Has your business vanished into digital oblivion? You could be missing out on an advertising powerhouse that can skyrocket your visibility, and best of all—it’s entirely free. Enter Google My Business, a potent tool offering local Australian businesses an opportunity to light up the digital stage.
Our latest blog post explores how you can unlock this digital Pandora’s Box, turning a mundane listing into an engine that drives maximum visibility and propels your business to the apex of Google searches. Get ready, because we’re about to unleash the details on how to fully optimise Google My Business for maximum impact.
Why is Google My Business Optimisation Essential?
Optimising your Google My Business (GMB) listing has become one of the most critical aspects of digital marketing. With over 167 billion searches performed on Google each month, it is essential to ensure that your business appears in search engine results pages for the right queries.
An optimised GMB listing provides valuable insights about your business and helps potential customers find and engage with it from search engine results. It offers an opportunity to showcase crucial details about your business, including contact information, opening hours, reviews, images and even video.
For instance, let’s say you own a pizza restaurant in Sydney that offers takeaway and delivery services. Using GMB optimization techniques can help improve your visibility in local search results for queries such as “Pizza restaurants near me,” “Best pizzas in Sydney” or “Pizza home delivery Sydney.” By optimising your GMB listing with accurate and consistent business information, attributes, and categories specific to pizza restaurants, you can show up at the top of Google’s local search pack when someone searches for related terms.
Additionally, a well-optimised GMB listing helps you gain credibility with consumers by providing them with relevant information about your business. By including compelling photos of your storefront, menu items or staff members having fun, you can give potential customers an inside look into your business before they even visit. You can also use the “from the business” description section to highlight what makes your business unique and why they should choose you over competitors.
Think of a GMB profile as the equivalent of a brick-and-mortar store window display that provides a sneak peek into what consumers can expect if they decide to step inside. Just like a passerby who sees an attractive window display is more likely to enter the store than someone who doesn’t see anything of interest, optimising your GMB listing can draw potential customers to your business.
Enhancing Visibility and Local Ranking
One of the primary benefits of optimising your GMB listing is enhanced visibility in Google’s local pack results. The local pack, also known as the “3-pack,” displays three local business listings that are most relevant to a user’s search query.
According to Moz, local pack results show up for nearly 30% of all Google queries. Therefore, having your business listed in these highly coveted positions gives you an excellent opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your website and increase conversions.
Let’s say someone searches for “wedding planners Sydney.” Optimising your GMB profile will help you appear in the local pack alongside two other relevant wedding planners that Google thinks are most suitable based on factors such as proximity, relevance and user reviews. This way, people who are looking for wedding planning services can quickly see and engage with your business without having to scroll through many pages of results.
Moreover, a well-optimised GMB listing helps improve local ranking signals by providing Google with consistent and accurate information about your business. This includes name, address, phone number (NAP), categories, attributes and the “from the business” description. Having consistent NAP across all online platforms builds trust with both users and search engines.
However, some may argue that appearing at the top of Google’s search results page via paid Google Ads is more effective than organic results from GMB optimization. While this claim might be valid for some businesses, it undervalues the importance of organic search rankings. According to a survey by Zero Limit Web, 70% of clicks on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) come from organic results rather than PPC Ads.
Steps for Effectively Optimising Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) optimization involves a number of steps that are crucial to ensure your listing is not only visible but also successful in attracting leads and customers. This is important especially if you’re investing in Google Ads. Here are some essential steps for optimising your GMB listing:
Firstly, as discussed in the previous section, you should claim and verify your GMB listing. This involves registering or logging into your Google account, searching for your business on Google Maps, and selecting “Own this business?” if it’s available.
After claiming your GMB profile, the next step is to fill out all the necessary fields with accurate information about your business. These include contact details such as business name, address, phone number (NAP), and website URL. It’s important to double-check this information for accuracy because it’s one of the most common reasons people reach out to businesses.
Some businesses may want to keep their NAP hidden because they work from home or operate online. However, it’s important to understand that hiding your address may negatively impact local SEO since proximity is a ranking factor. In such cases, you can choose the option ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ or ‘My business has no physical location’ while adding all the other relevant information.
Like a broken phone number or poorly marked storefront causing confusion and missed opportunities, incorrect NAP information can lead potential customers astray.
Moving on from basic contact information, another critical step in optimising your GMB profile is selecting accurate primary and secondary categories for your business.
Primary categories define what type of service or product you offer while secondary categories give additional detail about what services you provide. Choosing specific categories will help Google better understand what you do and improve visibility in search results for queries related to these categories.
When selecting categories, it’s also important to understand the difference between them. For instance, if you run a pizza parlour, your primary category should be ‘Pizza Restaurant’ and the secondary category could be ‘Italian Restaurant’. It’s important to note that choosing too many categories can create confusion and may lead to incorrect categorization.
You may feel tempted to use popular but irrelevant categories just to get more visibility. However, this is a poor strategy since Google has algorithms that double-check your business details with other online platforms like Yelp and Tripadvisor. If there is no consistency with the categories, then Google will lower your visibility or remove your listing altogether.
Think of adding too many irrelevant categories like trying to sell pizza as a dry cleaner. It may get people’s attention at first, but ultimately it will lead to misunderstandings and disappointing results.
Now let’s turn our focus to photos. Uploading images regularly is an easy way to improve both online visibility of your business and customer engagement.
Profile Verification and Contact Details
Verifying your GMB profile is an essential step in the optimisation process since it legitimises your business information and helps create trust with potential customers. Here are some additional tips for profile verification and maintaining accurate contact information:
Once you have filled out all relevant information about your business, Google will send you a postcard containing a verification code at the address you provided. This can take up to 14 days to arrive depending on your location, so make sure to add the correct address and expect delays in post office delivery cycles.
Verifying your profile also involves linking it up with other relevant online assets such as social media pages, review sites such as Yelp or trip advisor, platforms like LinkedIn or even maps other than Google maps. This helps Google create a pool of relevant information associating the business with other brands or companies online.
There are also other types of verification methods such as email, phone, or even instant verification if you have a Google Search Console account, but these may not always be available based on your type of business. It’s important to note that businesses with multiple locations can verify them all at once through bulk verification.
Think of profile verification like developing a verified customer service account on Twitter. It requires prompt responses, being publicly accountable and transparent and provides quick access to a wider audience base.
Another essential step is keeping your contact details up-to-date. This includes any changes in physical or email addresses, new phone numbers, etc.
Keeping listings accurate involves regularly updating the same on all third-party platforms where it’s necessary for visibility. If you’ve moved location recently or shifted from one social media page to another for communication, keep this in mind while updating your GMB listing.
Providing correct and updated NAP information across all your online platforms sends out strong positive signals to prospective customers and helps improve SEO ranking of your business in local searches. It also ensures that any negative reviews citing incorrect information don’t go unnoticed which could lead to loss of credibility and revenue.
Avoid using call tracking numbers since they distort the accuracy of the contact information over a range of data providers. Such practises may stigmatise businesses as fake entities and lead to the suspension of their listings by Google.
Much like providing consistent contact information protects businesses from an unreliable reputation, having reliable customer feedback paths helps make sure customers won’t be left in limbo when searching for information about your business.
Optimising your GMB listing with these basic steps will help increase brand credibility, engagement, local rank, and customers over time.
Regular Updates and Photo Uploads
One of the most important steps to optimise your Google My Business listing is to regularly update it with fresh content. This can include adding new photos, posts, or updating business information as needed. By keeping your listing current, you can attract more attention from potential customers and improve your local ranking within search results.
For instance, let’s say you own a restaurant and you upload new images of your featured dishes every month. These photos not only showcase your menu offerings but also help potential diners make informed decisions. According to Google, listings with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more click-throughs to a business website than those without any images at all.
Think of your Google My Business listing like a storefront that needs regular updates. Just like how passersby are more likely to enter an attractive and inviting store, online visitors are more likely to engage with a dynamic and up-to-date listing.
In addition to photos, Google encourages businesses to post updates on their profile regularly. These “Google Posts” allow you to share news, promotions, or announcements directly on your listing. By using these posts effectively, you can encourage engagement from potential customers who may not have otherwise found you through traditional searching methods.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of regular updates and photo uploads let’s dive into the impact that optimising your Google My Business listing can have on customer engagement.
Impact of Google My Business Optimisation on Customer Engagement
Optimising your Google My Business listing isn’t just about enhancing visibility and increasing traffic; it’s also about creating a positive first impression that encourages customers to interact with your business on multiple levels.
A complete and accurate listing can improve trust and credibility between you and potential customers by providing detailed and up-to-date information. Reviews, in particular, can play a huge role in building trust among consumers. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 91% of people read online reviews, with 84% trusting these reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Positive reviews can also lead to increased sales: One study found that businesses with a high number of positive reviews earn 58% more revenue per year than those with low review counts.
However, it’s essential to remember that optimising your Google My Business listing isn’t just about attracting positive attention. Responding to negative reviews is crucial when it comes to customer engagement. Responding directly and appropriately shows potential customers that you care about their feedback and are willing to make things right.
Think of your Google My Business listing as a digital handshake between you and potential customers. By putting your best foot forward and being receptive to feedback, you are creating an inviting and trustworthy image for your business.
Overall, the impact of optimising your Google My Business listing on customer engagement cannot be overstated. By keeping your information up-to-date and responding to feedback, you can build trust and credibility among potential customers while driving more traffic and sales to your business.
Common Google My Business Missteps to Evade
When it comes to managing your Google My Business listing, there are a few common missteps that businesses should make sure to avoid. Failing to steer clear of these missteps can lead to suboptimal visibility on the search engine and hinder customer engagement.
One of the most prevalent missteps is ignoring customer reviews. Businesses often neglect responding to reviews or requesting customers to leave feedback altogether. This is a critical mistake as reviews are instrumental in enhancing credibility, trust, and social proof for your business. Not only do negative reviews impact potential customers’ perception of your company, but they also negatively impact search rankings. Therefore, businesses should regularly monitor their reviews and address them accordingly.
Another common misstep is failing to update crucial business information such as hours of operation, phone numbers, or addresses. Outdated information can frustrate customers trying to contact you or visit your location at inconvenient times leading them to choose a competitor when they don’t have the right information at their fingertips.
For instance, suppose a customer found through Google that a restaurant opens at 6 in the morning but upon arriving an hour later realises the accurate closing time was an hour earlier. In that case, this discrepancy could harm the restaurant’s reputation despite providing excellent service and delicious food.
Thirdly, businesses should take note not to add irrelevant keywords in their profiles solely for optimisation purposes. Google pays close attention while analysing listings and penalises them accordingly if they find any violations of their guidelines. Such practises not only fail to enhance visibility but also lead Google to de-list or ultimately ban the business profile.
Lastly, some businesses tend only to focus on improving their rankings without considering the user’s experience post-clicking on the listing. Poor usability such as broken links or outdated menus can adversely affect customer confidence and make them think twice before returning or recommending your service.
The above common missteps can hurt the business’s reputation and turn away customers, leading to lost revenue opportunities. However, these errors can be corrected by implementing best practises while optimising the Google My Business profile.
Incorrect Business Information and Neglecting Reviews
One of the main problems businesses face when it comes to optimising their Google My Business listing is providing incomplete or inaccurate information. Businesses should ensure that the information provided in their profiles is comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date. Providing complete information ensures potential customers have an accurate perception of your services and more likely to engage with you than a competitor.
For example, suppose a customer looks up service area businesses on Google but notices that one business has incomplete address information and another has a specific range for their service area. In that case, the latter business is more likely to resonate with the customer as they’ve provided complete information.
Another factor worth mentioning is encouraging customer reviews. Positive reviews are a critical element in boosting your reputation among potential customers and driving engagement. Every positive review doesn’t only lead to increased visibility; it also offers greater credibility in terms of trustworthiness from other users’ experiences. Reviews also influence local rankings on Google.
Additionally, Google considers user satisfaction metrics such as click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on website pages, etc., which ultimately decide local search ranking factors. Therefore, consistently generating positive reviews can attract new customers as well as enhance existing relationships with your current clients.
Ultimately accurate and consistent business information along with actively seeking out customer feedback will help create a foundation for the long-term success of your Google My Business listing.