First impressions are everything for a business. Just as a salesperson might put on a fresh-pressed suit, polish their shoes, and don a charming smile, you want your business’s online listings to look their absolute best. One of the most effective ways to do that is through Google My Business.
Google My Business is a platform that allows businesses to clearly establish their identity and help customers get a sense of who they are. Perhaps even more importantly, Google My Business plays a major role in improving your business’s SEO and ensuring that Google is showing your listing to the right users.
These six tactics will give your Google My Business profile the lift it needs to effectively improve your SEO and promote your company.
Add High-Quality Photos to Your Profile
A picture says a thousand words, and high-quality photos can tell customers a lot about your business. Make sure your Google My Business profile features these three types of photos:
- Exterior photos: Sharing several exterior photos will decrease the chances of customers getting confused when trying to locate your business. You want your customers to be able to easily recognize your establishment from every angle. It is also incredibly helpful to capture exterior photos at different times of the day. Keep in mind that these photos might be the first image and impression customers have of your business—you want them to be captivating and enticing.
- Interior photos: Sharing photos of the inside provides potential customers with insight into what it is like to be a part of your business. Make sure to select truthful and honest photos to prevent any misconceptions.
- Product photos: Product photos speak to the business itself. Take this opportunity to showcase items and services that your business is best known for. Sometimes the best way to capture the essence of a business is to share photos of the work happening.
Things to keep in mind about Google My Business photos:
- Images help build trust and brand authority
- Familiarizes customers with your storefront and staff
- Provide a preview for your products and services
Select the Right Business Category
Categories are one of the many ways that Google decides who will see your business. The category you select will be directly linked to the searches of customers who are interested in that specific area. So, you want to be incredibly mindful when selecting the appropriate category for your business.
Pick a primary category that truly embodies what your business is about. Be specific—think “hair salon” instead of “salon.” Make sure to only choose one primary category. For instance, Google recommends that “if you manage a grocery store that includes a pharmacy and deli, you would choose ‘Grocery store’ as your primary category and add ‘Pharmacy’ and ‘Deli’ as additional categories.”
Try to be as certain as possible when deciding on a category, since making a change down the line will most likely result in you having to re-verify your business.
Key things to keep in mind about Business Categories:
- Primary business categories can influence local SEO, so choose wisely!
- Choose the most relevant option
- Include as many relevant secondary business categories as permitted
Create a Thorough Business Description
Your business’s description is your chance to tell customers what your company is all about. Bear in mind that Google highly values accuracy when making SEO rankings, so you absolutely want to make sure you are accurately describing your business here.
Be straightforward and concise, and cut back on sharing irrelevant or distracting information. (This will also hopefully prevent any misleading information from making its way onto your profile.) Resist the temptation to advertise specials and promotions in the description. Think of your description as your elevator pitch, a means to summarize what your business does at its core.
Reflect the Most Accurate Hours
For the most part, businesses don’t usually make too many changes to their set schedule. But keep in mind that holidays, special events, and unexpected circumstances sometimes call for a change in hours. Customers respect when there is clear communication, so make sure to manage the hours on your Google My Business profile as changes come up. Once you are able to confirm those modifications, SEO will help Google lead customers to the information they need.
Key points about GMB business hours:
- Make sure they are consistent with the business hours listed on your website!
- Be sure to keep updated for special holiday hours
- Inconsistencies can hurt local rankings
Respond to Reviews in a Timely Manner
Your business’s reputation is highly important, and in today’s digital age, that reputation is hinged upon online reviews. When customers come across your business in a search, the reviews will ideally show them why they should want to do business with you. Plus, not only do reviews enable customers to share valuable feedback, but Google also directly uses data from reviews to determine rankings in search results.
Responding to reviews in a timely manner allows your business to establish a sense of trust with customers. Since these reviews are public, you obviously want to be sure that they reflect your business in a positive light. However, all kinds of things can happen in the course of business, and you’ll probably receive a negative review or complaint at some point. By acknowledging the feedback and responding promptly, you have a unique opportunity to turn the situation around.
Be mindful that only verified businesses have the luxury of responding to reviews.
Reminder about responding to Google My Business reviews:
- Responding to review makes you appear authentic
- Gives your business a chance to provide their side of a story
- Help to clarify misunderstandings (ex. disgruntled customers)
Post on a Regular Basis
Posting on a regular basis is a critical part of any SEO strategy. With every post, you are able to publish the most accurate and recent information about your business—two qualities that Google rates highly when ranking search results. Plus, frequent posts will create more links and more opportunities to drive traffic to your website, a major opportunity to boost your SEO.
There are four different types of Google My Business posts that you can use to make regular updates:
- What’s New
Posts are a great way to communicate with your customers and show off everything that your business is doing.
Posting on Google My Business— Things to Know:
- Posts and updates expire after 7 days
- Great opportunity to highlight special offers and coupons
- Help your brand stick out!
Make the Most Out of Your Google My Business Profile
With these simple (yet significant) tactics, your Google My Business profile will surely make your business shine, both for Google’s algorithms and for potential customers. Take advantage of this easy opportunity to rocket-power your SEO and help your business reach new heights.