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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.

What You Need to Know About Google Local Services Ads

Oh, in my truest Bob Dylan voice, the times they are a changing for local marketing and SEO.

Local search is one of the last places left for Google to wring a little more ad spend out of small businesses.

The local map listing today is pure gold for mobile searches for certain types of businesses and Google knows it so they are expanding their Local Service ads accordingly.

Google recently expanded their Local Services ads (formerly known as Home Services ads) to include 17 cities, with plans to expand to 30 cities by the end of 2017.

Current cities include:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Riverside, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Miami, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Detroit, MI
  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Seattle, WA

The categories that currently qualify include:

  • Locksmiths
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • HVAC
  • Garage Door Services

With the expansion of these ads coming up fast, I thought now would be a good time to discuss exactly what they are so that you can consider them for your business or your client’s business moving forward.

What are Google Local Services ads and how do they work?

Google Local Services

With Local Services, you have the ability to advertise your business on Google and receive leads directly from potential customers. Local Services ads appear at the top of Google Search results (see above) when people search for the services in a given area. Once you click on “50+ plumbers serving Los Angeles,” you will be taken to a separate results page where you’ll see a list of all of the participating local services businesses. You’ll also see a drop-down menu of relevant services next to a zip code search box. We’ll discuss later on how to optimize your chance of getting found in the first three spots on the first page of Google and not just in the list on the full list page.

local services ads

People have the choice to call a business or send a message by clicking on the ad. By using the Local Services app, businesses can reply to messages, manage leads, track bookings, manage campaigns and budget (it’s easy to turn your ads on and off depending when you want them), view an ad’s performance, and review ratings (ratings can come from Google My Business or through Local Services). Businesses can personalize their profile page and select the areas and predefined services where their ad will appear.

To be clear, the ads you run are simply a way to get leads. It’s still your job to turn them into customers.

Businesses that want to participate need to apply and go through a verification process (including meeting certain insurance and licensing requirements) and each employee must go through a background check, so be prepared that you likely won’t be able to get these ads up and running overnight. Once a business is screened and approved, they will receive a Google guarantee badge which builds trust and ensures Google will cover claims as high as the job invoice amount if a customer isn’t satisfied.

Benefits of Local Services ads

Hearing that the beta version of these ads was a success isn’t really a surprise, and the fact that Google is planning to expand significantly by the end of the year suggests the many benefits these ads provide to the businesses who use them. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Increased exposure
  • The ability to connect with customers at the moment they’re looking for services you provide (which, in turn, can lead to higher conversion rates)
  • Access to an easy-to-use management platform
  • Receiving the Google Guaranteed badge (which, along with Google reviews help to build trust)
  • Limited wasted time, as customers choose you (no chasing)
  • Increased odds of turning more leads into customers

How much does this cost?

The beauty of these ads is that you only pay for leads related to your business and the services you offer. The actual costs may vary depending on the type of lead, your location, and the type of job needed. You only pay if you receive a message or phone call through the platform.

You also won’t waste time with spammy leads because if one of your leads isn’t legitimate, you can dispute it with Google (you may not always get your money back, but it’s worth a shot!). The other nice thing about this payment plan is that you’ll never exceed your monthly maximum budget. If for whatever reason you get leads that exceed your monthly budget, they will be credited back to you.

Your cost is easy to manage. You can set a weekly budget based on the number of leads you want to receive, and you can always track your progress in the app by viewing your payment and charge history.

How to get the most out of Google Local services

Google won’t say specifically what factors go into their rankings, but there are some speculations out there that could help. I’m a big fan of building up your total online presence, so if you’re like me, the best practices below shouldn’t be all that surprising and should be things you’re already considering in other aspects of your marketing:

  • Focus on quality
  • Focus on increasing your 5-star ratings and reviews
  • Respond immediately to your messages and phone calls (failing to do so may lower your ad ranking)
  • Maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across directory sites online
  • Optimize your Google My Business Listing
  • Stay in good standing with Google. If they receive numerous complaints about your business, it will likely work against you.

In addition, Google is a business after all, and they want to make money, so increasing your weekly Local Services ad budget isn’t the worst idea. Your proximity to potential customers’ locations may also impact your rank (Google wants to provide a good experience for the user, not just your business).

Only time will tell what these ads will become, but if you fall into one of the categories and locations, I’d recommend testing them out.