Increase Conversions with Google My Business in 2018
As a vegan, my food choices are very limited.
I recently visited Berlin for the first time and finding a vegan restaurant was one of my main daily activities.
You guessed it! I hung out a lot with Google Maps search bar.
I would open Google Maps and just type ‘vegan restaurants’.
A list of restaurants that are nearby will popup and thanks to Google’s rating system, my attention will focus on the top ones with the best reviews.
And simply by reading others reviews who already been there, my decision is made.
That’s how powerful and important social proof is today!
I am sure that you are doing the same when searching locally and of course, the same search pattern is done by millions of people.
These restaurants use their Google accounts to improve their local SEO. These accounts are called Google My Business.
Here is what you will learn in this detailed guide about Google My Business
- What is Google My Business?
- Why is Google My Business important?
- How to get a Google My Business account?
- Making the most out of Google My Business Photos
- Use Google Posts to increase organic traffic
- How to Get Google My Business Reviews?
- How to respond to Google reviews??
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is basically a listing of information that businesses fill in and lets Google use it for Maps or search results.
GMB was previously known as Google Places and now all Google Place accounts are automatically upgraded to Google My Business accounts.
Here is the official definition:
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.
And here are the main features provided by Google My business:
- Receive and respond to Reviews
- Post and get photos by customers
- Post news
- Create free website
Why is Google My Business important?
Without it, your location will not appear in the Google Maps listings, especially for the main local queries when people search on Google from their mobile phones.
- You have full control what people see when they search for your business
- Increse SEO performance and organic search
- Updates reflect Search and Maps automatically, such as business hours or photos
- Share photos to boost your offer and increase conversions
- Post news or offers that people will in search SERPs Knowledge Panel
- Get analytics on how customers searched for your business, and where those customers are coming from.
To sum up, if you invest enough resources to handle reviews, manage photos, post updates regularly, your Google My Business can turn itno a new acquisition channel for your business.
Just think about it.
Google is very different compared to the social media networks.
Search is intent driven, which actually means that the user has the will and interest to do an action. And in some cases, such as the local search, they want to do that action NOW.
So that is why the intent-driven concept allows a business that can match the consumer discovery right in that moment, can win big in increasing conversions.
And if you already have accounts and manage Facebook Pages or Instagram profiles, then you must do the same and start managing your Google My Business.
How to get a Google My Business account?
Setting up Google My Business account is FREE. The GMB listing is not a substitute for your website, so yes you should continue maintaining and promoting your website.
To get started, first go ahead make a search and try to find your business in the Google local search results by using Google Maps or simply by typing your business in the Google search desktop version and check if there is a detailed information about your company on the right side as a snippet.
If you already have the listing but is not claimed or verified just follow the steps below listed in this text.
If you still do not own one, you can create your Google My Business listing for free right now.
The account creation process is simple and it is aimed at any business, not just a local one.
To get your information listed, Google requires a verification of your business. So after you create your account you will need to verify it.
Here is how you can verify your Google My Business Listing
To do this follow the steps below:
- Enter the name of the person the verification postcard should be mailed to
- Specify the correct address where the card should be mailed to
- Click Send postcard.
- After few weeks you will receive the postcard with a verification number
- Log in to your Google My Business Account and click ‘Verify Now’ in the top red bar
Next, follow the instructions where you will need to enter the verification code from your postcard.
According to their guidelines, it may take few weeks for your information to appear on Google.
Click here for all details about the verification flow.
How to improve your business listing for better ranking and visibility?
Here is a simple checklist that you might want to consider while filling in your Google My Business profile
- Choose an appealing profile photo, that will outstand in the list
- Post lots of photos, especially if you are in the food business
- Get reviews, so you will eventually rank at the top
Making the most out of Google My Business Photos
Depending on your business case, Google photos are one of the touching points for your new customers to discover your offer. In case you are a restaurant or a hotel, then the photos you will manage on your Google My Business account will be a strong selling point to get new guests on board.
The goal with photos is to make your Google My business profile appeal live and make people feel that you are right there, ready to serve them.
To make the most out of these photos, here is a list of few ideas that you can do:
- Hire a professional to capture the best moments in your local business
- Make sure photos are authentic and updated
- Post photos in specific category such as Exterior, Interior or Team photos
- Reguallry post photos with your latest offers or menus
By sharing relevant photos, you will avoid reviews and comments by customers that will confirm that the dish was not like in the photos or that the room sizes are smaller than the photos you’ve shared.
Note that the users can actually post their own photos and give actual ‘picture’ of what they’ve actually experienced.
Use Google Posts to increase organic traffic
Recently Google announced and added to the Google My Business suite, called Google Posts. This feature allows businesses to publish short posts with links to news, events or offers about their products and services, directly in the Google search panel, that displays in the right side in the Google search results.
By making this small feature, Google actually wants to bring the social media component in the search results, by allowing users to push their latest news.
Here is how the Google Posts appear:
And here are the benefits of creating Google Posts:
- Increase organic trafiic
- Disrupt the intent drive search and push instant value to the user
- Increase conversions by providing direct ‘call to action’ link
To write your first Google Post, log in to your Google My Business account and from the left menu choose Posts.
You will need to fill in the following:
- Add Google post photo with rectangle size such as 800px x 600px or 4:3 ratio
- Write a post that can be from 100 to 300 characters
- Choose a call to action button: Book, Order online, Buy, Learn more, Sign up, Get offer
- You can preview it and if it looks good just click Publish
Now, you might ask …
How people will see my Google Post
After you publish your Google Posts it will immediately appear on the right side panel (Knowledge Panel) in the Google search results when people search for your business.
Here an example how our Google Post looks like in the Google search results:
Here are few more facts you need to know about Google Posts:
- You can publish up to 10 Google posts
- If you have multiple posts they will be displayed as a carousel in the Knowledge Panel
- Get analytics: Views (times your post was seen) and Engagement (times a customer clicked your button)
- Google Posts are removed after 7 days except for event posts that will be removed after the event date
How to Get Google My Business Reviews?
I mentioned Google reviews few times.
And here is why.
Reviews are one of the biggest indicators for Google to rank your location in their local listings.
With reviews posted by your customers, you can easily differentiate from your competitors in the Google local search.
So basically when people search for keywords in your industry especially when searching in Google Maps, Google most definitely highly considers the rank based on your average rating and the number of reviews.
One of the best practice to get started receiving Google reviews is to let your customers know that they can do this. And just ask!
This is proven by the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, who published these result:
68% of consumers left a review after a local business asked them to
Sharing a simple link to your Google reviews form can initially get you the first reviews on Google.
Follow these detailed tutorial how to create a link to submit Google reviews.
To start collecting Google reviews you can do these simple actions:
- Send emails with the review submission form to your customers
- Share this link to other social media profiles
- Create a “Leave a review” button on your website
- Print a QR code with the link in your menus or fliers
- Create a campaign to incentivize customers to leave reviews
How to respond to Google reviews?
As your Google My Business starts collecting reviews, you will need to consider a strategy for handling these reviews.
This means, that you need to be proactive, prompt and responsive.
So basically your reputation and rank will strongly depend on how you as a company will handle and respond to the Google reviews posted by your customers.
To start, make sure the email that you used to create My Business Account is always on. Or assign a person to your team and add him as a manager.
By doing this, you will make sure that you will never miss a review. Everytime somebody posts a review about your business, Google will send you an email notification.
Once you log in to view the review, you can respond to it by following the official user content rules.
Please note to pay special attention to the negative reviews.
Unsatisfied customers can literally break or make your business.
You will need to have your customer team or a person dedicated to understand, analyze and respond with details to every single negative review.
This negative reviews will definitely happen, so make sure to respond in order to handle negative reviews with greater success.
Believe me, you will wake up one day, go to work with a big smile and boom! You might get something like this:
If the review is not according to the Google content rules and are simply fake, you can flag it as inappropriate and Google will remove it.
Here is how to flag a Google review:
- Log in to your Google My Business account
- Navigate to Reviews
- Find the review and click the 3 dots in the top right corner
- Click ‘Flag as inappropriate’
If you want to learn more about the Google policy for inappropriate reviews click here.
Once you have your Google My business up and running you should focus on continuously updating the information by posting photos or just posting news with links to your website.
By doing this, you are increasing the possibility to be easily discovered in the local search that will lead to increased conversions due to the intent-driven nature of the search.
Additionally, you can display the Google photos posted by your customers on your website and provide social proof about your service.
Similarly, you can embed Google reviews on any web page and literally use the user-generated content on your Google My Business account to make your website more trustworthy.