If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you already know what a Google My Business (GMB) profile is – if you’re not sure, check out this intro to Google My Business profiles.
Ok, now we’re all on the same page – let’s get into it.
So, you already know how important GMB is for your search engine rankings – but it’s so much more than that.
A fully-optimized Google My Business profile is basically a free advert for your company. When a potential lead Googles *your service* in *your area*, hopefully, your company will pop up as a high ranking result in the search or in the map pack.
If that happens right now, what do they see?
A cohesive profile of up-to-date info, impressive professional-looking photos, and full-service list?
Or a profile with a pixelated logo and a no-longer connected phone number?
Your Google My Business profile is a snapshot of what your business is like. It gives your audience an inside look into what your company is about – and how it works. It helps you highlight your best features and show them off to your potential customers.
Optimizing your Google My Business helps you to stand out from your competitors, showcase how awesome you are, and convince potential customers to choose you over everyone else.
So how do you make an irresistible Google My Business profile? What are the best ways to optimize your GMB profile?
Let’s take a look.
First up, verify your Google My Business listing (if you haven’t already)
You can’t optimize what doesn’t exist.
If you haven’t verified or created a Google My Business (GMB) listing yet, go do it – now!
70% of customers are more likely to visit a business if they have a Google My Business account.
So, head over to Google My Business and sort out your listing.
There’s literally not one reason to not set up a Google My Business listing – it’s absolutely free. It isn’t often you get things for free in the online world, so take complete advantage of this opportunity.
To verify the listing they will send you a postcard. Sometimes, depending on if Google knows you already, they might offer to verify by phone. But most often it is by postcard. Make sure that everyone knows to look for this and not throw it away!!!! Be sure to add a contact name.
Optimizing your Google My Business Profile
Now that you definitely have a GMB listing set up and ready to go, it’s time to get down to business and optimize it for your audience. You can fill out your GMB listing while you are waiting on verification.
Here are 7 ways you can optimize your GMB profile to attract more potential clients to your website (and ultimately turn them into paying customers).
1. Is your NAP correct?
This might seem obvious, but you’d be shocked by the number of businesses that don’t have a correct, consistent name, address, and phone number on their various profiles and platforms online.
Whether your NAP doesn’t match the one on your website or it was just the wrong information from the start, it needs to be fixed ASAP.
Make sure to double-check your name, address, and phone number to ensure the information is all correct. Even one digit out of place in your number could critically impact your sales.
You can check your NAP by logging into your Google My Business and clicking on ‘info.’
2. Choose the right categories for your business.
Both categories and subcategories play an important role in optimizing your GMB profile. They let Google know what searches your business will be relevant for.
The category you choose will outline what business services you (mainly) do, and your subcategory highlights other, more specific features within your business
For example, your category could be ‘Construction Company’ where your subcategory could be ‘Commercial Properties’.
2. Write a persuasive, compelling company description.
You get a whole 750 characters to describe your business to your audience, so it’s important to make the most out of what you have. This text might be the first thing your potential clients read about your company, so you want them to know what you do and who you do it for immediately.
From this short bio, your potential lead should be convinced that you and your business can solve their problems. You want to encourage them to go to your site and check out all the awesome services you have to offer.
The description box is the perfect place to show off your company’s USPs (unique selling points), history, and story. Try to use some location-specific keywords in your description so you can attract people from your local area, and improve your local SEO.
3. Claim your short name.
Your short name is a custom name that you choose to make it easier for your customers to find your business online. If you are known by something other than your full business name, this is a great place to add that.
Your short name should be something that is associated with your business, whether it’s something to do with your services or a name given to your company by regular clients.
For example, if you’re in a specific location, you can change your short name to read ‘business name, location.’
Doing this will improve your chances of coming up in local searches, and it’ll also help you become more known to your local customer base.
4. Use high-quality photos on your profile.
A picture is only worth a thousand words when you can clearly see what’s going on in it.
If you upload photos and graphics to your GMB profile that are low resolution (i.e., hello pixels), they’re not going to make you look good.
When uploading photos to your GMB listing, make sure that they’re high-quality and taken in good lighting. You want your audience to be able to see what your company is all about, and taking terrible photos isn’t going to do you any favors.
If you don’t have any photos up on your GMB profile, then now is as good a time as any to get shooting and uploading.
Try to include pictures of your team at work, the inside and outside of your building, your logo, and some images of you with your clients.
For the love of Google, do not use stock photos here.
5. Encourage (and respond) to reviews.
Encourage your current or past clients to leave reviews on your GMB profile. Your business will look a lot more trustworthy and legitimate with plenty of honest, real reviews on it. Google also likes to see reviews on your profile – and the more you have, the higher up on the search results you’ll go.
In the past, it was complicated to explain how to leave you a Google review. Google has now added an easy way to find a special link right to your reviews.
Look for this when you click on HOME in the sidebar
That will open this popup menu with your custom link. You can copy the link and use it where ever you want.
You can also turn the link into a QR code that you can add to print items.
- My custom code https://g.page/BrandingBeyond/review?rc
- Go to https://www.qrcode-monkey.com/
- Paste your custom Google Review link, you can add colors, logos (as a clue to what the QR code is) and customize the design if you want to get fancy.
- Hit the green “Create QR Code” button
- Download a .png, .svg, .pdf or .eps for print use
- The name is going to be qr-code.png… be kind to your future self and add a bit more detail. qr-code.png –> qr-code-Greview.png
- Here is mine. If you are reading this on a desktop, take your phone and turn on the camera and point it at the QR code. It should tell you what it is and offer to send you to that page…all without having to take a photo. You can also use a QR app.
Now use common sense when adding a QR code to your marketing. A phone needs to be able to take a photo of the code. Don't use it in a way that this fundamental task can't be done… like on a billboard!! For fun watch Scott Stratten, UnMarketing: Why QR Codes Kill Kittens.
Home services businesses and restaurants can add the QR code on their business card or menu to encourage and make it easy to leave them a Google Review. Get creative.
You should try to respond to any reviews you get – especially if they’re negative. Negative reviews aren’t always a negative thing, and you can even turn them into something positive.
If you receive a negative review, simply respond to them, ask them what’s wrong and try to solve it as best you can.
By calmly responding to negative reviews, you’re showing your clients that you have great customer service skills and are always there to help them if they have an issue.
7. Link to your social media profiles (and your website).
Optimizing your GMB profile means keeping everything up to date to ensure your clients get all the latest information. That isn’t a one-time tweak, set it and forget it kinda thing. You need to update your listing constantly.
A great way to show you’re an active, ready-to-do-business-with-you company is to link to your social media profiles and your website.
Interested visitors will relish the chance to click on your social media accounts/website and see what you’re up to. It’ll also allow them to know your business a bit better and maybe even become a follower.
With this in mind, you should always try to make sure that your social media stays regularly updated with any news about your latest projects or achievements.
If you have an appointment tool like Calendly, Book like a Boss, You Can Book Me, Acuity Scheduling, etc. You can add your link and people can sign up for a spot in your calendar directly from the Google Search page.
Ready to optimize your online footprint?
Here at Branding & Beyond, we want to help you make sure your brand is seen online – in the right places and in the right light.
If you want to attract more customers to your business, we’re here to help you implement a brilliantly effective marketing plan that will deliver you solid leads.
Let us help you create a cohesive, professional online profile for your company – get in touch.
Tracy O’Shaughnessy Founder / Lead Brand Strategist of Branding & Beyond
Tracy and her team help B2B firms in the construction industry and professional services look and sound credible online and off.
She has been in the industry since the early '90s and is tired of great companies being treated as commodities and competing on price because they don't look and sound as credible as they really are.
You can find Tracy on Linkedin and here on this blog.