For any brick and mortar business in a particular area, it is essential to verify, claim, and complete your Google My Business profile. Many businesses and their marketing departments fail to take full advantage of GMB’s perks, including search engine visibility, web traffic, conversions and sales. They don’t care about optimizing Google My Business for customer reviews. You care about reviews if you are reading this article.
If you think, “I already have my Google My Business profile setup, but I don’t have time to fiddle with it until it’s perfect,” then I believe you are misguided for 2 reasons.
- It is easy to create your Google My Business profile. Most people take less than an hour.
- You are missing valuable reviews
Consider this: If a customer stops by your Google Local result to leave feedback, and sees it only half-filled, lacking photos, without reviews, or missing vital information, it may not be the right business for them. It may not be you.
They may also think they think it’s you.
One of the best ways to make a lasting impression in Google’s search results is by creating a Google My Business listing. You can easily control the majority of your listing and it will show up in branded searches (searches for your business).
It is a huge mistake to shrug at your Google My Business profile.
It’s so easy, especially since these are the four steps.
- Claim and verify
- Optimize for reviews
- Fine Tune
If you haven’t given much thought to your Google My Business listing, it is time to do so. Even if your listing appears to be optimized, it might still be worthwhile to open it. Follow this article and make any necessary corrections.
This will allow you to get more customers through the door and earn more positive reviews than your competition.
Google My Business reviews optimization is one of the most effective ways to spend your marketing budget and time.
Recommended: Buy Google Business Reviews – Jumpstart your business listing and attract new customers fast!
#1: Claim & Verify Your Listing
Step 2 if you have already claimed and verified your listing
Sometimes, unclaimed pages rank well in Google’s local listings. However, it is always in your best interests to claim your page. You won’t have the ability to make any changes or limit access to other people’s edits if your page isn’t claimed. This can quickly get out of control.
Review Tip Nobody will review an unclaimed company! Your customers will find other uses for their time if your listing appears abandoned.
First, create a Google account. Next, go to Google My Business. Click the Start button at the top right.
Google will most likely request that you agree to their Terms and Conditions. After you’ve accepted, complete this screen with your business information:
Here are some of the possibilities:
- Already Claimed– If you have already claimed your business by someone else, it is possible to see this:
Follow the Google Account Recovery guide if you have already claimed the business under a different email address, or Google account. If this is not the case, you will need to request ownership of the listing and share your details with the owner. You have seven days to give up control. However, if they do not, Google will award you the business after you prove your affiliation. Learn more at this link.
- You may find this:
After verifying the information, click on the Continue button to confirm. Google verified my wife’s listing immediately after I added her business.
Google may not “trust” me as much as it trusts me. You may need to verify your listing if this is the case. You have complete control over your listing after verification.
Google also marks your GMB page as “verified” which aids potential customers in trusting your listing. This verification is represented as a grey or green checkmark (some people may also see a blue checkmark). You can see the full article here
Google will likely require that you verify your listing via phone or postal mail. This is what you would see if Google only offered mail as an option.
This is what you should do:
Google warns against sending multiple requests for postcards before the postcard arrives. While you wait for your mail to arrive, don’t edit any contact information. Although this should be obvious, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t ask for a postcard if your plans are to relocate your business to a new place.
Once you have received the postcard:
* Log in to your GMB Account
* Choose your business or the right business location from our’manage locations’ menu
* Click on the blue banner at top of page to enter your code
* Type your verification code of five digits in the “code” field. The code should be easy for you to locate on your postcard
* Click “Submit”
Verification is easy. It’s a matter of waiting. One to two weeks may seem like a long time if you want to see the show go on the road. However, in this instance, you have no choice but to wait.
Click here if you are unsure of how to verify your listing or if you prefer to do the process from a mobile device.
Review Tip Would your customers rather review a verified business or an unverified one? Guess which one your customers will choose!
#2: Optimize your Listing
After your listing has been verified, you will be able login to see this:
Now you can fill out your listing. You can always go back to this checklist to make sure you didn’t miss anything, even if you think you have everything done.
Positive Google reviews are more likely to be given if your business hours and storefront match the photos in your profile. Also, Google Maps will pinpoint your exact location. Your customers will be more satisfied if you give them useful and helpful information right in their search results. You’re more likely to get a glowing review if you make it easy for your customers without them having to click or drive around.
These are the steps to complete your GMB page.
* A consistent, correct address – ensure your address is consistent across all listings or platforms you use on the internet (e.g. ‘456 West Harrison Street’ on one listing and ‘456 West Harrison Street’ on another).
* The correct map pin is required for your Google Maps pin to be displayed at the exact location you are looking. Google sometimes makes an incorrect guess when you type your address. You can change the pin by clicking ‘edit’. It might take some time for search results to update on Google’s end.
* The correct phone number This number should reach your actual business or at the very least, a cell phone where your business name is mentioned in the voicemail greeting.
* Website Address – If your site has only one location, you can simply list it. Use the HTTPS address if your website uses HTTPS rather than HTTP. Link multiple locations to the appropriate page of your website by linking each location’s webpage field to its specific page.
* Relevant Categories – Though opinions differ on the number of categories to choose, I recommend that you limit your choices to three and five. The primary category should be the most relevant for what you do. Second and third categories should not be considered secondary. It’s better to not select a category that seems too broad.
* Hours Of Operation This is self-explanatory. For certain types of businesses, you can list the hours that you are available for phone calls.
* Special hours Use this field to indicate special holiday hours or when you are only available by appointment on Sundays.
* Business Description – Create a compelling and precise business description that includes your city or region of operation and one of your favorite SEO keywords
* Add images to your listing . This topic is discussed in detail in the next section.
Do you want a duplicate listing?
Duplicate listings may occur during this process. This can be quite a headache.
Here are the recommendations of Phil Rozek, Local Visibility Systems:
It’s difficult to determine what constitutes a duplicate Google My Business page, especially if it is affecting your rankings. My rule of thumb is that you should be able to (1) pull it up in the Maps tab, and (2) it must not be a page for any licensed professional (e.g. You should mark the page as “permanently close” if it is possible to pull it up on the Maps tab and (2) it’s not a page for a specific licensed professional (e.g. lawyer, agent, etc.) and (3) it doesn’t appear in search results.
5. Categories. It is difficult to choose which categories you should choose. However, I recommend that you limit your choices and not include any categories that are too broad or too narrow than the other categories. If they don’t like your categories .”
It may seem daunting at first to fill out all this information. It’s not difficult at all, but it’s well worth the one to two hours that you spend on this project.
Inbound Systems can help you optimize your Google My Business Page. These people are very close to my heart.
Review Tip Customers who can easily find the information they need are more likely to visit your site. Once they have had a wonderful experience, they are more likely to leave reviews.
After they leave a review on your Google Local listing, they will remember how helpful it was. They’ll also be more likely to leave you a fantastic review! This is the power of optimizing Google My Business reviews.
Add images to your listing
You probably have read that part, and are now wondering why it took me so long to complete your Google My Business Listing.
It takes longer because of images.
It may seem like a waste of time to add all the images Google needs, but it is not. Images of your products and staff will make potential customers more inclined to visit you.
The internet is a visual medium. We all love memes and videos. It’s much easier to click “like” on a photo of someone making dinner than on a written description.
You can also earn more positive reviews by adding high-quality images to your GMB profile. I will explain this further at the end.
Before you begin to gather images, it is important to consider how big those photos should be.
* Profile picture – 250×250 pixels is acceptable, but you can get clearer up to 5000×5000
* Cover image – This large image will appear at the top of your GMB Page. It should be approximately 1080x608px. However, you can make it larger. You might need to play around with the editor and drag the image around until you find the right look.
* Shared Images These are images that you upload or that Google users upload to help your business. You should have at least 500 pixels width and maximum 2050x2050px. A minimum length of 400px is recommended.
For your preferred photo, click here. Google prefers photos over logos and drawings. You can set your preferred photo to match your logo. Google has the sole discretion to choose your preferred photo.
Click the three dots menu under the text to select your preferred photo. You can choose from your profile or cover photo to set your ‘preferred picture’. Google takes into account size, content, and quality when deciding on your preferred photo.
Next we will move on to more images. These will consume the bulk of your time. These should be as high-quality and high-resolution as possible. Try for at least 750x750px.
Here are the details:
* 3 Inside Photos These photos are of the interiors of your business. You can show any area, but I suggest showing the check-out/cash register, your products and your reception. It will be easy to decide what you want.
* 3 Exterior Photographs These photos should show your building’s exterior. The photos can be taken of the entire building, signage, and vehicles. You can show the whole building, your signage or just one vehicle.
* 3 “At Work” or “Action” Photos These photos should show your team doing their best work, whether it’s helping customers, creating product, or simply doing what they love.
* 3 Group Photos – This category should have at least one group shot of your employees- think ‘company day’. I suggest showing a smiling, up-to-date, happy team. Customers will be more likely to see your photos in person.
* 2 Additional photos – You may upload additional photos if you feel they are compelling or interesting. This is a great place to show off products and services.
Although it may seem daunting, I suggest you find someone who is skilled in photography and complete the task within an hour to two hours over the course of one day. These photos make Google happy and improve your GMB profile.
Review Tip Customers will be more inclined to leave reviews if they associate their visit with your GMB images. Customers will feel more confident in trusting you online if they see accurate and good photos. This is an important component of reputation management.
Trust will be built much easier if you are eager to share your business, your work, and your team.
#3: Optimizing for Review
This has been covered extensively in my previous posts. However, to get Google reviews you must have at least five Google reviews. Your star ratings and reviews won’t show up in search engine results pages for your GMB profile (or your local listing) until you have at least five reviews. However, this may be changing for some industries.
You need to ask your customers for reviews. You must make it easy for customers to leave reviews.
You can either:
* This tool will automatically generate a link to take your customer to the local listing’s review section.
* Or, have your customer go to https://www.google.com/maps, Type in your business name, select the listing, and find the “card” (sidebar) on the left-hand side. If they already have a review, they can click “Be the first to write a review” or “Write a review”.
After you have at least five reviews, ratings and reviews should appear in the SERPs. Customers can easily write reviews.
These are some more ways to get those Google reviews.
* Verify that all information in your GMB profile are accurate
* Display high-quality photos of happy, friendly team members
* Be honest about your business description.
* Be sure to choose the most relevant and accurate categories for your business listing
* Keep your hours up-to-date. No one likes to visit a business that Google claims is open but it’s closed.
* React to any negative comments
Ask your customers to leave reviews!
Google reviews are the best way for businesses to get reviews. Google reviews can be helpful for any business, regardless of niche.
You can contact us to learn more about getting more Google reviews or take a look at our software.
#4: Fine Tuning: Tips to Google My Business Pages
Before I sign off, let me share some more Google My Business tips. You’re better than 70% to 80% of businesses if you have done everything I recommended. You’ll always have smart competitors doing the same thing you are, so you will need to do extra work to improve your listing and get Google reviews.
Here are some tips from Kevin Gibbons at Search Engine Watch
* Make sure your logos and photos stand out
* Encourage customers to check in and leave reviews
Encourage your visitors to take photos of your business and upload them to Google
* Create citations
Experts also recommend that you hire a Google-certified photographer to create an indoor street view tour of your business. This is similar to what Google does with its street view outside, but it focuses more on the inside of your business. This is expensive, however. Check the rates of the photographer to determine if they are within your budget. While some businesses feel it is worthwhile, others have found that hiring a Google-certified photographer is not necessary. Learn more about it here.
Are You Reliable?
Trust is the key to reviews. Building up your Google My Business profile at its best will help you build trust with customers and potential clients. Optimizing your GMB profile will help you stand out in search results and convince people to walk by your door.
Your customers will leave positive reviews if you provide excellent service. You won’t get Google reviews if you are already having trouble getting them.
Spend two hours of your week updating your Google My Business profile and asking for reviews. It will be worth it in no time.
Thank you for reading.