Did you know that Google Maps business listings with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business or that 91% of questions posted to Google Maps listings have not been answered? Maps and Questions are both features of Google’s business tool, Google My Business (GMB)

Some experts in the digital marketing space have even said that Google is the new homepage for business. How can you take advantage of Google’s free tool that populates Google Maps, store client reviews, and so much? The answer is through an optimized and up-to-date GMB profile

COVID-19 is the perfect time to create or claim your GMB profile and get more bookings when lockdowns are lifted. This post shares the basics of GMB, where you should invest your energy, and how to get started today. 

What Is Google My Business? 

GMB is the portal you log into to manage your business listing on Google. Business profiles show up in branded searches on the right-hand sidebar of the Google search results. This means that when users are searching for your business name, keywords in your brand name, or for local services you offer, your GMB profile will appear… if it’s optimized and set up correctly. 

Your listing also shows up in Google Maps, showcases user-generated reviews, and offers quick contact options to reach your business. By keeping your profile optimized, you can not only impact your Google ranking, but you can also drastically increase your conversions through your listing. 

Features of GMB

If you’re on the fence about creating a GMB page, the features and advantages will speak for themselves. One of the best aspects of GMB? It’s completely free to set up and use. Be sure to take advantage of your features, including:

  1. Questions and Answers: When your customers and clients ask questions online, you can answer them through this feature. Not only does it provide answers for those asking, but these Q&As are indexed for future users to view. 
  2. Google Posts: Much like social media, GMB allows you to create posts each week promoting your business, services, products, and other things happening that are of interest to your audience. 
  3. Review Management: Also known as Google Reviews. With a strategic and well thought out review strategy, this can be a feature that separates you from your competitors. 

There are many other features included in GMB that we encourage you to research and look into. Like other platforms, these features and capabilities change frequently, so be sure to stay up to date on the latest tools to help grow your business bookings. 

Optimizing Your Profile 

Not only can GMB profiles provide valuable information to your customers, but they can also become an SEO tool for your digital brand. If your GMB profile is optimized and kept up to date, the booking potential when things open back up is endless. 

When optimizing your GMB profile, you’ll want to address these key areas first. 

  1. Primary Category: Find the number one thing that your business offers and select it as your primary category. 
  2. Secondary Categories: Add in any other categories that match what your business offers. Keep in mind, categories that aren’t related to your business can actually hurt your business ranking. 
  3. Reviews: Collecting Google reviews can have a positive impact on your rankings. Be sure to have a review strategy in place and continue investing time in this area. 
  4. Business Name Field: If you have keywords in your official business name, this can help with your business ranking. Stuffing keywords into your business name is not always best, but this may be an area to explore. 
  5. Additional Fields: If there is a feature or a field you can fill out, do it. Keep everything optimized and up to date. 
  6. Product Features: Although this isn’t available for all businesses, some profiles will have product features. This allows you to add in services or products as featured items on your profile and add in images and text to draw in users. 

GMB and COVID-19 

In light of recent months, Google My Business has added some new features to make temporary hours, alerts, and other information your customers may need to know very easy to update and share. While these features won’t always be available, explore what options your business profile has and update any relevant information. 

The Takeaways 

If your business doesn’t already have a GMB, the first step is to set up or claim your business. From there, optimizing your profile and creating a review strategy is vital. As you continue to update your information, add posts, and share new information, Google will index the content on your GMB and better match your business to users’ searches. 

The big takeaway? This underutilized tool is one you can benefit from almost immediately. If you have other questions or need any help with GMB, feel free to reach out to our team at Improve & Grow

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Meet the Author:

Justin Mosebach

Justin Mosebach, SEO Strategist

An experienced digital marketer, Justin has been helping businesses be found by potential customers since 2009. As our Director of Search Marketing, he specializes in search engine optimization (SEO). He’s enthusiastic about helping businesses win (and keep) customers online by using a variety of proven strategies and tactics. In the ever-changing world of internet marketing, Justin stays on top of what Google is doing, as well as industry best-practices to help our clients succeed. A husband and father, Justin enjoys spending time with his family, watching soccer, and traveling.