How To Effectively Communicate With Customers Using Google My Business
Google My Business for small businesses helps customers find your website by using artificial intelligence bots. Don’t be intimidated, though. Google bots can be your best friend if you want your business to appear in search results across the globe. Adapting your communication strategies online can help you start generating high-quality leads.
Here’s how you can use Google My Business for small businesses to help you build your brand online following advice and tips from a search engine optimization pro.
TL;DR: 9 Steps On How To Effectively Use Google My Business For Small Businesses
- Use Google My Business to build your business profile
- Make sure your phone number(s) appear everywhere online
- Exercise your local SEO muscles
- Establish SEO cadence for future success
- Tell a story through your photos
- Pay attention to customer reviews
- Stay active on your GMB listing
- Have a healthy SEO diet
- Beat the Google Local Service Ad game
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Step 1: Use Google My Business To Build Your Business Profile
“You need to have ownership of everything, and you need transparency on all accounts,” said Joe Laratro, founder and president of Tandem Interactive during the #BizHackLive 9 Steps You Can Take Today To Improve Your Presence On Google webinar.
Shortly after Laratro joined the search engine optimization (SEO) world, he founded a digital marketing agency to help companies develop complex digital marketing strategies. Tandem Interactive offers monitoring services, brand reputation, neuromarketing, landing page optimization, visual marketing, and more.
Laratro shared tips on how Google My Business can optimize small businesses online:
“Google My Business is the local aspect of Google,” Laratro said.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool for small businesses to utilize.
Developing your GMB business profile online will help customers find your website. Start managing your online presence to expand your small business marketing strategies now.
TIP 1: Categories can lead you to groups of keywords
The categories you choose for your business on GMB can reveal an assortment of keywords. You need to be careful to choose the right category, though. Ensure your business appears in search results by selecting the correct categories.
“Think about a category as a group of keywords,” Laratro said. “Search your main keywords on Google and see what shows up.”
TIP 2: Use URL tracking to understand audience engagement better
Tracking URLs can help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaign or website. If you don’t use URL tracking, then you risk having poor communication with GMB. Make sure you’re easily identifiable by adding UTM codes to the end of your URLs.
“Tracking is very important for businesses trying to prove their success to CEOs or clients,” Laratro said.
Step 2: Make Sure Your Phone Number(s) Appear Everywhere Online
Small businesses need to publish their name, address, and phone number (NAP) everywhere online. Use a primary phone number as your tracking phone number and an additional phone number for the NAP listing.
“The additional phone number would match your website, business listings, and anywhere else your business is posted,” Laratro said. If you’re using GMB, you need to make sure you put a tracking phone number, he added.
Including a tracking phone number can ensure your paid advertisement gets attribution. You’ll want to make sure your investments are worth it if you are tracking at a more advanced level.
Step 3: Exercise Your Local SEO Muscles
Laratro’s SEO recommendations include:
- Warm-up with strong NAP practices
- Rigorously mention city and state in content
- Remember to practice mobile first
- Maintain strong HTTPS communication networks
- Prepare for high-intensity speeds
- Improve schema codes to communicate better with artificial intelligence bots
- Add business to Google Maps to improve location searches
- Establish phone number prominence
- Cool down with the GMB app
Step 4: Establish SEO Cadence For Future Success
“If you don’t set the cadence of how you are going to manage your GMB routinely, it is going to fail,” Laratro said. Small businesses need to treat their GMB account as a social media platform, he added.
Interacting with GMB the same way you do on Facebook can maximize your SEO efforts. Small businesses need to build brand pages to engage on various platforms. So, make sure you don’t just create it and walk away.
Laratro provided tips on how to establish brand cadence online:
- Routinely manage your listings
- Use link building campaigns to get your business listed
- Consistently use the same NAP
- Research competitor backlinks
- Submit to high-ranking local business directories
- Actively engage on social media platforms
- Conduct monthly or quarterly keyword searches with geo-targeting practices
Step 5: Tell A Story Through Your Photos
“Photos are one of the most powerful components of GMB because it allows you to tell a story through pictures,” Laratro said.
Sometimes you don’t need words to convey what your brand is all about. Using photos on GMB can attract customers to your brand. Ask yourself, how do I want to tell a story? The brand message should be conveyed in an approachable and timely manner.
“You have to monitor user-generated content,” Laratro said.
Small businesses should monitor user-generated content as customers can freely post anything on GMB. It’s important to promptly remove irrelevant or harmful content to prevent any detrimental reputation patterns.
Step 6: Pay Attention To Customer Reviews
Reviews are everywhere. Pay attention to what customers are saying about your business on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. You may also want to pay attention to specific industry sites as reviews exist there as well.
“Develop a review strategy,” Laratro said. “Have a process for requesting and responding to reviews.”
Developing a brand strategy to respond to reviews can be the difference between whether your business sinks or swims. Many small businesses use platforms to help manage their reviews. Reputation.com, Chatmeter, DBAPlatform.com, and Birdseye are all great resources. At the end of the day, your reputation is all that matters.
Here are some useful tips on how to effectively respond to reviews:
- Respond to ALL reviews
- Thank reviewers for positive reviews
- Try to make bad experiences right
- Take conversations offline if possible
- Try to fulfill reasonable requests
- Turn “haters” into advocates
- Make a plan
- Turn on email notifications
- Post a FAQs section
Step 7: Stay Active On Your GMB Listing
Google My Business can help you drive conversions quickly. Utilize the Q&A field on GMB to promote and set your business apart from competitors online. Stay active on your listing as crowdsourced questions and answers are often featured on the business’ knowledge panel.
“Ask your sales team and desk receptionists the top questions they receive and utilize those on your listing,” Laratro said.
Take advantage of posting timely information on new blogs, content, and deals. GMB allows businesses to display custom content for seven days at a time.
Step 8: Have A Healthy SEO Diet
SEO is all about your ongoing efforts to reach broader audiences. You need to have a well-balanced SEO diet to ensure your small business can be found online. Conduct monthly or quarterly progress reports to benchmark your success.
Laratro shared important highlights on the SEO Diet:
- Register your website with Google Search Console and Microsoft Bing Webmaster Tools
- Titles should be keyword rich while explaining the concept of the page
- Add a “We are open” business title tag to your website
- Make sure your phone number and address is listed in your local chambers of commerce
- Have a content plan to have a quarterly plan to grow your website
- Add business to Google Maps
- Use Moz to show you where you have errors in your website
- Get even further into your reviews once you have an established presence on Google
- Develop new marketing strategies every six months
Step 9: Beat The Google Local Service Ad Game
Google Local Service Ads are designed for unestablished local businesses with limited marketing support. Local service advertisements require searches to be from real companies and not third-party services.
“The aggregator model is going away,” Laratro said.
Google originally needed aggregators to verify the validity of businesses online. However, aggregators are becoming less essential as Google relies heavily on its databases.
“You can have Google request a review, and then it is considered a Google verified job,” Laratro said. You can also switch them on and off, he added.
There are some advantages to Google Local Service Ads. Verified reviews are weighed heavily by Google and can help you establish brand awareness. As the holy grail of reviews, make sure you’re playing the game right.