What do you do when you’re looking for a restaurant, a spa or a salon? You type the business name in on Google. Or you just google something like “restaurant near me” or “salon near me”.
Google has made consumers completely dependent on it. Whether to go to a salon or to buy something, people first look on Google. We no longer “window shop” these days, the decision is starting online.
It is believed that Google My Business is the most powerful local SEO tool. 56% of searches on Google are to find services in a local area. Example, car wash near me, spa near me, salon near me, cafes near me and so on.
The Google My Business reviews for a business are known to be the most legit. It is said that Google My Business has completely taken over the market of Yelp for listing and reviewing businesses. Therefore, it becomes very important that your business is visible on Google.
In this blog post, we have curated a step by step guide to optimize your profile as well as get good reviews.
Register Your Business on Google
First, check whether your profile already exists or not. It might happen that your profile already exists sourced from a customer you have serviced before.
If it exists, claim the ownership. If it does not, then register your business on Google My Business.
Download the Google My Business app on your Android or iOS device or login to your Gmail account and click on 9 dots. Here you will see an icon of My Business. Click on that, you will be redirected to your dashboard, where you can add your business.
Fill in Your Basic Business Information
Your business name will appear – when a near me query is fired, someone types your business name, or on Google maps.
To attract customers to your business, fill the information out on your profile completely and correctly. Let’s see what is vital to have in your profile:
- Business Name – The business name should be exactly the one on the website.
- Links to the Website – Link your website to your Google My Business profile.
- Phone Number – Make sure you have filled in your correct number. If it’s wrong, you can lose a lot of customers.
- Opening Hours – This part is very important, that’s why it is advisable not to leave it empty. Many people might search your business to see whether you are currently open.
- Address – Make sure that the address is the same as the one on your website.
Double check the information that you have filled. Each and everything should be correct, ranging from spelling to format.
Choose a Category
Select the category of your business. In the search box, type the category of your business. Example, if you are a spa, then choose Spa.
Selecting a category is very important as it helps with local SEO. People may not type your business name but may type your category and approximate location.
There are 9 types of categories that you can choose. One should be the primary category and the remaining can be a secondary category.
Write a Proper Description
Add a short and crisp description of your business. Clearly mention the services that you provide.
Generally, a space of 750 words is given, but it’s suggested to write all important information within the first 100 words.
Add a Service Menu and High-Quality Image
Google My Business allows you to add a “services menu” to your profile. These services will directly lead customers to your website, where they can make appointments. You can also link your profile to apps like Booksy and MyTime, which are used to make appointments.
Also, don’t forget to add high-quality images of inside and outside of your salon.
To verify your business, Google will send a postcard to your postal address. It may take 7-10 days to reach you. Enter the code from the postcard to verify your profile. Google will review your profile. Once approved, your business will start appearing on Google.
Keep your profile updated by regularly posting. Post your offers, special discounts, additional services, etc.
Respond to the queries that you get from people. If you are not responding to them, it reflects that you are unresponsive and unfriendly.
Manage Your Google My Business Reviews
Reviews on your profile are the most important thing. Reviews will add credibility to your business. People will first see the reviews before considering your services. Google reviews can give businesses a big credibility boost without having to spend a dime. The many benefits of getting Google reviews include Google ranking for local SEO and increasing your online reputation. Therefore, manage the reviews, reply to comments, take negative reviews constructively, and reply to both negative and positive reviews effectively.
Ask Your Clients for Reviews
Ask your existing clients to review your business on Google. Ask your friends and family to review you. However, don’t add fake reviews. They are only going to harm you in the long run.
Send follow up emails to your customers asking them to leave a review and add a link that will directly lead them to your Google profile review page. You may also want to consider adding a blurb on your website or social platforms to encourage your customers to add a review of your business on Google.
Reply to Reviews
Always respond to the reviews whether negative or positive and do so in a timely manner. It shows that you are responsive. It may be helpful to have a list of possible responses for both positive and negative comments, so others know or have a general idea of how to respond to reviews.
You can access the reviews from the comment menu on your dashboard. It will show you all the comments and provide you with a space to reply to these comments.
Some of the best practices to adopt while replying to reviews:
- Write short replies.
- Don’t sound too robotic.
- Try to be resourceful.
- Respond to all the reviews.
- Always thank the reviewer.
- Apologize in case you find a negative review.
- Be more personable by including their name (For Example: Thanks for the review Sarah….)
Managing Negative Reviews
There can be people who are dissatisfied with your service. They will definitely write negative reviews. The solution here is to effectively respond to the negative reviews so you don’t lose out on a customer and to take the criticism constructively.
Try to understand their problem and think from a customer’s perspective. If you genuinely ask them what the problem was and offer compensation, they might take your service again.
If you feel like some reviews are not genuine, you can simply flag them.
Creating Review URLs to Send to Clients
A Short Name is simply a custom name associated with your Google My Business profile. Google created Short Names to be used as a marketing tool to drive people to a Google My Business page or Google Maps for more detailed information about their business.
You can quickly set up your own short name and URL by signing in to your GMB account.
Step 1: Generate a Short Name
Go to the “Info” tab in the menu and then click on the “Add profile short name” option. If you have multiple locations under the same account, you must click on the specific location you want.
Step 2: Submit Your Short Name
Enter the short name of your choice. Google allows up to 32 characters for a short name. You’ll get an error message if the name you choose is already taken.
Step 3: Save the Changes and Wait for Approval
Click the “Apply” button when you’re done. Your proposed short name will have a “Pending” status on it until it’s approved by Google. It will then show up on your GMB profile.
Sharing the URL is just as easy as creating the short name itself. It’s just a matter of doing the following:
- In your GMB account, click on the “Home” section in the main menu. From there, click on the “Get More Reviews” section.
- Copy the URL that appears in this section. You can use this Google review link in emails, newsletters and more to make it easier for customers to leave a review.
Google My Business is a powerful marketing tool. Try to utilize it to its full potential to get a consistent flow of customers. It works wonders with Local SEO. With accurate information, it can rank you high and prompt more customers to book your services. While Google My Business can seem quite intimidating, it is quite easy to get the hang of once you have it going. However, if you need assistance in setting up or continuing your presence of Google My Business Blue Atlas is here to help!