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Google My Business Listing Features: Some Quick Hacks and Tips

Every business wants to flourish & in order to do so, increasing the business’s ranking on Google is really very essential. On the way to get a place in the top most searches of Google, we make different SEO strategies. One of the basic strategies in this process is to go for Google My Business listing.  The aim behind Google My Business (GMB) is that it increases the chances of getting search result in your favor & makes your Google business page popular.

The GMB is able to do so by showing your business’s name in Google’s Local 3-Pack, adding business to Google Maps as well as to the Local Finder. You don’t have to do much to claim the free listing. You have to provide some basic information to qualify your local business and then you are good to go.

Just to register business on Google My Business listing is not enough; one should possess the knowledge of using it for the benefit of the business. You will not have an advantageous position by just getting listed, you have to use its features to optimize it. We will discuss the Google features in this article, but before we jump into that you need to make sure you register your business on Google My Business by visiting https://www.google.com/business

Now lets have a look at some quick hacks and tips for Google My Business Listing Features Optimization.

Fill your Google My Business Profile Completely

First you have to complete your business profile on Google My Business by filling in basic information about you business. Providing sufficient information helps the customer to find your business from the million others. Here is how you can claim and optimize your GMB profile. It is to be noted that anyone can make a suggestion to edit your business’s information and get it changed. For example, a competitor could use the suggestion box to relocate your business, which benefits them by trying to move you out of the way. If you’re the type that doesn’t get online much or may not check GMB regularly, this could be an issue.

When someone clicks on your Google My Business listing the “Suggest an edit” feature is available for them to use, as seen below.

google my business - suggest an edit

On clicking this option, the searcher can make changes in your listing.

google my business - suggest an edit

In an attempt to remain protected from any such changes, one should login to Google My Business account on a regular basis. Other than this, one should check for the notification of pending changes suggested by different searchers that need to get your approval.

How “Know this place? Answer quick questions” feature works?

In addition to the “Suggest an edit” option, there is another option which says “Know this place? Answer quick questions”. Google has incorporated this option to know more about your business. Any person who has some information in relation to your business can click on this option and give the answers to the questions asked about your business.

google my business - answer quick question

They’ll then get a prompt to answer a few questions about your business and their related experience:

google my business review

There are some business organizations that are against this feature. According to them, the competitors can use this feature as a weapon to ruin their Google My Business Listing. But, Google has a different opinion on this. Google considers this “user-generated content” as an attempt to complete the profile of the business and at the same time, it grants Google an opportunity to develop its various search strategies.

So, it is really very important to check your GMB listing regularly and protect yourself from any malpractice.

Google My Business Posts in Knowledge Panel and Google Maps

Before discussing further, we should first understand that what are Google Posts? The Google My Business Posts are “mini- ads” which appears on the search result for your GMB Listing in both the knowledge panel and google maps.

google my business knowledge place and google map example

One can make various additions to his/ her Google posts like incorporating an image in the post, using a Call to Action (CTA) or hyperlink the post with some other web page. The user can even use Yext to create Google posts.

Below are some ideas which you can use to create your own GMB Posts:

  • An event post can be created, when you are looking forward to organize an event, in which you can add the details like the time and date. Along with this, a link can also be attached to it which will direct the customer to the registration page of that event.
  • Create a sale event post to let your customers know about a sale.
  • Want to promote your latest product? Just create a post having the images of your product and provide a link through which the customer can purchase that product.
  • You can even make posts to wish the customers and spread joy like a post wishing Merry Christmas or New Year etc.

Creating a Post on Google My Business

You can design a post of any kind and Google assists you in this by giving you reminders about creating a post. You should keep in mind these posts will remain active for seven days or until the specified date on which the event will be held.

google my business post example

Pro Tip: You should  test different image sizes before making a post. If the image is not of an ideal size then it will not appear properly on Maps along with the knowledge panel. Images which are properly sized, will not get cropped and will appear clearly.

You can create a post by clicking on the “Posts” tab which appears on the left side of Google My Business dashboard.

how to create post on google my business

Here, a question arises that whether these posts have a positive effect on the ranking of your Google Business Page? The answer is yes, it improves the ranking, as tested by Joy Hawkins with Steady Demand.

Use Google Booking feature to get new customers

Who doesn’t want to flourish its business and wants to attract more and more customers. This could now be possible with Google’s booking buttons feature. Through this, a customer can book an appointment from the GMB listing without much of a hassle. The customer’s work becomes easier using the button feature and thus more and more customers are attracted towards your business.

google my business booking button

The Google My Business Listing of your business will show a button to schedule the appointment if you have already created an account with any of the scheduling providers of Google.

Enable Text Messaging on Phone Number or Google Allo

Connecting with customers is a good way to make them confident about your business and leave a positive impact on them. So, you can use the messaging feature to connect with customers. This feature allows the customers to send you text messages when they have questions about your product or service.

If you don’t want to receive messages directly to your personal number then it’s better to use Google Allo app.

google-my-business-features-google-allo-app

You will receive notifications for messages on Google Allo app instead of getting the message in your personal inbox.

For enabling this feature, just click on the “Messaging” option appearing on the GMB dashboard.

google my business messaging setup

The messaging feature of Google my Business is still in development stage so you must take a note of it. This means that the option of messaging will show up to the mobile web users who are using Chrome only. It will not appear to the desktop as well as the mobile app users.

In addition, the messaging option will also not appear in the knowledge panel along with the Google Maps.

Questions & Answers on Google Local Search

If people will know more about your business then there are chances that if satisfied with your service, they will become your permanent customers. The Question & Answer feature allows the people to know more about you by asking you some questions and you will give answers to their questions.

questions and answers on google my business listing

Here are some guidelines that will help you out with this feature:

  • The mobile GMB app does not support the Question & Answer feature.
  • Login to your Google My Business dashboard to find out if you have any new questions that need to answer.
  • You need to have an android mobile device to monitor the customer questions, iPhone users cannot use this Google feature.
  • Business owners can use google maps app to get a notification about the questions asked and also answer the questions.

google my business answer questions and reviews

TIP: You can take help of the GMB Support Forum, in case, when someone abuses your Q&A feature by giving incorrect answers using “Suggest an Edit” option.

Ask your Customers for Google My Business Online Reviews

Reviews are a nice way to know what’s there in the mind of customers. Hence, Google wants business owners to ask for reviews from customers. You can easily ask the customer for a review by just following the guidelines given by Google. The customer reviews appear along with your listing in the knowledge panel whenever your business name is searched and also appears in Google Maps too. Good Reviews about your business helps you to build goodwill and good reputation in the market.

Additionally, online reviews impact search result rankings, consumer trust, and click-through rates.

According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey:

  • 97% of potential customers checkout online reviews for local businesses.
  • 12% of internet users are actively searching for a local business every day
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 73% of consumers trust a local business only after reading positive reviews
  • 51% of consumers don’t choose a business if it has less than 4 star rating.
  • Responding to good and bad reviews is very important nowadays, with 30% of consumers stating that this says a lot about how a business treats their customers, when judging local businesses
  • 68% of consumers leave a local business review when they are asked for it.
  • 79% of consumers report to have read a fake review in the last year

Your work doesn’t end on getting the review; you also have to respond to that review. Whether the review is a positive or negative one, a reply to that review makes a positive image of yours that you welcome the feedback given by the customers.

It’s not that you’ll always get positive reviews, there will be days when you’ve to face some negative reviews also. In such situation, don’t feel low as there is a rainbow after the storm. A few negative reviews will be covered by a lot of positive reviews. So, it is not worthwhile to put so much stress on the bad reviews, keep your focus on providing the highest level of attention to customers in order to get good reviews.

Conclusion

If you do it in right way, Google My Business
can provide you significant improvement in your business growth. Each of the points mentioned above are equally important to take the benefit of GMB listing. As a business owner, you must have learnt now how important Google local search listing is for your business growth and lead generation without any charges. Well, if you still have any doubt or queries about Google My Business listing and its optimization, you can always ask us questions here or Contact Marketing Media Wizard to talk with one of our helpful specialist.

Claiming and Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile

 

I want to talk to you today about Google My Business. It is a crucial online, digital tool service from Google that is available to local businesses, true brick and mortar businesses, or service area businesses. You have to have a business in a location to claim a profile for that location, but when you do, it does unlock some powerful tools.

This is something that is available for free to any business like those I mentioned above. If you do work out of your home and you don’t want to put your address in there, you can actually claim a service area of where you go out and serve your clients, but it does have to be in your community. You can’t be in Chicago and say, “Well, I’ve got customers in Dallas. I’d like to actually claim that.” You have to have it in the city where you have your actual business.

I want to talk a little bit to those of you that have not claimed your profile, have not created it, or haven’t implemented this idea at all. So, what I want you to do is type into Google the name of your business, not your website, just the name of your business and maybe the city where your business is located. Generally speaking, there is a really good chance that you actually have a Google My Business profile that has been created in your business’s name because Google is constantly looking for information, addresses, phone numbers, things out there to present information when people are searching. So, don’t be surprised if you find one.

Now, also, don’t be surprised if you had nothing to do with setting it up or you set it up five years ago in one of the various ways that Google allowed us to do these things called Google Places and Google Plus. Google Local, I think, was actually the original version. So, don’t be surprised if it’s out there. But under Google My Business, you really now want to make sure that you claim that thing and enhance it. I’m going to talk a little bit about how to do that and the first step really is to then verify that it is your listing. Now, if you’ve got that listing and you are familiar with this process, stay tuned because I’m going to talk about how to enhance it in ways that I don’t necessarily see everybody doing. But let’s go back to how you do this process.

Claim your business

Frankly, if you just want to start from the very beginning, business.google.com is where you’ll go to find a Google My Business profile or to set up a Google My Business profile, but once you find it, if you’ve already claimed it, you should be able to log into business.google.com and do all the editing we’re going to talk about. But if you find that it’s not been verified, you’re going to have to go through a couple of steps and sometimes these are easier than others.

The first step is if you find your profile and it says, “Is this your business,” that’s a really good sign that it has not been claimed. Click on yes, this is my business, and you will have a number of processes you might have to go through. They may have to mail you a postcard. You may be able to do it with an email or with a text. It depends on the state of your profile and how sure Google is about the information in that. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly which one will be the one for you.

Remove duplicates

Now, here’s another issue that we come across all the time. Don’t be surprised if you actually find duplicate listings. This again, I think, goes back to the days when this data was coming from Google Places and from Google Local and then Google Plus and sometimes, people just set up three or four Google Plus accounts because somebody left the organization and they decided they needed one and so they set another one up. So, don’t be surprised if you find duplicate listings and a lot of times, it might be a variation of the name or a different phone number or maybe you moved your business and so it has a different address.

So, what you want to do is you want to find the one that is incorrect or that is certainly not right (maybe it doesn’t have the full information and so it’s the one you want to get rid of). So, what you want to do is you will typically find a tab that says “suggest and edit.” You want to click on that and you want to mark that location as permanently closed. I’m finding that Google wants to clean up that information and so if they can verify that that is accurate, they will close it within a week.

If it was set up by somebody who no longer works for you or you don’t even really know who set it up, it’s going to take a little longer because they’re going to actually try to reach out to the email address that they have on file for that and if they don’t get a response, they will go ahead and make that change. So, cleaning up that duplicate may be your first step. So, claim or create, verify that it’s your listing, and then see if you can clean up duplicates. Unfortunately, that’s the first step.

Add your name, address, and phone number

Google My Business Listing

Now, let’s go through the profile itself. The most important information is the name of your business, address, and phone number. Don’t get cute with this. I mean, in some cases, people will try to put keywords at the end of their name and all kinds of goofy things that somebody told them to get so they’d benefit from it. Don’t do it. Make the business the name of your business as you want your customers to see it, the address, make it consistent with what you have on your website, and the phone number, make it consistent with what you have on your website as well. Make sure that those things are accurate. This might be a good time to look at your website as well. Have you got that wrong on your website? Don’t laugh. I find it all the time. So, let’s make sure that those are right and the same as your website.

Choose the right category

The next really important element is something they call “category” and particularly, if you have not claimed your Google My Business profile, Google will take a guess at what they think it is based on your name, based on a description, based on things they find out there on the web. Don’t take their advice necessarily. They may or may not have that right. Your primary category should be the primary category that you want to rank for when somebody goes out there searching. So, if you are, for example, a remodeling contractor, then you don’t want your primary one to be “construction company” and there’s a really good chance it is. So, they actually have categories for “remodeling contractor.” I think they even have a category for kitchen remodeling. So, you want to make sure that you get as specific as possible with that primary category.

The good news is you will also get to choose some secondary categories and so I definitely recommend that you do that as well and again, don’t get cute here. Make sure they really are categories related to your business.

Adding images

Some of the other information like hours and things are pretty straightforward. There is an opportunity for you to upload images and this is something that Google tracks in their insights and so I do think it’s a ranking factor. Also, particularly on a mobile device, it’s a good trust building and content element. So, upload 8 or 10 photos of your products, of your business, of your people. It doesn’t really matter what it is, but make sure that you have some pretty good representative images that you upload. So, that’s the setting up of the profile and again, after you claim it and after you do some things to enhance it, there’s really not a whole lot more to that.

Understand Google My Business attributes

Another thing that they just added is that you can actually, if you’re logged into your Google account, and you do a search for your business, they have now started showing an editable version of your Google My Business profile. Nobody else can see that, but you’ll be able to see it and what’s really nice about that is that you can actually respond to reviews right in there. You can make changes. You can see what statistical data they’re now sharing, and I’m going to talk a little more about that, but that’s another way to actually access your Google My Business profile that is fairly new.

GMB editing

I want to go over a couple of the attributes of your Google My Business profile that when you sign in to business.google, you’ll have these options available and some of them are becoming pretty potent. I think it’s indicative of the fact that Google is really investing in Google My Business and adding some very interesting new features. I think it’s really a sign that this is a key component for them, which to me marks the reason for actually really getting involved in understanding your Google My Business profile and viewing it frequently rather than just set it and forget it.

Posts

When you log in, you will notice “Posts” along the left side panel and this is a new feature I think you should play with. There is some indication that this is actually helping people rank. So, maybe you have a special coming up or maybe you have a new product or a workshop that you’re holding, it just allows you to put that information in there and you can set when it expires. People are finding that they are getting traffic from these posts because you can also put a link to your workshop sign up or something like that. So, I think that it is worth spending a little bit of time to go in and enhance that and add those posts on a routine basis.

Insights

Another tool is called Insights and this will give you a little bit of information on how many times your profile is showing up in search or in maps and what people are doing. Are they calling you? Are they clicking on it? Are they looking for driving directions? All the things that people can do and do frequently, particularly on mobile devices. It’s not like in analytics where you can compare one quarter to the next quarter or something unless you take that data and put it in a spreadsheet. But it is useful to look at.

Reviews

This is also a place where you can see not only your reviews but reply to your reviews and frankly, replying to every one of your reviews. Getting reviews, of course, is extremely, extremely important. Replying to reviews I think can be very important as well and this is for both good reviews and bad reviews. Bad reviews, of course, because it gives you an opportunity to tell your side of the story, if you will, or maybe state the facts as only you can, but I think when you respond to five-star reviews as well, I think it does a couple of things.

First off, that person that gave you the review is going to get a notice and, quite frankly, probably appreciate that you saw that and replied. But it’s also another opportunity for you to show a personal side of your business. I work with an assisted living facility and they will frequently get glowing reviews of how well they have cared for somebody’s mother or father. To have the owner go in there and make a comment or a personal anecdote about that person and something that he remembered I think is tremendous content and over time is really great social proof.

Messaging

Another element I want to talk about is messaging. What they’ll ask you to do is connect that to a phone that can receive text. So, it has to be a mobile device that not only can receive text, but does, and that you can respond with. If you’re in the right kind of business, this could be a great leg up because a lot of times when people are searching out there on Google, they are trying to solve something.

They want to hire somebody right now to do something and instead of sending an email or even picking up the phone, because a lot of people don’t like to do that, if they can text right from their browser window and they can get a response from you immediately, you might win the deal.

Appointment booking

If you’re the kind of business that books appointments, they’re now actually making that an option right off of your Google My Business page. Again, you have to integrate it with one of the booking kind of services that they work with. There’s about a dozen that are on there currently, so that might be an option if you’re a hair salon or a massage facility or something of that nature.

Google websites

I’m not recommending this for everyone, but they are actually now adding a platform where you can build a Google website. Essentially, it’ll just be a very simple landing page but they’ve got a couple of tools on there to make it pretty and add photos and drag and drop some things. So, if you’ve been living on your Facebook page and you don’t have a full website, which is certainly what we recommend, it could be an option for you as well.

So, that’s really all I wanted to cover today on Google My Business, but this is really a key ranking factor for local businesses and it’s probably the primary building block these days for a local business. For example, when you see those businesses that show up in the maps listing when somebody searches hair salon near me, you can’t show up in that unless you have a profile that you have claimed, that you’ve optimized and obviously, getting things like reviews, and frequently adding posts, and making sure that the information is accurate is how you’re going to show up. That’s one of the pieces of the puzzle. There are of course many others, but that’s the one I wanted to cover today.