Share offers, events and get reviews all for free.
Do you remember Yellow Pages? A printed directory of all the local businesses arranged by category and in alphabetical order. Some businesses worked out that having a number in their name or starting with A was the way to appear first in the listing.
And then the internet came along.
Yell started putting the listings on Yell.com, it still exists, I checked when writing this. Other online directories started to emerge too. The more savvy of these understood SEO and PPC and were able to provide better local search results than businesses own websites
And then Google took over.
Google started to list businesses on their maps as Google places and over time that has morphed into Google my Business. As this developed Google started to downgrade results from Internet directories so that now Google is THE directory.
Most SEO consultants stress the importance of a good Google My Business entry. We have seen with our clients the difference using the features available can make to the visibility of a business on Google. So much so that management of Google My Business listings is a key component of our Monthly Marketing Package.
Unlike the Yellow pages, Google My Business provides potential customers with a lot more information than just a phone number. Used properly it can become a mini website. You can add updates, offers, events and offers. You can also add photos and list your services.
Our advice is to update your listing regularly. During the pandemic this has been really important. Google have prompted businesses to keep basic information regularly updated. It introduced an option to mark businesses as Temporarily Closed as well as making it easy to edit Opening hours as and when it was needed. There is also a specific Covid 19 update.
Perhaps most important is Google reviews. The more reviews that you have, the better. Google make it easy for you to ask customers for reviews by providing a link to send to them. Customers can also leave reviews without you asking for them, and there is no nicer feeling than an unexpected 5 star review.
However you get your review please respond. The reviewer has taken the time to say something nice about your business, the least you can do is respond. In our experience very few businesses respond to reviews. It was the prompt for our simple steps to get results from reviews.
As anyone can leave a review there will come a time when you receive one that is less than welcome. While Google have a facility to report and ask for a review to be removed, you will need to take action. These are our tips for how to deal with a negative review. If you are in the habit of responding to all reviews it won’t look as if you are only interested in damage limitation.
Google My Business is a valuable FREE asset. Actively managing your profile should be part of your marketing plan.