If you’re looking for details on a local business, whether it’s a retail outlet or a coffee shop, the chances are that you head to Google. To better serve consumers and give businesses a say in the data that’s available, the search engine mogul launched Google My Business, a free tool that lets managers input information such as their website address, social media handles, address, and opening hours.

It’s worth doing: 5% of Google My Business listing views result in a website click, call, or direction request, and the average small business is searched for more than 1,000 times per month on Google. But how can you ensure your GMB listing stands out from the crowd and helps you maximise your potential customers?

 

Let customers book on Google

One of the most recent features introduced to Google My Business is the ability to book an appointment or table right there on the search engine results page. Once you’ve set up your Google My Business profile and have integrated with a third-party booking system, you can let Google offer table reservations, consultations, and more from a single click. Of course, the downside to this is that consumers don’t actually leave Google, and therefore don’t get to visit your well-optimised website, but the upside is that finding leads is super convenient.

The idea is that consumers can book without needing to click through to your website, input all of their personal information, and wait for a callback; it’s simple and so straightforward.

 

Don’t forget about your SEO

It’s natural to assume that opening a Google My Business profile is the only SEO work you need to do – wrong! Though Google will display Google My Business for local businesses to searchers in close proximity, for national and online-based businesses, GMB needs to know that you’re an authoritative and well-respected business first. Therefore, it’s vital that you focus on search engine optimisation and building a healthy backlink portfolio to show Google you mean business. The more authoritative you appear, the more times your Google My Business profile will be shown to users, and the more clicks, calls, and bookings you’ll get.

See also: Local SEO: How to get to the top of Google in your area

Of course, every link you build should be done so respectfully and within Google’s rules. A good SEO campaign should include guest blogging, outreach, and even sponsored posts. If you don’t have the time to take on a project, outsource to the SEO professionals at Zudu.

 

Collect five-star reviews from customers=

One of the biggest reasons for opening a Google My Business page is to accept reviews from customers and visitors. High review ratings could make the difference between a shopper choosing you over a competitor, so reach out to your customer base and ask them politely if they’d be willing to leave you a review for your products or services. If you can amass more reviews than competing businesses, you’ll soon outrank them on Google when consumers search for terms such as “barbers near me” or “Dundee wedding venues”.

With this in mind, it’s vital that you focus on customer service and improving the journey from first enquiry to sale. One negative review can wreak havoc on your Google My Business page and put your reputation into jeopardy – keep customers happy, and put things right when they don’t go to plan. You can even incentivise reviews – but you can’t pay for them!

 

Keep your content fresh

One of the main purposes of Google My Business is to push people to your website, but if you haven’t updated it in a while, there’s little point. You can make your business appear more credible by refreshing your website and posting regular high-quality content that not only promotes your products and services but offers advice to potential customers. The more knowledge and expertise you give away for free, the longer those visitors will stick around on your website, share your content with their colleagues, and potentially link back to your site.

See also: The most common SEO misconceptions 

For businesses in some industries, Google will even display content from your website as part of your Google My Business listing – like blog posts, recent award wins, and clients. The ultimate lesson to learn is that the better and more frequently-updated your website is, the more content Google can display – all of which will increase click-through rates and sales.

 

Make sure your information matches up

Google often creates Google My Business profiles for businesses without them asking using data scraped from third-party platforms like Yelp, and company websites. This allows Google to offer the most comprehensive business directory on the internet, serving customers and stopping them from having to search around for an email address or contact number. If you are yet to create a Google My Business page, you should check to see whether one has been created for you – and ensure that they’ve got the right address and telephone number.

Look around the web and check that your NAP – name, address, phone number – are up to date not only on Google My Business but other websites that Google could extract data from. If something’s wrong, ‘claim’ the business and get it changed as soon as possible. The last thing you want to happen is for customers to call the wrong number, and then ultimately have to settle on one of your competitor’s websites instead if they can’t get through to you.

 

Google My Business is one of the most vital tools in your marketing box, so don’t overlook its importance. Check back to the Zudu blog soon for more advice for small businesses.

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