Google My Business is always an important asset for your business, but right now, it’s having a real moment. Consumers are heavily relying on information listed on Google My Business as they navigate the reopening happening in their communities. Google My Business contains helpful information about location hours, special services, and more that have helped consumers continue supporting local businesses throughout the pandemic.

But, beyond providing a helpful service for your customers, you can use Google My Business to help get in front of new and prospective customers or entice searchers to do business with you. How, you might ask?

Here are some little-known secrets to improve your Google My Business listing and give your profile a boost that can put you over the edge in consumers’ minds.

1. Master the Basics First for Your Google My Business Listing

First things, first: before you get started with the following steps, it’s important that you’ve mastered the basics. That includes claiming and verifying your listing, ensuring your business information (like your phone number, address, and website) are accurate, and updating your hours of operation.

How to set up your Google My Business listing:

  1. Navigate to google.com/business.
  2. Search for your business. (If it doesn’t appear, click Add my business to Google and follow the prompts.)
  3. If customers can visit your business location, enter your business address. If customers don’t visit your business (like many home services businesses), click I deliver goods and services to my customers, and enter your service areas.
  4. Search for and select a business category (we’ll go into this more later).
  5. Enter your phone number and website URL.
  6. Choose how you want to verify your Google My Business profile. If you have the option for a phone call, this will be the fastest. If you select to have your Google PIN mailed to your business address, it can take up to two weeks.

Now your profile is all set up, and you can move to the next steps to improve your Google My Business listing.

Want to learn more about the basics? Here are some frequently asked questions about Google My Business.

2. Add Real Images to Your Google My Business Listing

Did you know that businesses with uploaded images get 42% more requests for directions? People want to get a taste for what to expect from your business – whether they’re visiting your actual location or doing business with you for curbside pick-up or a service.

Google gives you some suggestions to include right in your Google My Business dashboard, including your logo, the exterior and interior of your business, a cover photo, and a video.

Screenshot of photos to upload in the Google My Business dashboard.

Right now might be a great time to take these photos – especially if your business is a little slower than usual due to the current events.

Here are some ideas of what pictures and videos to add to your Google My Business listing:

  • Take some good pictures of the inside and outside of your business, and include some images of your safety protocols, including any signage you have about social distancing, wearing masks, and more. This can help prospective customers feel confident about doing business with you safely right now.
  • You can also take a quick video using your smartphone to include if you don’t have a professionally produced video to use. Give a quick tour of your business, show your storefront, and include anything you think consumers may be interested in seeing.

3. Pay Attention to Your Business Categories on Your Google My Business Listing

While we suggest keeping the same primary business category within Google My Business year-round, it might be worth looking into switching up your secondary categories seasonally – especially if you offer different services during that time or know that consumers visit you for a particular reason during different months of the year.

You can also adjust your categories based on what’s happening in the world. If you’re a retailer that predominately offers sporting goods, but you have cleaning and disinfecting materials in stock, you can make some changes to appeal to searchers looking for those products.

Pro tip: Google recommends using as few categories as possible, so stick to two or three total.

How to change or update your Google My Business category:

  1. Go to your Google My Business dashboard.
  2. Click the Info tab.
  3. Click the edit button under your business name.
  4. Search for a primary category related to your business.
  5. Search for one or two secondary categories related to your business.
  6. Click Apply.

Once you’ve submitted your Google My Business categories, it will undergo a review process before showing externally.

4. Take Advantage of Google Posts for Your Google My Business Profile

Within the Google My Business dashboard, you can create posts that highlight updates or specific products. These show up with your listing or when people click on your listing within Maps and can provide some additional information that may entice them to do business with you.

Example of a Google Post from CityVet Preston Park

Ideas for using Google Posts to improve your Google My Business listing:

  • Highlight any specials you’re offering.
  • Showcase products or services that would appeal to consumers now.
  • Share updates that are relevant to your business now.
  • Feature a special just for consumers who found you on Google My Business.

5. Manage Your Google My Business Reviews

When it comes to searching on Google Maps, you’ve probably noticed that you can filter your results by review rating. And, if you search for something that includes “best” or “top,” Google will usually show you businesses with a 4+ star rating. So, in order to get your listing to show up for these results, you’ll want to make sure you work on your online reputation.

How to improve your Google My Business reviews:

  • Make review requests part of your business process. Train your team to ask for Google My Business reviews after they’ve had a positive interaction with a customer.
  • Include a link to your Google My Business profile on your website and in regular communications to customers, like emails.
  • Ask your five best customers if they would mind leaving you a Google My Business review.
  • Make sure to respond to every review – especially the negative reviews – promptly and professionally. This shows that you’re paying attention, that you value customer feedback, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to fix a potentially negative customer experience.

We have some suggestions for improving your reputation here.

Google My Business will continue to be an important component of local search and of how consumers look for information about businesses. If you’d like more help with your local listings, including Google My Business, we’re here for you. Reach out today.

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