13 tips for optimizing a Google My Business listing

Managing your customer’s Google My Business listing is an effective way to help boost their local SEO and make a positive first impression with your client’s potential customers. Google is continually adding features so staying up to date with these feature updates is important along with making regular updates to the Google My Business listing itself. We’ve spoken with a panel of industry experts who have provided tips and strategies to help optimize your client’s Google My Business listing.

  1. Reviews

Bailey Pumfleet of GriffinCode advises “Respond to every single review people leave on your business listing, be it positive or negative. Showing that you’re a responsive and proactive business by replying quickly and in a friendly tone helps improve customers’ impressions of your brand.”

Ashley Romer of PaperStreet Web Design states “It is very important to not only obtain a high number of positive reviews, but ensure clients and customers are mentioning specific services and products within them. You obviously can’t force someone to write their review in a specific manner, but you can make suggestions during your outreach. For example, when asking if they could leave a review, tell them it would be super helpful if they explained what service they liked the most.”

Chris Zacher of Intergrowth advises “Reviews influence consumer purchasing decisions more than any other type of content. Most consumers read at least a few reviews before making a big purchase. GMB gives you a place to display your reviews right on the search page.

Google reviews can help with SEO, especially for local searches. A steady stream of reviews shows Google that people are engaged with your brand, and Google’s algorithm loves to see engagement.”

Megan Hodgkiss of Hodgkiss Consulting says “Respond to your company reviews. Whether the client/customer had something positive or negative to say about your business, it’s always a good idea to provide feedback. If the comment is negative, this gives you the opportunity to address and potentially fix the situation. If it’s a positive review, providing feedback shows that you care about your clients and that you appreciate their time.”

  1. Ensure content is up to date

Simon Brisk of Click Intelligence says “Our number 1 tip for optimizing your Google My Business listing, especially during the pandemic, is to meticulously ensure every piece of contact information is correct and your opening hours are up to date.”

Vikas Yadav of Brandeducer states “Google frequently updates your services based on the customers feedback. One should always keep checking these updates by Google and make necessary changes as Google might not be right all the time. The most effective way to leverage this platform is to share your content updates with your prospects by using the ‘Posts’ section.”

  1. Upload photos

Danny Crockford of Bidmark states “Ensure that positive images of the business, products and location are used. From experience with our clients, we have found that this helps provide potential customers with a more positive idea of the company as they have more of an understanding in what they can expect from the company.”

Igor Avidon, founder of Avidon Marketing shares “according to a study, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos”

Jonathan Strupek of STRUPEK says “Making sure that you not only have all required photo fields filled in (thumbnail, header, general photos), but that you’re posting new photos in general to your account at a minimum of once every seven days. All of these photos should accurately depict who you are, give customers a preview of your brand such as where you’re located or the services you offer, and help tell a visual story!”

Lisa Kaslyn of Prosper Communications states “Assuming you have claimed your listing and completely and accurately filled out your profile, the easiest and next most important step is to add a minimum of 5 images and/or video. In order to trigger ongoing indexing and views, make it a practice of updating your GMB page with new images on a weekly basis.”

  1. Consistency

Jamie White of Modo 25 says “It’s important that your name, address and phone number are exactly the same across the internet. This consistency allows Google to join the dots between them all and recognise your listing as legitimate and accurate, and therefore is more likely to serve it.

Whilst this may seem simple, it’s the little things that are important here. For example, on one site you may capitalise part of your brand name, and on another you might not. Similarly, differences such as shortening words in the address sometimes or adding in a ‘the’ somewhere. All these small differences across the internet can add up to lots of inconsistency. You should decide on a standard way of writing your name, address and phone number and include this in your Google My Business listing, as well as across the internet on high authority directories.”

Nick Leffler of Loclweb advises “Using the main business phone number as an alternative if a call tracked number is used as the primary will ensure that the consistency of business information across the internet remains the same for Google and Google will know the proper information for knowledge cards and other authority purposes online.”

  1. Post

Adam Binder of Creative Click Media says “Did you know you can publish company offers and announcements through Google My Business? This feature – known as Google Posts – enables businesses to share messages directly with consumers within the local panel of a Google or Maps search. Google Posts creates the perfect opportunity to engage with potential customers even before they visit your website.”

Tim Absalikov of Lasting Trend advises “Just like on social media, you need to post to your Google Business Profile about your announcements, events, offers, etc. Posts are created in your Google My Business dashboard and show up on the “Updates” section toward the bottom of your Business Profile. This is one of the most important points a lot of businesses ignore.”

  1. Regular updates

Dawn Gribble of Virtual Solutions says “Update your Google My Business listing regularly, at least once a week. This could be answering the reviews, or uploading new images (featuring the venue, menu and location), etc – but with so many people now undertaking ‘zero-click searches’ (where the Google result is giving them all the information they need, so they don’t go to the website) – you need to be ranking high to be seen.

Google Algorithms don’t just consider location and relevance, but also activity and quality of information. So the more often you’re adding relevant and high-quality elements to your page, the more the search engine can work with, and the higher you’ll rank.”

Hannah Barden of Bite Digital states “Post updates and images regularly. This way, you show you are actively updating and showing your company work for people to view who search for the services you offer.”

  1. Choose a location

Barney Durrant of Bluebell Digital advises “You don’t have to have a public business location or reveal where you work to appear on Google Maps via Google My Business. If you choose to hide your address, you can instead select service areas. Service areas are all the places where you provide your service or sell your goods. This can be an advantage in some ways, as rather than appearing around one location, you can choose multiple locations that you serve.”

Sarah Noel Block of Tiny Marketing says “For businesses with multiple locations, create a Google My Business listing for each location. This is a quick and easy way to increase your web traffic from all target markets.”

Paul Moyer of Tavallo advises “You can list up to 20 service areas on your GMB listing. Use a combination of municipalities and larger areas like counties or states. This will allow you to pick up Google maps listings in the cities and towns close to your physical location, as well as, show your full area of service.”

  1. Use UTM parameters instead of regular links

Did you know Google Analytics cannot tell the difference between traffic from Google My Business and Google search? It simply lumps it all as ‘organic’. Annoying, right? That’s why web consultant Alison K recommends that you change links on your GMB account to ‘UTM Parameters’ (also known as Campaign URLS). They’re a regular link that you add extra characters that follow how Google Analytics likes to organize traffic.

  1. Utilize the questions and answers

Emma Williams of Edge of the Web advises “A great and underused way to optimise your Google My Business listing is through the ‘Questions and Answers’ section. Firstly, if customers are asking questions about your business, you should make sure you’re responding and engaging with them, providing them with relevant, keyword-rich answers.

But you can also take it a step further and create your own FAQs section by asking and answering your own questions. These Q&As appear in the knowledge panel and other places, and they’re a great way to provide additional information about your business and incorporate some longtail keywords and phrases.”

  1. Select a category

Madeline McMaster of BluShark Digital says “Categories are one of the biggest ranking factors for a Google My Business. Check out what category your ranking competitors are using. Google offers so many categories for businesses to differentiate themselves. However, if you are trying to rank for certain keywords it is helpful to see what categories are being implemented for those terms. For example, your Google My Business may benefit from having ‘Personal Injury Lawyer’ as the main category as opposed to ‘Lawyer’ or ‘Law Firm,’ even if your firm does more than personal injury law but that case type is the highest priority. It is important to use accurate categories for your business, but also take into consideration what categories competitors are using.”

Allan McNabb of Image Building Media states “One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when optimizing a Google My Business Listing is selecting the wrong category. Here is what you can do to find the best Google My Business category for your business:

Do a Google search in an incognito browser for your type of business and review the companies organically listed (not ads) below the large map. Then look beside the star rating, and you will see the category. This is the primary category you want to use for your Google My Business Listing.”

  1. Claim your Google My Business Website

David McAnulty of Marketing Disty says “One often overlooked, but very simple way of optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing is to claim your Google My Business website. Google states “Your Google business website is a free, professional website for your business that you can set up in minutes. It’s created automatically using information from your Business Profile, and auto-updates as you make changes to your profile. You can choose from a variety of beautiful site themes and offer customers multiple ways to get in touch with you, like calling, messaging, or requesting a quote.” The Google My Business page allows you to rank for keywords related to your business and drive engagement with customers who are searching for your products and services. Your free Business Profile helps your business show up in search when it matters most: the instant customers search for products or services like yours on Google Search and Google Maps.”

  1. Optimize the description

Wendy of Wendy J Young Brand Management states “One of the biggest overlooked areas for optimizing your Google My Business listing is making sure that you’ve used keywords in your main description as well as your primary category. If you opt to fill out your main products or services (which you really should), making sure you continue using your keywords in those descriptions will also really help the search results for your business and services.”

  1. Update the services section

Carlos Rosado of Outlook Studios says “This helps provide a quick view of what you offer to the user who finds your website. Being able to show what you do provides more consistency with branding and who you are as a business. Potential clients are going to do research and if they see you offer more than one service you can find yourself taking on additional work the client didn’t even know you offered.”

In conclusion, managing your customer’s Google My Business listing is an effective way to help boost their local SEO and create a positive first impression for their potential clients. By making regular updates to the listing and getting regular reviews you can help boost your client’s online reputation and help them to stand out from their competitors.