Remember the yellow pages? You’d flip through a book to find the category of business that you’re looking for and would be presented with a list. The phonebook has moved online and you search Google for a category of business, then they serve you with a list. In the yellow pages, you could pay for prime placement and would stay there for a year. What do you do on Google to get your business noticed when the listings are dynamic and can change every day?

Google My Business is an easy and cost-effective way to make your business more discoverable both online and in real life.

Why you need a Google My Business account

For those of you who’ve never heard of Google My Business, it’s a free, easy-to-use tool that allows businesses with physical retail locations to manage how they appear on Google Search and Maps.

“Manage” is the key word here, since businesses are going to be cataloged and displayed on Google anyway. GMB gives you the ability to control what people see, how they can contact you, and update them over time.

Show up in Google search results

The same way that social networks display additional information about its users so that people can more easily find them and get to know them better (like location, work history, interests, etc.), Google My Business works as a profile for your business.

Providing and updating this information to Google can help to increase your visibility and can help make a customer’s experience a little bit easier. One Google search can provide them with a list of businesses that may meet their needs, addresses, phone numbers, business hours, websites, customer reviews, and more.

If a potential customer is searching for businesses on Google, they’re likely ready to make a purchase and are looking for the right place to do so. Providing this information for your GMB listing will remove barriers and make it more likely that they’ll call you over another listing that hasn’t.

Next to online reviews, the second most important factor that consumers take into consideration when searching for a local business is proximity. While a quick Google search is certainly effective for narrowing down options, most consumers use Google Maps to locate businesses nearby.

Whatever type of business you’re searching for, Google Maps will quickly populate with dozens of red markers, each indicating a local business that meets your search criteria. Once you’re set up on GMB, your store location will start to pop up for local searches, showing people how close you are to their location, which will increase the likelihood that they’ll pay you a visit.

An added bonus is that Google gives special exposure to three local listings at the top of its results page, which means they show up before organic search results. It’s not some SEO trickery that gets you into this exclusive shortlist; becoming a verified business through GMB is the first step.

Pro Tip: Verify your Google My Business listing. Google will not display your listing until your business has been verified. When you log in to manage your listing for the first time, you’ll be given an option to verify by phone, email, or snail mail.

Customer reviews

Some businesses are resistant to social media and other forms of digital marketing because they’re afraid of negative feedback online. This is a legitimate concern but doesn’t solve the problem. People who have a poor experience with your business are going to tell people about it; wouldn’t it be better to be able to talk back to them?

GMB allows customers to leave star ratings and testimonials that are publicly visible. People who have been given access to manage the listing can reply to reviews to follow up or address concerns.

Few factors can influence a potential customer’s purchase decision as much as online reviews. As customers leave reviews, and as you deliver customer service to them when they do, the number of reviews you get will increase which will reflect very highly on the overall perception of your brand to new customers.

Completely free

There’s a whole world of advertising on Google that does cost money but you can take advantage of Google My Business without paying a cent. If you are a business just getting your start in the local SEO game, GMB is an easy and extremely affordable way to get your toes wet.

How to optimize your Google My Business profile

Since Google My Business is a free tool, sometimes businesses are less incentivized to optimize it. Your Google My Business profile will only be as powerful and useful as you make it and there are a few things you should do to really make it work for you.

Download the Google My Business app

Your GMB profile should be viewed as another social media account. Just like any other social network, you’ll be much more likely to use, check, and update it if you make it easy and accessible.

If you take photos around your business to post to Facebook or Instagram, start to get into the habit of posting them to GMB as well. Posts that you make on GMB should be more “evergreen” than those you post on other social networks. Things like new product lines, changes in staffing or services, and other news that impacts your customers are good places to start. Think of this as a place to make announcements, not casual status updates.

Encourage customers to leave reviews (and respond to them)

People put a lot of stock in online reviews. Everyone’s reviews and experiences are different but if the vast majority of people have had positive experiences at a particular business, then it’s a safe bet that new customers will, too.

It’s in Google’s best interest to provide its users with quality listings and recommendations, so it’s in your best interest to get positive engagement on your profile. The companies with the most positive reviews will be pushed up in the search ranking.

Upload quality photos

While it might cost some money, it’s recommended to hire a photographer to take some quality, professional-looking photos of your storefront, your interior, and whatever product or service you’re selling.

As we mentioned above, content on GMB is best if it’s evergreen, meaning that it won’t soon expire (like other social media posts). It’s worth investing a little more effort and money to get shots that will give potential customers a good idea of what to expect at your business, and things like your storefront and offerings likely won’t change much over time.

Update regularly

Even though more and more businesses are creating Google My Business accounts, very few are putting in the ongoing work it takes to create a profile that gets noticed and ultimately gets them more customers. That presents an opportunity for you.

You don’t just want to post regular updates but also update your business hours, address, website, or other information that could cause a customer a lot of inconveniences if it’s wrong or outdated. At the very least, before every major holiday and change in season, log in and make sure that your information is current.

Use HeyOrca to manage your Google My Business listing

Connect a Google My Business account to HeyOrca!

Connect your Google My Business account like any other account in HeyOrca! 🙌

Step 1: Click Add a Google My Business button in your calendar settings. 📅

Step 2: Allow access to HeyOrca. ✅

Click continue be redirected to Google to confirm which account that you will be using with HeyOrca, or sign in to your account if you are not already signed in.

Step 3: Choose the location you wish to connect in HeyOrca. 🏢

Once you have selected all the locations for your business, you will now be able to start posting for those locations! 👏You can add multiple locations through the Google My Business app, under the Manage Pages setting.

Creating a Google My Business Post

You can create a new post by clicking New Post on the calendar, and select the Google icon that will appear once you link a Google My Business channel:

🎨Step 1: Add text and an image the same as you would for any post in HeyOrca. HeyOrca can create single image posts for Google My Business.

📣Step 2: Add a Call to Action button. This will redirect your customers to a link of your choosing! If you would like to use your online shop, you can select an option such as buy or order online that can be chosen in the drop down menu. Once you choose a Call to Action button, you can copy and paste your link that you would like your users to be redirected to in the text box.

Now you can choose your desired call to action button and your post is ready for approval!! 🙌🙌🙌