Optimising your Google My Business listing is important – and not just if you offer local services either.
The way people search, as well as the way search engines deliver information, has changed and companies need to adapt to those changes.
Users want information quickly and with as much accuracy as possible and search engines, particularly Google, are focusing more on ‘rich snippets’ – pulling the most relevant information through to the search engine results pages (SERPs), so users are provided with quick, easily accessible answers.
With almost 60% of searches now occurring on mobile devices, these rich snippets are key to grabbing the attention of your audience.
Ensuring that your Google My Business listing is regularly updated month by month will mean potential customers and clients are provided with important information about your business, from reviews to photos to blog posts. Here’s some tips for getting it right.
1. Provide users with all the information they might require
Users have learnt to rely on the information provided to them by Google and the SERPs, rather than clicking through to a website, especially when it comes to local search. If you don’t ensure your business information is complete and accurate on your listing, your potential customers may look elsewhere for information that they can find easily. Although you might have an all singing, all dancing website, with appropriate call-to-actions (CTAs), and great client testimonials, users who require a phone number instantly, or simply want to pit companies against each other based on reviews, will do this with the information provided to them.
Take the search below for instance. Before I’ve even completed any more research, I’m provided with three restaurants, each with a decent amount of reviews, address information, and opening times. If I was looking for a quality restaurant quickly, because of these listings, I wouldn’t really need to look elsewhere.
Remember, if in doubt, ensure your company name, address, and telephone number are all consistent with your website. This is the minimal amount of information your potential customers and clients will need – the rest is up to you to optimise.
2. Review and update the information regularly
Many businesses are unaware that users are able to edit their Google My Business listing, if they believe information is outdated, inaccurate, or incorrect. Reviewing and optimising your listing every month, as part of your ongoing SEO work, is vital for ensuring those edits made by users are appropriate.
3. Utilise the new and old features
Or at least become aware of them and stay ahead of your competitors. Google haven’t ironed out all the bugs and potential issues with these new features yet, but having prior knowledge will keep you in the loop and will allow you to work out which features will best benefit your business in the future.
Google Posts – great for promoting events, sales, new blog posts, featured products etc. Whenever you update your website with a new post or your other social media channels, think about including your Google My Business listing as a channel on these plans too.
Emojis – search is changing and people have begun to use emojis to search. Google has started to index these emojis too! It may not be relevant for your industry, but particularly for those in the retail and hospitality industries, you can take advantage of this new feature and get ahead of your competition.
Booking feature – this is particularly useful for service businesses that rely on an appointment system such as hairdressers, plumbers etc. The booking feature is integrated into the business listing and works similar to how you see cinema times pulled through. It allows users to quickly select the service they require and book in an instant – perfect for companies who don’t have a booking system on their website yet.
There are many other features included with your Google My Business listing, but it’s worthwhile investigating them and seeing which are applicable to your industry. Some include:
- Messages or chat
- Questions and answers
- Business descriptions
- Menus and service listings
4. Remember most search is from mobiles
In 2016, nearly 60% of searches were conducted on mobile – no recent studies have been completed to see whether we’ve surpassed the 60% mark, but look at how Google My Business listings appear on mobile and think about the information people usually require when on the move. Don’t miss out on those searches and traffic simply because your listing isn’t fully optimised.
5. Provide users with a great source of reviews
We recently wrote an article on how reviews can help improve your SEO efforts, so it’s vital to ask for Google Reviews too. These provide your listing with a quick reference point for users on whether or not they should use your company or utilise your services based on others’ opinions. This is particularly helpful for those users who are on the go and don’t have time to use TripAdvisor or Trust Pilot.
6. Give potential customers a snapshot into the life of your business
Google My Business is a great, free service that enables you to update your images and photos regularly, or even add video to really give an insight into what your company offers. It provides users with a snapshot into what happens at your business. Ensuring this is regularly updated and optimised keeps current and potential customers up-to-date.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep your Google My Business listing optimised or aren’t familiar with all the features, contact Alice Davies, digital marketing manager, to see how this can work as part of an ongoing SEO strategy.