Google My Business is one of the most underused tactics by small and local businesses across the United Kingdom. SEO & PPC are well known methods of how to get your business to rank higher in the search results but many people are unaware of the power of Google My Business.
The biggest benefit of GMB is the fact that it is free, this is a completely free way of getting your business to the top of the Google search results for search terms related to your business.
Your Google My Business profile is a listing that appears on both the search results and Google Maps, it gives potential customers a chance to view the highlights of your business alongside being able to directly contact you via calling or messaging and even click on to your website.
Google My Business has the potential to generate you more leads and enquiries for free. This guide will give you the breakdown of how to create and set up your profile so you can generate leads from your Google My Business listing within 30 days.
If you are struggling with time and would like some help to optimise your Google My Business profile please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to help.
Why should you optimise your Google My Business listing?
A fully optimised listing not only makes your business appear to look better when compared to competitors but it also helps you rank better in Google for relevant keywords.
Improve engagement with your business
Each year there are more and more “zero-click searches” this is where someone types something into Google and doesn’t click on anything. This is mainly because the answers now appear in featured snippets, knowledge graphs, map packs & business profiles. Optimising your profile allows you to be shown more. In some industries potential customers will engage more with the Google My Business profile than they would a website, we have found this especially true in local service based industries such as Car Garages.
Improve your local rankings
SEO can take months and sometimes years to have an impact on generating more profit for your business, that isn’t to say it is not needed; however it should definitely be seen more as a marathon for long term growth rather than a sprint.
A optimised Google My Business profile allows you to be shown in your local area fast. Google’s algorithm takes into account proximity to the user searching, relevance of search term, activity of profile & quality of information. A fully optimised profile sends signals to Google to rank you higher in the local results. The higher you rank more likely people will both see and engage with your listing which in turn can generate more leads for your business.
Get more customers
Local visibility and boosted rankings are a positive however getting more customers will be any local & small businesses main goal. Google My Business is extremely helpful when it comes to converting more customers. Not only does it have at least 3 points of contact (Phone, Message,Website) potential customers can use, a fully optimising listing also showcases all the information a potential customer would need.
Potential customers can discover your listing from a relevant search and then see all the information they require in order to decide if you’re the company they want to contact. They have access to all your contact information, FAQ’s, services/products you offer, locations you work in, reviews and ways to book an appointment. A fully optimised Google My Business profile eliminates all potential pain points why someone wouldn’t contact you.
How to optimise your Google My Business listing
Now you understand the reasons why optimising your Google My Business profile is important in order to get more local leads and customers. The next step is to learn how to optimise your listing so it can work as a free digital marketing & lead generation tool for your business.
These are 13 steps this guide will help you with to get your first lead from Google My Business
Complete your profile sections
Primary categories & services
Writing your business description
Upload new photos
Questions & answers
Get reviews & respond
Add products & Services
Set up messaging
Managed of GMB Profile
1 – Create your Google My Business account
First you need to create a Google My Business that will allow you to gain access to the Google My Business listing and continue to optimise the listing to generate more customers and leads.
Creating a Google My Business account is simple just go to http://google.com/business and sign in with the Google account you use for your business – if you don’t current have a gmail/Google account you use for your business create one as this will allow you to have access to your Google My Business profile.
2 – Complete your profile sections
A completed profile is not only proven to help you rank higher in search results but will also increase the number of actions a user takes when they engage with your profile. As there’s more information about your business a potential customer is more likely to find what they are looking for.
There is a lot of information to provide. So I have broken it down in order of priority, if you are short on time focus on the top priority section first then move down the list when you have more time to complete your profile. Do make sure you complete every section within the first 7 days of your listing being verified however to give yourself the best possible chance of getting your first GMB lead within 30 days.
Top Priority – Quick to complete
Operating days & hours
Next priority – Takes a bit more time, effort & thought to complete
Main category and attributes
Services and products
From the business (Main business description)
Questions & answers (FAQ’s)
Next priority – These are ongoing sections
Create posts for your profile
Reply to reviews
Questions and answers
3 – Contact information
I have mentioned contact information as it’s own step although it does feature on the step previous due to the importance of it. Make sure this is correct and matches the contact information across your website, social channels and internet listings.
Make sure your business name is identical to the one you use in the ‘real word’ such as store signage, website etc. If these names are different it can be considered spam by Google and this would mean your profile would be penalised and unlikely to rank meaning a loss of potential customers.
Make sure your business name and address exactly match other listings across the internet. This is known as “NAP” in the digital marketing world and stands for name, address, phone. Google associates the “NAP” to your business so ensuring it matches across the board can help your chances of being shown more in your local area.
Include both your regular and special hours. This is especially important if you have a physical store, saying you’re open when you are not can lead to a very bad customer experience, a loss of customer lifetime value and bad reviews. If you are service based it also allows people to know when you are most likely to respond to their requests.
4 – Write your “from the business” section
The from the business section is important it is one of the first things a potential customer will see when clicking on your profile.
Optimising a “from the business” section is not too difficult. In fact I have broken it down into 5 easy steps on how you can write your “from the business” section for maximum exposure.
Use as many of the 750 characters available while placing the most important information in the first 250 characters – This allows potential customers to see the highlights of your business straight away.
This shouldn’t be too different from the “about us” section of your website. The ‘from the business’ section is a perfect place to showcase why your business is beneficial to the local community and what services and experience you have in helping solve a potential customer’s problem.
Use keywords – Keywords are the way people will find your business profile so use them. If you are a window cleaning in Essex make sure your description mentions you clean windows in Essex.
Don’t repeat or copy any of the other information on the profile. Use this space to display what separates you from your competitors. The users already have access to your contact information don’t waste characters by including them in your profile. Use this space to display your unique selling point and separate yourself from your competitors.
Including a call to action, this can’t be a link but something such as get in touch for a free quote or start a free trial today can drive more people to contact you.
5 – Primary category
Choosing a category is crucial in order to optimise your Google My Business profile. I have mentioned the two main reasons below.
This helps you get found in ‘discover searches’ – It is estimated that 84% of profile views on Google My Business come from discover searches – This is where the user searched for a product, service or term and the business profile appeared.
Highlight category features – Some categories have their own specific features to make your profile more useful for potential customers. Restaurants for examples can include a menu or reservation button. This is different for every category and these small changes can help you beat your competitors.
Google offers a wide range of categories, it is important to choose the correct one. To ensure you get found for the most relevant searches.
Be specific and niche down your category – If you are a beauty salon ensure you choose “Beauty Salon” and not just “Salon”, Bars & Restaurants can do the same if you specialise in something and have this as your chosen category. “Cocktail bar” for example. There are over 3000 to choose from so pick the one that is the most specific to your business.
Include secondary categories – Many businesses fall into more than one category. Your main service of business should be your first category and then everything else falls into the secondary categories.
Don’t try to appear for everything – If you try to market to everyone you will appear for no one. Stick to your niche. Google wants users to find exactly what they are looking for and rewards you with high rankings when you give valuable content. Trying to appear for “Indian food” when in fact you are a “fish & chip shop” will not make you appear in more restaurant services, it will in fact harm your profile and mean you are shown less to relevant customers.
6 – Attributes
Attributes are something that can really separate you from a competitor. These are things your business has that a competitor may not that can mean you get more customers.
Different industries have different attributes, restaurants have the option to say if their kid friendly, have wheelchair access etc. In your chosen category you will see a list of attributes appear simply add the ones that are correct for your business.
7 – Post on your profile often
There is proven data to suggest posting on your Google My Business profile does help improve the ranking of the profile. Just like how any other social media platform works the more you post useful & engaging content the more visibility your profile will get.
Posts created appear on the GMB dashboard and will come up when your listing is shown to people.
Posts help your business and your GMB profile for a number of key reasons.
Posting regular is positive for your ranking signals on Google, this means your profile has a larger chance of ranking higher.
Posts will increase the numbers of actions taken by potential customers when they find your profile
Consumers who find you on Google My Business will have a higher search intent as they are searching directly for things related to your business.
How should you write posts to help your listing rank here?
Include CTA’s with every post you get the option to add buttons such as learn more or call now.
Include keywords in your post, if you are trying to get found for being a Scaffolding company in Leicester make sure you mention Scaffolding & Leicester in your posts.
Update your audience regularly, if something has changed or you have news about your business. Create a Google post about it.
8 – Add photos
Uploading photos is important to optimise your Google My Business listing for a 3 main reason:
It showcases your brand, physical location, staff etc. Photos give people a visual look into your company.
Increase engagements – Listings with photos get more engagement than listings without this means it gives you a better chance of attracting more customers.
Ensure your images are shown – Anyone can add photos to your business including guests, customers & the general public. By adding your own photos it ensures quality photos are shown on the listing.
Although adding photos is great, don’t over do it adding 100’s of images straight away won’t be beneficial, below are some tips for adding photos to your listing.
Make sure your thumbnails photo is your business logo
Include one photo of a real person either yourself or a photo of your team
Don’t use stock photos make sure they are all real
Only use quality images – a bad image can make your company look unprofessional & cheap.
Geo-tag your photos to allow Google to further understand how you operate in your local area
9 – Questions & Answers
Questions & answers are a great way to give more information about your business.
To start, just include any FAQ’s you get, over time anyone can ask a question on your listing. It should be noted that anyone can answer. It is important to monitor this so incorrect information doesn’t appear on your profile.
Set up alerts – This allows you to see when someone posts a question and you can answer directly.
Add your own – It is possible for you to answer your questions on your own profile. It may seem odd, but this is a good way to get FAQ’s on your profile.
Keywords in answers – Including keywords is proven to help with your rankings. Don’t add some for no reason though make sure this is natural and doesn’t look spammy.
By keeping on top of your Q&A section you can make sure all the information is accurate and reflects your business in a positive light.
10 – Get reviews and respond
It is very rare people purchase from a business without looking at some sort of review or testimonial. If you had the choice between 3 businesses one had 8 5 star reviews and the other two didn’t have any it is highly likely that you would pick the one with the best reviews.
Google also understands that reviews are one of the biggest influences on a potential customer buying. This makes it a key ranking factor in their algorithm. You can see this for yourself if you type in any search term that shows a map pack, the businesses at the top will often have some of the best reviews.
To optimise your GMB with reviews use these tips:
Ask your most loyal customers for reviews to get your first few
Make it easy for people to review you, you can send them a link that allows them to fill out their review
Ask everyone you work with. Most people will give you a good review if you provide a useful service.
Include a review page on your website which links to the profile
Respond to all reviews – good or bad. In fact responding professionally to a bad review can help potential customers see you deal with complaints well.
11 – Add product and services
Adding products and services is very useful. This allows people to find you for relevant searches. When adding products and services, include the name, description and price. This allows Google to show your profile to the most relevant potential customers.
Adding services and products is simple and anyone that sees your profile will get a glimpse of each and if they click on a service they will get more information and a call to action such as learning more on your website.
12 – Set up messages
Setting up messages allows users to directly contact your business via your GMB profile.
Enabling messaging is simple. Just select the messaging tab on the Google My Business dashboard, you will have to install the app on your phone to enable this option however.
It should be noted that this does not use your personal number and you should set up alerts to ensure you don’t miss any messages.
13 – Manage your GMB profile
As you can now most likely tell. Setting up a Google My Business is not a one and done task. It is a digital marketing tool that is amazing for local business and like every form of marketing the more you work on it the more chance you have of being successful on it.
It is important to stick to the 5 points below to ensure that your profile stays optimised:
Keep all information updated no matter how small the change seems.
Create posts and upload
Ask and reply to new reviews
Add any new products or services your business does
Create unique offers and post these to your profile.
As with any other digital marketing method or SEO strategy, to really succeed your Google My Business listing should centre around providing quality and useful information to potential customers.
Sticking to this guide and regularly updating your Google My Business will drive more awareness to your listing which will in turn lead to more leads and eventually customers. If you set up your listing today it is entirely possible that you can get your first lead from Google My Business within 30 days.
If you want any help setting up your Google My Business complete the contact form below