Google My Business, or GMB for short, is a tool that Google provides for free to help you manage how your company populates on Google Maps and their search engine. It lets companies add things like contact information and links to their websites. Restaurants, for example, can post pictures of their food, and hotels post pictures of the rooms they offer. If you’ve ever clicked through a listing on Google Maps, you’ve likely seen that there are professional photos and traveler photos. Those professional photos are uploaded by the business.

Spending time on GMB is certainly worth your while. Today, more consumers are looking through photos and reviews of Google and Google Maps to decide where and how to spend their money. If there’s a dead link or a wrong phone number, that’s a lot of opportunities you’re missing that can be solved with an easy fix. Today, we’re talking about how Google My Business works and how it can help your company.

Getting Started with Google My Business

Getting started with GMB is simple. You’re going to have to sign up for an account to claim your business. It’s a lot like signing up for any online account, and soon enough you’ll have greater access to controlling your search results.

On GMB you will need to:

Claim your business – you have to claim rights to a listing that is yours.

Verify your business – Google will ask you to go through a simple verification process to make sure the business listing is yours.

Enhance your listing – You’ll be able to fill in any missing details and make changes to visual appearance to make the listing look more attractive. You’ll also be able to change around wording in your listing to make it more search-friendly. Business owners can specify, for instance, how far they’re willing to go to make deliveries, you can check options like whether you want to hide your address from a public listing in case you’re not a retail location.

What most companies love about GMB is the ability to focus on local SEO. Using the right keywords, page layout, and pictures can capture the kind of audience you’re looking to attract. People who need local products and services often use Maps to find businesses near them that have what they need. Additionally, they’re typically at the critical stage in the sales cycle where they’re ready to make a purchase.

There Is a GMB Apps

You can manage your Google listings with the GMB app. It’s a great way to always stay on top of your search results and make changes, as necessary.

Optimizing Your GMB Listings

After you’re verified, you can start the process of optimizing your GMB listings. Typically, the more information you upload to your listing the better. You want to cast a wide net to pick up as many searches as possible. Even noting that you’re open certain hours or posting pictures of your products can change consumers’ minds who are about to make a purchase.

Managing your business listings online should be done thoroughly to discourage other people from recommending edits that could affect your search results. With Google, anyone can suggest edits. A full listing will discourage people from recommending changes they feel should be included.

Photos also make a huge difference. Businesses with multiple photos on their GMB listings get vastly higher click rates and experience higher sales. Makes sure your photos are high quality too. A low pixel count picture can do more harm than good. You want your pictures to give a good representation of what your customers can expect.

Speaking of photos, in GMB you get to choose your cover photo. This is a massive deal because cover photos evoke the essence of what your business is like. Do your best to upload an artistic photo and will be attractive to customers.

Adding Video to Your GMB Listing

One cool feature that GMB offers is the chance to add videos to your business listing. They’ve got to be short, around 30 seconds, but videos embedded in your listing can be a powerful tool for people searching online deciding what to buy. You can use the videos to show product demos, tour your workspace, or upload a message from a manager or employee. It’s a nice way to add some variety to what mundane listings can be.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews

Consumers say again and again that reviews often influence their purchase decisions the most. Think about it. Would you buy something from a business that has 100 5-star reviews or the one that may be a bit cheaper but has zero reviews? Of course, you’d choose the one with more reviews. If you encounter a friendly customer who you know has had a positive experience with your business, ask them to leave a review of your company. There’s nothing wrong with soliciting reviews. It will do wonders for your business.

Every company should be using GMB whether you have a retail location or not. It’s a place people can go to see more about your business and hear from other customers about what buying from you is like. Take the time to upload your information to make your company easier to find. If you aren’t using GMB right now, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it will affect your traffic.