Blog

Get expert advice on every topic you need as a small business owner, from the ideation stage to your eventual exit. Our articles, quick tips, infographics and how-to guides can offer entrepreneurs the most up-to-date information they need to flourish.

Subscribe to our blog

8 secrets to leveraging Google My Business

Posted by Kanika Sinha

October 8, 2021    |     6-minute read (1055 words)

Often the first place to appear online when customers look for up-to-date information about your company, Google My Business has become an essential part of a business’s online presence. And with the changes wrought by the COVID-19 crisis, optimizing your GMB has become more important than ever.

Many people now prefer to conduct a local search for products or services before actually going to the store. Others want to check online for your business hours or to see your health and safety protocols. 

To avoid losing potential customers (and revenue), it is crucial that you complete — and periodically refresh — your Google My Business profile. Keep in mind that your GMB profile has the potential to single-handedly improve your business's local SEO ranking. 

The basics

A free tool offered by Google, the GMB profile lets you manage how your business appears to people who find you on Google’s Search and Maps. The core profile includes your business name, location and operating hours. But you can further personalize the listing with photos and special offers and use it to monitor and reply to customer reviews.

Your GMB also can provide insights on customer engagement, their purchasing paths including clicks and follows, where and how people are searching for your business, and more.

Particularly in the post-pandemic world, it is in your business’s best interest to ensure all information on its GMB profile, which will show up when people conduct Google searches, is up to date and kept refreshed.

How to optimize your Google My Business profile

To make your Google My Business profile work for you, take the time to ensure it is well-curated. Here are a few quick and easy ways to do that.

  1. Fill out your profile completely
Give Google as much detail about your business as possible. This will make it easier for Google to match your business to its customers’ searches and in turn boost your search ranking.

To succeed at local SEO, Google advises the following: “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.”

That means it’s worth the effort to fill out your address, category, business hours, contact details and unique attributes. 

Pro tip: Be specific when filling in the details of your GMB profile. For example, avoid using “cosmetology” as your business category if you run a nail salon. 

  1. Use relevant keywords
To leverage your GMB profile to improve SEO, incorporate relevant keywords into the listing so Google better understands what you’re trying to rank for.  

Add pertinent keywords in your business description, responses to reviews, answers to questions and the posts you publish.

Pro tip: Avoid keyword stuffing. Incorporate keywords naturally, as you would with any other SEO strategy.

  1. Stand out with photos
Don’t just limit your listing to written information. Help people immediately see what your business is all about by using photos. According to Google, businesses that have photos in their GMB profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks to their websites.

In addition to including your business’ logo and cover photo, show off what you do, your location, products or handiwork by posting additional shots. For instance, if you run a restaurant, post pictures of your meals, menus and dining room. 

  1. Post news, updates and special offers
You can create posts on your GMB profile to alert customers of new products or services, special offers and upcoming events. These updates will help you keep your profile fresh and encourage visits to your physical or digital storefront.

If your business has rich media, take advantage and add it to your GMB profile. Listings with photos, videos or GIFs drive more engagement, according to Google.

Don’t forget to communicate any changes to customers by updating your GMB profile, such as a change in address, operating hours or phone number.

  1. Promote and encourage reviews
Today’s tech-savvy customers base much of their buying decision on a business’s online reviews. Reviews posted online by other people are trusted on about the same level as a personal recommendation. 

A glowing review can be the deciding factor that tips prospective customers in your favor. At the same time, good reviews improve your Google search ranking.

To the extent possible, encourage customers to leave a review on your GMB listing, particularly after providing them a great experience. 

  1. Build trust by responding to reviews
According to a survey by Google, businesses that respond to customer reviews are considered 1.7 times more trustworthy than those that don’t. Consistently replying to customer reviews will help you win their trust and increase loyalty. 

When engaging in positive interactions with customers, be sure to respond in your brand voice and remain respectful and professional. The same goes for negative reviews.

Pro tip: Do not make the mistake of ignoring negative reviews. Instead, be a good listener, offer an apology when warranted and address the issues raised in your courteous response.

Finally, make sure to answer any questions left on your GMB profile, ideally as soon as possible. Use it as an opportunity to show people that your business is active and reliable.

  1. Refine paid and organic reach with insights
Your GMB profile lets you go behind the scenes to understand how customers find your business and how they stay connected. These insights can go beyond what Google analytics provides.

Use GMB insights to track how many customers search for your business, call your business, ask for directions, click on your photos etc. Monitor which keywords, posts and photos gained the most traction. Use the information to improve engagement.

  1. Add special features and attributes
Depending on the business category you select, GMB may offer special features.

Here’s a rundown of GMB’s category-specific features:
  • Product-based companies can display product catalogs.
  • Hotels can add star ratings and amenities such as Wi-Fi
  • Restaurants and bars can upload menus or showcase popular dishes. They can add a link for online orders and reservations.
  • Service-oriented businesses can display menus and a booking button.
  • Shops can also list features such as wheelchair accessibility. 
Adding such attributes to your GMB profile gives consumers a clearer picture of your business and makes it more convenient for them to decide or book. 

We handle your essential business offerings so you can focus on growth.