Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most important ways for your business to succeed in local search engine results. A well-optimized GMB listing can have a major effect on your business’s search engine ranking, customer reviews, and overall SEO, meaning the difference between customers choosing your business over competitors.

Sadly, too many businesses don’t realize the true value that Google My Business brings to their overall web presence, instead getting by with an unoptimized listing void of any useful information about their company and its services, few positive customer reviews, and dead links, causing would-be customers to choose more savvy competitors. In order to stop losing potential customers, you need to ensure that your GMB page is well-optimized.

Optimizing your Google My Business listing

Like any other important platform, success on Google My Business means more than simply claiming your listing and sitting on it without putting in the effort to improve it. Success means giving potential customers a hub where they can find critical information about your business, read about the (hopefully positive) experiences of other customers, and see photos and videos of your business’s products or services in action.

The first step to optimizing your GMB listing is ensuring that your business is listed under the right category rather than a very general one. For instance, if you own a steakhouse, it should be listed as a steakhouse rather than the far less specific “restaurant”. You’ll also want to ensure that your listing is set up to accurately reflect your service areas – if you serve multiple communities, your GMB listing needs to reflect that in order to capture the attention of people in those areas.

After these basic parts are optimized, you can move on to showing off what makes your business unique by promoting each and every service you offer, including which ones are unique to your business and can’t be had elsewhere. If your business has specific accessibility features or any other special offerings and amenities, these can be highlighted on your listing to capture the imagination of users looking for your business, and ensure them that you care about their experience from start to finish.

Visuals will also go a long way in optimizing a Google My Business listing. Visuals are a consistently compelling element of any effective social media campaign, and so your GMB listing needs to be able to immediately catch the eye of users. Photos can be used to show off brand new products in action, as well as what your business looks like on the inside and outside, and what your team as a whole looks like. They can also be used to highlight satisfied customers, and to add some flare to upcoming promotions. Videos can be used in much the same way, giving you a unique opportunity to guide users through your business, or show them first-hand the benefits of products and services your business offers.

A unique opportunity to capture customer reviews

One of GMB’s most useful elements is that it gives your customers a place to publically share their experiences with your business, which will then be seen by thousands of users from all around your service areas. The more positive reviews you have, the more inviting your business will look to the public and the more likely you are to convince potential customers that your organization is worthy of their time and money.

This means that a well-optimized Google My Business listing needs to have a wide variety of positive reviews that increase the chances of users choosing you over a competitor – the happier your customers seem, the more attractive your business will appear. Encouraging each and every customer you interact with to leave a positive review can have an amazing effect on your listing’s effectiveness and ranking, even if only a small percentage actually follow through. You can also use intelligent tools like Podium to encourage users to conveniently leave you reviews with minimal effort.

You should also use the platform to directly address any negative reviews, offering a public olive branch with the goal of settling issues with former customers or encourage them to change (or even delete) their review after the issue is resolved. This shows potential customers that you’re addressing conflicts and issues head-on and in a civilized manner, lessening the potential impact that any negative reviews may have on your image.

Other essential elements of your business’s SEO success

While maintaining an optimized Google My Business listing is critical to your search engine and SEO success, there are other important elements to take into consideration. Conducting regular NAPS updates will work to ensure that your business’s social media channels are accessible and up-to-date, submitted to any relevant industry directories, and that backlinks, citations, and other business listings are accurate and functioning as intended. If your business changes course or introduces new products and services, this should be reflected anywhere your business is listed. 

Google My Business also offers the capacity to schedule odd times that your business may be closed, such as statutory holidays. Be sure to do this once each quarter so that you can avoid disappointment from clients who think you’ll be open when you’re not. 

Doing these things on a regular basis will make your business easier to find, and will reduce the potential of rankings penalties that could cause you to lose your position to a competing business. While NAPS is very important for businesses looking to maintain local SEO, it also has an important effect for national businesses looking to move up in the Google rankings and increase traffic.

Effective and consistent social media management is the key to maintaining an optimized Google My Business listing, being at the top of search results, and being seen by more potential customers than ever before. ion8’s talented team of social media management experts have what it takes to help you manage your social media channels more successfully, bringing you more online reviews and improving your success online. To find out more about how ion8 can transform the way you do business, get in touch with us now.