How Nigerian Businesses can Optimise their Google My Business Listings
Did you know that there are over 5.6Billion searches on Google every day?
Over the years Google, the wold’s largest search engine, has become synonymous for search. Every day people go on Google to search for information, news, tips, industry-related news or coronavirus pandemic updates.
As a business owner you should invest in making sure that your business wins on this platform and a key ingredient to winning on Google is having a Google My Business Account.
Google My Business Listings help businesses get found easily and allow potential customers to get quick information about their favourite brands.
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of Google My Business (GMB)….
1. What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search Results and on Google Maps. Your listing includes information like:
- Your business name
- Location and business hours
- Pictures of your business
- Customer Reviews
2. Why You should have Google My Business Listing
- GMB is totally free and allows you to set up a 360-view virtual tour of your business, product or service even before potential customers come into physical contact with you or your store.
- You are just one click away: With a clickable phone number and website link you are just one click away. There are no barriers between you and your potential customers!
- Easy integration with other Google Products: GMB closely ties into Google AdWords, Google Insights, Google+, Google Maps and of course Google Search.
Any business that is not leveraging the potentials of this platform is losing out on the awareness it can bring a brand.
3. Setting up a Google My Business Listing
Creating a Google My Business profile is a crucial part of local search.
Here are the steps to get your company on Google My Business
- Step1: Create a Google account (if you don’t already have one for your business)
- Step 2: Go to www.business.google.com
- Step 3: Enter your business name
- Step 4: Enter your location
- Step 5: Enter the locations you serve
- Step 6: Choose a Business Category
- Step 7: Add your contact details
- Step 8: Verify your Business — Please note that verification can take up to 14–21 days.
Don’t just set up your Google My Business account, add a little information and then abandon it. Remember your competition isn’t sleeping.
Setting up your account is just the start! There are ways to use this platform that doesn’t just give you visibility — when Google My Business is leveraged correctly, it can lead to an increase in sales and improved customer loyalty.
Once your business has been verified, it’s time to optimise your listing.
4. How to optimise your Google My Business Listing
Here are the steps you need to take in order to fully optimize your Google My Business
a) Make sure your NAP is accurate
NAP stands for business NAME, ADDRESS and a valid PHONE NUMBER.
The very first stage for optimising Google My Business for local search success is ensuring the basics are done well. For GMB this means a quick check that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are correct, totally up-to-date and entirely consistent with other local business citations like your website.
Having inconsistent information will impact your search ranking and most likely your credibility in a negative way.
b) Claim Your Google My Business Short Name
Now that your Google My Business account is verified your next point of action is claiming your short name.
This is a short or custom name designed to make it easier for local search users to find your business.
Your short name can either be associated with your business name or a name customers commonly use to refer to your business. For example, when you type “@Foodpro”, in a Google search it takes you directly to the Foodpro Group Google My Business Account.
c) Write a comprehensive description of your Business
You can add a 750-character description to your GMB profile as part of the optimisation. The text should describe your business in an authentic manner.
d) Choose an appropriate Category and Sub-Category for your Listing
Categories are used to describe your business and connect you to customers searching for the services within that category.
The category you choose when optimising your Google My Business listing plays an important role in local search ranking as it tells Google which searches your business could be relevant for.
e) Include Photos
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is also worth a few additional points when we talk about optimising your Google My Business Listing.
The first thing your potential customers will notice when they search for your business is your profile photo.
Google My Business encourages you to upload a profile photo, cover photo, and a video to showcase your business.
You can also upload user-generated content and encourage your customers to add photos of their interactions with your business, this helps you build out the content for your gallery listing.
Google also enables you to benchmark your user-generated content against your competitors (especially photos)
f) Generate, Monitor and Respond to Reviews
Research has shown that more than half the consumers will only use a business if it has four or more stars. This means that you need reviews in order to generate more eyeballs of potential customers.
For local businesses the beauty of reviews is in the influence, they have on the purchase process.
Let me put it this way good reviews build trust with new visitors and help generate sales/visits to your store in the long run.
Tip: A simple way to get reviews is by asking your customers to give you one and rewarding this action.
g) Boost Conversions and Showcase your Brand Personality
There is a feature on GMB called Posts, which is crucial to your Google My Business optimisation efforts.
Posts are brief blog posts, which can be used to give a short news update, share an offer or showcase a product.
You can leverage this feature to boost conversions and showcase your Brand Personality.
h) Build up a good Database of Information on Google Q&A
The purpose of Q&As is to give search users and local consumers additional information about a business- this is a great way to gain additional local exposure and further build out your Google My Business profile as part of your optimisation efforts.
i) Add your Social Media Profiles to your GMB Listing
When people search for your business on Google, they may see links to your social media handles included with your other business information.
To ensure that your social media links appear properly, Google advises you to be consistent, verify your links and use structured data.
j) Investigate GMB Features specific to your Industry
To ensure your GMB Listing is fully optimised, investigate what industry-specific features Google My Business offers you.
Here are two examples:
- Hotels have an entirely different knowledge panel for hotel searches
- If you offer appointment services you can add “Book Now” button.
5. Optimising your Google My Business Listing amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a great impact on businesses and people. Whether you’re an e-commerce store owner or a brick and mortar business owner, you’re likely feeling some impact on traffic and sales.
During these times it’s important to ensure that your website and online listings such as Google My Business are updated and keep your customers and prospects informed about any changes during these challenging times.
Google has provided new tools inside of Google My Business that allows you to publish updates relating to the Coronavirus.
It is important to know that even if you have other updates going out regularly, your COVID-19 posts will stay pinned to the top.
Here are some content ideas to include in your Google My Business Listing:
- Shipping delay notifications
- Temporary closures of physical locations
- Out of stock items
- High demand products
- Charity relief programs your business is participating in
- Updated business hours
Google My Business keeps your Coronavirus for 14 days, but you can always republish the post if it’s still relevant at that point in time.
And that’s it — you are ready to start winning!
I hope this blog was useful and gave you tips on how to get a start. If you enjoyed reading it, don’t forget to share it with someone who needs this information too…