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Heath Hamilton
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Digital Account Manager, WME
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How to Optimise your Google My Business Profile for Higher Conversion

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The time has finally come, you have launched your new business and the verification postcard from Google has arrived in the mail; your Google By Business listing is about to go LIVE.  Potential customers can now find your business in the Maps section of Google, read your reviews, and browse your listing which is (hopefully) full of quality images and relevant information you uploaded while waiting for the verification. But now what?

Most small businesses get caught up in the constant flurry of ongoing tasks and responsibilities of getting their business up and running, that they completely ignore and neglect their Google My Business profile once it finally goes live. In digital marketing, we always go on and on about the split between the ‘organic’ and ‘paid’ search, SEO vs SEM, but for some reason the Maps section seems to be frequently overlooked, worryingly even by destination businesses such as restaurants, hairdressers and mechanics!

There are a few ‘quick wins’ you can achieve by managing and optimising your Google My Business profile more often, ensuring you are bringing in as many new enquiries as possible and contributing to your overall marketing strategy.

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Optimise and Manage your Content

This should go without saying but, first things first, fill out as much content as possible in all of the fields possible and optimise your content in line with your SEO keyword strategy. Treat Google My Business just as you would Facebook, Instagram or your website itself and leave no stone unturned. Too often we see profiles with no business category, no opening hours, even an image gallery can occasionally be missing. Once your profile is filled out correctly it’s not a case of ‘set and forget’, you need to regularly update the listing with any changes, such as opening hours, new photos and technical updates like SSL certification. It’s equally important to check for any updates in Google.

It seems whenever Google makes an update, it takes months for some businesses to catch on, some never do at all! Case in point, the recent addition of a Business Description – the perfect place to add in some unique copy to match your target keywords.  It’s important to optimise your content to suit your SEO plan. What does your business do? Where do you service? What is your unique selling point? If this information isn’t immediately obvious to your audience, then chances are your competition is getting most of the action.

Always check that you have a content rich business listing, just like any other form of advertising and stay on top of market trends that might affect your content. When a potential customer is weighing up between which click-to-call button they hit, even the smallest detail, such as your business category or a post with this month’s special, can make all the difference.

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Increase your Reviews – they are Conversion Gold!

Think about those late nights looking for a restaurant or take away, or that one early morning you were sitting on the side of the road with your phone out, trying to find a cheap tow truck. What’s the one thing you want to check before making that final decision?

Nothing beats a genuine review on your business listing. Sure, reviews on your website and social channels are great, but there’s no guarantee that all the new traffic coming through Google will ever get that far. That’s where Google My Business reviews come in.

A reviewer must be logged into their Google account to leave a comment, with their full name and profile image on display to the public. This keeps everything as transparent as possible. Your Average Rating is right there at the top of the SERP too, in prime real estate for all to see .

This is why you need reviews, even if potential customers don’t take the time to read them. Having a high average rating and high volume of genuine reviews not only builds trust with a potential customer, but also pushes you up higher in results too, ensuring you see a lift in conversion.

Never just ‘sit tight’ and wait for reviews, especially in the infancy stage of your business. Every time you finish a job or complete a transaction, you have to be actively asking for the review, just like a good salesperson needs to ask for the sale. Using websites likes PlePer you can easily create your own unique link straight to your business listing that automates a five-star rating. You can then send it to any past or present clients directly, or even put it in your email signature to help grow your review profile. This is a big box to tick for destination businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, beauty salons and mechanics.

As your review numbers begin to grow, one last tip is to have someone in your business who can check and respond to reviews and comments on a frequent basis. It’s good courtesy to respond to any positive reviews even with a quick, personal “thank you.” It also conveys to any future prospects that you really do really care about your customers and go out of your way to acknowledge them, even once the job or sale is completed.

This also goes for negative reviews that everyone hopes they won’t receive. Always try to handle any complaints or issues in a respectful manner and reach out to provide further assistance via private phone call or email. This, again, proves your dedication to the business and to your customers.

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Be active – Photos, Videos and Post!

Once you have everything on your listing set up and optimised in line with your SEO strategy, the most important thing is to be active! As a successful business, you wouldn’t set up a new Facebook page and then leave it for months on end, so nor should you with a Google My Business listing. Keep in mind that, during an organic search, your business listing could be the very first thing a potential customer sees, and we all know the saying about first impressions…

Another important detail to note is just how many business listings show up that are actually closed! Marking a business listing as ‘permanently closed’ is usually not top of the priority list when a business decides to cease trading. Therefore, these listings can remain active for months on end. This can cause a lot of frustration with a potential customer as they navigate through inactive phone numbers, websites that are down and outdated addresses.

It’s more common than you would believe, so as a current thriving business, you want to stand out from this crowd and prove that you are at your peak. Don’t get lumped in amongst the sea of closed (or just plain lazy) businesses that show up in a search with incorrect information. Any new photos, videos or content you have should be uploaded across all your marketing channels including Google My Business.

In our modern day, most people have access to faster internet and the data available per month is constantly increasing. As such, online videos are becoming more and more influential. However, they always seem to be ignored by Google My Business listings. While going to the effort to upload a video to Instagram or YouTube, upload it to your Google listing too to show you are active and ready for that next enquiry.

Posting is also an often-ignored feature on the Google My Business channel. Every business should be creating posts in Google just as they do on social media. Posting on Google My Business enables you to show off a new product range, give the latest update on your business expansion or even promote a seasonal special with a specific timeframe for the post – great for businesses who can capitalise on events such as Mother’s or Father’s Day, long weekends and Christmas.

 

All in all, an active, optimised Google My Business listing is one of the easiest yet overlooked components of a marketing plan; and, for the businesses that are doing it right, it’s one of the simplest forms of conversion, especially for mobile searches. Regardless of whether you are a brand-new startup, or a well-established company with a huge following, take the time to go through your business listing with a fine-toothed comb to set up, optimise and continuously manage your listing. Add a couple of unique posts and some positive reviews in the mix and you’ll be on track for one of the cheapest and easiest forms of lead generation.

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By Heath Hamilton


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