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Google My Business might be the easiest and most effective way to promote your business locally. First of all, it’s totally free and it can give you exposure just like this:

Local Search Result

Or this:

Local Search Result with Map

Do you have yours? If not, hurry up and claim your local listing now. However, having a listing does not guarantee that your website will appear above your competitors every single time. Here comes the importance of optimizing your GMB (Google My Business) listing. Follow these simple steps to help increase your visibility online.

Make your listing as detailed as possible

Include information about your company like its physical address, phone number, website, business hours and types of payments you accept. Add your logo, videos, and images of your building, employees, customers, products and services. Also, make sure you select a few categories that are relevant to your business. Google My Business offers many features to enhance your listing so make sure to use them. Do you have multiple locations? Even better! You can add them all to increase your visibility in each market.

Company Info

Make more use of your posts

Google My Business posts are kind of like social media posts that will show up with your listing in Google search results.

Google My Business Post

To create a post, log into your Google My Business account and you will see the option in the left navigation.

Create Post on Google My Business

Google My Business allows you to publish 4 types of posts:

  • What’s New (A good option to add your latest news or link to a blog post.)
  • Event (Promote your sale, webinar, conference, concert and such.)
  • Offer (Use this option to add a coupon, special promotion, or link to something valuable that is available to download on your website. Make sure you include a form on your landing page to capture leads!)
  • Product (Tell people about your products.)

Have fun with it. Include an image and call-to-action button such as “Book”, “Order Online”, “Buy”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, “Get Offer” or “Call Now”. You can also add emojis to your posts. Not sure how? You first need to click where it says “Write your post”. On Windows, press the Windows key AND the “.” OR “;” key at the same time on your keyboard. This will make the emoji list of characters appear.

Google My Business emojis

The bottom line? Posts can help you stand out so it would be a waste not to use them. Just keep in mind that a post will only be visible in Google search results for 7 days.  After that they will only be visible on your Google My Business listing page. Events will disappear after the date of the event.

Let people message you

Google My Business has a feature that allows you to receive messages (and reply) to people who find your listing in Google search results. This can be useful as it lets people message you without even visiting your website. In other words, they are leads you might not ever get without using the feature. However, just make sure you reply to people promptly if you turn this on because Google will track your response time and add a note to your listing as shown below.

Google My Business Message

To turn on messaging, log into your Google My Business account and look for “Messaging” in the left navigation.

Google My Business Messaging Feature

Make time to reply to questions people ask

Questions & Answers is another feature that lets people communicate with your business through your Google My Business local listing. Just like the name indicates, it allows people to ask a question about your business without ever leaving Google. This might not be the most often used feature, so if someone takes the time to use it, make sure you take the time to reply. It will help you build better relationships and make your listing look even better when people can see that you actually take the time to answer questions.

Google Map Listing

Take reviews seriously

Online reviews are known to impact click-through rates, trust, and even search engine rankings. The numbers are pretty convincing. According to a 2017 survey from Bright Local;

  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked – with 74% having been asked for their feedback

As for the impact on SEO, several studies and surveys from reputable sources such as Moz and Local SEO Guide suggest that online reviews have an impact on the way a website performs in search engine results.

Need any more convincing? I didn’t think so. Ask customers to leave a review and make sure you respond to them.

Stay on top of it

Keep in mind that the more interactions you have with people using features from your listing, the better your chances are to do well in search results. As Google releases new features, make use of them if its suitable for your business.