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Contractors Guide to Google My Business Listing

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.

Contractors google my business

 

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.

 

Small Business contractor Guide to Google My Business Listing Used on google maps app

Now you simply click on each of the gas station results until you find a listing that accepts Apple Pay.

Google My Business contractors Listing on google maps

 

Bow that you’ve found a gas station in google maps that has the “accepts Apple Pay”.

 

Google maps app contracting listing Apple Pay Google My Business Listing

 

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.

 

Gmb contractors listing

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.

Example 1: “Marketing Media Wizard Contractor Digital Marketing Agency

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

Google My Business contracting listing

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.

Unclaimedc contractor google my business listing

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 editing for multiple contracting business owners in your google my business listing

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.

Multiple contractor locations is easily handled in you google my Business listing dashboard

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.

Google my business contractor  listing customer reviews you need to get

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.

Contractor Google My Business listing Reviews

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:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Grapevine+Restaurant+1055+Camp+Road+Lake+Country+BC+V4V+2H4&rlz=1C5CHFA_enCA721CA721&oq=Grapevine+Restaurant+1055+Camp+Road+Lake+Country+BC+V4V+2H4&aqs=chrome..69i57.223j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x537def7112150d03:0x9913e7c27521bfa0,3

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:

http://bit.ly/MarketingMediaWizardGoogleReview

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.

Contractor google My Business

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.

Contractor google My Business page

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Local SEO

 

An important first step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business’ Google My Business (GMB) listing. Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. Qualifying local businesses can claim this free listing on Google and include basic information about their company, like their address, phone number, business hours and types of payments accepted.

If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for a Local SEO Boost

Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. What most businesses don’trealize is that there are a variety of other features you can use to optimize your Google My Business listing and several reasons why you should frequently check your business listing to ensure that it’s accuracy stays intact. Want to know more?

Complete all the information Google asks for

There are a variety of questions you can answer to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have valuable data that will make it easier for potential customers to find your company. And if you don’t fill that information in, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can suggest a change to your business listing — and that includes competitors.

When a searcher clicks on your GMB listing they can see a “Suggest an edit” option:

 

Google my business marketing media wizard

 

When someone clicks on that option they can literally edit your Google My Business listing (and make some pretty dramatic changes, too):

 

 

This is just one reason why it’s very important that you login to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has attempted to make any unwanted changes to your business listing. In your account, you’ll see an alert that changes are pending if someone has made suggested changes that need your approval before Google publishes them.

Also, keep in mind that Google encourages people who are familiar with your business to answer questions, so Google can learn more information about your small business. To do this they can simply click on the “Know this place? Answer quick questions” link.

 

They’ll then be prompted to answer some questions about your business.

 

 

If they know the answer to the questions, they can answer. If not, they can decline.

Now, some business owners have cried foul, saying that competitors or others with malicious intent can wreak havoc on their Google My Business listings with this feature. However, Google’s philosophy is that this type of “user-generated content” helps to build a community, more fully completes a business’ profile, and allows Google to experiment with different search strategies.

After you get your Google My Business listing verified, continue to check your listing regularly to be on the safe side.

Google My Business Posts

Google Posts are “mini-ads” that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps.)

 

You can have fun with your Posts by adding an image, a Call to Action (CTA), and even including a link to another page or website. If you’re using Yext, you can create GMB Posts directly from your Yext dashboard.

Here are just a few Post ideas:

  • If you’re having an event (like a webinar) you can set up an event Post with a date and time and then add a link to the registration page.
  • Do you have a sale going on during a specific time? Create a “sale” event Post.
  • Does your latest blog post rock? Add a short description of your blog post and link to the post on your blog.
  • New product you want to feature? Show a picture of this cool gadget and link to where people can make the purchase.
  • Want to spread holiday joy? Give potential customers a holiday message Post.

The possibilities with Posts are endless! Posts stay “live” for seven days or “go dark” after the date of the event. Google is great about sending you reminders when it’s time to create a new Post.

TIP: To grab a searcher’s attention, you want to include an image in your Post, but on Google Maps the Post image can get cut off. You might have to test a few Post image sizes to make sure it’s sized appropriately for Maps and the Knowledge Panel on desktop and mobile devices.

To get started with Posts, login to your GMB dashboard and you’ll see the Posts option on the left-hand side:

Do Google My Business Posts help with search rankings? Joy Hawkins and Steady Demand tested whether Posts had an impact on rankings, and they found that making Google My Business Posts can improve rankings.

Booking button feature

Google’s new Booking button feature can really help your business stand out from the crowd. If you have any type of business that relies on customers making appointments and you’re using integrated scheduling software, people can now book an appointment with your business directly from your Google My Business listing. This can make it even easier to get new customers!

If you have an account with one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, the booking button is automatically added to your Google My Business listing.

Messaging

Did you know that you can allow potential customers to send you text messages? This is a great way to connect directly with potential customers.

If you don’t want text messages sent to your personal phone number, you can download Google’s Allo app. When you set up your Allo account, use the same phone number connected to your Google My Business account. Now when someone messages you, Allo will send you a notification instead of the message appearing in your personal text messages.

To get started with Messaging, login to your GMB dashboard and click on “Messaging”:

This feature is still in its infancy, though. Right now, messaging is only available to mobile web users and is not available to mobile app or desktop users. People also won’t see the Messaging option in the Knowledge Panel or on Google Maps.

The ONLY way someone can message your business is if they perform a mobile web search on Chrome. (I expect that Google will expand the Messaging feature once they work the kinks out.)

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers is a relatively new feature to Google local search. It’s very cool! Just like it sounds, Q&A allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer those questions.

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind about Questions & Answers:

  • The Q&A feature is not visible on the mobile GMB app.
  • You need to login to the GMB dashboard to see if you have any new questions that need answering.
  • You cannot monitor the Questions on a mobile device unless you have an Android phone.
  • You can use the Google Maps App on Android devices to manage the Q&A feature as the business. To do this, download the Google Maps app, sign in with the email address you use for your GMB listing, and you will get push notifications if someone asks your business a question.

TIP: It’s important to note that just like “Suggest an Edit” on GMB, anyone can answer questions asked of your business. Therefore, you want to keep an eye out and make sure you answer questions quickly and ensure that if someone else answers a question, that the answer is accurate. If you find that someone is abusing your GMB listing’s Q&A feature, reach out to the Google My Business support forums.

Google My Business online reviews

Unlike Yelp, which vehemently discourages business owners to ask their customers for reviews, Google encourages business owners to ethically ask their customers or clients for online reviews. Online reviews appear next to your listing in Google Maps and your business’ Knowledge Panel in search. Reviews can help your business stand out among a sea of search results.

Additionally, online reviews are known to impact search result rankings, consumer trust, and click-through rates. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey:

  • 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked — with 74% having been asked for their feedback
  • 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year

If you follow Google’s guidelines for Google My Business reviews, you can ask your customers for reviews. (However, if you violate any of these policies, your reviews could be removed.)

When customers leave reviews for you — good or bad — make sure you respond to them. Not only does it show that customer that you appreciate their feedback, it also shows potential customers that you care.

What happens if you get a negative review? First, don’t freak out. Everybody has a bad day and most people recognize that. Also, if you have a troll that gave you a one-star review and left a nasty comment, most people with common sense recognize that review for what it is. It’s generally not worth stressing over.