You know when you search for a restaurant and google shares their address, website, hours and phone number? That's Google My Business. Small business owners have learned that claiming and customizing their Google My Business allows more foot traffic. So, why should medium, large or Fortune 100 companies take advantage of this?
What is Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) show searchers quick facts about a business. It is a free Google tool that allows businesses control over certain information available about a business when it appears on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). For example, a Google My Business listing appears on a SERP's right hand side and typically shares contact information, address (with a google map of course), business description, frequently asked questions, and often customer reviews or pricing. Now Google does find this information and share it on your business's behalf if you haven't claimed the listing (how will your branding czar feel about that?!?). But if you haven't claimed the listing, you won't get customer reviews or other optimization options.
Here's why small businesses are excelling with these listings -- GMB improves local SEO! When people include “near me” in their search queries Google uses claimed business listings to include those local establishments. Since these are bottom of the funnel prospects that are ready to purchase, you definitely want them to to see the best listing for your business.
But even as a B2B organization, GMB helps your SEO because you are providing a business description, which means you are giving Google more content to index and then determine how relevant your GMB listing is compared to search queryies. With these factors at play, you can see how important it is for any business to claim a GMB listing, keep it complete, and keep it up to date.
NOTE: Sorry eCommerce websites, GMB listings are only available for businesses with a physical address.
Creating a Google My Business Listing?
Setting up your GMB listing begins by logging into the Google Account that you want to be associated with your business. If you already have a google account for analytics, ads, or search console keep the account consistent and simply sign in to your account. Next, go to https://google.com/business and select “Start now.” Then you will be prompted to fill out questions. At the very end of filling out your information, you will be asked to verify your business. This is not mandatory, but you should verify, and here is why.
Google support says, verification helps ensure the accuracy of your business information across Google. Verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users and also protects from anyone who might otherwise pose as a representative of your business.
Most experts also believe that verifying your business will add favor from Google. It makes sense, verification helps Google determine your business information is accurate and that only the business owner, or manager has access to it . In turn, your business is now seen as legitimate and this is where most experts think Google will favor your website , especially over a similar business who has not verified their business.
How to Verify a Google My Business Listing
There are a few ways to verify -- postcard, phone, email, instant verification, or bulk verification. Whatever option you choose, Google will send you a 5 digit verification code. Once you have the code log back in at https://google.com/business, select the business that you requested to verify, enter the code, and click on “Verify Now.”
Optimizing a Google My Business Listing?
As with most of our recommendations, we advise optimizing your Google My Business listing for the best possible user experience since they are your potential customers. Not a huge surprise that we suggest starting with photos and videos. This is where larger businesses or B2Bs can really stand out and let searchers know they are not a mom and pop retail shop. Also -- don't forget about sending people links to provide reviews for you as well.
Since we are all visual, adding photos in your listing will engage people who might not know about your product or service but are looking for what you offer. Images will also help customers confirm that you are indeed the business they were searching for. But you can't upload just any old photo! Make sure you choose photo based on Google's specifications:
- Add a 1080 x 608 pixel cover photo. The cover photo shows up as the largest, so this should be a hero image that explains your business visually.
- Add a 250 x 250 pixel profile photo. The profile photo appears when you upload new photos, video, or review responses. Typically this will be a logo or a product photo. Think of the profile photos as your business’s avatar.
- Add support photos. Support photos should be least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high, and either JPG or PNG formats. You'll have options to upload in several photo categories and should add 1-3 in each relevant category.
When your listing shows up in a search, Google will display a cover photo, a secondary photo (this is randomly chosen by Google), and a Google map for the address associated with your business listing. Uploading multiple images will allow people to scroll through photos when they click on any of the photo sections. The map is the exception, that, of course, brings people to Google Maps so they can get directions to your business location.
So now that you know you can upload multiple images, what photos are best to upload? Here are some recommendations of photo types:
- Exterior photos of the business
- Photos of the interior of the business
- Product or service offerings
- Employees, especially in action
- Business common areas
- Management team or group staff photos
Not all of these photo ideas will work for every business ,so you'll have to brainstorm what applies to your business and what might interest your buyers.
You can now add videos to your GMB! Videos add variety to your profile and we all know video is KING and engages searchers to stay on the page. The parameters for videos are much simpler. All videos must be 30 seconds or shorter, 100 MB or smaller, and 720p resolution or higher. Google hasn't yet announced recommendations on how many videos to upload. However, since video has proven to be more engaging than photos across all marketing platforms, we expect to see more videos in GMB listings soon.
If you have determined that you need to claim, verify, or optimize your GMB and need help with any of these steps, HIVE Digital Strategy is here to help.
Looking for more support for your business or organization to be found online? An SEO campaign might be the answer you are looking for.
Thanks for reading, and keep on buzzin!