Here in part 2, we explain how to make the most of your GMB listing and gain better rankings for local search.

Not only can your GMB listing help with local search rankings, but it’s also one of the most important ways to connect online with potential customers.

Skip back to part 1 – Getting started with GMB

GMB Posts

One of the best things about Posts is they can be used to promote sales, deals, events or products directly in Google search results.

Post feature helps your business stand out from the crowd and highlights specific business information to users searching for your type of business. First introduced to GMB in 2017 posts feature allow businesses to share messages directly with their customers. Because they show up in the local panel on Google Maps and on Search, Posts offer a great way to prominently display your business special offers, events or recent news.

To make Posts even more versatile and suitable for almost any business type, there are different types of Google Posts you can create. These include:

  • Book an appointment.
  • Order Online.
  • Buy.
  • Learn More.
  • Sign Up.
  • Get Offer.
  • Event.

For example, let’s say you run a restaurant and during the weekends at a particular time you offer a percentage discount on all main dishes. You could advertise this offer with a post which could help attract more customers and business your way. Posts help you gain more visibility in search results and remember, Google loves fresh content.

Google posts

GMB Bookings

Effectively convert new customers and give your business a competitive edge with Reserve with Google. In addition to your website, customers can find you and instantly book their appointments in the search results and in Google Maps.

To use GMB booking button feature, you will need to integrate with one of Google’s supported partners. After a booking is placed, share your booking link on your profiles including Yelp, Social pages and website using Bookings share button link. Reserve with Google is ideal for many businesses including:

  • Barber Shops

  • Hair Salons

  • Massage Therapy

  • Spas

  • Chiropractors

  • Pet Services

  • Education

  • Consulting

  • Bridal Salon

  • Legal

  • Dentist

  • Doctors

  • Gym

  • Personal Trainer
  • Nail Salon

  • Counseling

  • Home Repair

  • Financial Services

  • Photography

  • Automotive

  • Interview Scheduling

Google Reviews

Now more than ever it’s important for businesses to get reviews with Google wrote by customers. In addition to giving a boost to your search visibility, there are many benefits Google reviews can bring to your business. The more Google reviews your business has, the more trust and credibility you will build.

A large majority of people trust online reviews as much as referrals from friends and family. Google is one of the most used search engines, and a recent study concluded that 84% of people give trust to Google reviews more than reviews from less trustworthy sites.

The biggest benefit Google reviews will bring to your business is a boost to local search listings. Knowing how to get good Google reviews not only helps with rankings but will bring more customers your way. Online reviews will also impact your Maps listing because your business is highlighting the fact that you offer great products, a great service and have happy customers!

Google wants to display trusted sites with authority in its local results so make review building an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It’s also worth the extra effort responding to reviews because this is a trust factor that shows customers you are listening and care about their experience.

What to do if you receive a negative review?

Although it’s easy to get offended by negative feedback it’s important you stay calm and address the review in a business-like manner. Check and respond to reviews as soon as possible. Your response should be professional and direct the reviewer away from the review left on Google and resolve any issues in private. For example, you could offer the reviewer your sincere apologies and ask them to contact your customer care team to resolve any issues.

The absolute worst thing you can do is attack the unhappy customer. Doing this will only make their review more credible and damage your reputation considerably. Unfortunately, you are unable to remove the review but if you can meet a resolution with the customer there is a good chance they will either remove or edit it.

GMB Photos & Virtual Tour

Your cover photo is extremely important because it is prominently featured centre and up front on your GMB listing. Use a cover photo that clearly says what your business is about. For example, a shot of your team at work, example products or something that represents your services are all good choices.

The same applies to your profile photo so make sure you use a good quality version of your logo. Your business logo is ideal because it’s what customers will instantly recognise from your company branding.

Setting up the cover and profile pictures are the basics to make your GMB listing more memorable. Next, upload a selection of high-quality, relevant photos that show off your businesses services, products, people and location. Adding a photo of your premise exterior and interior will help new customers identify your business if they visit you.

Once you have verified your listing, Google automatically pulls a street view capture from outside your location. This gives customers a better idea of your location prior to visiting. However, a 360° virtual tour is an even better way to enhance your listing. A local professional photographer can produce a virtual tour of your business premises and provide customers with a peek inside.

GMB virtual tour

GMB Videos

In addition to photos, you can also upload and add videos to further enhance your brand. Customers generally decide which company to call based on reviews and their website, but a video is a great opportunity to help you to stand out against other businesses.

When adding a video to your profile, optimise the file name with a relevant keyword rich title (good for voice search) and ensure they meet the following upload criteria:

  • 30 seconds long or shorter.
  • 100MB or less.
  • 720p resolution minimum.

Keep in mind that videos on your GMB listing are not direct advertisements that can have a call-to-action. However, after watching your videos there is a greater chance that potential customers will visit your website or click the ‘call’ button and engage with you. It takes up to 24 hours for Google to process the video and display in search results.

GMB Questions & Answers

GMB questions and answers feature is a highly visible, influential and especially important for local small businesses. Anybody in the Google community can answer questions about your business and is a great way to hear directly from your audience.

The more a Q&A receives a ‘helpful’ up-vote, the more likely it is to appear in the Local Knowledge Panel in search. Because they occupy prime organic visibility across all devices, it’s important to check and monitor the responses to ensure they are accurate and informative. If a competitor or another user seeks to use the Q&A section to denigrate your business, you can flag the answer as incorrect or spam. Simply select from the various options to explain why you think the answer should be flagged and removed.

Why not add questions and answer them yourself to enhance your GMB listing? If you already have an FAQ section on your website you could look to this for inspiration.

So How Does Google Determine Your Local Ranking?

It is well known that getting in the top three prominences on Google maps for local search can be really profitable for any business. Google determines local ranking based on three primary factors.

1. Relevance

Does your listing match what somebody is searching for?

Complete as much profile information as possible and help Google to better understand the relevance of your business. Detailed information about your business will better match your listing to relevant searches.

Put your main keywords in your GMB business name. Although this is a bit spammy and grey hat, it is something to consider especially if your competition is already utilising this method. Be very careful though, because you don’t want to come across unprofessional and ‘spam-like’. If you’re wondering whether this will ruin your NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency, then yes it will. But, if your NAP and rankings are already not great, changing it brings added benefit. You may even want to go over all your listings and change the NAP info to match the GMB keyword focused name.

2. Distance

How close is your business to the person searching for a term relevant to your business?

If a location is added to the search term, Google generates answers that are most relevant and nearest to that search. If a location place isn’t entered into a search query, Google will calculate distance. This is based on what’s known about a user’s location from their IP address. So, the closer your business address is to a customers location, the higher the chance you’ll appear in the top 3 local pack.

3. Prominence

Prominence refers to how well known and established your business is.

Some places are more familiar, such as museums, historic landmark and buildings, and well-known retailers. These are more preeminent in the offline world, and Google tries to reflect this in local search.

Another prominence consideration is how well your business is found online across the web. This is for things like links, directories, articles and reviews. The quality and number of reviews are factored into local search, so the more positive reviews and popularity your business has, the more it will improve local ranking.

And let’s not forget your position in search results.

Search engine optimisation best practices help local search and are also considered a ranking factor. It’s not possible to pay or request for a better local ranking on Google, however, optimising your GMB listing will certainly help steer your business in the right direction.

Google insights

Monitoring With Insights

Insights is a very useful tool available to help optimise your listing and shouldn’t be neglected. It helps you to understand how your customers are finding you and what they did next.

A useful insight for content marketing is the data available to compare search volume sequence across time frames, regions, properties and categories. It can show the regional interest for a particular keyword and for other top search terms similar to that keyword. This is powerful data and will help you make sure the content that you are creating, or keywords you are targeting is relevant for your region or type of business. With this information you can create new posts, blog articles, landing pages and optimise your website to make sure your keyword strategy is heading in the right direction.

How Customers Search For Your Business

With this information, you can discover the number of customers who performed a direct search or by searching for a category, service or product – and found your listing.

Queries Used To Find Your Business

Google will list the most popular search queries along with the unique number of visitors. This is helpful data to track search trends for your business. It offers good insight into what kind of posts you should create to target and engage your customers.

Where Customers View Your Business

Analysing this information will help you determine how many users found your business via Google Search or Google Maps.

Customer Actions

What are users doing when they land on your GMB listing? This insight helps you discover what action they did next. The total number of actions can include:

  • Visits to your website.
  • Request directions to your business.
  • Call you.

Directions Requests

See where your customers are located when asking for directions to your business with this useful insight. A single user can only request directions to your business 100 times within a given period (7, 28 or 91 days). Google will record one request, giving a more accurate insight into the number of users interacting with your GMB listing.

Phone Calls

This insight tells you how many customers called your business from your GMB listing page. You can then filter this information to discover what the most popular days and times people interact with you on Google.

Photo Insights

Regularly posting photos on your GMB listing should be a core part of your online marketing campaign. Photo insights will tell you the number of times photos associated with your listing have been viewed. Google plots the number of photo views along with similar businesses on a graph chart. This compares the disadvantages and advantages of photos that appear on your business listing, compared to photos from other businesses.

What Your Business Is Known For

Google may ask users to answer some simple questions about your business to improve its search results. As customer opinions are subjective, this insight lets you know what customers think of your business. For example, you run a restaurant or bar. A customer may describe your business as a romantic, cosy, music or cocktail establishment.

Avoid Making Common GMB Mistakes

Incorrect Business Information

This is a common error made by businesses, the worst mistake to make but is easy to fix. Did you know that anybody can suggest edits to your GMB listing? Google may update your listing without notifying you. This is why it’s so important to get profile information right the first time around and check your listing on a regular basis.

Duplicate Listings

Always check to see if there is an existing listing for your business before setting up a new one. Google may show suggested businesses already verified if the company name is similar. Check them carefully to see if your business already has a GMB page. And if so, claim it or request ownership permission (we covered this in Part 1). Fail to spot or remember whether your business already has a listing will result in removal. Google does not like duplicate content.

New Location Does Not Warrant A New Listing!

If your business moves premises or location, this does not mean a new listing needs to be set-up. All you need to do is log in to your GMB account and update the business information. You will have to re-verify your new address but there won’t be any duplicate listings!

Stick To The Fields

Another common mistake is to enter the wrong information in a field. Each field has a title so make sure you have the correct information set. If you need help filling in the fields for your GMB profile use Google’s Guidelines.

Continue To Optimise

The more engagement you and your users have with your GMB listing, the better its chances of ranking higher in Search. Optimising your listing during setup is a good starting point but it will need regular updating to help its ranking success. Stay updated about new features that might roll out, use them and remember to keep your listing accurate.

Our Top 3 Tips For Google My Business

1. Enhance your listing – whether you have a special offer, photos of recent work or received an excellent customer review, keep adding to your listing.

2. Maintenance is key – Google wants to see regular GMB activity, checking how you and your users interact with your listing. Updating your Google My Business listing with posts about your services/products and photos is a great way to regularly update and improve the user experience.

3. Use GMB Insights and learn how your users interact with your business – use this data to help you on the path to success with your marketing strategy.

Part 2 Conclusion – More To Come?

What features will be rolled out next? No one can be 100% certain but Google has been releasing great features that help businesses be more prominent in search and engage with customers like never before. We hope they keep going.

It takes a lot of time and knowledge to implement a good GMB strategy that targets the right audience. Take advantage of our GMB management service. Simply get in touch or call 0800 689 0253. We’ll help your business dominate Google search – so you reach more customers.

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