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A Helpful Guide to Google My Business (GMB)

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a tool that lets you customize how your business appears on Google. Information such as your company name, address, phone number and hours of operation are listed to make it simple for customers to find your business.

According to BrightLocal, 90% of consumers search the internet to find a local business, with Google My Business listings being one of the first things they see. As a business owner, it’s crucial to manage what consumers read about you online. With the rise of online reviews, you may feel like it’s impossible to control what consumers read about you, but there are simple steps you can take to manage your online reputation.

Open for Business

As the number one search engine, it’s important to remember customers trust Google. From trying to find a new dentist to figuring out where to each lunch, people are constantly turning to Google for recommendations, directions, phone numbers, ratings and reviews. Consumers often don’t look past the first few Google results, so getting to the top of that list is essential to any local business.

Why Google My Business?

Online Reviews Boost Business

Get Found Faster. Claiming your Google My Business listing makes it easier for customers to find your business online. A quick Google search will bring up your listing which includes directions, hours of operation, and customer reviews to encourage them to visit your location. The more proactive you are in updating your listing and responding to reviews, the more a customer will see you as an actively engaged business that cares about their craft.

Search Engine Optimization. With a Google My Business page, customers can leave reviews, which can drastically increase your search visibility. It’s not uncommon for business owners who have missing information or no reviews to claim their Google listing but not come up in search results. When Google sees that people are actively engaging with an online listing, they reward the business by showing them up in searches more often.

How Do I Get Started with Google My Business?

You want to be the top recommendation when consumers search for businesses in your field. The first step is to claim your listing so you can manage what information Google provides, respond to reviews, and get customer analytics. To claim your listing, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Google My Business login page and sign in your Google Account. If you don’t already have one, it’s free to create a new one. Once you’re signed in, click Next.
  2. Enter your business’ or chain’s address. Google will also provide you with the option to select your location or service area on a map. Once you’ve found your location, click Next.
  3. Choose if you want your business location to show up on Google Maps. If you deliver items or provide services to a specific area, you may select “I deliver goods and services to my customers” and then click Next.
  4. Choose your business category. It’s important when customers are searching for your business to be able to find exactly what they’re looking for. As a general category, you could put “Car Dealer”, “Lawyer” or “Clinic”, but we recommend being more specific. Try “(Your Brand) Dealer”, “Immigration Lawyer” or “Orthopedic Clinic”. This also shortens the list of competitors your business has to beat out to be on top. Once you’ve picked an appropriate category, click Next.
  5. Enter your phone number and website URL and click on Finish.
  6. Finally, you’ll need to verify with Google that you have the authority to claim the business. To verify, Google will send you a PIN to enter into your account. Often, business owners choose to get their PIN in the mail.

How to Boost Your Online Reputation with Google My Business

After you have claimed your Google My Business page, you’ll want to make sure potential customers choose you above your competition in the search results. Here are some tips to get your listing to come up on top!

Post high-quality photos of your business, products and services. Consider this your first impression with your customers - you want to show them why they should choose you! You’re also able to post videos, although this isn’t as important as long as you have a variety of great photos that accurately represent your business.

Make sure your hours of operation are correct and list your holiday hours. By making sure your Google My Business profile is updated, you ensure that it’s as helpful as possible to your customers. It’ll help them understand the best times to visit your location!

Business Descriptions. Adding a description to your listing helps humanize your business and persuade consumers to visit your location. There is a 750 character limit and only 250 characters show up in the initial display. With this limit in mind, it’s important to get creative and use keywords that describe your business to put your page on top.

Google My Business Posts. Many business owners are unaware of this key feature. On your account, you have the ability to create posts that appear on your listing for 7 days. This is a great and free way to advertise events, deals or post any announcement you want to make. Google posts are a great way to get an edge over competitors and engage consumers who visit your Google My Business profile.

High Quality Photos Boost Business

Google Reviews and Why They're Important

A 2019 study by BrightLocal found that 82% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. Most consumers make their decision based on what your previous customers have said about you. Around 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.

Since Google is the most used, and most trusted, search engine by the vast majority of consumers, it is incredibly important to make sure your business looks its best. Consistent reviews will help you boost your reputation on Google and will show potential customers your unbeatable service.

Tips to Get More Google Reviews

Customers Trust Reviews

Create a seamless process for the customer! Use tools that make it easier for your team to request reviews. These days, most customers don't respond to email requests, so it’s significantly more effective to send a text message with a simple ask and a link for them to click and post a review. By removing all barriers to post reviews, you can create a seamless experience where customers can post a review in 30 seconds.

Timing is everything! Be sure to make it a part of your day-to-day process to ask for a review directly after your customer interacts with your business. You want to catch them while their experience with you is top of mind. This way, customers are most likely to provide a complete account of their experience as it will be easy to remember. Plus, if you wait a day or even a week to ask for a review, your customers may find your request disruptive to their routine and are much more likely not to respond.

Keep It Consistent. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is that they stop asking for reviews once they have some online. Acquiring reviews should be an ongoing practice for a business, not something you do for a few weeks and then stop. Think of it this way: asking for reviews is not like going on a crash diet, it’s part of a healthy lifestyle. Why? Because when a review was posted matters.

According to BrightLocal, 84% believe that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant and 48% of consumers only read reviews posted in the previous 2 weeks. This means that the reviews your business received last year are not going to be as impactful for prospective customers.

Ready to Grow Your Business?

Our mission is to help local businesses grow by making it easier to communicate with patients. With modern messaging technology, your local business can text review invitations to your customers, enabling them to post a review with just a few clicks in under 30 seconds. If you’re looking to boost your Google ranking, the best place to start is with online reviews of your business. Build trust with your future customers through the power of word of mouth — online.

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Text your customers. Get more reviews. Grow your business.

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