The Ultimate Guide To Google My Business (In 2019)
Are you using the awesome power of Google My Business to boost your business listing, so it’s more visible? So you get more views, more traffic, more leads and more customers?
This is the Ultimate Guide To Optimize Your Google My Business in 2019.
Let’s get started.
There's been a lot of things happening on Google My Business over the past few months that are changing the way you can promote your business online.
If you haven't paid attention, you're likely not using nine of the most awesome new features Google has recently introduced that you can use to dominate the search results in 2019.
If you want to know what these features are, so you can attract more customers, you don't want to miss this.
For starters, let’s assume that you have already claimed your Google My Business listing, but probably haven’t done very much with it.
If you haven’t claimed your listing, please stop reading and go here to claim your listing right now (and don’t forget to come back once you’ve done so).
Right now, as a small business owner, you are sitting on a gold mine as odds are that your competition hasn’t even claimed their Google My Business profile, and even if they have, they haven’t optimized it to its full potential.
In this “Ultimate Guide”, you’re going to learn in detail nine powerful features you must use to enhance your Google My Business profile.
If you make it all the way to the end, you will learn a super-hot hot tip on how to accurately track the number of visitors coming from your Google My Business listing directly to your website.
This will be super useful to you once you started using these features. So without further ado, let's start with feature number one.
1. How To Use Google My Business Posts
Google My Business posts are like mini-ads displaying on your business listing. You can use them to promote offers, new product launch, events, and whatever else you may think is relevant to your business.
This is a very powerful marketing tool which many businesses haven’t started to use yet. It really makes your listing stand out as you can use images, call to actions and add a link to your website.
Let's have a look at how it's done.
Okay, so login into your Google My Business account.
Once you're in there, you can access the post option two ways.
On the left-hand side menu or from the actual main dashboard, whichever option you decide is up to you.
It's a simple interface. You can just click on that little camera icon in order to add a post. You will see a pop up which will give you various options as to what type of post you want to create.
You've got a what's new option, an event option, an offer option. Depending on which option you decide to go for, you'll have a number of fields to fill in.
For the sake of this demonstration, let’s use the simplest one, which is the What's New.
So, let's start by adding an image. It's important you add an image that attracts searchers attention or, even better, you can add a video and really grab their attention.
Select the image that you want to add. Just so you know, the best dimension for the image are 590 pixels by 445 pixels.
Once you've added the image, you can write your post, you can add up to 300 words within your post.
You should also add a button as a call to action. Most businesses simply use the learn more button, but you also have the option to select: book, order online, buy, sign up, get offer or call now.
Some of these options depend on the kind of business you are and what kind of post you are creating. But it is a good idea to test different buttons to see what works best for you.
Once you have selected your button option be sure to link it to a page on your website that is relevant to what your post is about.
Please for goodness sake don’t create a specific post about a specific product, service or offer and link back to your homepage.
Instead use that button to link to a specific landing page on your website that is about that specific product, service and/or offer you are making.
This will can drastically increasing conversions, which is a fancy way of increasing customers.
Once you choose the right call to action and added a specific link, all you need to do is click on the publish button right at the top.
That's it, all done.
Now you should verify that the post was published on your business profile.
Just refresh or reload your page, as it may take a few seconds before it appears.
And boom – there it is. Now you can click on the button you selected to test to make sure it actually takes you straight to your site.
A lot of business owners skip this step and don’t realize that their link doesn’t work. So they are missing out on hundreds of potential new customers.
2. How To Use Google My Business Questions and Answers
This feature is still widely underused by most businesses.
A few months ago, Google launched this new feature which enables potential and existing customers to ask questions about your business directly within your Google My Business listing.
If you're serious about your online reputation, you should monitor this activity as carefully as you monitor your Google reviews (you do monitor your Google reviews and comment on each one, right? Right!?).
This is because anyone can answer those questions even though they don't own the business. These can be very dangerous, since they may provide the wrong information.
On the plus side, this is a perfect opportunity to learn what your visitors may need and post the accurate and professional answers for everyone to see.
Unfortunately, you will not receive any notification in your Google My Business dashboard when someone asks a question.
If you want to be notified quickly so you can answer the question in a timely manner, you will need to download the Google Map app on your phone and turn on the notification option.
Sadly, this only works on Android. If you're an iPhone user, you will simply need to check your business listing regularly.
3. Add A Complete Business Description
Business descriptions used to be part of local listings, but it was removed back in 2016.
This feature was reintroduced in March 2018, so you can once again add a business description to your listing, which will display at the bottom of your local panel.
As Google recommends on its official help page, you should use the description feature to give details about what you offer, what makes your business different, a bit about your history and anything you think might be useful to your customers. You shouldn't go over 750 words.
Here's how to add a description to your Google My Business profile.
Sign into Google My Business and select the business listing you want to add a description to if you have more than one.
On the left-hand side menu, click on the Info option.
Then from the main screen, scroll down until you see the option at business description.
Click on the pencil icon and add your description in there. Once you're done, click Apply.
Your description will have the pending status for a few seconds, maybe a couple of minutes. Once it's gone, just go and verify if it appears correctly in your business listing.
It may take another few minutes before it refreshes, but then you should see the description appearing at the bottom of your control panel.
Quick note, when your business listing is displayed on a mobile version, the description will only be visible under the About Us tab.
4. Get Google Reviews (They Are Really Important)
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard all about the importance of Google reviews.
The quantity and quality of Google reviews you will collect for your business will play a crucial role in your Google rankings.
Google reviews can also work wonders for your business reputation since 84% of people trust online reviews.
Online reviews are prominently displayed next to your listing in Google Maps, as well as your business panel.
So, how do you get Google reviews for your business?
Simple, ask your customers.
Unlike other online players like Yelp, Google doesn't see anything wrong with asking customers for reviews as long as you do it in an ethical way.
What does that mean? Don't bribe, don't pay or exchange services in order to gain reviews.
Make sure you respond to all the reviews you are receiving, as it will show your potential customers you are professional and attentive to your clients.
To do this, simply log into your Google My Business profile, click on the review option in the left-hand side menu and scroll down to the review where you want to post the reply.
If you want to be notified as soon as you receive a review, download the Google My Business app, install the app and open it. Go to your settings and then go to your notification.
Make sure the customer review option is ticked. When a customer posts a review, you will see a message popping up on your screen, which you can respond to right away.
5. What Is The Google My Business Services Menu?
Originally launched to give restaurant owners the option of adding their menu as part of their Google My Business listing, this feature has been extended to some service businesses such as electricians, beauty salons, florists, and even digital marketing agencies.
These businesses can now add the list of services they provide to their listing to their Google My Business account.
Services can be listed by category, which will include a description and can contain multiple items which need to be priced individually.
Here’s how to add a service menu to your listing.
Log into your Google My Business account and from the left-hand side menu, select the info link.
Scroll down and click on services.
A pop up should appear allowing you to create your first service section.
Give it the appropriate name, add an item, a price and a description and click on Add.
Repeat the same process to add more sections or items. Unfortunately, service menu are only visible through the Google listing on mobile phones.
6. How To Add Videos To Your Google My Business Profile
Did you know that by 2021, 82% of all internet traffic will be video related?
Videos are so powerful that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.
By now you've already added a bunch of photos to your business profile, which is a great way to attract visitors.
But did you know that you can now add videos to your Google My Business listing as well?
Obviously, you can't load any kind of video.
The video content should feature your place of business and or the people who work there and don't think of publishing a video you've purchased from a stock library as it will be removed by Google.
The requirements are very simple; each video must be up to 30 seconds long, up to 100 megabytes, 720 pixels or higher. This means there is no need for some mega Hollywood video production. You can literally shoot something very decent using your phone.
To add a video to your Google listing, just log into your business panel, click on photos, and then choose the Add Video option from the main screen.
From there, you can either select or drag a video in the main panel. Select your video, and then wait until it's uploaded. After a few seconds you should see the video as part of the list with all your pictures.
According to Google, it can take up to 24 hours for your videos to show, but usually it takes less than five minutes.
A picture is worth 1000 words. But a video is worth 1000 pictures. So, start uploading yours today.
7. How To Add A Booking Button To Your Google Profile
If you are a service-based type of business that relies on people making appointments, you are going to love this feature.
You can now add a booking button directly into your Google My Business panel, which will allow visitors to make a booking straight from your listing.
It will really help make your listing stand out from the crowded search results and turn viewers into customers much faster.
The booking process is very quick and also trackable in your Google My Business dashboard.
There are however, a couple of caveats to this feature.
Firstly, it's only available in certain countries. So, you may not have access to it.
Secondly, to enable this feature, you will need an account with one of Google support and scheduling providers.
To sign up, log into your Google My Business dashboard and click on the Accept Bookings on Google option.
Sign up with one of the providers from the list. A booking button should be included in your listing a few days later. If you're already a partner, the button should have been added automatically.
8. Direct Messaging With Your Customers
Yes, existing customers and potential customers who find your business listing in Google can message you directly when you implement this feature.
Only available in certain countries for now, this is another great way of engaging with visitors and quickly turn them into customers.
To install this feature, just log into your Google My Business dashboard and choose the messaging option from the left-hand menu.
If you don't see the option, it means it's not available to you.
If you do have it, awesome. You will then be asked to verify your phone number and then set up a welcome message.
The welcome message can only be up to 120 characters long, so be sure to spend some time crafting this message as in many cases this will be the first time a potential customer interacts with your business.
Please know that this feature only works for mobile web users and that doesn't include app users.
9. The Google My Business Website Builder
If you don't have a website and you're on a tight budget, this one is great for you.
With this feature, you can create a free web page to promote your local business in just a few minutes.
No need for any coding skills or fancy graphics software, the multiple predefined format makes the process very easy to use, and the result very professional looking.
Of course, eventually you still need a real website (preferably built using WordPress), but in a pinch, or if you are just starting out with a very limited budget, using the Google My Business website builder is a great way to start.
Here’s a great guide on how to use the Google My Business website builder.
This almost brings us to the end of this guide.
But as promised, if you made it this far, here is one last tip so you can accurately track all the effort you are putting into your Google My Business listing accurately.
One of the main objectives when optimizing your Google My Business profile is to drive more organic traffic to your website.
Once you put so much effort optimizing your Google listing, you'd like to know if it's paying off, wouldn't you?
If you check your daily web visitors through Google Analytics (as you should), a quick look at the number of organic visits should let you know if your listing is bringing more visitors.
Not so fast, there is a flaw in Google Analytics.
People coming across your Google My Business listing from mobile devices and clicking through to your website will be counted as direct traffic instead of organic.
So, how are you supposed to measure properly?
By adding a little tracking code to the website link pointing to your site in your Google My Business listing.
Here is how it is done.
Head over to the Google Campaign URL builder site.
Start by filling in the field website URL field. In the campaign source field, just add GMB Listing or Google My Business listing. That will allow you to identify where the traffic is coming from.
In the campaign medium, just add organic.
Once you've done this scroll down and in the “share the generated the campaign URL section, you should see a new URL in there which will include the parameters that you've included above.
Just simply copy this URL and paste it into your Google My Business website URL.
So, how do you do that?
Log back into your Google My Business profile.
Click the info tab from the left-hand menu and scroll down to the website option.
Click on the pencil icon to edit it and then paste your URL in there and apply.
The URL will show a pending status for a few minutes. That's all you need to do.
After a few days, all you need to do is go into your Google Analytics account, scroll down to the acquisition option, all traffic, channels. In there, you should see a list of channels that drive traffic to your site.
What we're interested in is the organic search results.
Simply click there, and then we still can't see anything right.
But what you need to do is split the traffic by source.
In order to do that, just go to the secondary dimension, type source medium, and there you will see all the traffic generated through your Google My Business listing directly to your website.
Okay, we're all done here. Thank you very much for reading the Ultimate Guide To Optimize Your Google My Business in 2019.
Google My Business is only one part of boosting your businesses online visibility on Google.
There’s a lot more that goes into local SEO like:
- Making sure you site is mobile friendly
- Making your site load as fast as possible (site speed)
- Backlinks (Proximity, categories, keyword in business title, etc.)
- More online reviews (Review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.)
- On-page SEO signals (Presence of NAP -business name, address, phone number, keywords in titles, domain authority, etc.)
- Citations (IYP/aggregator NAP consistency, citation volume, etc.)
- Behavioural signals (click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on site, etc.)
- Social signals (Google engagement, Facebook Engagement, YouTube engagement, etc.)
- User experience
And lots more!
If you want help getting your business found online, we can help with our SEO services. Contact us today for a free strategy session and don’t forget to get your free website analysis and SEO audit here.
As always, post your comments or questions below as I will do my best to answer them. If you can, sharing this blog post on your favourite social media channel will be much appreciated.
Keep being awesome.
This blog post is a doozy. But every business owner who wants their business to get found online in 2019 and have any chance of ranking in the Google Maps search results, let alone on the first page of Google, needs to read this.
Google My Business has become the #1 ranking factor for getting your business on the first page of Google.
But you need to optimize your Google My Business profile so that it works for your business, which can be easier said than done.
That’s why I created the Ultimate Guide To Optimize Your Google My Business in 2019.
Read it and take action. You will be happy that you did.