Our recent story on search engine optimisation (SEO) was really popular so we thought we’d continue the theme with some tips for Google My Business.
As a provider, this tool from Google provides a great opportunity to improve your reach as well as secure a significant amount of additional real estate in search results.
But which businesses are eligible? And how can you optimise your listing to improve your chances of being found? Read on to find out more.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business profile that appears in search results. It helps businesses connect with customers on both Google search and Google maps.
If you are unfamiliar with GMB, chances are you have seen the business profiles that pop up when you complete a search on desktop or a mobile device. They prominently show a photo, brief description call button, reviews, directions to a physical premises if you have one and a link to a website.
When you log in, you’ll be able to see how many businesses have interacted with your information by making a call, viewing directions or visiting your website (see image below).
GMB is another tool in your marketing toolkit which is worth spending some time learning and using.
Why having a GMB account is important.
- Increases the chance of your business being found for relevant search queries.
- Provides some legitimacy, which is an excellent signal for people searching for your goods or services – especially for smaller businesses.
- Offers an incredible amount of free “real estate” in search results. This means if people search for your business name, they won’t just find your website, social media pages etc., they will see a large profile section in which you can customise (most of) the information.
- Makes it really easy for customers to take action by calling your business or visiting your website with a single click.
- Increasingly, Google is showing GMB results above websites in organic search results.
What types of businesses are eligible for a Google My Business listing?
GMB guidelines state that to be eligible for a business profile, “a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours”.
There are some exceptions including seasonal businesses and virtual kitchens – professional food preparation and cooking facilities that deliver meals via third-party services.
The following are not eligible:
- Online stores or services offered solely online
- Properties for rent or sale
- A service, class or meeting at a location you don’t own (such as a weekly workshop at a community centre).
Sole traders or smaller businesses such as individual support workers or occupational therapists who travel to clients to provide services are eligible if they use the “service area business” type (see below).
Setting up your Google My Business account.
Setting up an account is easy with Google’s step-by-step instructions. You’ll need to verify ownership and the location which is usually done through a postcard received from Google via postal mail.
For full details about what information can be included, check out Guidelines for representing your business on Google.
Checklist of information to include.
Whether you have an existing profile or are about to create a new one, be sure to complete the following fields:
- Business name (see Guidelines for representing your business for what you can and can’t include)
- Category: The type of service offered
- Address (if you travel to see customers at their address, such as a support worker or therapist, you can list your business as a “Service area business”. This means your address won’t be published and the profile will instead show a geographic area covered by the service.
- Business category
- Opening hours
- Phone number
It’s also a good idea to add images and a logo. Here’s a guide to adding images and a logo. Over time, you can also begin using other features such as posts, which work a little like a Facebook post and can be used for news, service information and offers.
Optimising your GMB listing for search.
Recent research by SEO platform Moz showed that there are four sections of Google My Business that can impact your search rankings. If you’re short on time, focus on these.
- Business name.
Some businesses add keywords to their business name which is against Google guidelines. Use a name that reflects your real world business name – the same name used on your website, social media and any signage if you have a shopfront.
A single primary category and several additional categories can be added. It is worth selecting every relevant category.
This one seems simple and it is. Don’t forget to add your website and check that the link works.
- Reviews. The Moz research confirmed something that is well known in the SEO world – reviews matter. It’s a good idea to ask customers for reviews as part of your regular workflow. A 2017 study showed that online reviews impacted purchasing decisions for over 93% of customers, which proves just how influential they are. Don’t forget to respond to reviews – you can do this by logging in or via the GMB app.
Why you should check your account regularly.
While business owners can control much of the information in a GMB listing, profiles are intended to be interactive. This means that any internet user logged into their Google account can:
- Suggest changes to your business listing. For example, they may suggest an edit to hours of operation. In this case, the suggestion will be visible for you to approve or disapprove when you log in.
- Add photographs to your profile
- Suggest that the location is closed, non-existent or duplicate
- Ask a question (questions can be answered by business owners or other users)
- Write a review.
Top tip: It is worth logging into your account weekly (or install the app on your phone with notifications turned on) to review suggested changes, respond to any reviews, answer any questions and manage potential issues.
Get qualified leads as part of the Leap in! Provider Network.
For a direct connection to customers who are looking for your services, make sure you’re featured in the Leap in! Provider Network.
We help providers connect with NDIS participants in their local area and through our app, connect our members with the local supports they need specifically for the NDIS budgets that they have available.
It’s free to join the Provider Network too! Call our Provider Relations Team on 1300 05 78 74, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.