You want to eat out tonight, and you’re craving Chinese food. You go straight to Google and type in “Chinese food near me.” Up comes a list of options, all ranging between four and five-star ratings. You browse through the options, tossing out some contenders because they lack photos and an easy to access menu. Finally, you come to a decision and get directions to pick up your order.

Why did some options look more appealing than others? You may be tempted to say it’s a direct correlation to the quality of a restaurant’s food, but it’s all part of digital marketing. The businesses that look better on Google are no coincidence, they optimized their Google My Business listing. 

What Is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows companies to manage their online presence on Google. It uses Google programs such as Search and Maps to inform your customers where you are, how to contact you, and gives you a platform to tell your story.

But why is Google My Business so important? It isn’t a secret that Google absolutely dominates the search engine market, making up over 92% of global searches. And with more people using search to discover businesses, you need to look your best on Google if you want to attract the right leads.

A properly managed Google My Business account will:

  • Keep potential customers updated on important information regarding your business.
  • Offer a platform for you to interact with customers.
  • Provide insights about your leads’ behaviors and how they engage with your online presence.

But the catch is you need a “properly managed” account, so you should know what that looks like. To help you out, here are seven tips on how to set up a Google My Business account that will better your chances of getting leads.

How To Make The Most of Google My Business

1. Make Sure Your Business Doesn’t Already Have a Listing

It’s possible Google has automatically made a Google My Business listing for your location if you’ve been in business for several years. Fortunately, if that is the case, all you need to do is claim it. The Google My Business Creation Page will guide you through the process, asking you for some general information about your business.

2. Provide Comprehensive Information

Businesses need to provide as much information as possible to satisfy various customer needs. Every detail could sway a potential customer’s opinion to use your services. For a good start, include these core pieces of information:

  • Company Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Description
  • Category

All of this information is indexed by Google, which makes for a perfect base for local SEO. Make sure what you put in your Google My Business is consistent with what’s currently on your website. If there are any changes to any of the information, it should be addressed on both Google My Business and your website. 

Now let’s take it one step further, past just general contact information. What are other things customers may want to know about your business? Consider how you’d answer the following questions:

  • How expensive is your product compared to competitors?
  • Do you offer delivery or pick-up options?
  • If your business is a restaurant, do you have a digital menu?
  • Is there free parking available?

Try to predict what customers may ask before they ask it, and answer those questions on your Google My Business page.

3. Write a Helpful Business Description

You have 750 characters to write a description. This should be an engaging approach to explaining your brand story, mission, and history. Do your best to feel authentic in this section, as it’s essentially a sales pitch to leads. Google prohibits promotional content or links in this space, so leave that out. 

Whatever you write, it’s not set in stone. You can edit the description as often as possible until it becomes an optimized, perfect representation of the company.

4. Get Reviews and Respond to Them

Your company’s star rating will be front and center. And 90 percent of people read reviews before making a purchase. You’ll need to get a lot of positive reviews to keep a good reputation and attract better leads, and the best way to get more is simply by asking for them!

Google encourages you to ask for links, which is why you can easily copy the Google Map link of your business and send it to previous customers. Once they’ve left a review, be sure to respond to them as well, as that can create goodwill and a sense of trust for people who read your reviews in the future. Responding is especially helpful when dealing with negative reviews, as you can figure out what went wrong and try to resolve their issue.

5. Utilize Google My Business Messages

Google My Business offers a very useful messaging system to easily interact with your customers. And in a world where more and more people are too anxious or nervous to call you on the phone to ask a question, these messages are the next best thing.

You’ll have to activate this option by selecting “Turn On Messaging” on your Google My Business dashboard and inputting a phone number to use for the chat. This number won’t be shared publicly and can be updated as needed. Be sure to respond promptly to business inquires, as Google will calculate your average response time. If your response time is calculated seems too long, people are not likely to message you.

6. Use Keywords In Business Listing

It wouldn’t be a true optimization effort without some keywords thrown in! Treat this page like any other webpage by choosing one or two keywords to focus on. Google will use these keywords in your business listing to determine your search ranking.

But good SEO practices still apply here. Don’t be tempted to stuff your description or other areas of your business listing with too many keywords. Google will recognize this and flag you for violating their conditions, which will result in a serious drop in search rankings.

7. Add Quality Photos

Lastly, we have the visual element of your Google My Business listing. Offering customers photos of your products or storefront will help your business look its best before a customer even shows up in person.

There are a few different ways to get photos on your business listing. The first is to upload them yourself. These images should be an accurate representation of your business, capturing exactly what it’s like to be in your store and providing an honest presentation of your product. The other way is to have customers upload their own photos of your store. You can curate which of these photos you’d like to keep, so you can keep your photos to a certain level of quality (not everyone’s a photographer).

Master Your Business Listing

Using these seven tips to optimize your Google My Business listing can help you bring more leads, but it can sometimes be a lot of work to manage customer interaction and optimize your text for SEO.

Big Leap has plenty of experience with both online reputation management and SEO marketing, meaning Google My Business is right up our wheelhouse (not to mention we have our own business listing on Google). Contact us today to find out how to make the most of your Google My Business profile.

Jack Greaves