Creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing is an essential step in any successful search marketing campaign. Not only are you providing potential customers with a way to find all of your business information in one place, GMB signals account for approximately 19% of local search rankings. Essentially, taking the time to create a free GMB account can increase your search visibility, boost your rankings, and skyrocket your sales.
Now that you have a GMB listing it is important to fully optimise it by taking advantage of all of the available features in order to generate more leads and more traffic.
Claim & Verify Your Business Listing
First things first, when you create a GMB listing, Google will send you a postcard to verify your business address. Verifying your address is an important step in the optimisation process as Google won’t display your listing until it has been verified. Additionally, you will not have access to your business reviews or analytical information until the site has been verified.
Although many business owners think that once they have verified their business on GMB, that’s all there is to it, verification is actually only the first step in creating a fully optimised GMB listing.
Note: If you are waiting on the postcard to be delivered in order to verify your business you can still continue on with the next step.
Provide Accurate, Up-to-date, & Comprehensive Information
Once you have verified your business, you will need to fill out all relevant information about your business that was not completed in the sign up process (website, description, category, attributes, business hours, etc.). The information that you provide has to be as accurate and as up to date as possible to ensure that potential customers are not misinformed.
For example, if your business’s address has changed since your listing was created and a customer clicked your GMB listing for directions, they would not be happy to turn up to an empty store.
Additionally, the key contact information for your business (name, address, phone number, a.k.a NAP) should be consistent across the internet including your website and anywhere else your business is mentioned online (eg. Facebook business profile, yellow page listings, etc.). This is important as Google measures the consistency of the information in online citations of your business (anywhere online where your business NAP is listed) to determine whether or not it can trust your information.
So, say your business recently relocated and you have yet to update your listing on Yellow Pages, when Google indexes your online business citations it will find that there are multiple addresses listed for your business. This reduces the amount of trust that Google will have in the information that you have provided in your GMB listing. As Google is constantly striving to provide searchers with the most relevant and accurate information possible, your GMB listing will be much less likely to show up in the search results as the available NAP information for your business is inconsistent.
Conversely, the more citations Google finds where your business NAP is consistent with the information provided in your GMB listing, the more confidence it will have in the accuracy of that information. This means that your listing will be much more likely to appear in relevant search results.
Write An Attention-Grabbing Business Description
Since Google’s recent readdition of business descriptions, creating a helpful and descriptive description is one of the most important parts of optimising a GMB listing. The description will appear prominently whenever users click your listing on Google maps and will contribute to whether or not the user converts.
You are allowed a maximum of 750 characters in your business description, however, only 250 characters will display in the knowledge panel. This means that to get the most out of the business description feature, the most important keywords and information (eg. the service that you offer and the city that you operate in) should be at the start of the description.
It is important to note that Google has strict guidelines for GMB descriptions and they do review all business descriptions, so it is essential to stick to said guidelines. There are a few key things to steer clear of when creating your description according to Google’s guidelines such as:
- Avoid keyword stuffing
- Do not include a link or URL
- Do not include inaccurate or misleading information
- Do not include promotions or offers (eg. Half price sale!)
Stand Out With High Quality Images
In order to get the most value from your GMB listing it is important to include relevant, high quality images. In fact, according to Google, businesses with images on their GMB listings receive 42%* more clicks for driving directions on Google maps, and 35%* more clicks through to their website.
To assist in deciding which images to use on your GMB profile Google offers the following advice:
- Profile Photo
Your profile photo is used to show your identity when replying to reviews and posting photos
- Cover Photo
Your cover photo is the photo that will display in your listing in search results and Google maps.
Uploading high quality images to your profile gives customers a visual representation of your business. The ideal number of images is dependant on the industry you are in. For example, If you’re creating a listing for a chiropractic clinic, relevant images would include photos of your clinic, and perhaps a photo of a patient receiving an adjustment.
Conversely, if you are creating a listing for a restaurant you may want to add images of the location as well as popular menu items. If you’re not sure how many images you should use, try looking at the GMB listings of your competitors and other businesses within your industry.
Once you have successfully optimised your GMB listing, you will be able to increase the overall rankings of your website, as well as drive new leads and conversions before users have even left the Google search results page.