Hi there! Abigail and Chloe here. On this blog we’ve covered topics like the importance of websites and social media for establishing your brand online, but something else we’ve been discussing with businesses recently is their Google My Business Listing.
… But what exactly IS a Google my Business Listing and is it worth the time to add one for your company?
What is a Google My Business Listing?
A Google My Business Listing is a list of information about your company that Google displays on the search engine results page.
It’s FREE to set up and maintain, and the more detail you put into it the more helpful it will be for you, your customers, and Google’s search engine results.
What a Google My Business Listing is Not
A Google My Business listing is not a replacement for a website. While it’s an important part of your company’s digital presence, it doesn’t provide all the information nor credibility a website does. Think of this instead as another path for customers to reach your company AND your website!
It’s also important to know that your Google My Business listing is not something you have complete control over. Any user can upload their own photos, reviews, and answer questions without specific permission from your company. Because of this, it’s important to check in on your listing regularly. You can’t remove the pictures people post to your business, but if they’re inappropriate or inaccurate, you can flag them for Google to review and remove.
So… Does your business need a listing?
Yes! Without a Google My Business Listing, you’ll miss out on valuable local visibility. Google My Business listings not only make it easier for people to find your company’s information with no need to navigate multiple web pages, but it will also boost your credibility as a company locally. It’s nearly impossible to stand out against your local competition when you’re not included in the same list as they are. Even if you have the best website ever.
Imagine you’re trying to find a good local pizza place in your town and you’re new to the area. You look up “best pizza place” in Google and a list of local restaurant locations come up, each with phone numbers, websites, pictures, and reviews (We’ll discuss the importance of customer reviews another day!). Do you take the time to scroll down past all of these listings and look through web pages to find a place?
Probably not if you’re really hungry for some pizza!
These listings help users build their impressions of businesses and entice them to seek further information by calling, clicking your website, getting directions to your business, or sending you a message. This is why it’s important to set up your listing.
Setting up Your Listing
Now that we’ve discussed what a Google my Business Listing is, how do you go about setting one up?
- Go to google.com/business and fill in your company information. It’s worth taking the extra time to specify the details up front (contact information, business type, etc.) for listing accuracy.
- Verify your listing. You can do this through e-mail, phone, or postcard.
- Write a clear business description.
- Upload photographs to your listing.
- Choose one photograph to be your cover photo, and one to be your profile photo. These should be the images that most authentically represent your company.
- Google also recommends including at least three images for each of these categories:
- Exterior photographs
- Interior photographs
- Team/Management/Employee photographs
- Products, food, or guest rooms depending on what your business offers
- While maintaining your business listing, answer questions and respond to reviews! This shows the user and the community your level of care and attention to detail and helps improve that first impression of your business.
Once you set up your listing, customers may start leaving reviews. Google has some great suggestions for responding to reviews, both good and… not so good.
Tips from Google for responding to reviews
- Be nice and don’t get personal.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Thank your reviewers.
- Be a friend, not a salesperson.
Tips from Google for responding to negative reviews:
- Suggest having the user contact you directly.
- Investigate the reasons behind that persons’ negative review.
- Be honest about mistakes, but don’t take responsibility for things that weren’t your fault.
- Apologize where appropriate.
- Never lash out.
Congrats! You’re now officially listed. Just remember to check back in on your listing to make sure your information is accurate and up-to-date and respond to customers regularly.
Whew, that’s a lot of information! Saltech Systems is happy to give you guidance when it comes to your business’s online presence.