The Do’s and Don’ts of Google My Business
Google My Business is a free resource that is integrated with Google Maps. When used correctly, it can provide invaluable SEO benefits. At a basic level, your listing includes essential data about your company, but you can improve your Google My Business listing to make it more effective. A well-managed listing can help you stand out from the competition and connect you with people who are searching for the products and services your business provides.
Do Make Sure the Listing Is Accurate
The first step is to create your GMB listing. Your business may already exist in Google Maps; in this case, you need to claim the listing. After you’ve created or claimed the listing, you need to verify your ownership, and then ensure the data is accurate:
- Correct phone number and address
- Working URL
- Operating hours (update for holidays, local crises, pandemics, and severe weather)
It’s also important to categorize your business correctly.
Don’t Add Fake Listings for Multiple Locations
It can be tempting to build virtual listings to get your business to rank in several areas. Avoid this practice; it is against Google’s Terms of Service.
If your business is an online service with clients in numerous locations, create the GMB listing for your physical business address. Then, simply update the information in the “service area” section.
Do Update the Q&A Section
Use your listing to interact with potential customers before they even visit your website. Create an excellent Q&A section in two steps:
- Start by seeding it with common questions and answers about your business
- Check the area frequently for new questions, and answer them promptly and professionally
These two steps can turn your Q&A section into a free marketing resource.
Don’t Do the Bare Minimum
Many common mistakes are simple negligence:
- Forgetting about your listing once you claim it
- Not completing the verification steps
- Writing a generic description
- Not updating the hours or Q&A section
Spending a little extra time to write a good description and update your operating info as needed can ensure your business makes an outstanding first impression.
Do Add Images
If possible, add a few high-quality images of your business:
- Executive team
- Menu samples
- Office building
- Customer service representatives
Include high-resolution photos that show off the best sides of your business and your team. You can also include videos. The images are hosted on Google’s servers, so you don’t need to worry about space and optimization like you do on your own website.
Don’t Use the Wrong Images
Make sure you don’t post anything that creates a false impression for the people reading your listing. Don’t post stock images or product photos that aren’t yours. Avoid posting pictures of customers unless you have their permission.
Do Encourage Reviews and Respond to Them
Another excellent perk of GMB is the review system. Customers can easily leave reviews in the form of star ratings, and they may include comments as well.
It’s a great idea to encourage your clients to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing. Good reviews can showcase all the excellent aspects of your company and encourage new customers to contact you.
Make sure to respond to all reviews. You don’t need to wax poetic, but a simple “thanks” or “glad you enjoyed your meal” in response to a review can show that you care about your customers. You should also respond to negative reviews in a helpful and professional manner.
Don’t Falsify Reviews
The review section should showcase your company’s integrity and customer service. Underhanded tactics can quickly destroy your reputation:
- Don’t create false reviews under a pseudonym
- Don’t ask your employees to create fake reviews
- Don’t respond aggressively to negative reviews
- Don’t bribe customers to write good reviews
All of these actions are less than honest, and some (fake reviews) are blatant violations of Google’s TOS.
Create an Outstanding First Impression
Google My Business is a powerful resource for companies of all sizes, and it’s free! Spending a little time optimizing your listing can lead to valuable returns, including better search ranking and more customer engagement. Up-to-date information, good reviews, high-quality photos, and helpful answers to common questions are a few things that can transform your listing into a marketing resource, customer-outreach tool, and SEO powerhouse. If you need help optimizing the Google My Business listing for your business, contact us. We can help make your listing help grow your business!
If you are more of a DIYer, download our free, step-by-step Google My Business Optimization Checklist and learn how to claim, verify, optimize and manage your own Google My Business information.