5 Tips for Optimizing Your Business Listing on Google
If you read the previous post “What Is Google My Business” you hopefully have claimed your business listing and made sure it’s been verified. After filling out all the basic information here are some tips for getting the most out of your listing.
1. Validate Your NAP
As mentioned in the previous post, Google looks at your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) as your “digital fingerprint”. It helps Google connect the various online sources of information to your Google My Business listing. You want to make sure you’re using the same NAP on your website, social media accounts and any other online directories. It should also match any marketing materials and branding.
This consistency is not just important for search engines, though. You don’t want your customers to get confused if they see inconsistencies between any of your NAP information online. They may not associate one online source with you and decide to move on to a competitor.
Google has guidelines for how you should enter your NAP information. Make sure you’re following their recommendations so your listing doesn’t get flagged for errors.
2. Choose The Right Categories
You have the ability to select a Primary and multiple Secondary business categories for your Google My Business listing. Be as specific as possible when choosing your primary category. If you are an “Elder Law Attorney”, choose that over just “Attorney”. Google is smart enough to include you in the more general search results for “Attorney”, but it can’t pick you for the narrower category unless you tell it to.
There are over 2,000 (and counting!) different categories to choose from. You can use the handy Category Lookup tool from Moz to explore which categories are right for your business.
Also, be sure to add 2-3 additional categories if they apply to your business. The more categories (within reason), the more opportunities you have to be returned in search results.
3. Upload Image and Videos
Google reports that businesses with images receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks to their websites than businesses with no images. Upload several good-quality images to make your listing stand out from the competition.
Pay especially close attention to the Profile image. This is the one that appears with your listing on Google Maps and Google Search results. Have an image that gives your potential customers a great first impression of your business.
The Logo and Cover images are also important. Make them consistent with your other branding. You want people to recognize and remember your branding.
For additional images, consider posting photos of the interior and exterior of your business, photos of your team, and images of your products or services. Give potential customers a “behind the scenes” peek into your business.
Video is also extremely powerful in capturing people’s attention. Google allows you to upload short (~30 second) video clips either directly to your profile or as part of Posts. These clips also “auto play” so they can really capture viewer’s attentions. Just like with images, make sure your videos are of good quality. Good lighting, a steady camera and clear sound are all required.
4. Get and Respond to Reviews
Consumers read reviews online before making a purchasing decision, and some studies have shown that people between the ages of 18-34 are even more likely to give and rely on reviews.
Google provides an easy way to get reviews from your satisfied customers and it showcases those reviews on your business listing page. Unlike other review platforms like Yelp, you’re actually allowed to reach out to your customers to get reviews. Make it even easier on them by sending a direct link. Here are some instructions from Google on how to generate a direct link to a review of your business.
When you get a review (even bad ones), make sure you respond in a timely manner. If it’s a good review, make sure you thank them for leaving it. If it’s a bad review, be professional and find out more details behind the review. Don’t get into an online argument with a reviewer. Get the facts or state your understanding of the situation calmly.
Being proactive with getting reviews can also help mitigate the impact of any bad ones. Nobody expects perfection. If they see a majority of your reviews are positive they’re more willing to overlook the negative ones – especially if you’ve addressed the concerns raised in them.
5. Answer Your Questions
Google provides a Question & Answer section on your business listing. This is a place for people to ask questions about your business and products/services.
Make sure you promptly and accurately respond to any questions left on your listing. If you don’t answer a question, anybody else can! Don’t rely on strangers to explain your business.
Also, be proactive and post some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!) yourself. Think about what your customers ask or what questions you’ve heard from prospective customers. This is another way to build trust and eliminate any hesitation a potential customer may have.
There are many more ways to optimize your business listing, but these five areas should get you off to a good start. Above all, make sure you stay active with your Google business listing. Keep the information updated, respond to any engagement and keep posting new content!