When a visitor searches for your business on Google, the search engine returns not only search results, but a “knowledge graph” on the right side of the page, filled with info about your business. This info comes from your Google My Business listing (GMB). Your GMB serves as a synopsis of your business and offers all the direct, relevant information a visitor may need. Our SEO Specialist, David Caffey, has even noted that Google is your new homepage.
Clearly, this needs to be as accurate and as helpful as possible. Instead of forcing your visitors to dig for information, you want that information convenient and easy to find.
So, how can you optimize your GMB so that you 1) help visitors get the information they need and 2) help Google better understand your business? You should consider these tips below.
Ask for and monitor reviews
People are going to read your reviews. From those, people are going to form opinions about your business and decide on whether to buy from or visit your business or look elsewhere - maybe before they’ve even made it to your site.
Consider these 2018 online reviews stats:
 Data Source: RevLocal, 2018 Review Marketing Statistics
 Data Source: Bright Local: Local Consumer Review Survey
- 92% of consumers read online reviews 
- 85% of consumers value online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations (2)
- 73% of consumers come to a conclusion on a business after reading up to six reviews 
- 49% of consumers require a 4-star or 5-star rating before selecting the business 
You need good reviews, and you need a good bit of them. Maritime Aquarium, located in Norwalk, CT, hosts thousands of visitors daily. Each day, people that consider coming to the aquarium look at reviews. Maritime’s reviews are healthy – great in quality and large in quantity.
Recency matters, too. As a business owner or marketing professional, don’t rely on reviews from over a year ago. The majority of consumers and searchers don’t place much weight on reviews older than six months. Google displays more recent reviews, too, as shown in the Maritime Aquarium example.
Reviews matter and can certainly have a positive – or negative – impact on your business. If your business needs more reviews, here are three simple ways to get more Google reviews:
- Ask for a review
- Show customers how to leave a review
- Remind customers to leave a review
We explain step-by-step on how to do that in this blog below:
Getting Google Reviews
When you search a business, a GMB listing is the first result that displays. Right there at the top are you guessed it, images. With one click, users can swipe through a collection of your business’s or attraction’s images.
This album combines photos that you upload with photos that users or visitors upload. However, Google places higher priority on photos uploaded directly by the GMB owner, which is likely you or someone in your company.
If the following is true…
- People are going to look at photos of your business on GMB
- Google puts higher value on photos that the business uploads
...you need to upload quality photos that give searchers and potential visitors glimpses of what they can expect. People want to scout before choosing a business or attraction. You can help the customer tremendously by adding professional photos.
Update Business Info
Ensure that your business information is up to date. GMB continues to grow its profile, meaning that you may be able to share more and more about your business right in the GMB profile.
Currently, you should have these basic categories completed in your GMB.
- Hours of Operation
- Special Hours
- Phone Number
Based on your industry, you may have additional categories available. If you see those options in your GMB, complete them to further optimize your profile.
Write a Business Description
The Business Description section allows you to write a brief 750-character summary of your business. You can include any pertinent information that you feel belongs on your GMB.
This section could be the first written content that a potential customer or visitor reads about your business. What do you want them to know? What’s important?
Some ideas for the Business Description section include:
- Notable recognitions or honors
- Proud accomplishments within your business
- Additional information on services
- Brief business history
- Community involvement
Your potential visitors want to get as much information as possible with as little effort as possible. An optimized GMB profile solves that and gives visitors what they want.
Try Google My Business posts
GMB posts are short, temporary posts that display on your GMB profile. These posts, 100-300 words, remain on your GMB profile for seven days, then disappear from the public view.
Because GMB posts display right in your profile, they receive plenty of visibility. GMB Posts are fairly new, so we continue to play with the delivery and success rates of these posts. However, we recognize their value and potential because of their position in the profile – and, in turn, branded search results.
GMB posts tailor the style of the posts based on your preferences, too. The following options are available:
- What’s New
If your brand has an upcoming event, you should share that on GMB posts. If you have a shop, share about a limited time deal or offer. If you share on GMB posts, people that are searching for your brand are likely to stumble upon these additional details, events, and offers.
GMB posts offer a variety of calls-to-action as well, ensuring that brands can maximize posts with CTA optimization.
Posts may have different goals. Because of this, brands should test a variety of CTAs on GMB Posts. Here are the options:
- Order online
- Learn more
- Sign up
- Get offer
- Call now
GMB posts should have a place in your digital strategy. Are you utilizing them?
Use Questions & Answers
Your brand’s Q&A section likely has user-submitted questions on its GMB Profile. Have you answered them yet?
Answer Submitted Questions
Users can easily submit questions about your business to your GMB Profile. These questions can be about anything – ticket prices, holiday hours, exhibit information, special events, handicap availability, and so much more.
As the brand voice, you need to ensure that answers are coming from YOU. Why? Because anyone can answer these questions.
Keep in mind that Google can decipher between a user or local guide answering a question and the business answering a question. Google puts more weight and more value in the business’s answer. That means you have to respond when people ask.
Add and Answer Your Own Questions
Here’s a secret to ensuring that your Q&A section helps visitors – ask your own questions. Google allows businesses to ask and answer their own questions. What’s the big deal about that?
You should know what questions customers often ask. You should know what customers want to see. By asking and answering those questions in your GMB Q&A section, you give customers a curated list of the questions customers most often have about your business with answers waiting for them.
Remember, we want to be clear, concise, and direct in our GMB profiles. Get the information to the customer as easily as possible.
Respond to GMB Messages
If you have the capability, GMB Messages offers visitors and potential customers a chance to get in touch with you quickly.
Think of this as a live chat on your website. You need to be ready to respond at any time and be able to answer a wide array of questions.
Here’s what you need to do to succeed on GMB Messages:
Provide a phone number - make sure that your SMS phone or device can receive these messages.
Be responsive - if you have this feature on, you have to be quick to respond. You can’t ignore messages as they come in.
Be careful - if messages contain specific information like order numbers or credit card information, move that away from GMB to an offline conversation. These messages are private, but it’s better to handle those type of conversations through a phone call or face to face.
If you think you can handle GMB Messages, turn it on. If you don’t believe you would keep up, keep the feature turned off.
Have you checked these GMB optimization tips off your list? Do you need help setting up your GMB profile?
Speak Creative is ready to help! Our digital marketing team actively helps optimize our client’s GMB profiles, SEO strategies, Google Ads groups, and more. If you’re interested in chatting with us, click below.
Let's Talk Google