What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (or GMB for short) is a free tool provided by Google to list your business in Google Search and Google Maps.
GMB is like other directories such as Yelp, but lists out a business’s information without having to click on another website. It’s all right there when you search!
Why is GMB Important?
Our research shows home services customers leave reviews on Google and Facebook more than any other place by a wide margin. You’ll want to set up Google My Business to ensure potential customers see everything they need to know about your business as soon as they search, rather than prioritizing other platforms requiring prospects to navigate several clicks away from Google.
Google My Business is important for home services businesses as your listing can rank at the top of the search results for queries relevant to your business, absolutely for free.
This is likely familiar to you:
This is known as the Google 3 Map Local Pack. Although it may be a mouthful to say, it can tremendously help potential customers find your business.
Right away, searchers see useful information about your business such as your business name, star rating, business category, location, phone number and closing hours. Buttons on the right hand side go to your website or provide directions.
All of this information is accessible on the results page without making a single click.
Pretty cool, right? It gets better.
If someone searching clicks on your listing, they’ll be brought to your GMB listing.
This view provides even more information to searchers, and if optimized properly, can bring in a flood of new business.
How to Optimize your GMB Listing
As we’ve gotten some of the basics out of the way, it’s time to get to the real reason you came here: tips to optimize your Google My Business.
First and foremost, when it comes to optimizing your GMB listing, you’ll want to make sure your business information is accurate and consistent.
Use Yext’s helpful local citation checker to see if your business’s information is consistent across multiple directories. Make sure you’re consistent with your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). This may sound like a given, but if you’re a business with an abbreviated name, multiple addresses or phone numbers, be consistent with whatever you put for your GMB listing.
The reason is because Google looks at other local directories such as Yelp, Yellowpages and even your social media pages to verify your GMB information.
Having accurate NAP information across the web can incentivize Google to rank your GMB higher.
Choose the Right Business Category
Your business category is one of the best ways to tell Google what kind of business you are. Although it may sound obvious, you will want to select the most appropriate business category for your company. There are many different types of business categories on Google My Business and it may be overwhelming.
If you’re unsure of what category to select, there’s one tried and true method you can use: Simply perform a local search around your business to see what your competitors are doing.
One last note on business descriptions is your subcategory pages can make a big impact on whether you show up for those searches.
Make sure you look over your subcategories carefully and select the most appropriate ones.
Write a Well Thought-out Business Description
Your business description is one of the first things your customers see when they check you out.
Having a quick description explaining your business without being too wordy is key.
You want to be able to quickly describe your services and any amenities you provide.
Take the example below:
In their business description, they say they serve traditional pies, offer vegan options, wings and other Italian fare. Perfect.
Another thing to mention about descriptions is keywords. It’s highly debated if adding keywords into your business description makes any impact with your rankings. If you can fit your desired keyword in organically and naturally, by all means, go for it. However, do not keyword-stuff your business description as it’s distracting.
Add Attention-grabbing Photos
If there’s one thing you take away from this article it’s this: Upload real photos of your business/services complimentary to your business.
If you’re not using photos, you become another listing not worth consideration. Photos are one of the best ways of differentiating yourself from your competitors. Using real photos lets your customers know the type of work you do.
In the example below, you can see the GMB listing does a great job of showing the projects they’ve completed:
Their pictures are great, but there’s another step to take this further: before and after photos.
If you’re a home services business, you probably have a few on hand, and if not, you definitely should start. This is the best way to show potential customers the quality services you provide.
Bonus Tip: Videos
Using videos in your GMB can be even more engaging than before and after photos. With video, you control the script and provide a great introduction to you and your customers.
To give an idea of what these videos can be about, create videos introducing your business. Record a friendly, casual greeting with basic information about your business including what you do and for how long you’ve been in business. Be sure to share what areas you serve and how you stand apart from competitors. Consider adding personal interest information, like what got you interested in starting your business or the virtues of your business.
Get, Respond to and Monitor Customer Reviews
One of the most important factors of your Google My Business for your customers as well in terms of ranking factors is your customer reviews.
Whether you like to admit it or not, the star rating system does most of the decision making for us. It’s one of the first touch points we have with a business, and for some, it’s the deciding factor.
Just take a look at the difference:
Which one would you call or browse its website? The obvious answer is the one with the highest rating and the most reviews.
Now the question is, how can I get more reviews, or start receiving reviews?
Google has a few guidelines in regards to receiving reviews you can check out here.
It’s perfectly fine to ask current or previous customers for reviews. You can make it easy for your customers to find your GMB by providing a link straight to your profile.
Brightlocal put together a case study of what customers mostly look for in terms of reviews.
As you can see, the overall star rating takes the cake, as that’s what most people see and is usually the best overall indication of a business. Legitimacy and recency follow as these also help provide more context to a business
Add a Book Appointment CTA
You can add a “Book Appointment” CTA right in your GMB listing to make it easier for searchers to set an appointment with your business!
It’s quite simple to set up this link and start getting appointments set up for your business. All you’ll need in order to get set up with appointments is to:
- Login to your GMB account
- Click on the URLs section
- Add your favorite booking/calendar scheduling app to your listing.
We recommend using Calendly as it has an easy integration and it’s free!
Consistently Create GMB Posts
You might not have heard of GMB posts, but they can be a great way to engage with your audience and provide relevant updates of your business.
GMB posts are important for your business listing, as it shows your listing is active and engaging.
Google can also provide a small rankings boost to businesses using posts.
There are a few types of GMB posts:
- Use this feature if your business will be hosting a special event or going to an event.
- Use this feature to showcase your products and/or services. This can be a great way to introduce yourself to a potential customer.
- Use this feature to promote an offer and get new customers in the door.
Add Products and Services
Adding products and services are a great way to bring your offerings to life. They can help customers identify what areas of expertise you serve.
It’s recommended to set up Products, as they are found more easily on your listing, and showcase a visual of the product.
To get Products set up on your Google My Business listing, head over to your GMB listing and log in. Then, look on the left hand navigation for Products.
From there, you’ll be able to add your Product Name, Product Category, Price, Product Description and an Image.
You can also add a CTA to your image so users can be directed to your product’s landing page.
Add Popular Q&A’s
A lesser known feature of GMB is your Q&A section.
As the owner of your GMB, you should be checking to see if you have any questions currently being asked on your listing. Much like reviews, you will occasionally want to monitor this section.
However, you can take this a step further and implement your own Q&As. This can be beneficial to searchers as they see helpful answers to questions they might have themselves. As a business owner, think of the top questions, feedback, or pain points a customer might have before using your services and use that to leverage your Q&As. Any kind of warranty or satisfaction guarantee you offer can be a good addition as well.
Lastly, if you’re comfortable sharing the cost of your services, you can add this. But be warned this can act as a double-edged sword, and if your pricing is not as competitive, could turn customers away. Nevertheless, it can be a great way of being transparent and upfront to your customers, which always goes a long way.
Use Specialized Attributes
If you’re a Black-owned, woman-owned or veteran-owned business, add this as an attribute to your GMB listing.
It can provide an additional icon to your listing, if applicable.
Turn on Messaging
Let your customers message you directly on your GMB listing!
Letting your customers message you is a good way to show you’re open for communication and feedback.
It’s simple to set up messaging for your GMB. All you’ll need to do is login to your listing, head over to the navigation and find Messaging.
All you’ll need to do is click the button to turn on messaging and you’re good to go!
Keep it Fresh
The last, and possibly the most important tip to optimize your GMB listing, is to continuously add and improve your Google My Business listing.
Think of your GMB as an extension of your website. You want to keep your website fresh, why not your GMB? Here’s how:
- Continuously publish posts
- Frequently update photos
- Solicit positive receive reviews
- Appropriately respond to reviews