What is Google My Business?

February 12, 2020

Google My Business helps consumers to find exactly what they’re looking for every day — and most of those consumers don’t even know it exists. Businesses, however, need to become very familiar with Google My Business and utilize it to its fullest potential.

Google My Business is a quick-reference guide that pops up when searching for a store, company or location. On desktops, this display appears on the right side of the search results. On mobile devices, it can be found above the first search result. This information is extremely valuable, giving searchers everything they need without even having to click a link.

However, this information doesn’t just magically appear in Google My Business. It’s up to the business itself to create and craft its Google My Business listing. The easier you make it for a consumer to find your business, the more likely it is that they’ll look further into your organization. And there are few things that help a searcher more than Google My Business. Here’s how to get started.

Sign Up

Your solution for increased visibility and customer satisfaction begins at the official Google My Business website. Here, you can either claim your business if Google already lists it, or you can add your business from scratch. Either way, you’ll need a Google account to administer your listing.

Google My Business gives you plenty of room to let the world know all about your business. You can — and should — enter your business name, location, hours of operation and URL. You can also enter up to ten different business categories, one of which is your primary category and the rest of which are secondary descriptions. Google gives the most weight to your primary category, so pick that one wisely. Also, Google doesn’t take kindly to people that try to manipulate its algorithms for ill-gotten gains, so be honest about what your business actually does.

The final section of basic information is a summary of your business, which essentially acts as an area to describe your company while hitting vital SEO keywords. You have 750 characters for this, of which the first 250 characters appear above a “Read More” prompt, so make sure those first sentences are highly relevant to your audience. A well-written, search-friendly description will help your stature in the search rankings, so be sure to incorporate any keywords you’re focusing your search strategy around.

Incorporate Media

A picture says a thousand words. And while you can have a top-notch description for your business, people are going to want to see what they’re getting themselves into before heading to your store or buying your products. Images and videos can go a long way towards selling these on-the-fence consumers.

The media you choose shouldn’t just focus on your product offerings. Upload pictures of your storefront, your sales floor, your production room — anything that can entice viewers to feel an affinity for your business. Give people a feel for what they can expect when they come to your place of business — in a good way, of course.

What’s also great about Google My Business is that customers can also upload photos. These can be general images posted by Google’s virtual tour guides, or they can be actual product photos from satisfied customers. You can always review user-generated content by sorting your photos by ‘Images by Customer’ and removing anything that you feel doesn’t belong — for instance, an unrelated image or a photo with negative connotations.

Use Posts

So far, the applications we’ve seen of Google My Business have been akin to those of a social media account. But there’s more to this comparison than you might think. Unlike a static website or a generic Google search result, Google My Business allows you to deliver timely information to your desired audience in the form of posts.

A post on Google My Business can be virtually anything. It can be a new product offering, or it can be a notification about a flash sale. Much like you’d do on your company’s Facebook page, you can use Google My Business posts to advertise your latest developments. Special offers, holiday open/close schedules, and company news are just a few of the ways you can use posts to impart vital but rapidly changing information to your audience.

As is the case with conventional social media posts, your Google My Business posts can include images. But you can do so much more on Google My Business. For instance, you can include call-to-action buttons on your posts tailored to the action you want the viewer to take. Pushing these buttons will take the viewer to the landing page of your choice.

Respond to Reviews

The power of timely responses to user reviews has become increasingly well-known by businesses. It’s no different on Google My Business.

Google My Business includes a link to all the Google reviews you’ve received. More importantly, the average review score of your reviews is also displayed. This is just as much a part of your advertising as the images you upload and the posts you make. If those factors are on point but you have a low user rating, you’re in trouble. Therefore, it’s in your interest to keep that number as high as possible.

Responding to every user review — the good ones and the bad ones — will go a long way towards keeping your review score in good shape. Those that gave you a favorable review will be happy that you took the time to acknowledge their review, and they’ll likely give you return business as a result. But it’s even more important to respond to those that left negative remarks. Not only is it good customer service, but you’ll have the ultimate chance to turn a negative into a positive. Responding to a bad review shows the reviewer — and everyone else that stumbles upon your reviews — that you care about this individual and that you want to make things right. It also opens the door for that reviewer to potentially revise their rating, boosting your average review score. It’s worth a shot — after all, you have nothing to lose.

Google My Business is equal parts a super-sized Google listing and a social media platform. Setting it up the right way is crucial for helping people to find your business, but your work doesn’t end there. Maintaining a quality Google My Business listing requires constant effort and refinement. Continue to augment your listing with timely posts, updated pictures and thoughtful responses to reviews. By taking care of these items, you can be sure that anyone that views your site is getting the best possible representation of your business — and that will lead to increased exposure and revenue before long.