Google My Business Guide: How to Supercharge Your Local Business

Being a small business owner means you will be many things at the same time. Besides ensuring your customers are happy with your products or services, you will also have to deal with vendors, manage inventory, and do everything possible to make sure potential customers can find your business.

In other words, you are a one-person show for all things marketing. That is definitely not an easy role to take up. But fortunately for small business owners, there are some tools out there that can make it easy for you to boost your online presence and visibility in your local market. Notable among them is Google My Business (GMB).

This tool has become a go-to marketing tool for many small businesses. You should also use it to give your business the extra boost it needs to get to the top. If you are wondering what Google My Business is or how you can use it to benefit your business, stick around. Consider this as the comprehensive guide you need to understand and get started with Google My Business.

Google My Business Guide: How to Supercharge Your Local Business
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Understanding Your Google My Business Listing

Google My Business is a platform owned by Google itself and used for listing local businesses online. Business owners use the platform to showcase their businesses in the local pack and also get it to appear in various search engine results pages (SERPs). 

That means with Google My Business (GMB), you can easily manage how your business information is displayed to potential customers and also attract relevant, new customers by creating enticing content that draw them to your business.

Another thing that makes the platform great for small businesses is that it is a completely free tool every local business owner can use. More than just a marketing tool, GMB is also a platform that helps you provide useful information to your surrounding communities. 

This in turn, makes it easy for your business to be found in various ways on Google, including on the Google Maps, knowledge panel, and local pack. We will talk more about these in a little bit

But what’s So Special about Google My Business?

The major benefit of Google My Business is that it allows your business enjoy great visibility within your target market. One key thing that promotes the growth of any business is being able to meet their target audience where they are. If you operate a regional or local company that serves specific markets or zip codes, you will understand how important it is to meet potential customers where they are – and where they are is on Google.

Yes, Google has evolved over the years to become a giant search engine where everything is searched. The search engine has also designed ways for small business owners to manage how their businesses appear on Google Search and Maps, which is where the bulk of searches are performed. When you have complete and correct information on GMB, it gives you the chance to showcase your brand to potential customers in your local community. And those are the people that would be most interested in the products or services you offer.

The key point here is to ensure you have complete and updated information so your potential customers won’t have trouble finding your business and interacting with your brand.

You don’t want to see your potential customer going to your competitors because you don’t have the right steps to establish your brand online. So it’s important you learn how to use Google My Business to your advantage and incorporate it into your marketing efforts for the best results.

Google My Business Guide: How to Supercharge Your Local Business

Some Interesting Stats about Google My Business

Google My Business is owned by the largest search engine on the planet, and that makes it a tool every business owner needs to add to their arsenal. Not sure the platform has enough potential to transform your business? These facts might interest you:

  • Four out of five searchers for local businesses via a mobile device will either visit or call the business within 24 hours. 
  • About 70% of consumers find their way to a physical store through the information they got from search results. 
  • Recently, the number of “near me” or “close by” type searches has exceeded the prior two years’ searches by 900% in recent years.
  • 92% of searchers will go with businesses on the first page when they perform a local search

With these stats, it is obvious that you need to incorporate Google My Business into your local marketing strategy for the best results on your efforts.

How Your Google My Business Listing Can Transform Your Business

Having your business listed on Google My Business comes with lots of amazing benefits, and you can see some of them from the information above. But that’s not all. There are a lot more goodies to enjoy by having your business featured on Google’s local search platform. Some of them include:

#1: Your Business Shows Up in Google’s Local 3-Pack

The local 3-park spot is one that many businesses spend several hundred dollars to secure for their business. It shows up even before organic results, making them a powerful tool for gaining more visibility than other search results. However, to get your business into this spot, it is important you have a robust GMB profile.

#2: Your Business Ranks in Google Maps Searches

When people search for a local business, one key factor they consider is how close the business is to their location. While some customers would use Google search to quickly narrow down their options, many consumers would prefer to directly perform their search in Google Maps to find nearby businesses.

It can be really great to have your business show up when people search on Google Maps for your type of business in your location. The only way to facilitate that is to have your profile properly filled out on GMB. That way, your business will not only be featured in the search results but Google Maps will also direct and help potential customers easily locate your company. 

You only need to create a Google My Business listing and complete the verification steps, and you will be setting your business up for easy ranking for local searches.

#3: Builds Trust with Your Customers

One factor that determines how readily people will want to buy from a company is the amount of trust the business has built with the customers. And as a business owner, this is one part you can’t afford to joke with. One important, and easiest step to take into building trust between your brand and your customers is to show that your business has an actual location.

People trust Google a lot, and you can position your business in such a way that it can benefit from this trust. It all starts with making it easy for Google to display your business on the map and search results.

#4: Generate More Traffic and Sales

While huge traffic will mean a whole lot to your business’ growth, you sure don’t want just any form of traffic. Instead, you need qualified traffic that can translate into sales and conversion. One sure way to attract more qualified leads is through Google My Business.

When people search for the product or services you offer, there is a high chance that they are ready to buy. If your GMB profile could show up in search results for such searches, then you will be standing a good chance of having them go with your business.

#5: Helps Drive More Engagement

Many marketers, over the years, have relied on Google My Business for increasing engagement between their brands and their customers. With an updated GMB page, potential customers can check your website, call your phones, or ask questions about your business operations.

GMB also provides customers with the ability to make appointments and book tables directly through your listing without having to visit your website or that of a third party.

#6: Increase Customer’s Confidence in Your Business

Any business that wants to attract new customers will have to take online reviews more seriously. It can mean a lot to your business. Think of it this way, if you are a consumer, would you go with a product or company with the lowest reviews or the one with the highest? Of course, you will want to buy the product that has the highest review

When you have a Google My Business listing, it provides your customers the privilege to be able to review your business and leave feedback for others to see. That will not show potential customers that your existing customers are happy with your business and will also make it easy to convert them into a buyer.

#7: Creates A Better Way to Understand Your Business

Regardless of the type of business you run, having a good understanding of who your customers are how best to market to them. With the “Insight” section on your GMB profile, you will be equipped with enough information about your brand’s visibility, who your target audience is, and how people are engaging with your brand. This could help transform your marketing and increase revenue exponentially.

#8: Rank Higher in the SERPs

One way to make Google fall in love with your business and rank it high in search results is to befriend the search engine. What other way can your business be a close pal with Google other than providing quality, accurate, and consistent, information about the business? 

The more correct information Google can present searchers about your business, the more it will like and rank it in search results. GMB is no doubt the perfect channel to feed the search engine valuable information about your business.

#7: Creates A Better Way to Understand Your Business

Despite being a powerful tool with lots of benefits for small businesses, Google My Business is also completely free! This makes it even more perfect a tool for businesses starting out on a stringed budget.

You only need to create a profile on GMB and you will be opened to the opportunity to promote and connect your business to the right customers. There is also the analytics feature you can leverage to enjoy the best results from your marketing efforts – all at no cost!

Unique Features of Google My Business You Should Know

Google My Business is not only a pretty simple platform; it is also loaded with lots of amazing features. All its features are designed to help take your business to the next level. For instance, the Q&A section allows you to put up a kind of FAQ-style section where potential customers can gain insight into your business – from your product or services to your neighborhood, operating hours, etc.

We are still going to talk in detail about the different features of Google My Business in the latter part of this guide. But here are some of the most common features of GMB at a glance:

  • Knowledge Panel 
  • Reviews
  • Collection and products
  • Photos & Videos 
  • Service Area
  • GMB Marketing Kit 
  • Services List
  • Posts 
  • Google Maps
  • Questions and Answers 
  • GMB Booking Button 
  • Messaging
  • Google Maps
Google My Business Guide: How to Supercharge Your Local Business

Featuring Your Products on Google My Business

Featuring products on GMB is very easy, and it allows you to do it in such a way that it perfectly reflects the items as you have them in your store. The platform has the Product Editor feature that enables you to showcase your products just the way you would like your potential customers to see them. This feature has proved to be a very useful one for both small and medium-sized businesses.

Small businesses can optimize their listings by providing photos and feature listings that reflect:

  • Product specifications 
  • Product details
  • Product categories 
  • Online feedback

This type of feature is not only available for local businesses dealing with selling of products but also for service-based businesses, too.

Optimizing Images for Google My Business Images

While you definitely need to include key information on your GMB profile, such as the name of your business, its address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and social media links, you still need to include relevant photos to entice potential customers. Photos are an important part of marketing.

However, it is not enough to just have a photo on your profile. You need to make sure such photos are well-optimized to give you the best results. Having the photo sized to meet GMB’s requirements is the first place to start.

Google My Business requires that your photos should have the following resolutions:

  • 720 x 720 pixels for regular photos  
  • 1080 x 608 pixels for cover photos
  • 250 x 250 pixels for profile photo

At the same time, you will also need to pay attention to the quality of your photos. Ensure the photos are well-lit and focused. For best results, it is recommended you use PNG or JPG photos. If you will be using videos, ensure your video is not more than 30 seconds. It should also have a resolution of at least 720 pixels and also under 100MB.

Google My Business and SEO: Important Things You Should Know

Over the last decades, search engine optimization (SEO) has grown to become a powerful tool that helps people get organic traffic to their websites. If you are also looking to increase your site’s traffic through SEO, you will be glad to know that Google My Business can be of great help.

When showing results for local searches, Google factors your distance, relevance, and prominence into its search results. Search engines work majorly by using the information you provide online to understand what your business is all about, so they can show it to searchers when they search for anything related to the business.

When you have a complete profile on GMB, you will be giving Google enough information to show your business to potential customers when they are searching for the products or services you offer.

Guidelines Guiding Reviews on GMB

Reviews are an important feature of GMB, so you should understand how it works in order to make the most out of it. Like many other features on Google My Business, there are policies guiding reviews on the platform too. Here are some you should take note of:

  • Yes, you can ask your customers for reviews

Since it is not against the platform’s policy, you should devise a means of easily asking your satisfied customers to leave reviews and feedback on your listings. That will go a long way to help you convert potential customers in the future.

  • Don’t ask for certain type of reviews from customers

Although GMB allows you to ask for reviews from your customers, it is not advisable to beg them to leave positive reviews on your listings. The best practice is to let everyone leave reviews for you based on their experience, then you can respond appropriately to negative reviews.

  • Avoid using restricted or prohibited material on your reviews

That means you need to stay off fake or spam content, illegal content, off-topic content, or content that has sexual or terroristic elements in them.

  • Don’t offer incentives in exchange for positive reviews

This is solely against Google’s policies. So, never accept or give money in exchange for reviews.

Leveraging Your Google My Business Listing to Increase Visibility on Google

Your ultimate goal as a business owner is that your business becomes more visible to potential customers to increase revenue. Google My Business can help you achieve this. With its array of features as mentioned earlier, GMB can easily make your business discoverable to your target audience.

#1: Knowledge Panel

The Knowledge Panel is a small box that usually appear on Google when people search for specific places, people, or things. The box contains information about what is being searched – whether it is a person, place, or thing. The information allows users to have a quick overview of your business based on how much information Google has about the business.

Be proactive and polite when responding to negative reviews. Remember that the reviews on your listings can increase your chances of having potential customers choose your business over that of your competitors.

#2: Google Maps

This is also one of the most important features on Google My Business, and it allows customers to easily find you on Google Maps. Since most customers now search for local businesses directly from the Maps, it is important you make your business findable on there.

Google maps are designed to show directions to your customers on how to find your physical location. The easier you are to find and locate, the more likely you are going to land new customers.

#3: Posts

GMB Posts are just as powerful as many other advertisements you can do for your business outside the Google My Business platform. So, see it as free mini-advertisements for your products, services, or your company as a whole. However, there are various types of posts you do on the Google My Business platform. They include:

  • What’s New
  • Event
  • Offer
  • Product

With the opportunity to include call-to-actions (CTAs) on your GMB posts. You can easily use them to lead visitors further down the sales funnel after reading your post. At the same time, you can also share your GMB posts on social media for more engagement.

#4: Service Area

Service area businesses (or SABs) are the type of businesses that don’t usually have a single location they can direct their customers. Instead, they tend to render their services in places like the homes of their customers or offices within a certain geographic location. If this is the type of business you run too, you will need to set your service area to a city, region, or zip code within GMB s your company gets the chance to stand out from the competition when online searchers are looking for the type of services you provide.

#5: Services List

Do you have some more services you wish you could add to your GMB listing? Just log into your GMB account, find the Services section, and provide details about the services you will like to add. You can as well include descriptions and prices in this section too.

#6: Questions and Answers

As we mentioned earlier, GMB Question and Answer section provides an avenue for anyone to ask questions about your business. However, it is important you stay proactive in answering the questions because just like anyone can ask questions here, anyone can also answer. You definitely don’t want your competitors to lead potential customers away from your business because you weren’t available to give timely and prompt answers to their questions on your listings.

#7: Reviews

As we mentioned earlier, GMB Question and Answer section provides an avenue for anyone to ask questions about your business. However, it is important you stay proactive in answering the questions because just like anyone can ask questions here, anyone can also answer. You definitely don’t want your competitors to lead potential customers away from your business because you weren’t available to give timely and prompt answers to their questions on your listings.

#8: Appointment Booking Button

No doubt, the Appointment Booking Button is an excellent addition to the GMB platform. It allows your customers to easily book appointments at your business with a few quick taps. The whole process of making a booking takes less than a minute. The feature also allows you to track how many bookings you are getting right on your GMB dashboard.

#9: Google’s Marketing Kit

This is a great feature primarily designed to make it easy for you to promote your business online. Google’s Marketing Kit houses several free tools, which all work together to make sure your customers are better informed about the products or services your business offers.

#10: Google My Business Messaging

Not all customers can wait to visit your physical location before they can ask their pressing questions. GMB messaging feature makes it easy for customers to keep in touch in real-time right on your GMB profile. So, whether they want to ask a question or know more about your business operations, you can answer them directly using the GMB messaging feature. This can help you attract more quality leads to your business.

#11: Photos & Videos

When it comes to branding and packaging, media content play a huge role. So don’t leave out the place of photos and videos in your GMB profile and posts. Add relevant, high-quality ones. But don’t forget to optimize them as earlier stated in this guide.

Add the right keywords and geotags to them before finally uploading them. This will help you get as big a slice of the SEO pie as possible. So, don’t neglect it.

#12: Collections & Product Listings

Get your products or services to show up in your knowledge panel by creating a collection that contains at least three products, then complete the required fields as provided on the platform. This will help your customers get more details about your products or services.

Although building collections on Google My Business is not a very easy task, it will surely pay off if you can endure the stress. Many businesses on Google My Business don’t use this feature. So, using it can give you an edge over your competitors.

Although not all, these are the most useful features of Google My Business that you can use to optimize your local reach. Regardless of the type of industry your business belongs to, you are sure to find features that will work just fine for you on GMB.