The Complete Guide to
Optimizing Google My Business

The better your online reputation, the more customers will come to your business and the higher you’ll rank on Google search. In this guide you’ll learn how you can better manage your online reputation to drive business growth.

Table of Contents

Google My Business is a tool that allows you to manage how your appears on Google, including search and Maps. Your Google My Business profile includes your business name, address, and phone number, making it easy for customers to discover your business.

Unfortunately, lots of businesses aren’t taking advantage of what Google My Business provides. Only 44% of businesses have claimed their Google My Business page. This means that the majority of businesses are making it unnecessarily more difficult for customers to find the information they need to pay them a visit.

Google My Business doesn’t just help you get more customers. When you have a Google My Business profile, your business becomes more visible on local search. Remember, Google uses the same factors to determine your trustworthiness as customers do. Since customers find your business more trustworthy when you have more reviews, search engines do too.

Google creates profiles for existing businesses. Most of the time, all you’ll have to do is find your profile and claim it.

However, there are cases where you might not be able to find an existing page. In this case, you’ll have to find it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a new Google My Business page.

  1. 1. Log in to the Google account you would like to be connected to your Google My Business account.
  1. 2. Visit Google My Business and click the button “MANAGE NOW”.
  2. 3. Enter the name of your business.
  3. 4. Enter the address of your business and select the service area.
  4. 5. Select the category that best fits your business.
  5. 6. Enter your business’s contact information.
  6. 7. Verify your business. Once you claim your profile, Google will send you a PIN to verify that you are actually the owner of the business. Most business owners choose to receive the PIN through mail, which takes a couple of weeks depending on location. Email and phone verification are also available for select businesses.

On your Google My Business profile, customers will have the ability to see how other customers are rating your business.

While having great reviews is important on every review site, Google is currently the biggest review site out there. Any customer who does a Google search of your business will immediately see your Google reviews.

It’s especially important to take care of your Google reviews because right now, Google is king of the review ecosystem. More than 57% of all customer reviews written in 2018 were posted on Google, far outpacing Facebook and Yelp, with 13.71% and 12.83% respectively.

The better your reviews are, the higher your business will rank on search. Remember, when customers do a search, Google aims to give them the best results. When you search for something like “How tall is Lebron James?”, you expect the search engine to answer your question with the best, most relevant results. Similarly, when you look up local businesses in the area, you expect Google to give you the best businesses near you.

Unfortunately, there’s no way the Google algorithm can tell how good a restaurant’s food tastes, or how friendly the service is at a dental practice (yet). However, they do have a way of finding out how customers feel about your business: customer reviews.

When you get a positive review, be sure to show your appreciation. A simple “Thank You” can go a long way to help build customer loyalty.

Manage your Google My Business

Of course, having a strong online reputation isn’t always as simple as it seems. When asked, most businesses will say that having a high overall star rating makes their business looks great to customers. While this may be partially true, it’s definitely not the entire story. If a business has 5 online reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars, would you say that this company has a positive online reputation? Most people would say yes.

Now, if this company has a competitor, with 500 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars, which company are you more likely to go with? Our money would be on the competitor. Both companies have a positive online reputation, but the competitor has a much stronger online reputation because of how many reviews they have. Here are some of the reasons why Google will remove a review.

 

    • Spam and fake content
      Content should reflect genuine experiences and should not be placed in an attempt to manipulate ratings.
    • Off-topic
      Content should be related to the specific location being reviewed.
    • Restricted content
      No calls-to-action for materials restricted by law such as alcohol, tobacco, guns, etc.
    • Conflict of interest
      Business owners, employees, and employees of competing businesses cannot leave a review.

Here are the steps that you can take in order to report a fake Google review.

  1. 1. Find your business listing on Google Maps.
  2. 2. Find the review you’d like to dispute.
  3. 3. Click the three vertical buttons on the right side, then flag the review as inappropriate.

 

While you should report reviews that you believe are fake, you shouldn’t just stop there. When you report a review, there’s no guarantee that Google will actually remove it.

A fake review that isn’t dealt with can be dangerous for your business. After all, a potential customer might see this fake review and think that it represents an unbiased customer experience.

To deal with these reviews, the best option is to leave a response saying something like,  Every potential customer who stumbles on the review will immediately know that this fake review is not an accurate representation of your business.

Reputation Management
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