How to Use Google My Business to Get More Customers
A Google My Business account lets you show up in search results when people are looking for you online. It’s free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for small and big businesses alike.
This comprehensive guide will show you how to get your account up and running and offer tips on how to get results.
Why you need a Google My Business account
Not sure if you need a Google My Business account? Here’s why you may want to consider one.
Search is digital. Even if you run an old fashioned brick and mortar shop, your customers and prospects are online. And that’s where they’ll typically start their search for your company, products, or services.
Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referrer. A Google My Business account ensures that when someone looks your company up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your shop, whether you have a web or physical address.
Google My Business accounts also improve your local SEO. So when someone searches for you, you show up on page one—not page two or worse.
Even if you already have a web presence, a Google business account ensures you get top results. Accounts also provide access to analytics, allowing you to fine tune your paid and organic advertising strategies.
Keep customers informed
Don’t leave customers guessing about your business’s important details. Or leave them up to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other review sites over which you have no control. Make sure that when someone searches for your business, they find legitimate information, straight from the source.
Your Google My Business listing includes contact information, business hours, and other essential details. You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened (an especially useful feature during emergency situations like COVID-19). Google business accounts have strong local SEO, so the information you share will rank above other sites.
Misinformation can lead to bad customer experiences and missed opportunities. Imagine the letdown a customer feels when they make a trip to your store only to find that it’s closed. Or maybe you are open, but a prospective customer chose a competitor because they weren’t certain.
A Google My Business account lets you keep customers informed.
Boost consumer confidence
A Google My Business profile lends credibility to your company. Need proof? Customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing.
Another study found that businesses with complete listings on Google are twice as likely to earn trust from customers.
Trust is a key factor when it comes to making purchase decisions. The more confident a consumer feels, the more likely they are to buy. Credibility gained from Google is enough to sway people to be 38% more likely to visit your store, and 29% more likely to buy something.
Google My Business reviews help build trust, too. Research by Think With Google finds that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
How to add multiple locations on Google My Business
If you’ve opened a new location or just created a profile and need to add additional locations, follow these steps.
- From your Google My Business dashboard, click Manage locations in the left hand menu.
- Click the blue Add location button on the right.
- Type in your business name and click Create a new business with this name.
- Fill in the information and request verification.
Another option is to go to Google Maps and drop a pin on the location you would like to add. Click Add a missing place in the left menu. Fill in the details then select Claim this business.
If you have more than 10 locations, you can add them in bulk.
Can you turn off Google reviews for your business?
No. You cannot turn off Google reviews for your listing. And it wouldn’t be in your interest to do that anyway, as reviews show customers that your business is legitimate.
But, you can flag and report inappropriate reviews.
Managing reviews is important, but it can be difficult if you oversee multiple locations and Google My Business accounts. With Hootsuite, you can manage and respond to all reviews from one streamlined dashboard.
How to mark a business or location as temporarily closed
If you need to close seasonally or temporarily, mark your business as temporarily closed. Doing this ensures customers are up-to-date without affecting your local search ranking.
How to mark your business as temporarily closed:
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Click Info in the left menu.
- Look for the Close this business on Google section on the right.
- Click Mark as temporarily closed.
8 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile
Add polish to your business on Google with these tips.
1. Fill out your whole profile
Give Google as much information about your business as possible. Why? It makes it easier for Google to match your business to customer searches. In other words, it improves your search ranking.
As Google explains, “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.”
That means you should fill out contact details, category, attributes, and more. Make sure to use the right keywords where possible.
Google determines local ranking based on three factors:
- Relevance: How well your listing matches a search
- Distance: How far your location is from the search or searcher
- Prominence: How well-known a business is (based on several other factors)
Using the right keywords will improve relevance. Not sure where to start? Try Google Trends.
For example, if you run a vintage clothing shop, search “vintage clothing” in your location. Look at related topics and terms people are using for keyword inspiration.
2. Standout with photos
Help people see what your business is all about.
When you create your Google My Business profile, you’ll be able to add a logo and cover photo—much like you would on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest. Without these images, it will be harder for people to recognize your brand online.
Don’t stop there. Show off your location, products, or handiwork by posting additional photos. If you run a restaurant, post pictures of your meals, menus, and dining room. Make sure they look appetizing, professional, and aren’t low res. According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions, and 35% more clicks through to their websites.
If you can, hire a professional photographer. It makes a difference. And it pays for itself in the end. Airbnb listings with photos taken by a professional photographer see a 40% increase in earnings, 24% more bookings, and 26% higher nightly price. If you can’t afford a professional, read these photo-taking tips.
How to add photos to your Google My Business profile:
- Sign in to Google My Business.
- Open the location you’d like to manage.
- Click Photos from the menu.
- Choose the type of photo that you’d like to add.
- Upload your photo from your computer or choose one you’ve already uploaded.
3. Post news, updates, and special offers
Information on your Google my Business profile such as you address, hours, and contact info, should always be accurate and up-to-date. Make sure to edit this information if it changes.
You can also create posts for your business to inform customers of updates, new products, offers, and events. Depending on your goal, these posts can keep your profile fresh, drive sales, and encourage visits to your physical or digital storefront.
How to create a post on Google:
- Sign in to Google My Business and open the location you’d like to manage.
- From the left hand menu, click Posts.
- Choose the type of post you’d like to create from the options given.
- Enter the relevant information in each field. Copy should include necessary details and be concise. Avoid commercial slang and too much punctuation (!!!!!).
- Click Preview to double check formatting and spelling. If you need to make an edit, click the back arrow.
- When you’re ready, click Publish.