Google My Business (GMB) is an increasingly valuable way to reach customers and generate leads. It offers a direct line of communication between you and your customers. Through your listing they can visit your website, get directions, read reviews or call you directly. It’s a valuable information and communication hub that works best when your GMB listing is optimized.

To maximize your leads, you want to perform periodic Google My Business optimizations to reach as many potential customers as possible. Stock your GMB listing with the keywords, content and schema that’s going to get you noticed. Gemini’s team of SEO marketers and content creators can audit your GMB listing and build a stronger profile that cuts through all the digital traffic to win you better results. Here’s how to optimize Google My Business the Gemini way.

Fill in the Basics

As more consumers make the switch to online shopping, a GMB listing can make a significant impression. This doesn’t mean that local businesses can’t compete. In 2020, searches that included “available near me” were up 100%. Clearly your neighborhood customers and clients want to find you online, too. This study also uncovered that consumers want to make fewer trips and be certain that what they are looking for is in stock.

To reach this growing demographic of cautious online customers, start by making sure you fill out your Google My Business profile completely. Simply having a complete profile puts your Google My Business ranking ahead of the other 50% who haven’t bothered or have incomplete information.

A detailed GMB profile can increase your web traffic.

Make sure all info is accurate including:

  • Name/ Address/ Phone
  • Business Category
  • Website Link –  including a tracking code
  • Business description – including Covid protocols
  • Hours (especially if they’ve changed recently)
  • Attributes and amenities – like delivery or pick up
  • Products and Services
  •  Inventory availability

Use all the characters available to fill in detailed information. Any discrepancies or errors could be costly. If a potential lead doesn’t find accurate info, they’re likely to move on to the next listing.

Improve Your Company’s Image with Photos

Studies show a strong link between image quality and user engagement. You can increase your appeal and traffic by filling your GMB profile with high-quality, unique photos that represent who you are.

Images give your users a clearer picture of who you are, your personality and what you offer. It may seem excessive, but businesses with 100 or more pictures in their profile receive 520% more calls, 2,717% more direction requests and 1,065% more website clicks than those with fewer photos.

Keep things fresh by updating your profile with new photos regularly. Show off your wares, your employees and your customers. Get creative with your efforts and outsource posting photos to customers. Encourage them to share photos online or in reviews that you can use.

Manage Your Reviews

GMB allows customers to add reviews of your business. Ideally, this benefits you via positive word of mouth. Given that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you’ll want to address negative reviews as quickly as possible.

Manage your Google reviews to attract new customers by word of mouth.

Proactively manage your reviews so that your rating remains high. Interact and engage with customers. Encourage them to leave positive reviews and even prompt them with questions that lead to answers that incorporate keywords related to your business.

Respond to both positive and negative reviews to show customers that you appreciate the time they took to post. Thank positive reviewers and invite them to come back soon. Apologize to negative reviewers, acknowledge their complaint without being defensive and offer to resolve the issue directly in private. A Harris survey found that 33% of customers who received a response to their negative review turned around and left a positive one. Another 34% deleted their original post.

Optimize Your GMB Listing with Keywords

Strategically fill your GMB listing with carefully researched keywords that relate to your business. The right keywords can increase your traffic significantly but finding keywords that you’re able to rank for can be tricky.

Keywords may not be as easy or obvious as you might think. If you run a coffee shop, “best latte” may seem like an obvious choice. But how many other businesses are competing for the same word? Your chances of ranking are slim. An SEO expert can research which words will best serve you. “Best oat milk latte in Cincinnati” might be a better keyword that directs the customers you’re looking for toward your business.

Message Directly with Your Customers

Another feature available on GMB is the option for customers to message you. This means a potential customer can send you a text directly through GMB without having to dial your phone number or locate your email.

To use this option, you’ll need to download the GMB app and activate messaging. You can create an automatic response to anyone who contacts you in this way, but you’ll also want to respond directly as quickly as possible. This can be a great way for new customers to find you if you have the bandwidth to keep up communications. Don’t activate messaging if you aren’t able to respond.

Keep Your Customers Posted

Create posts through GMB to share announcements, events, specials, and promotions with your customers. Make sure your posts are clean, visually interesting and engaging. forget to include photos and videos for better exposure. Make sure you add a concise CTA at the end of your post so customers know what they should do next.

This is another way to connect with your customers via GMB and how to improve your Google My Business ranking. Eye catching offers could make you more noticeable than the competition and a post is a great way to add regular personal touches to your listing.

Monitor The Results to Optimize Your GMB Listing

Google Insights is a behind-the-scenes console that allows you to monitor how customers use your GMB post. It provides valuable information about how customers discover you. From your Google Insights you can:

  •  See how users find your listing
  • Trace their actions
  • Tally direction requests
  • Track time and number of phone calls, website link clicks, and direction requests
Keywords in your Google profile drive leads.

Knowing how people find you allows you to go back and alter your profile to maximize your reach. Optimization is not a one-time operation, it is a constant process. As you learn more about how users discover your GMB listing, you can tweak it accordingly.

A skilled marketing team can monitor these metrics and implement the best optimizations based on their analyses. If you’re wondering “how to rank my business on Google,” look at your insights.

How to Answer GMB Questions

Users can ask questions directly to your GMB profile by clicking the corresponding box. This gives them a chance to ask about services, inventory, location, and more.

When you receive a question, respond promptly and enthusiastically. If someone asks a question, it may mean your listing lacks important information. This is a great forum to provide it! You can also ask your own question and then answer it. Google encourages this and it’s a great way to get a few more features of your business out.

If you’re worried about missing a question while you’re busy running your business, you can set up alerts to let you know when a new question is posted.

Google My Business is Becoming Google Business Profile

Changes are on the horizon – as they often are with Google. GMB is changing its name to Google Business Profile. In 2022 they will retire the GMB app and allow users to edit their business profiles directly in search or maps.

This change highlights how having a marketing team that monitors Google’s newest initiatives can benefit you. We track these updates and the best practices around them every day, so you don’t have to.

Rest assured that nothing has changed with how you manage your profile. You’ll still want to continue to optimize your listing and update information relevant to your business.

Let Gemini Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Make sure Google represents your business on the web.

Your GMB profile is an invaluable tool for reaching customers and converting leads. Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into what GMB optimization is and inspired you to update yours to attract more potential customers.

To ensure your GMB profile is fully optimized, contact Gemini. Our team can improve your search ranking and maximize the benefits GMB offers. Google is constantly updating GMB features and functionality. A  marketing team that tracks these changes gives your business profile a better chance of getting noticed and generating those valuable leads.