8 Steps To Increase Exposure On Google
In our current culture, Google has transformed from a noun into a verb. Think about it. We don’t say “search for it” — instead, we say “google it.”
This is a direct result of people finding incredibly useful information by using Google’s search engine. If you think this is an accident or coincidence, then think again.
You see, Google has developed a mutually-beneficial system between their company and other businesses in the world. Here’s why: if Google understands your business, then they can provide accurate information to their users about your business. If Google can provide accurate information to their users, then the users will continue relying on Google. If a lot of people continue using Google, then Google can make money from ads and paid services.
It all comes down to creating a great experience for Google users.
In order to store and show accurate information about other businesses, Google has developed a tool called Google My Business. Basically, this is our modern-day version of the yellow pages. And, if you follow the simple steps below to upload your business’ information to the GMB tool, Google will give you the equivalent of a FREE, full page, full color ad.
So, what’s the holdup?
Your competitors are probably already taking advantage of Google My Business. And if they aren’t, then they will be soon. If you have any doubts, then think about your own experience researching new companies online. You’re probably more likely to purchase from the ones with a well-established web presence, right? They look more professional and modern, and this immediately instills a feeling of consumer trust.
By considering your business’ appearance on Google, you can easily establish an edge over your competitors.
This guide is all about how to gain exposure by developing your Google My Business account. By following these eight easy steps, you can enhance your web presence and attract clients — for free — on Google!
1. Claim and Verify Your Google My Business Listing
To get started with the Google My Business tool, you first need to create your account. It’s very simple, and you can do so by clicking this link. You will have the option to either claim or create your business’ listing. If your business pops up when you enter your business’ name, then select it and claim it. If you search for your business but don’t find any results, then you will need to create a new listing.
Either way, the next step is verification. This is the process by which Google ensures that you are the owner of your business. For most businesses, verification is done by mail. However, in some cases, you will have the option to verify by phone, email, or search console. Check with Google about the different verification options, and see which methods you qualify for.
Be aware that verification can take up to two weeks — so don’t delay if you want all the perks of managing your business listing on Google!
2. Choose Categories for Your Business
After you’ve passed Google’s verification check, you will be prompted to select categories for your business. You can choose one primary category, and up to nine secondary categories. This may seem like a straightforward task, but really take your time choosing the best categories to describe what you do! After all, as of 2020, there are 3942 categories for you to choose from.
The primary category for your business is given top priority in Google’s algorithm. This is the main deciding factor in whether or not your business will pop up during a user search. Be as specific as possible when selecting your primary category. The more specific you are, the fewer businesses you’ll be competing against. Plus, isn’t it refreshing when you search for something specific and Google provides exactly what you need?
As another rule of thumb, try to select as few secondary categories as possible when describing your business. This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually increases the likelihood of users finding you. You see, if you only use 3 categories to describe what you do, then Google will be dividing its user-directing resources into only 3 channels. On the other hand, if Google has to re-route users to your business based on 10 different categories, then this weakens the effectiveness of its algorithm.
3. Add Images of Your Business
The third step is adding images of your business. Have you ever googled a business, and the only photo result is a vague snapshot from the Google Earth street view camera? Talk about off-putting, right? You definitely don’t want that to be a client’s first impression of your business.
The images you upload should give potential customers a mini-tour of your company. This can be a physical tour, where you showcase the outside and inside of your building, or it can be more of a conceptual tour, where you try to communicate the feel and mission of your company. If you opt for the latter, then you may choose to upload photos of your staff, or photos of the products/services that your business offers. Place yourself in the shoes of your clients, and imagine what you would like to see before deciding to hire or buy from your company.
Also, don’t just upload any old photos you have on hand of your business. These images should be high-resolution, and professional quality. They should also reflect your business in its current form. If you’ve redone the interior of your office, or if you’ve made a lot of new hires, then make sure the photos show your current setup.
If you don’t feel confident taking photos yourself, then you can even hire a local photographer to do this for you. Or, you can ask a creative member of your staff to take the photos.
4. Add Your Address and Phone Number
Next, you can add your address and phone number to your GMB listing so that potential customers can easily reach you. If your address and phone number are published in multiple places on the web (like on Facebook, Instagram, and your company site), then make sure that this contact info is the same across all of these locations. After all, you want to make certain that the people who want to buy from you can actually find you.
Here’s another tip: when adding a phone number to your business, make sure it’s local. Potential customers may be confused if they think that you’re a local company, but then find an unfamiliar area code when reaching for the phone. They might assume that your business location is inaccurate, and they might even choose to do business elsewhere.
5. Keep Tabs on Your Reviews
When you’re about to hire or buy from a business, what do you look at to make your decision? The reviews, of course! So, now that you’ve uploaded all of your business information into your GMB listing, it’s time to consider your reviews.
You want to get as many positive client reviews as possible, to convince other potential clients that you are the #1 option for the service/product they need. For this process, don’t worry about getting reviews specifically through Google — the search engine often scans the web and integrates reviews from other websites into your GMB listing. Just focus on the volume of reviews, not where they’re from. You can get reviews by reaching out to clients after they’ve received their product/you’ve completed the service, or you can offer incentives for clients who leave feedback.
Also, remember to reply to clients who post positive reviews! This customer engagement leaves a good impression. Plus, other Google users will see that you care about providing a good experience to your customers.
6. Add Offers to Your Listing
If you look at your GMB profile, you will see that you also have the option to add posts to your listing. One of these post options is “offers.” With this option, you can let Google users know about special deals and discounts that they can receive through your business. What’s more, you can program these offers with special Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons, directing Google users to your website or order page. You have the following options for CTA buttons:
Offers are a great way to grab Google users’ attention. Plus, in your GMB profile, you have the option to track users’ engagement with your offer. These valuable insights allow you to gauge the success of your offer, and to create a plan for future offers.
7. Make Regular Posts to Your Listing
Now that you have a solid GMB listing, the work isn’t over. You need to stay on top of your business’ listing by adding frequent posts to your listing. These posts can be updates, events, offers, or new products. Each time you create a post, you have the option to add photos, videos, and CTA buttons to attract client attention, and to foster engagement. Think of this as the option to add additional advertising to your listing. What’s better than even more free exposure?
Plus, frequently posting on your GMB listing increases the likelihood that your business will appear in user search results. By having an active profile, there is more information linked to your business on the web, and therefore more material that may match your clients’ search terms.
Bear in mind that posts to your GMB listing are automatically removed after seven days. This is why you want to log into your account frequently, and add new posts to continue promoting your business!
8. Setup Messaging
By setting up GMB messaging, customers can contact you directly through your GMB listing. This increases convenience for your customers, as they are far more likely to contact you if all they have to do is press a little button next to their search results. Sounds pretty good for your business, right?
Here’s how to set up messaging:
And presto — that’s it! You’ll receive a notification in the app every time a customer asks a question about your listing, and every time a customer tries to contact you through the listing.
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