Google My Business: How to Use It and Why You Should

Google My Business

Whether it’s for a new lunch spot, nearby grocery store, or holiday accommodation, Google is typically the first stop in any internet search.  That makes it an important channel on which to focus your marketing efforts. In addition to the page results returned with a search – which you should be trying to top with search engine optimization – Google also displays profiles for local businesses. You should create and verify your Google My Business profile so you can make the most of this powerful (and free!) resource.

The basics

Categories >> The first step in managing your profile is to choose the appropriate business categories. This will allow your profile to be listed appropriately and give you access to category-specific features. Google offers a large selection of accommodation options. Be specific with your choice as it can affect your local ranking. If your property offers any additional services (like an on-site restaurant), be sure to include additional categories in your profile.

Business info >> Next, you will need to add thorough business information to your profile. This includes your name, address, hours of operation, contact information, website URL, and a brief description of your business. 

Photos and videos >> Be sure to take advantage of the platform’s option for adding visual content. Uploading a selection of professionally shot photos (that showcase all the wonderful aspects of your property) will help boost click-throughs to your website. 

Reviews >> Reviews posted to Google are automatically linked to your business profile and will appear beneath your listing in a Google search. Encouraging and responding to your Google My Business reviews should be a significant priority in your reputation management strategy.

Posts >> When you have announcements, special offers, or events to promote, you can create posts that will appear under the ‘Updates’ tab of your profile. You should keep posts short, use keywords, and include images when possible. For the best results, try to add posts regularly as part of your ongoing marketing strategy.

The benefits

Maximize visibility >> As the number one search engine in the world, Google is used by billions of people each day. It’s simply the best place for new customers to find you and a Google My Business profile will increase your visibility across the platform. Your business will appear in online searches, Google Maps, and local pack listings.

Leverage reviews >> With social proof so heavily weighted in consumer decisions, having reviews displayed prominently on your profile is essential to winning new bookings. A consistent stream of new reviews (and replies on your part) will also help with search engine optimization.

Act on insights >> Among the many great features of Google My Business is their insights tool. You can access statistics about views and engagement to assess the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and view search query reports to help understand how consumers are finding your business. The powerful tool will also summarize your audience by age, gender, and nationality to help steer your marketing strategies.

COVID-19 tips

The rapid changes and constant uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 has generated a lot of confusion. Here are a few tips for keeping your customers informed during this unusual time:

Temporarily closed >> If you are not currently open for business, you should change your status on Google My Business to ‘temporarily closed.’ Don’t worry, your business will continue to show up in searches similar to any open business as this change does not affect your local search ranking.

Changes to service >> If you are not fully closing but have made changes to things like hours of operation, be sure to make those updates on your Google My Business listing.

COVID-19 posts >> Google has created a post type specifically for COVID-19 updates. These posts will be positioned above the regular post carousel and will be live for 28 days. You should use this feature to let customers know about the safety precautions you are taking, extra services you are providing to the community, and other changes to operations.

Disclaimer removal >> Some businesses may find that a disclaimer has been added to their profile stating that the business info might not be up to date. As a verified business you can remove this disclaimer when you update your hours of operation.

Google My Business is an incredible marketing resource. Be sure to claim and maintain your profile to maximize visibility on the most powerful search engine in the world.