Your Google My Business profile is one of the largest factors used to determine where your company ranks in search results.
In fact, according to the Moz Local Search Ranking Factors Study, it even outpaces your website in how greatly it affects your visibility.
And since Google has said that 46% of all searches have local intent, it’s fair to assume a healthy, vibrant Google My Business profile can make a world of difference between gaining new customers or falling into obscurity.
Here are four simple ways to start making the most of your Google My Business profile.
1. Use the Marketing Kit resources.
Once your Google My Business profile is verified, you have access to a downloadable marketing kit. Take a look at it here.
This kit rolled out mid-2019 and provides free assets to promote your Google My Business profile, as well as the content housed in your profile.
- A free window sticker to promote your profile
- Print-ready posters sharing business information or reviews
- Social media posts highlighting reviews or business details
The images are also semi-customizable with a variety of backgrounds (art, Google, sign script and chalkboard). Here’s one example of a highlighted review created with the chalkboard template. An image like this would work well for a social media post.
One Caveat To The Kit
The marketing kit is helpful because it allows businesses to quickly and easily create assets to promote their Google My Business profile, share user-generated content (reviews) and have nicely-designed posters.
The downside is that any content developed through the kit won’t be unique because customizable options are limited, and the kit is available to any business with a verified Google My Business profile. Additionally, assets can’t be fully customized with your brand color, type and overall personality.
However, Google’s Marketing Kit is still a worthwhile resource, particularly because of how it incorporates reviews into your marketing materials and allows you the opportunity to quickly create images for social media.
2. Keep information up to date.
As stated in Google’s “Improve Your Local Ranking” guide, one of the first steps to showing up higher in results is to provide complete and accurate information. This includes your physical address, phone number, category and attributes.
In particular, the category and attributes are especially important because they help viewers better understand your business.
The category section describes the primary function of your business. For example, we offer a variety of services at Fresh Creative, but “advertising agency” is the best category option that currently describes our business as a whole.
The benefit of attributes is that they can help you stand out from competitors by providing factual aspects of your business (outdoor seating, free Wi-Fi) or subjective attributes like “popular with the locals.”
Remember, every detail that you provide in your profile makes it easier for the search engine to match your business with the right queries. But besides the basic details provided, it’s important to:
- Add up-to-date photos to your profile
- Update your service areas regularly, if you visit or deliver to customers
- Maintain accurate hours, particularly on holidays
- Respond to both positive and negative reviews
- Maintain an updated company bio
- Add a link to your website
- Create a branded short name
Remember, there are new features being rolled out for Google My Business regularly. So it may be helpful to use the list above as a to-do list, checking in on your profile once a month to ensure it’s up to date and capitalizing on any new features.
3. Regularly share Google posts.
Google Posts function similar to a social media post. But instead of appearing in a customer’s feed, they show up in your profile.
Currently there are three types of posts: offers, updates (aka “What’s New”) and events. Each provides a unique way to communicate additional information to a prospective customer without them having to click through to your website.
For example, the offer post could be used to provide a discount or incentivize a visit to a local clothing store. The event post could serve as a way to promote live music events at a restaurant or participation in First Fridays. And the updates (“What’s New”) post could provide insights on a new product or service being offered.
A few must-know items about Google posts:
- Updates disappear every 7 days, but you set the date for when events and offers expire.
- Viewers will only see about 100 characters of your text unless they click the post.
- Photos should be a minimum of 400 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall in either JPG or PNG format, and you can also upload videos.
- For events and update posts, there are a number of different calls-to-action you can add, including Book, Order online, Buy, Learn more, Sign up and Call now.
4. Create a branded short link.
In April 2019, Google introduced the option to create a branded short name for verified Google My Business profiles.
This short name makes it easier for customers to find your profile and to write a review.
Here’s how to find and change the short name on your Google My Business profile.
- Signing into the email account that manages your profile on a desktop computer.
- Click the Google Apps grid button in the upper right corner of the screen. Then scroll down and select the “My Business” icon.
- Select “Info” on the left side of the page.
- Look for the @ symbol, and click the pencil to create one.
Once you’ve created this, you can then share a short and simple link online and in print pieces to promote your Google My Business profile.
For example, before implementing the branded short name, our team at Fresh Creative would have had to use a ridiculously long link to help people find our profile. This link, to be exact, was: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Fresh+Creativefirstname.lastname@example.org,-76.425062,15z/data=!4m5!3 m4!1s0x0:0x4f17dd7970c3126e!8m2!3d40.339164!4d-76.425062 .
Now, however, we can simply share g.page/freshcreativeinc. Or, if we’re asking for a review, we could share g.page/freshcreativeinc/review.
Much simpler to use and remember. Plus, it can now easily be added to print materials, unlike that ridiculously long link!
Don’t Miss Out On The Power Of Google My Business
Having a complete, healthy profile can go a long way toward helping your business show up in search results.
Remember, your Google My Business profile is one of the greatest factors used to decide where your company ranks in search results. And while you may not be able to guarantee results, these four tips can put you in the best possible position to do so.
We’ve given you some beginner tips here, but if you’re ready to take the next step, contact us today to start a local SEO strategy for your business.
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