2nd Dec 2020
2nd Dec 2020
We have all accessed information about stores, business and locations on Google Maps, and many times Google presents results that we have searched for in map format anyway. Google allows business owners to control their listing on the map with information, pictures and services that relate to the address, be it retail or business, making it more useful for the searcher. It also tells Google a bit more about your business and how to list your website when it comes to local search.
The first compelling reason to update Google My Business regularly is that 46% of all searches are made locally, where the searcher is looking for something locally or clicks on a local result. We even know that through the Pigeon update (Google has historically named all their updates to their search algorithm with names starting with P if you have not P-reviously noticed), in which they personalise your searches to your current location. See how updating your service areas can benefit you in No.9
If you have a business address and not done so already - register with Google My Business. Chances are Google has already named your business on Google Maps, but no one has claimed it and it's without significant info. It's easy through the map to claim and verify you are the owner. If you have not done this before, be sure to claim your business through Google Maps or search "Google My Business" and be sure to log into your Google Account you want to use for your business. You should, for consistency, use the same Google account for your Google Analytics or Adwords, if you have this for advertising.
This is one of the most important benefits of claiming your Google My Business listing. There are so many businesses I see which do not have their website listed on the website, and really helps to be listed on the map in the normal Google searches.
Many people do not realise that you can add all your office locations from one account and all pointing to one website. You don't need a Google account for all your branches. Under "Manage Locations" - add the locations and then the associated information for all your locations. This will give you the benefit of popping up in local searches in those various areas. If you have merged with another company, or have a couple of other legacy Google accounts, you can link these under "Linked Accounts".
Of course this is an obvious one, especially if you have a showroom, shop or a visited office. Google actually measures the busy times for you, by tracking mobile movements - it's a bit freaky! This comes in handy when updating for Covid-19 office updates.
Google has added a new feature this year, so other than regular offers, posts or updates, it allows you to create an update that is relevant for Covid-19. It then prioritises this in your listing, displaying this above the other information. So if you are temporarily closed due to Covid, or only doing deliveries for instance, this will be shown to your audience. This of course presents the marketer with an opportunity. Perhaps you have brought out a product recently through lockdown or pivoted your business model to adapt to the new business environment? If so, this is the section to use for that.
This is one of the more basic, but equally important updates you should be making. Under "Info" you can add a 750 character description. Be sure to summarise your company and its products and services and use the keywords in your keyword strategy you have targeted.
A great reason why you should keep your listing updated, is that supporting local business is more than ever on peoples' minds - for convenience, their intention to keep the high street alive or just to keep their patronage local.
If you want to come up in various places when people search your products and not only your locale, defining your service area in Google My Business is essential! You may service a particular part of the country or the whole country - either way Google allows you to define 20 service areas in the system. Under "Info" and "Service Areas", add the areas you deliver to or service. If you want to go nationally, then define large cities, but if it's local, include the main city and all the smaller areas.
Google has now allowed you to add products to your listing. If you sell specific products, and have an e-commerce website, adding your hero products or your whole range would be beneficial. Product details like pictures, description, price or range and a call to action button with a link are all included. If your products are your attention draw, then this is something worth considering as people looking you up in Google Maps can instantly compare your products. Further, if your competition is not doing it, you can stand out. Even if you are a service-based company, adding in your productised services is an option. Adding pricing is only optional and Google gives you an option to add a range too.
If you are a service-based company, Google allows you to add a certain amount of service categories with sub-services. The main service categories are predefined from Google and might not all reflect your services. But the trick here is you can add a custom service within the categories that you define, so even if the category may not be quite right, choose it anyway and add the custom services underneath that to describe your services better. Each one can have a further description of 300 characters - again another opportunity for keyword targeting.
As part of your listing, you can add pictures and videos as a part of telling your story. There are categories like your cover photo, logo, interior and exterior and video to add these. Google notes in this section that listings with more updated pictures typically get more attention. So part of keeping your listing up to date from month to month should be adding these.
Google has added this in recent years and broadened what you can add. Under "Post" you can add either an update, post, or an offer. These all come with a description, pictures and a range of call to action buttons. Very easy to use and they scroll to the right of the listing - so your previous posts are not just replaced - very clever!
I only noticed this last year, but you can now add an event to your listing. You can add a title, description to your event with a start and end date and time. You can use this for sales in retail or conferences or exhibitions in service-based companies. I have personally used this for webinars, although the start and end date cannot be the same day - yet.
If you thought Google reviews were for high street retail companies, think again. Google ranks your business more often in local searches if your reviews are regular and high-scoring. Asking for reviews regularly for B2B companies can help your local searches, in your locale and those in your predetermined service areas. It should be part of your review with your clients. You can even integrate Google reviews on your website, using their dev app or their API.
This is a great feature which not many people know about. You can add a virtual tour to your listing. It has been around for a few years, but not many businesses use it. It works just like Google Street view but with more resolution typically. If you have a showroom or facilities you use in your sales process to impress or inform your prospects, this is definitely something to look at. The wild thing here is not only is it shown on your listing as a 360° tour option but you can enter the premises directly from Google Street view if your entrance is close to a street that has Street View already. You can also embed this on your website too.
Lastly this is a nifty way that customers can message you straight from Google Maps if they have a question, or stuck with directions on the go. Think of it like the chatbox on your website but from Google Maps. You need to install the Google My Business app on your phone and log in from the Google account, of course.
Keeping your Google My Business listing up to date - monthly tasks
To keep the listing current, Google happy and the Google Juice flowing we recommend the following tasks each month:
Encourage Google reviews
Update pictures or videos
Add a post, update, event or offer once a month - as part of your content strategy
Hope that helps, especially to drive business to your website. Of course what you do with your traffic from there is a larger subject within website design, which is something we specialise in - please give me a shout if you have any questions, comments or requirements.