There are many ways for a business to gain recognition on the internet when potential customers or clients commence a search. A “Google My Business” or GMB account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile and get and keep the management rights to it. You can also unlock other free features to increase your visibility on Google.

Business Profile vs Google My Business?

If you have a Google business listing, Google refers to that as your “Business Profile”. Business Profiles appear in local results from Google searches and in Google Maps. When someone searches for a business on Google, they’ll see a map with several businesses listed below, usually near the top of the page.

All that Google requires in order to do that is the business name, location, and category (coffee shop, boutique, car dealership, etc.). Google will confirm that the submission is not a duplicate and will then create the Business Profile for that location. The Business Profile is then open to consumers, who now have the ability to post reviews, add photos, and ask and answer questions. Google can also pull info in from across the web and add that to the profile.

That seems like a great way to advertise. However, a Business Profile can exist on its own, so you don’t have the ability to manage the information it displays or the reviews it collects. You could wind up with unfair reviews or other info that might hurt your business.

However, by creating a Google My Business account, you can access, customize, manage, and add to your Business Profile on Google, all at no cost.

Improvements to your Google My Business

There are a number of ways you can use GMB to boost your visibility and make your Business Profile more effective.

1. First, claim your business

– Verify and claim your listing, which can be done by email or phone. Once you are “legitimate” your business will start to rank higher in results.

2. Highlight your business by providing more details

– By simply going to your GMB dashboard, you can add details to your listing such as hours of business, photos, products, pricing, and more. The more information you provide, the more enticing your profile looks and the more likely that searchers will click on it. And once you make those additions, be sure that you’re keeping them up to date for the best results available. You don’t want a customer showing up when you’re closed!

3. Engage with your customers

– We’ve already established that your customers can interact with your Business Profile by adding reviews and/or photos or by asking or answering questions. Well, the key to really engaging them is to reply to those posts! Respond to reviews, answer questions, and allow for direct messaging. All of those will make your interaction with customers more noticeable and they’ll recognize that you truly care about what they think and are eager to help them learn more about what you do.

4. Ask your customers for reviews

– Are your customers happy with your products or services? Then ask them to post a review for you on your Google Business Profile. Reviews from real people are one of the first things potential customers look for, so encourage those who are gung-ho about your business to say so.

5. Don’t forget to “post”

– You can even publish Facebook-like “posts” through GMB. Note, however, that posts only last about a week so be sure to update them as needed. Note that if you attach them to an event they will remain through the duration of that event.

6. Use SEO for local results

– Google uses algorithms for ranking business profiles just as it does with websites. Through Google My Business, you can incorporate keywords into your Business Profile and perform other optimizations to help it rank higher in local results. Just go to your dashboard to make the changes or additions. Do it well and you’ll show up in the “3-pack” – the first three businesses that are listed under the Google Map of your area.

7. Gather insights on your audience on your Google My Business Dashboard

– Simply go to your GMB dashboard to find insights about your customer’s or potential customer’s behavior. Just click “insights” and you’ll be able to view customers’ actions such as whether they visited your website or requested directions to your location or called you for more information. You can also see the queries they’re using to find your Business Profile and whether they found you on Google Search or Google Maps. Then you can use those insights to your advantage.

Want to know more about the Google My Business option and how it can improve your overall business? We’d be happy to educate you about this and other ways to increase your sales through a variety of marketing tools. Call us at 604-337-1449 to schedule a consultation.