Google My Business is a free digital billboard that allows users to find you via Google search. Google My Business allows people searching for a particular product or service to find you and connect with you. They can learn your location, your business hours, your services, and access your online reviews. GMB also allows you to connect with your customers and learn what they are looking for.
GMB is free. We should say that again. GMB is free! Google is the number one search engine in the world, so using GMB helps more people find you! It is very simple to set up and has very low maintenance though the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Plus, using GMB puts you on the literal Google Map!
To set this up for your business go to Google.com/business. It will walk you through very simple steps to get you started. Google will then send you a postcard with a code. Once you get that code, you can activate your account. GMB allows you to describe your business in 750 words or fewer. Be very specific and accurate and know that the first 250 words will be the only ones that pop up on search, so be strategic when writing your description.
Make sure your business hours and locations are accurate and use an updated photo whenever possible. Add as many details as possible such as social media handles, websites, and more.
Once you have claimed your business on Google and have added all the appropriate information and photos you will want to start posting! Think of this as another social media platform with really amazing SEO. You can post updates, upcoming events, new offers, sales and promotions, and more. Posts will live on your account for 7 days but there is an option to extend the life of your post for up to 14 days. Viewers can search old posts by clicking on the post tab on your account.
GMB offers many features. Some of the most popular and effective are the ability to manage your Google reviews and the ability to create a website. Online reviews are critical for growth and prospecting new customers. Ask your current customers if they would be willing to write a review for you. You can even draft the review for them and send them a link to your Google review form so all they have to do is copy, paste, and hit submit.
If you do not have the means or skills to create a WordPress website or other type of website, GMB allows you to use their platform as your website. It is very intuitive to implement and looks good.
Best practices for maintaining GMB
Keep basic business information up to date. If you are closing early, update GMB. If you are having a sale, let people know. Plan on posting to GMB 2-3 times per week with product and services updates or even a behind the scenes photo. Track your GMB metrics to see how much of your web traffic is coming from Google and ask for online reviews. The more 5-star reviews you have, the better. Be sure to respond to all reviews on your profile, good or bad!