Google My Business is the online equivalent of a phone book listing. It tells customers who you are, where to find you, what your opening hours are, and how to get in touch. But My Business goes well beyond the typical phone book advert. In addition to serving up the basics about your business, it can be configured with photos, menus or services lists, and FAQs.
So what does Google My Business offer that your own website doesn't? For one, it's optimized for local search. Every time someone searches for restaurants, CPAs, or any other business in their area, whether through Google or Google Maps, the relevant My Business listings will show up. Plus, in addition to hosting content uploaded by your business, they're dynamically updated with reviews, photos, and other content from customers and clients.
Given that 50% of users who conduct a local search visit a business within 24 hours, optimizing your Google My Business page is a must if you want to convert those prospective customers. Here's how to do it.
Building a Google My Business Listing That Converts
First, make sure you've claimed your My Business page. It's simple, and it's free. Once you've done that, follow these steps to leverage it to get more conversions:
- Check and update your basic details. Make sure your core business information is accurate and comprehensive. This is particularly vital if you've made changes during COVID-19. Start with your name, address, phone number, and website details and make sure they match whatever's on your website - right down to whether you use a 5 or 9-digit ZIP. Note, if you're online-only, don't fake it with a false shopfront address. Google will find out and shut down your listing.
- Build out your business category and attributes. Your business category is the type of business that you run. Simple, right? Well, Google uses a list of 2,395 categories, so it's easy to pick something less than optimal. Aim for specificity, and ensure that the category you choose truly matches what you do. Then use the attributes section to add extra info to help people decide whether to visit your business. For example, maybe your coffee shop offers free wifi, or your apartment complex is pet-friendly. If it applies, add it in!
- Add professional photos. Photos are key to driving clicks and visits, so don't skimp here. A profile photo, cover photo, and "brand story" video are the bare minimum recommended. If you're not a digital media pro, use a site like Canva for professional-looking content. You can also regularly upload new photos that represent your business or feature user-generated content. Encourage customers or clients to snap and share photos of your business, and you'll find that your listing gets a reputational boost.
- Ask for reviews. Reviews are the lifeblood of any business these days, so don't be shy about asking customers or clients to leave one (you can even send them the link to your My Business page if you want). If you get a good review, respond to it with a thanks; if you receive a poor one, ask the person to contact you so that you can address the situation. However, it's not just the reviews on Google itself that make it on to your My Business page: reviews from sites like TrustPilot also get pulled into your page. The more reviews you garner on reputable sites web-wide, the more that will show up on your My Business page.
- Use My Business messaging. Think a phone number's enough? Not in 2020. My Business messaging lets customers contact you directly through your My Business page. And believe us, they will. Activate this feature to let customers message you through your Google My Business listing and begin a text message conversation. You'll capture those customers that otherwise would've gone elsewhere.
- Share posts and updates. Another great feature of Google My Business is that it lets you upload posts with content about your business. Maybe you've won an award, launched a new menu item, or are planning an event. Create a post, add text and visuals, then end with a compelling CTA (if you're not a copywriter, don't worry - Google pre-populates the CTA language for you). Note that these posts disappear after 7 days, so keep them timely and keep them coming.
- Monitor your insights. Last but definitely not least, make the most of the Insights Google gives you. These are similar to the kind you use on your website, only geared more towards local search. They'll tell you how people are finding your page, how they're using your listing, where they're from, when they're calling, and how you stack up against your competitors. Insights give you a wealth of information for optimizing your listing to ensure that you're always top-of-mind - and top of search.
If your Google My Business page has been languishing, now is the time to rectify that. Begin with the basics, then start building out a solid content strategy that will let your page - and your business - shine.