You need to Optimize your Google My Business - It could be a client's first impression of you
During continuously virtual “unprecedented times,” your brand’s Google My Business account is much more likely now than ever before to serve as a potential customer’s or client’s very first impression of you. The instant they perform a Google search like everyone inevitably does, they will see a handful of photos of your business, some reviews, and how to find you – if you’re lucky!
If you aren’t, though, they may see nothing about your brand at all. If you aren’t making the most out of your Google My Business listing, you likely aren’t ranking among their highly coveted maps pack. For those unfamiliar, the Google Maps Pack is a set of three highlighted Google-Maps-based results featuring the most highly ranked businesses based on the factors that determine local rankings. If you’re wondering what those factors might be, we’ve got you covered!
There are three main factors that affect rankings within the maps pack:
Relevance refers to how well a local brand’s Google My Business profile matches what someone is searching for. Distance is judged by how far each potential business listing that comes up in that search result is from the location term potentially used in the search. Your Google My Business listing’s prominence is determined by how well known a business is. Google can measure a listing’s prominence through web links to your site, articles that mention your business, directories (citations), your Google review count and review score, position in organic web results, as well as your website and listing’s SEO best practices.
Additionally, it may be worth noting that Google’s algorithm may decide that a particular business farther away from your location is more likely to have what a searcher is looking for than a business that’s closer, and subsequently rank it higher in local results. Don’t be discouraged, though! With a few helpful tips on optimizing your Google My Business listing, you will set your business up for its greatest opportunity to rank at the top of your desired keyword’s maps pack.
One of the easiest tips for boosting your listing is by staying active within your brand’s GMB profile as well as staying on top of notifications and reviews. Statistically, business listings that have been claimed and therefore are verified, are updated regularly, and that also boast strong reviews and ratings are the ones most likely to rank at the top of their desired local search and be featured in Google Maps Pack. Downloading the GMB mobile app to your device can also be a huge help, since that’s the only way to enable auto-responses for reviews and messages – ensuring you never miss a beat.
Another tip would be making sure your GMB listing is accessible to those who are searching for the keywords you would describe your business as being in. No matter what you do, you want there to be no mistaking it. When posting written content or photos on your GMB listing, be sure to work in those important keywords and search phrases into your description and posts. Making your content keyword-rich will increase SEO, along with your chances of ranking higher in Google’s algorithm.
When posting pictures, it’s important that you are strategic, but also remember that any pictures are likely to perform better than none. Ideally, though, one square logo, a cover photo, and additional pictures to showcase more work or your business’s interior are what people want to see.
But it’s not all just for aesthetics! Businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their brands’ websites than businesses without photos, according to Google. Searchers browsing on a mobile device will get an even bigger chance to interact with your Google My Business listing since the maps pack occupies (and overlaps) the borders of an entire iPhone screen, grabbing a percentage as high as 44% of clicks on search engine result pages – making it all the more imperative that your brand’s name is at the top of your desired keyword search results.
Reviews and opening your brand up to public criticism are what some consider the trickier part of managing their GMB listing, but we say don’t shy away! Google is the #1 site for online reviews as evidenced by its 57.5% share of all online reviews. At least 63% of consumers claim that they are likely to check a business’s reviews on Google before making a visit — a number higher than any other review site.
According to customer reviews research, people don’t trust businesses with lower than 4-star ratings. 80% of consumers say the star ratings they trust the most are 4.0, 4.5, and 5 stars. But it’s not just what your past customers have said that counts – potential clients are looking at how you respond to both positive and negative reviews. Your responses to reviews can immediately improve consumer perceptions of your business. On the other hand, not responding can be seen as actively ignoring the voices that matter the most: your customers.
Setting up an auto-respond message with the GMB mobile app as aforementioned can be a great aid in keeping up with your customers in real-time, but it’s up to you to circle back and assure that everyone is getting the answers and solutions they need.
It may seem like a lot to juggle, but staying one step ahead of things with your Google My Business listing can work wonders for your brand. Plus, the creative professionals at Brandlink Media are on standby, ready to help you through it! Contact us for a consultation for your business today.