It doesn’t matter whether your business is in Tampa or anywhere else in the world. Google is the one place where every business must have a listing. Google’s searches amount to over 3 billion daily, so it remains the most-used search engine in the world.
The reality is, if you’re not on Google, you may not get much business, and you aren’t relevant. You should be aware that businesses with complete and accurate Google listings are 2.7 times more likely to be thought of as reputable, and will get as many as seven times more clicks, according to the article “Intelligent Search Drives More Customers to Your Business Than Your Website” published in Entrepreneur magazine.
Although it’s not difficult to claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing, you have to be meticulous about it and tick off important items to make sure your GMB listing is optimized. Here’s a guide on how to do it.
1. Get Your Google My Business Listing
This may come as a surprise, but did you know that anyone can enlist your business with Google? Yes, even the people who are not connected with your business can. It may be scary if that happens, but you won’t have that problem once you claim your listing. When you do, you will be the only one to have access to it for updating and editing your business info. You may also manage reviews and post up-to-the-minute details. It may seem tedious, but it only takes a few steps, and this is necessary to ensure you have full control over your listing.
Any digital marketing agency in Tampa would remind you that Google is always evolving and updating its policies, and that you should make adjustments to your listing to keep reaping its benefits.
2. Completely Fill Out Each Section
With the help of a local digital agency, make sure you fill out every field in your Google My Business listing, as this is important for Google, and necessary for optimizing your online listings. If your listing is inaccurate or incomplete, it can impact your rankings. A complete GMB listing includes the following:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Operating hours
- In some cases, there will be more fields, such as a restaurant listing that contains more fields for putting in your menu.
Complete each field accurately, and you’ll make it easier for potential customers to find your business. Apart from that, Google will rank you higher in search results.
3. Provide an Optimized Description
Having an optimized description means placing important keywords when describing your business. You can ask local SEO services to help you with this. Your description should capture the core of your business, highlight its features, and offer a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that sets it apart from competitors.
Note that there is a character limit of 750 characters, so be concise. Only the first 250 characters will show up in the Knowledge Panel, so place important info higher up. Don’t put any additional links or HTML.
4. Pick a Category
Listing your business in the right category helps people find your business in non-branded, category-based searches. This is especially important when your business name doesn’t include or mention your service. For instance, your business is a laundromat and it’s called “Talk Dirty to Me”.
It’s important to choose your category because Google provides unique attribute listings for each category. For example, restaurants can indicate which credit cards they accept, or include a reservation feature in the listing. Banks can mention if they have an ATM or drive-thru feature. Don’t ignore the category section or you could miss out on other features, and lose out to competitors in search!
To further optimize your listing, pick secondary categories.
5. Always Add Photos
Customers are more likely to request driving directions and click on a business website that contains photos. Optimize your GMB listing with a profile photo, cover photo, and general photos. Your profile photo should have a logo to boost brand recognition.
As for your cover photo, this should give hints about your brand personality. General photos shouldn’t be puffed up with logos, text, fillers, or other graphics. The photos should cohesively give people an idea of what it’s like to actually visit your business—what the storefront looks like, products and services you offer, and other photos that provide a general feel of your business location.
Photos are important because the more a potential customer can imagine what dealing with your business is like, the higher the chances of them actually transacting with you. You should note that Google is making images part of search results, so real photos of your business and its products or services can be key to attracting customers.
6. Ask for Google Business Reviews
Google seeks to give the most accurate information, and few information sources can rival customer reviews in accurate descriptions of a business. Your GMB listing becomes even more optimized if customer reviews include keywords. You may consult an SEO service provider in Tampa about the best keywords to use, but you can start on some optimization efforts yourself.
One way is to ask your loyal customers for a review of your business—and don’t be shy about asking for a 5-star rating. You should also respond to reviews that are already made on your GMB listing. Don’t be complacent in the delivery of your products and services. Remember that Google Maps and Google Search now feature reviews, and show ratings from customers.
7. Write Posts on Google My Business
As with other social media platforms, you can post directly on your Google My Business listing. By posting there, you can make announcements, highlight products, create events, and offer promos. Doing these also creates engagement with customers as soon as they’ve found your listing. Don’t forget to add a call to action button to each post, so the shift of customer experience from discovering your business to engaging with it will be quick and seamless. Optimize your GMB listing by posting at least once a week.
8. Use the Q&A Feature
Google My Business listings now have something in common with Amazon—there’s a section for questions. Anyone who clicks on your business via search or Google Maps can ask you any question, and anyone can answer those questions. The people who answer frequently enough become “guides” and gain different badges and milestones, depending on the number of questions they answer, and the usefulness of the information they provide.
You can make your own FAQ to answer any possible questions users have. These will come up on your GMB listing, and perhaps Maps and Search. To optimize your GMB listing with this feature, populate your Q&A section with questions that provide a clear info to anyone who finds your business online.
The Google My Business listing is an easy way to make sure your business ranks higher in Google Search and Google Maps—you just have to take the time and effort to provide timely and accurate information. So, to garner more foot traffic to your physical business location, optimize your listing.