Google Maps Optimization
It is absolutely necessary that your business’ online presence is Search Engine Optimized to help generate new leads. However, achieving organic search success is an ongoing battle, and Googles business listing tools have thus far not made it easy for SMEs.
There have been many confusing name changes (Google Local, Google+ Local, Maps Listing, Google My Business) and new versions come with new sets of information requirements. The latest and greatest is Google My Business (GMB), its free for any business to claim their listing and allows you to create a business profile that includes a Google Maps listing and appears in search results when customers use a relevant search term with a location keyword.
Order Your Maps Project Below
Google’s consumer research shows that over 70 percent of those who search for a local store’s business hours, address and operating hours via their smartphone, visit the store that same day. GMB is an efficient way for customers to find all this information. It does take a bit of effort to get it correctly, though. Here are some tips to help you:
Ensuring Your Location Is Correct
When a prospect or customer is searching online, Google will display the business listings that are closest to them. Your sales can be boosted by simply specifying your address. The “near me” function on mobile devices is being used more than ever before; within browsers, map apps, Siri, etc. Ensuring your business is properly set up in Google My Business, with the exact location is essential to your company’s survival.
Correctly Specify Your Opening/Closing Hours
Think about how many times you’ve quickly googled a shop to check their hours last minute while out running other errands. The same applies to your own potential customers especially if you run a business with stores in many locations that operate at different hours, this is incredibly important to get right. Google My Business enables you to set the operating times per location so this allows you to easily edit for any Holidays or last-minute changes.
Imagine how disappointing it is to arrive to a location only to discover they’re closed and their online listing had misinformation. How reliable is a business that can’t keep their own hours up to date?
Clearly State Your Business
Reaching people already near your business location specifically searching for your products is completely achievable through GMB and local SEO. Start by tagging the correct categories within your GMB profile. The correct category can make or break rankings. Ensuring your category is correct can help boost a business online for all kinds of relevant search terms. This is a balancing act, don’t try to tag every single category in hopes of attracting new business.
If somebody comes knocking on your door looking for screen printing and you sell web services, this opens an opportunity to leave a less than satisfactory review of your business online. That said, don’t just tick one box, associate your business with as many relevant keywords as possible so that all potential customers are targeted. For example, for an Orthodontist, categories might include “Dentistry” and “Oral Surgeon”.
What your customers think of you is important information. In the online world, it helps your business cut through the competition because reviews, good, bad or mixed, contribute to your search engine rankings. Knowing the importance of reviews is one thing, soliciting customer feedback is quite another.
The process on GMB is fortunately quite straightforward which is essential for any customer engagement. To leave a review, all they have to do is:
- Have a Google account (luckily most people do. A Gmail address is a good start)
- Google your store
- Click on your GMB listing
- Select write a review
- Write the review
Try it out for yourself. Once you know how it works you’ll be able to integrate the review process with your customer relationship strategy. A well-managed profile on GMB will help create an excellent customer experience that in turn will encourage positive reviews and lead to increased visibility. This could be the simplest and most productive marketing move you’ll ever make.