You may be looking at a location-based strategy so that you can leverage it to be successful in the world of digital marketing. In that case, there is always a place where you would have to start. In this case, you would see that most of the experienced people in the domain of SEO start with Google My Business listing. SEO stands for (Search Engine Optimization). There are some good reasons for the same as well. GMB or Google My Business happens to be a free tool from the leading tech company of the world.
It assists business owners in managing their online presence in the search engine.
This also includes the portfolio of utilities from Google that is always growing. If you are a brand that is looking for local exposure then you can be sure you would get the best impact for this. GMB comes with a host of features such as Local Search results where people get lists of businesses in their locality. It also includes all the important information that they need in this particular regard. This includes information such as the following:
- Business Hours
This is the primary reason why all businesses – established and new – need to have a GMB listing.
The Knowledge Graph of Google also uses verified information from GMB to create details for its own database on businesses. It also works with other entities related to the same that may be relevant in the context of certain searches. Once a new listing has been created a location is then generated on Google Maps.
This, in turn, gets synced with the conventional Google Search facility so that the information can be accessed and searched with ease. The fact that most of the organic search in the world emanates from Google also helps.
It is estimated that Google has a market share of around 90 percent of search done all around the world. This is yet another example of how important a GMB listing can be.
What Are The Basics of GMB?
If you are new to digital marketing there are some basic things that you need to know about GMB. This is to make sure that you can understand GMB completely and also the value that you derive from the same. First of all, this is a free facility and you can also be sure that it would not replace your official business website.
In fact, if anything, GMB would be complementary to your existing business website. It would provide your business with a public identity as well as a presence with a listing on Google. It so happens that Google is the most liked search engine in the world. The information that you have provided about your business on GMB would also be visible on other platforms. This includes the likes of Google Search, Google+, and Google Maps.
If you have already used Google tools to boost your business or if your business has been in existence for a certain period of time there is a good chance that your business would already be there on GMB listings.
Earlier on, the best Google tools to manage your business were Google+ Pages Dashboard and Google Places for Business. But, now both have been upgraded to GMB, which happens to be a universal platform.
How To Start Your GMB Listing?
There are some steps that you would have to follow in this particular regard. The first step, in this case, would be to do a Google search and make sure that your business is not already listed on GMB. In case you have been in the business for a few years it is likely that you would already be there on GMB.
In that case, all you need to do is claim the same. Once you have been successful in said claim all you need to do is manage the information in such a way as if you have been doing so for quite some time such as a few years. In case you actually need to do the listing you can go to the GMB page, where you can add and claim listings, to add the most critical information about your business such as name and address. This would make that you have a business listing.
But, in case you are already listed, you would be notified of the same as well. In case someone else has claimed your listing you would be notified of the same as well. In that case, you would have to click on the button named Request Access and fill out the necessary form. In this case, there are a few things that you would have to keep in mind. Make sure that you fill up all the details the right way and that there are no grammatical mistakes in the work. Also, make sure that you have selected the best category possible for your business.
This is important because there are plenty of variations you can choose from in this regard. In the final option in this regard, you would have to mention whether you deliver services and goods to customers at their locations or not. This is valuable in case you do not have a physical establishment as such where you are working. These companies are ones that work at the business location or homes of their clients. Examples of such services include the following:
- Cleaning Services
- Construction Companies
- Pest Control
- Home Services
Once you submit the form the present owner of the listing would be asked to contact you.
You would receive confirmation of the same as well. In these cases, the present owner would have 7 days to get in touch with you and respond to your claim. In this case, you can check the status of your appeal by clicking on the link of your confirmation email. In case your request is approved you would be informed of the same via email and you would be able to manage the GMB listing. In case it is denied you would be informed via email and you would be able to manage the listing as usual. The same is also applicable in case your request is denied.
In these cases, you can either appeal against the decision or suggest a few edits. In case you do not get any reply within the 7 days you would have the choice to claim the listing for yourself. All you would need to do in this regard is to visit the official GMB page and look for a button named Verify or Click on your dashboard. But, if you do not see any option to claim the listing it means that it cannot be transferred as it is not eligible.
How To Add or Edit Service Area Business Details?
This comes in handy when you are looking to change your details regarding the service area. In this case, you would have to sign in to GMB and ensure that you are using the feature named card view. In case you are seeing your locations in the shape of a list rather than a card you have to switch to the card view. For this, you need to click on the cards icon that is located at the right side over your locations.
There are some steps that have to be followed in this regard:
- Select the listing that you wish to manage and click on manage location
- Click on info – this is there on the menu
- Click on the section named address
- A window would appear next – here you would have to click on yes next to the button that says that you deliver goods to the location of your customers
- You would have to enter information on the service area – this can be done on the basis of ZIP codes or cities where you serve or for a certain area around your location
- You need to click on apply to save your changes
In the case of the 5th point, you would get a box right next to a field that says that you serve customers at your business address. You would have to select this box if you want your entire address to be shown on Google. But, for this, your business location should have the proper staff so that you are able to tend to your customers in your business hours.
How To Verify Your GMB Listing?
After you are done submitting information on your business as well as your service area you would have to verify your listing as well. This is very important for the performance and visibility of your business listing. The easiest way in which you can do this is by way of an email.
When you do this Google is also sure that you have an actual business address and you get an email over there as well. This is helpful for Google as well as it is able to do away with fraudulent listings.
These false listings only serve to misdirect the users and make Google Maps and Searches a lot less useful than what they are intended to be. You also need to know that unless you have verified your business it would not show on Google and the same is also applicable for the edits that you make to the same as well. You would also not be able to gain access to any page insights, business reviews, or analytical information as such. This process takes less than a week to be completed. In this period you would also receive a postcard from Google that would contain your verification code.
You would have to verify with said code and your business would go live officially.
How To Publish Your GMB Listing?
When you are getting listed on GMB it is extremely important that you use all the resources that are there. This would help you make the most from your business locations. There are some tips that you need to keep in mind as they are rather crucial. The first thing that you need to do in this regard is to enter the total data for your listing.
Local search results always prefer the results that are most relevant to the searches. If your business offers accurate and the most detailed information you can be sure you would be placed higher in the pecking order. Make sure that you do not guess or assume anything over here as such. It is very important to ensure that your business listing conveys your potential customers what you do, your location, and how they would be able to buy your products and services.
Inclusion of the right keywords over here is pretty important as well. Just as it happens in conventional website SEO (search engine optimization) Google uses a wide range of signals to serve the search results. This is why it is so important that you use the right keywords as well as search phrases in your business listing. It can be really helpful for you. This is especially important when your business website is there in your GMB listing. It is also important that your business hours are mentioned in an accurate manner. As such, it is really important to mention your business hours but it is perhaps even more important to update the information as and when there is a change.
On Google, you would have the freedom to customize your working hours for special days such as holidays. You should always use this information to make sure that your buyers have access to correct information and thus they can stay happy as well. You should also add photos as and when you can. This is because they would help your business listings perform better than what you may have expected in the first place as a business marketer and owner. It has been seen that businesses that have photos on their listings have 42 percent more requests on Google Maps for driving directions. Their websites also experience 35 percent higher click-through rates.
You also need to manage your customer reviews and respond to them as well. When you are responding to the reviews of your customers you are basically interacting with them. This shows that as a business you value your customers as well as the feedback they provide on the same. Positive reviews will always make a great impression on your potential customers especially when they are doing research on you. At the same time, they would make your business more visible in the search results as well.
You can always create a link where your viewers can come in and leave their reviews of your business. You should always encourage them to take up the same as well.
How To Use Photos For Your GMB Listing?
The most important image that you can use on your GMB listing is your profile picture. This is the image that would get the most exposure and it is also the one that is likely to make the most impact as well. The profile photo of your business should not ideally be the brand logo.
It should be an appealing one though – one that encompasses your brand as such. It should stand for what your business is and what it offers as such. There are several other kinds of images that you can use in this context. These are logo image, cover photo, and extra photos. Google recommends that you use your logo image so that your customers are able to identify you. You should ideally use a square image for this purpose. Your cover photo should ideally the personality of your business as such. It should be a big enough photo that should be there on the top of your Google+ page.
It also needs to be cropped to fit an aspect ratio of 16:9. You can also use other kinds of photos to highlight certain special features of your business that you would like your customers to take into consideration when they are thinking about buying something or the other from you. The photos would always depend on the kind of business you are. They may be of the products and services that you offer, of your employees working and helping buyers out, the exteriors and interiors of your business location, etc.
In a nutshell, they should be able to summarize your business and how it can help your customers. These photos should always follow the best practices of Google. This means that they should either be in JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. They should not be bigger than 5 MB or smaller than 10 KB. They should have a resolution of at least 720 X 720 pixels. It is also important to make sure that the photo is well lit and in focus. It should not have unnecessary usage of filters as well as any alteration. They should show reality.
How To Check the GMB Listing Insights?
In the last few years, Google has taken some rapid strides when it comes to using analytical data for the listings on GMB.
These are now known as Insights. With the help of these Google shows you the ways in which customers interact with business listings. They are divided into the following sections:
- How customers find your listing
- Direction requests
- Where customers find you on Google
- Phone calls
- Customer Actions
In the first section, you know how customers found you in a direct search – one where they looked with your name or your address – and in a discovery search – one where they looked for a category, product, or service that you sell and your listing came up.
These sections normally come with several labels in the bulk insight reports such as Total searches, Discovery searches, and Direct searches. In the section named where customers find you on Google, you get to know about the number of customers that are able to find you by way of Google Maps or Google Search. Apart from these two, you would also be able to see the number of views your listing has got from each product.
But, this would only be applicable for a certain timeframe that has been chosen by you. As far as Google is concerned views are akin to impressions that are there on other analytics based platforms. If you want to see how many people found your product on a certain day you have to take your cursor to the right segment of the graph on the day that is of interest to you. In the bulk insight reports, these sections come with labels such as total views, search views, and map views.
From the Customer Actions section, you would come to know the actions taken by the customers after they found your listing.
In the total actions section, you would get complete information on the various actions that the customers took on your listing. They may have visited your website, request directions, called you, or viewed photos. Apart from total actions, these reports would have labels such as website actions, directions actions, and phone call actions. The section named Direction Requests uses maps to show the location of people who are looking for directions to your listing.
Your business location is normally identified on a map and some of the commonest spots for from which people request directions to your business are shown. You also get breakups of the whole amount of direction requests with regards to neighborhood and city. With the help of the Phone Calls section, you would come to know how often customers would be able to call your business through your Google listing. At the very basic level with this section, you would come to know about the number of phone calls that your business listing has received within a certain time frame.
The graphs in this section enable you to look at the trends of phone calls over a week in a day or a day in a week as well. In the Photo section, you get two types of graphs – Photo quantity and Photo views. This way, you get a clear idea of the number of times the photos of your business listing are viewed. These graphs have lines that draw comparisons between the photo data of your business and corresponding information for similar businesses. It comes with four major sections – total owner photos, owner photo views, total customer views, and customer photo views.