Sometimes GMB pages will be automatically created if Google can see other social media profiles or your business information on trusted websites like business directories.
The example below displays an unclaimed Google My Business profile from Kokanee Park Marina. By clicking the “Own this business” text link in the profile, you will be able to claim the page, verify it by phone or postcard, and begin updating and making changes to the page.
Note: sometimes adding “google plus” or the city to your business name in your search query may help discover your GMB knowledge panel.
If your Google My Business Contractors page does not exist yet, you can create a new one by clicking here.
Bulk Verification for Franchises & Multiple (10+) Location Business Owners
Google My Business allows you to bulk verify, and organize your store locations in a Business Account folder. Google will provide a spreadsheet template to collect all locations for a bulk verification submission. We have helped clients with this migration, and more information to start this process can be found here
Once all your locations are claimed and verified, you can assign a store code to each location and make bulk changes to the store hours, cover image, business category and more.
Optimize Your Business Location Page
Now that we have a verified page (or pending via sent postcard) you can begin filling out the profile with useful information to improve the quality of this page. Start with the “info” tab and check to make sure all your business information is correct. Under the “photos” tab you can upload you business logo, profile and cover photo. These images are important for the less popular Google Plus, but they can also be used in your contractor Google My Business profile.
Claim Your Google My Business Contractor Listing
Reviews can be managed from the same Google My Business dashboard. If you have positive (or negative) reviews you really have to take the time to respond to all of them, in order to let everyone know that your business values customers one feedback and that you’re active on your contractor Google My Business page.
The Insights tab shows you how your Google My Business contractor listing is being used and its visibility in Google Search and Google Maps. Google refers to “Direct” and “Discovery” as the brand and non-brand search terms.
Generate a Sharable Review Link
The reviews your business collects on your Google My Business page are powerful for social proof and building trust with potential customers. Google treats reviews as a kind of 3rd party testimonial about anothers experience with that business , so encouraging your happy customers to leave a review on your contractor Google My Business listing is a win-win.
The best way to generate a review link for your Google My Business page is to find your GMB contractor page on Google search, and click the “reviews” linked text.
From there, click “Write a Review” and copy the URL in the address bar. This URL can then be shared in an email to your customers as a part of your follow up.
Note: your customers will need a Google (@gmail.com) Account in order to leave a Google review.
Example Review URL:
URL a bit long? You can run it through Bit.ly URL shortener by clicking on the link.
Now you have a sharable review link that looks like this:
Create your own short URL to make it super easy for your customers to share their experience on your contractor Google My Business page. Some of our clients use this same practice in an automated email follow up or by reaching out themselves to make a request for a review.
Google My Business will grow larger than what it is now.
Google has designed Google My Business contractors to be easily self-managed by the business owner. New features are constantly being added, so keep an eye on your dashboard for them.
One new feature shows foot traffic to store locations. Any home Improvement contractors that see a lot of foot traffic might see the “popular times” information in the GMB knowledge panel. The popular times feature gathers location data from smartphone users who have opted-in to Google’s location services. I expect this type of real-time information to become even more common in Google products in the coming years.