How to Use Google My Business
When was the last time you Googled something? Google processes about 40,000 searches every second1, so chances are pretty good you’ve googled at least one thing today. From the phone number for the nearest physical therapist to reviews for the newest restaurant in town, chances are good that your customers are using Google too. So why not leverage Google as a tool to improve your online reputation?
To make sure your customers can quickly and easily find accurate contact information, hours, and reviews it’s important to take advantage of Google My Business. In just a few steps, you can get started and take advantage of this easy-to-use tool, which makes responding to online reviews easy.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows business owners to manage their presence across Google domains, from Search to Maps. It helps your customers easily find your phone number, directions to your location, business hours, website, and more. Google My Business also gives customers the opportunity to leave reviews, and businesses with verified accounts and respond to those customer reviews.
How to Create a Google My Business Listing
You can create a Google My Business listing in four easy steps:
- If you don’t have a Google Account for your business, create one.
- Login with your Google Account, then visit google.com/business. Click “start now.”
- Answer some simple questions:
- What’s the name of your business?
- Where are you located?
- What is your business category?
- What is your business phone number?
- What is your business website?
- Choose a method to verify your Google My Business listing. You can choose to verify your account by postcard, phone, email, instant verification (available if you have already verified your business via Google Search Console), or bulk verification (if you have 10+ locations).
It is important to verify your Google My Business listing because it proves that you own your business website, and give you access to private search data, as well as affect how high you rank in organic search. It can take several days for Google to review and verify your business.
You also have the ability to let several people at your business share responsibility of managing your Google My Business account. Google will let you have three different types of users:
- Owners, who have the most privileges and access, including the ability to add additional owners or managers.
- Managers, who can edit business information, Google Hangouts, and view insights.
- Communication managers, who can interact with customers by posting photos and responding to reviews.
How to Optimize Your Business on Google
It is easy to customize the information your customers can find on your Google My Business listing. By adding details such as photos, hours of operation, you can help your customers choose your business.
While logged into your Google My Business dashboard, select “info” on your listing, and add additional information, such as whether or not you offer free wi-fi, the year your business was established, and more.
The easiest way to optimize your listing is to add photos. According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location, as well as 35% more clicks through to your website. At minimum, add a profile and cover photo of at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall in either JPG or PNG format. Google also recommends optimizing your profile with interior, exterior, product, and team photos.
Google My Business also allows your customers to leave reviews, which can serve as an online version of word-of-mouth marketing, helping new customers find you. When you post replies to these reviews publicly as your business, it helps build trust with new customers by showing that you value your existing customers. Your business needs to be verified to be able to respond to customer reviews.
You can also let customers message you. This allows you to quickly and easily answer your customers’ questions they may have about your business. If you turn this feature on, it is important to remember to be responsive (as customers can see your average response time) and to avoid sharing sensitive information via messages with your customers, such as their payment or billing information.
It is important to keep your business information up to date, so that your customers have the correct website or phone number when people find it on Google.
How Does Google My Business Affect My Online Reputation?
A verified, optimized Google My Business listing can affect your organic search ranking. By having clear, easy-to-find information in Google Search, more customers will be able to find your business. However, it is still important to monitor your Google My Business dashboard from time to time, as anyone can “suggest an edit” to your business’s information, giving the possibility that someone could add incorrect information.
If you have optimized your Google My Business listing by responding to your customer’s online reviews, it can serve as a basic version of online reputation management, allowing new customers to see the customer service offered by your business.
Managing your online reputation doesn’t have to be complicated. Take your online reputation management to the next level with Binary Fountain’s single integrated platform that makes it easy to manage your online reputation.
For more information, register for our webinar with Rio SEO on Google My Business strategy.
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