What is a Google Business listing, anyways?

Google My Business is a free tool that helps businesses provide customers with the information they’re looking for faster on Google Search and Google Maps.

You’ll recognise a Google My Business as a “knowledge panel” or card that shows up in Search and Maps:

A Google My Business listing shows customers information like:

  • Business name and type
  • Address
  • Hours of Operation
  • Links to take action, like booking a reservation
  • Phone Number
  • Link to website
  • Images
  • Reviews
  • Popular times to visit

It’s easy for a business to overlook proactively updating this information and to get distracted with operations and maintaining other social media channels.

But think about it: where’s the first place someone will search for your business? Google.

Below we’re going to focus on how businesses can optimise their listing in easy steps.

1. GET THE MOBILE APP

Stop relying on desktop to access your listing when you don’t have to. When you download the Google My Business app you get instant access 24/7, no matter where you are.

As we talk through some features below like Messages and responding to reviews, you’ll find it’s easier to do that from your phone — especially if you’re in a role where you’re on-the-go.

Get the iOS app here // Get the android app here.

2. ADD PICTURES TO YOUR LISTING

Sign into Google My Business and then go to Photos from your venue.

Choose the type of photo you’re adding (logo, cover photo, or additional photos) and then upload it/them from your computer.

Note: You can also upload photos or videos directly from your phone using the mobile app.

You just go to Home > “+” > Add photos > choose type > choose photo > Upload.

3. RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS

This one’s easy but goes a long way. When a customer has a negative experience, acknowledge it, apologise, and be clear about any actions being taken to fix it.

Studies show that doing this can turn 1 in 3 negative reviewers into proponents of your brand.

It also shows new customers checking your listing before visiting that you are caring and attentive. Your response should include their first name and show gratitude.

Note: you must have a verified Google My Business listing in order to respond to reviews.

Lastly on this point, when you actively respond to Reviews, you’re more likely to hit a “Local Pack” status with Google. This drives more traffic to your listing.

4. ASK YOUR HAPPY CUSTOMERS FOR GOOGLE REVIEWS

Have a customer you can tell is having a great experience? Strike while the iron is hot.

Ask them to give you a Google review.

This could be a card that you keep on-hand for in-service, a check insert post-meal or just a quick note you add to a follow-up email afterwards.

5. CUSTOMISE YOUR DESCRIPTION

A description is the sentence (or so) of text that shows up in your business listing.

Google lets you add a description up to 750 characters, so take advantage of it.

You should use your description to tell customers about what they can expect from your brand and its service or products. This also helps Google better understand your business and improves your search rankings.

Here are Google’s guidelines about what you can and cannot put in your Description.

6. ADD YOUR HOURS

This helps your customers to easily know when you’re open and when you’re not.

It also alerts customers setting up Google Maps to walk or drive to you that you may be closed by the time they arrive.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to edit your hours for special holidays. You can do this by logging into your Google My Business profile and going to the “Special hours” section (with a calendar icon).

7. TURN ON MESSAGING

Turning on messaging is more efficient for both you and your customer.

To turn on messages from your mobile app, go to Customers Messages > Turn on.

Once you have messages coming in, you can view them chronologically in the Messages folder.

Pro Tip: Set up a notification to a phone number whenever a message comes in so that someone on your team can text a reply. 64% of consumers prefer a text over a call.

Once you get a message, make sure to respond same-day, ideally same-hour. (Google calculates your average response time and lists it to customers.)