How to Optimize Google My Business & Leverage for Sales
November 20, 2018 Abhinav Dawar
There is a reason why Google became a verb. Whenever we search for something online, we turn to Google even if we have some other search engine at our disposal. Google has become such an indispensable part of our lives that according to a survey conducted by Net Marketshare, nearly 80% of all searches which are conducted online are done using Google. Of this, almost 60% of searches are done using mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.
If seen from the perspective of a business owner, this is a minefield of opportunities waiting to be leveraged, for which a tool is needed.
This is where Google My Business for sales generation comes in.
It is a free tool which has been made by Google to help entrepreneurs manage their presence online which includes gaining more exposure locally. To achieve that one needs to fill some details on Google My Business (GMB) which is also known as creating listings.
How to Create GMB Listings?
The process is very simple and sequential. First, you need to visit the website by conducting an online search and ensuring that your business is not already listed on GMB.
This is because if you have been doing business for several years, chances are, that GMB already has a listing of your business and it just needs to be claimed.
- Create an account on GMB by visiting https://www.google.com/business/ and then clicking on the ‘Start Now’ button.
- Google will then ask for a plethora of questions about your business which will make it easier for potential customers to search for your company on Google Maps and Search.
- It is highly essential to fill out all the basic data because if you don’t, then someone else will, which can be someone random or a competitor.
It is worth noting that Google may or may not inform you about any changes which are made to your business listing. It is, thus, essential to log-in and keep checking your listing at regular intervals.
New Features and Benefits of GMB Listings
GMB listings provide businesses a seamless interface for managing their online presence across multiple platforms such as Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+. Using one dashboard, business users can now post content, track analytics, and revert to potential customers queries and current customers concerns.
Some of the prominent features and benefits of GMB optimization are :
This feature allows owners who have been verified using GMB to draft contents which will appear in search results when users search using the name of your organization. To facilitate ease of access, a number of options such as drafting texts, uploading images and the provision for adding the title of an event have been provided.
How to Access Google Posts
- Navigate to your GMB account and search the ‘Posts’ option on the left side menu. Here, you will also get options for drafting a post of up to 300 words, of which only 60-70 characters will show on mobile and desktop display if the CTA button is used.
- The option also offers the feature for uploading images. The images used should be of high-resolution (JPG or PNG) with a mandatory 4:3 ratio. Thus, the minimum dimension needed is 400X300 pixels and size being of 5-10 KB.
- The posts will appear on Search and Maps results and will be removed after seven days of publication or after the event date has passed.
GMB for Lead Generation
It allows 30-second video snippets, of up to 100 MB with a resolution of 720p or higher, of your company, to be added.
- Go to the option for adding videos under the ‘Overview’ tab, and if that is not available, then you can click on the blue + sign to do the needful.
- Drag and drop the video which you would like to add. The maximum time needed for the videos to be displayed is 24 hours. In most cases, however, they begin appearing just a few minutes after they are added.
- Once you have added two or more videos on GMB listing, a ‘Videos’ subtab gets displayed in mobile devices.
Google My Business optimization allows business owners to chat directly with clients who found them through the search results on a mobile device. This provides a big benefit to a new business who can chat with their clients instantly. However, it is essential to respond as quickly as possible as the average response time will be displayed to the user, which will add to their experiences.
How to Enable Google Chats/Messages
- Find the ‘Chat’ card under the “Home” menu and enter your phone number to enable receiving texts.
- You can continue receiving texts even after your business hours. Turn of the feature in case you do not want to receive messages after business hours.
- Do not provide any sensitive information using GMB messaging feature.
Appointment URLs (Uniform Resource Locator)
There are many businesses which require clients to book an appointment before making a visit. For such establishments, GMB enables the inclusion of a link to make a direct appointment. This helps in organizing the influx of customers when there is a rush.
How to Add Google URL
- Visit the URL’s section and enter the URL which is to be added.
- The best recourse here would be to add the link in the ‘Contact Us’ page.
- Once the link has been added, click on it to check whether it is working or not.
Questions and Answers
Prospective clients can ask questions to business owners using this feature. However, this feature is only on Android devices currently. In order to receive notifications with regards to questions asked or answered, business owners need to have access to Google Maps.
Measuring the Impact of your Listing
It is highly essential to measure the impact of your listing done on Google My Business and there are tools available which help you do that. The benefit of these tools is many. For instance:
- They help in finding how customers are finding you online (direct – when people know about you and search using your name or address or discovery – people who do not know about your business but find you by searching for the business type or category).
- Where (i.e. whether on Search or on Maps) are people finding your business listing,
- Which actions are customers taking on finding your listing,
- Where are the customers living, and the number of phone calls and the time at which they are calling
GMB Online Reviews
Unlike Yelp, Google encourages business owners who ask their clients for reviews. Business reviews help your business stand out and have an impact on the search result rankings. In fact, reviews are so popular that 97% of consumers read reviews for local businesses with a staggering 85% trusting them as much as personal recommendations.
It is recommended to respond to reviews because it means that you appreciate the feedback and show tentative customers that you care.
This is a recent addition in the list of features which has been added by Google. It allows 750 characters to be added in the business description. Of these, however, only 250 characters will show up and the rest will be truncated in the Knowledge Panel.
On a desktop, the business description appears in the Knowledge Panel towards the bottom and on a mobile device, it is visible if one clicks on the ‘About’ tab.
If your company provides a wide variety of services which you would like people to see at a glance, then you will be glad to know that GMB offers a Services list.
How to use Google’s Services List
- It is available under the ‘Info’ tab.
- You can categorize the services
- Show the prices of each item as well.
- Update the prices in case of a change
There are many ways in which a customer can find your business online, and undoubtedly, Google is the search engine you can trust. However, once customers have interacted with you the first time, you do not want to send them back with partial information.
Google My Business not only provides them with all relevant information at a glance, but it acts as a platform for engaging with them. A positive engagement is necessary for generating leads. For the same reason, every business owner should claim her/his free GMB listing as it paves the way for bettering interactions with customers and providing them with timely business updates.