Google My Business (GMB) is the BEST local optimization resource on the internet. Google has invested a lot of time and effort to build this tool with love and care.
Are you a local business that wants more sales and leads? Forget other things and work on creating, optimizing, and promoting your GMB profile.
How important is GMB compared to Facebook Local?
Some people call Facebook Local a Yelp and Foursquare killer. While there is nothing wrong with the tool itself, Facebook Local is no match for Google’s My Business. The Facebook Local app is divided into three sections. The home offers quick searches for restaurants or bars, plus a list of events happening nearby that may interest you. You can also see the events that interest your friends. This is important for you to tag yourself in.
The second section is a map and a search engine. You can search for “Starbucks” or “Greek food,” sort by “open now,” a lot like Yelp. It is much weaker compared to Yelp. To Facebook’s credit, it lets you differentiate by letting you search “standup comedy” and “literature,” and sort by “late night,” to find something to do after dinner.
The third tab is your calendar, populated by Facebook events you’ve responded to but also including whatever calendars you want to give it access to.
Google My Business is a complete business solution. You can use Facebook Local to promote your events and specials. Google My Business lets you do all that and much more. Google My Business listings show up on regular Google searches through Google Places and Google Events search results.
Google often updates GMB. In 2018, Google added a lot of great features to GMB. Local businesses should know about these new features and use them. This will help your local business get a better position on local results. People in your city will see you as a responsive and internet savvy business that cares about technology. This can be a good point in your favor.
New Google My Business features
- Google Posts
- Appointment Bookings
- Questions and Answers
- Business Descriptions
Let us check these out in detail so you can learn how to use them for your business:
This is your event blog right there.
What do we mean by an event blog? It means blogging for an event at your business.
See, if you’re running specials or if you are organizing events, this is the perfect place to write about them. Google Posts are removed 7 days after they publish on GMB. If you mention the date of your event, and the event is more than 7 days away, they will stay until the date of your event.
Use Google posts to create short blog posts linking to your events pages on your website. If you’re a store selling stuff locally or a roofer offering services, you can still use it. Service businesses such as HVAC repair companies or local roofing companies can run specials or charitable events and invite locals to be a part of the event.
Google My Business will help you show these on searches in your area. Use schema markup on your events page or Data Highlighter in search console to tell Google everything about your event or special.
This feature is a gift for service businesses that offer appointment booking. So, if you’re a chiropractor, a healthcare provider, a salon, a local restaurant, or a law firm, this is a handy tool to get appointments.
The appointment bookings feature of GMB can be used to promote the Booking Calendar page of your website. Your customers will see a link that they can click to go to your Booking Calendar. If you do not have a website or a booking calendar on your website, don’t worry. Google offers a list of supported scheduling providers.
To choose a provider;
- Open the Google My Business app and go to the Bookings tab. If you don’t see this tab, then bookings aren’t available for your business category or region.
- Tap the menu on the top-right, then tap Choose a booking provider.
- Sign up with the provider of your choice.
Within one week, your scheduling account is automatically linked to your Google My Business account. After linking, you can receive bookings through Google. Read this page for more details on local appointment bookings through Google.
Questions and Answers
Google offers you full control to answer users’ questions about your business, products, or services. If someone has already asked questions about your products, pricing or details, you can answer these questions from the and Answers section of your GMB account. You can also remove complaints and useless questions from your Q & A.
This little-used feature is very helpful. This is like an online chat service where people can send you an SMS. You should download the Allo app to answer these questions.
Here is how you can download Allo on your phone:
- Download Google Allo from the Android Play Store or iOS App Store.
- Register Allo with the same number you used to sign up for messaging on Google My Business.
- Messages will start to appear on Google Allo instead of SMS.
Please be aware that if you turn messaging on, your response times will be publicly available. This means that you should try to reply to users quickly to not appear slouchy.
Adding a business description to your GMB profile is essential. A well-written business description is a great way to promote your business. Show to the world (the local world) how you plan to make a change and why you do what you do.
This is the place (business description) where you differentiate your business from your competition.
Google My Business allows business descriptions to include up to 750 characters, which is around 250 words, so make the most of this opportunity. Treat your business description like a page on your site by providing users with helpful content and not just words that are there to fill up space.
Use these five new features of Google My Business to promote your business. They will help you connect better with people in your area. Google My Business is more than just a citation service. It is more than a review aggregator.
Guest author: Bella Jones works for local Miami SEO company, Cibirix, who offer services in Charlotte, Raleigh, Dallas, Austin and almost all over the USA.