How well do you know your Google Business Listing?
Considering that only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google listing, it goes neglected by many entrepreneurs. This is a huge mistake since a Google listing is often the first impression a business makes on potential customers.
When someone searches for your services, your listing comes up, and if it looks incomplete and haphazard, it reflects poorly on your company.
Discover how to optimize your listing so it makes a great first impression and gets the results you want.
The Importance of Your Google Listing
If the front of your business was dirty and unkempt, with a sign that barely revealed enough information, it wouldn’t make a great first impression for your business.
When entrepreneurs ignore the quality of their Google listing, that’s essentially the impression they’re making online.
Neglecting your Google Business listing makes prospects wonder if you show that same neglect in running your business as well.
They might think about how your competitor had all kinds of photos, a thorough description, and multiple Google Posts, and they may choose them instead. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid this problem by setting your listing up for success.
Crucial Local SEO Stats Every Entrepreneur Should Know
These stats highlight what you’re missing out on if you don’t optimize your listing:
- Among smartphone users, 87% use a search engine at least once a day.
- 78% of local-mobile searches result in an online purchase
- 68% of searchers used local listings to get directions or call a business
- 1 in 3 smartphone searches were made directly before visiting a store or business
4 Steps to Optimize Your Google Listing
You’ve seen your listing and heard about why it’s important for your business. Now check out four simple steps to maximize your listing so it engages with the people you want to reach and leaves the best possible impression about your company.
1. Ensure That Every Category is Filled Out
Details matter in business, and particularly in local SEO. While it’s easy to skip past details like whether you have a handicapped ramp or aren’t open on a particular holiday, customers and prospects may look for this information and it does matter.
Of the tips on this list, this one is the simplest. All you have to do is click the “Info” category on the left side of your Google Business dashboard, and fill out all the categories you see.
Even the ones that seem insignificant will make your listing seem reliable and more complete, which contributes to making a great first impression.
Don’t Forget These Often Overlooked Sections
When filling out your Google Listing, some parts are obvious, like the essential name, address, and phone number. However, some sections are less obvious but are also very important to make a great first impression.
Consider these lesser-known sections when filling out your Google listing:
- The “Attribute Section” starting with “About This Person”
- The opening date of your company
- Not just your homepage, but an appointment URL and Menu URL if applicable
- Add special hours for any upcoming holidays or days where the hours differ.
2. Write a Powerful Description of Your Business
This is one that many businesses skip altogether, but a well-written business description can make the difference between customers choosing you and looking elsewhere.
You get 750 words for your description, and the important part is that you make an impact and really stand out from competitors. Do this by emphasizing your strengths and core competencies as in this description for Dr. Roman Shlafer.
Example of a Powerful Description: Dr. Roman Shlafer
The goal when writing your business description on your listing is to stand out from your competitors in a meaningful way. Consider your core competencies–
what is it that your company is absolutely great at?
How can you phrase it to impress people in your target market?
As you can see in this description for Dr. Shlafer, the greatest advantage he offers as a dentist is his vast experience. Not many of his competitors have over 30 years of experience, and everyone can agree that experience matters when it comes to choosing a dentist.
This description leads with his greatest strength in the first sentence:
“Dr. Roman Shlafer is a leader in the dental industry with over 30 years of experience.”
Even if the reader doesn’t read anything else, this first sentence already shows that Dr. Shlafer is a viable, above average option for a dentist.
The second sentence addresses the majority of his target market, “families”, as well as his niche, luxury market, those looking for specialty and cosmetic services.
In just three sentences, this description highlights Dr. Shlafer’s strengths, speaks to the concerns of his target market, and ends with a strong closer.
3. Upload a Variety of Photos to Your Google Listing
In 2019, a listing that doesn’t contain photos can make people wonder why. Just about everyone owns a smartphone with a capable camera, so it seems odd to not have any photos of your business available.
By simply uploading a variety of photos to your Google listing, you make it appear much more welcoming and approachable to everyone who sees it.
What Types of Photos Are Most Valuable?
When it comes to figuring out the best variety of photos to include, Google does most of the work for you. By simply clicking the photo category on the left, you can see the types of photos it’s looking for along the top of the page.
Ideal types of photos include:
Interior – The inside of your office including the front desk and work areas
Exterior – The entrance to your building, the sign in the front, and even the parking lot are good.
At Work – Showing action shots of you and your team at work is excellent for your listing.
Team – Get your employees together for a group photo and post it on your listing.
Identity – This can include your logo or any photo that shows the official business name.
Example: A Variety of Photos on Dr. Shlafer’s Listing
While you don’t need a ton of photos to complete your listing, it’s worth the time and effort to upload a nice variety of them so prospects can get a good idea of your business.
As you can see in Dr. Shlafer’s listing, he has the crucial categories of a logo and cover photo, as well as some additional photos as well.
His external photos are excellent, and clearly display the building, sign, and entryway for potential customers. Dr. Shlafer also includes photos of some of the credentials he’s earned, displaying the American Dental Association (ADA) and Top Dentist logos.
This is an interesting choice as it may lend credibility to his practice– if you remember, credibility and experience are Dr. Shlafer’s strengths that set him apart.
Finally, you may notice that there’s no team photo, but there are three photos of Dr. Shlafer. While some businesses emphasize their team, in this case, Dr. Shlafer is the figurehead and leader, and the one who will be providing the dental treatments.
As long as you have different types of photos uploaded, it’s up to you which ones you want to emphasize to those who search for your listing.
4. Manage Your Reviews from Your Google Listing
As you might imagine, reviews have a heavy influence over whether customers will choose you over a competitor. Considering how powerful they are, it’s remarkable that only 37% of businesses reply to their online reviews.
Responding to negative reviews in particular, can reverse their negative impact and show that you’re a professional company that cares deeply about your customers– but there is a right way to do it.
Responding to a Negative Review
No matter your industry, if you deal with customers then negative reviews can happen. They may be because of the mistake of an employee, a legitimate mistake, or the reviewer may be thinking of a different business altogether.
No matter the source of your negative review, it’s crucial that you respond to it. Although it’s tempting to just ignore it and hope it goes away, it won’t, so it’s best to provide a response that turns the conversation in your favor.
When responding to a negative review, you may be tempted to lose it, and become aggressive, but that’s the worst thing you can do.
The goal is to remain professional and show that you care about the experience of your customers, so responding in a sympathetic way can accomplish that.
Here are some tips for responding to a negative review of your business:
Sympathize with their experience WITHOUT taking responsibility
Note that if you agree with the bad review and it was a genuine mistake on your end, then feel free to let them know and apologize.
However, most bad reviews are disputed by the business owner, in which case it’s best to show sympathy that they had a bad experience, without admitting to any wrongdoing– here’s an example:
“We’re disappointed to hear about your unsatisfactory experience in (your business).”
By simply showing sympathy, you’re already coming across as a welcoming business that cares about your customers’ experience.
Frame your company is a positive light
Without directly saying how professional, attentive, and phenomenal you are as a company, you can convey these qualities indirectly in your response. See how this example communicates those traits without being too direct:
“At (your business), we pride ourselves on attending to the needs of every customer and providing top quality service as we do for hundreds of people on a daily basis.”
Offer something or at least provide info for them to reach you offline
This step is crucial because it shows you’re taking the high road. Offering the person who left you a scathing review some type of discount, a second chance, or simply an opportunity to continue the conversation offline by email will prove to them your business is honorable.
It works well too because some sites like Yelp only allow for one post and one reply, so your reply will end the conversation for those who are reading it. Here are a couple of examples:
Example with something offered:
“In light of your unpleasant experience, we hope you’ll accept our gift of a 20% discount on your next visit to our office.”
Example of inviting them to continue the conversation elsewhere:
“At (your company), we’re dedicated to making sure every customer is satisfied with our services. We’d like to continue the conversation offline to hear your concerns and see how we can better serve you in the future.”
See Where You Can Manage Your Reviews From Your Google Listing
As you can see from the Google Business dashboard of Prosperity Dental Group, all you have to do to manage many of your reviews from different sources is use your Google Listing. Simply log in, select “Reviews” from the left-hand side, and you can peruse all of your reviews and easily reply to any of them.
Optimize your Listing for Maximum Engagement
If you’re aware that your business has a Google Listing, but you’ve never taken the time to get to know it, it’s definitely worth your effort.
Google Business offers many opportunities to show your business to potential clients, and the entrepreneurs that take advantage of it will appear more attractive online.
Much like in business, details like these are what separates successful companies from those who fail.
Nick Napier is a Navy Vet, MBA, and SEO specialist working in San Diego. He regularly writes guest blogs, websites, and hosts a podcast while optimizing SEO for his clients.
Email: [email protected]group.tv
Google Listing: SEE LINK HERE