As most business owners know, the information that appears on Google is of the utmost importance. Search engines are where the majority of web users turn to research a company, explore new opportunities, and do due diligence before making a business decision. While keeping your website high quality and up to date is, of course, a major priority, the power of Google My Business can’t be understated. Here’s what you need to know about making Google My Business work for you.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is the name of Google’s business directory, providing information about companies of all sizes, including business name, hours of operation, contact information, and website links. Google My Business results show up automatically, generally to the right or at the top of organic search engine results.
In many cases, this information is pulled from other sources, like Facebook pages or websites, which means that it’s more or less correct. As such, many small business owners simply claim ownership of the listing and move along. However, this often isn’t adequate to maintain a competitive advantage.
Success on Google My Business
An appearance in a Google search via Google My Business is anything but guaranteed. Since only the top three results related to a particular search will appear, maintaining a complete and accurate profile is paramount in making sure your company is highlighted front and center.
If you want to guarantee a presence that counts, there are plenty of steps you can take to boost your odds. Keep these tips in mind when building out your Google My Business profile.
In general, web users trust what they find on Google. If they see business hours or a contact number, there’s no reason to believe this information is anything but correct. Accordingly, if this data is wrong, it’s going to strongly shake prospective customers’ faith in your business. If you see any issues with your profile, including phone number, hours of operation, or address, update these as soon as possible. Even little issues, like hours being slightly off, can alter customer perceptions — especially if they show up at your storefront to find it closed.
As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this holds true in business as well. Before visiting a storefront, most customers like to have a good idea of what they’re getting into. In order to provide more context to your operations, your brand identity, and the caliber of services customers can expect, images are extremely useful. Leveling expectations can be a valuable way of making sure you can deliver what customers anticipate, and images or video of your location, your products, or even your team can help to do this.
Include Google Posts
Google Posts provide the opportunity to post content directly on Google via Google My Business, increasing the amount of information available about the unique facets of your company. A great way to communicate industry information, share upcoming events, post changes to hours for a holiday, or otherwise expand upon your brand, using Google Posts can flesh out your listing and provide additional details customers can use to make purchasing decisions.
Google My Business is intended to provide a wealth of information to potential shoppers. This includes the opportunity to ask questions. Prospective and current customers can inquire about anything through Google My Business, providing an additional way for you to share the information consumers want to know. There’s a catch to this, however: business owners aren’t the only ones with permission to post responses. Any Google user can answer questions, so if you don’t take the lead, someone else may do it for you — and there’s no guarantee that you’ll like what they have to say. Instead of rolling the dice and risking wrong answers or unfair criticism, take it upon yourself to provide accurate and respectful responses to questions posed to your business.
Respond to Reviews
Reviews are a critical part of maintaining a reputation online and Google is a popular place for customers to leave feedback. As with many other review sites, Google My Business provides a way for businesses to respond to reviews, opening the door for acknowledgment, appreciation, and, if necessary, apologies. Responding is especially important when you receive criticism, whether constructive or otherwise; negative reviews are a way of life for most businesses but there’s no need to let false or misrepresentative information stand. Without clarification, consumers browsing your listing may believe inaccurate reviews, harming your reputation.
In a competitive market, any cost-effective opportunities to move yourself ahead of the competition are steps worth taking. By building your presence on Google My Business, you can increase the likelihood of appearing when customers search within your industry. If you’re not sure where to start, that’s okay – RivalMind can help. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our SEO services.