Guest post by Laura Nelson, Director of Marketing, Broadly.com
As a business owner, you probably already know how critical Google is to getting found and chosen by your target customers. Most consumers are pretty familiar with how to use Google, but if you’re a business owner, the mechanics behind the scenes can be quite complex.
However, there are fundamental things that you can do to take control of your business’s Google listing that will set you up for success in local search. Google’s data suggests that even the smallest of improvements to your business listing can make a big difference in your ability to stand out and direct traffic to your website.
If you haven’t already, visit Google My Business to set up an account. Follow the prompts to claim your listing, and establish ownership through their text or postcard verification process. Once complete, you can take steps to improve your listing and maximize its benefits.
Master the Basics
Your Google listing enables you to provide more information, and literally puts your business on the map. Therefore, it’s critical to put your best foot forward. Take advantage of the many free aspects of your listing to build your brand. For instance, you can add photos, verify your address and phone number, update your business hours, link your website, add photos, and post content straight from the Google My Business dashboard.
Read and Respond to Reviews
Reviews are critical to providing insight into the customer experience with your business, and Google reviews are the most valuable to your business. We discussed ways to generate more customer reviews in a previous post, and the Google My Business dashboard makes it easy to read and respond to your customer reviews. Be sure to set up alerts in the Settings tab to ensure that you are notified by email each and every time a customer posts a review on your Google listing.
It is well-known that businesses with strong ratings are more likely to attract click-thrus to their websites than those with low or no ratings. We’re often asked how many Google reviews is ideal, but the answer to that question might depend more on what your competition’s Google page looks like. You may need 20 to compete in your area, or you may need 200. In either scenario, we know that the first couple reviews can be suspect – they often come from family or friends. You’ll need more than that from real customers before you can stand out and shine.
Enable Messaging Through your Google Listing
Consumers are increasingly interacting with businesses through online chat, and your Google listing is an easy way to open another line of communication with prospective customers. The messaging feature enables you to free up your phone lines and answer simple questions from interested customers. For more information on this feature, follow these steps and guidelines.
Dig into Google Insights
Beyond the basics, the Google My Business dashboard enables you to uncover valuable insights. Are prospective customers searching for your business by name, or are they finding your listing through search? What are visitors doing from your listing? Google’s insights enable you to see how consumers are finding your listing, and what they do next (through clicks, calls, and requests for driving directions). The dashboard offers a number of useful charts that enable you to understand this behavior, and you can adjust filters to view trends over time – by week, month, or quarter. If you’re having difficulty accessing these insights, follow these steps.These are some of the most critical ways to leverage your free Google My Business listing to stand apart from your competitors and shine online. Broadly helps businesses manage their online presence and generate great reviews on Google and other important websites with ease. To learn more, visit https://broadly.com.