The Complete Guide to
Optimizing Google My Business

Current and positive reviews give your business a higher ranking in Google searches. As a result, the better your online reputation, the more customers your business will attract. In this guide, you will learn how to  drive your business growth by optimizing Google My Business.

Table of Contents

Google My Business (GMB) is Google’s free internet service to help promote your business online. GMB works on Google and Map searches and allows you to make your business stand out on Google searches. 

GMB allows you to customize your profile by listing your business name, address, and phone number. This makes it easy for potential customers to find and contact you. 

However, according to statistics issued by Google, only 44% of businesses have claimed their GMB page. This means that the majority of businesses still lack visibility to the customer. 

Google My Business (GMB) helps in bringing customers to your business. Over 50% of people who use their mobiles for online searches wind up visiting the establishment. Creating, verifying, and optimizing your GMB account will help in bringing these customers to your door. Some of the direct and positive impacts of GMB are listed below.

  1. GMB gives your business visibility in Maps and Local Pack searches. It allows the user to access all relevant information at a glance (name, address, and contact number).
  2. GMB allows customers to leave reviews, and customer reviews are directly linked to search rankings and hence sales growth.
  3. GMB provides your business with valuable big data, which can then be analyzed to answer questions like, where are your customers coming from, and how are they searching. Google My Business allows you to measure and drive customer engagement with your website.

For a more detailed overview of GMB, please refer to this article.

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.  Log in to the Google account that you would like to connect to your Google My Business account.
  2. 2. Visit Google My Business and click the button “MANAGE NOW”.
  1. 3. Enter the name of your business.
  2. 4. Enter the address of your business and select the service area.
  3. 5. Select the category that best fits your business.
  4. 6. Enter your business’s contact information.
  5. 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.

Your Google My Business profile allows customers to upload reviews and view how other customers rate you.
Google is the most relevant review platform and any customer who does a Google search of your business will immediately see your Google reviews.

Your Overall Review Score Is Critical
Therefore it becomes critical to manage your Google reviews. You want a high number of positive reviews and you want to delete fake and negative reviews in order to maintain a high overall score.
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. This article is a good read on managing your reviews.

Google My Business allows you to respond to each customer review, thereby raising engagement levels with the customer. As a rule, try and respond to each review irrespective of whether it is positive, neutral, or negative. 

Keep in mind that Google’s search bots rank your business on both the review ratings and the level of engagement between the reviewer and the establishment. These are some quick tips on handling and responding to different types of reviews.

  1. Positive Reviews: A simple thank you, and a desire to serve the reviewer again is sufficient. Ensure that you use a humble and grateful voice.
  2. Neutral Reviews: The good news is that the review isn’t negative, however, the bad news is that it will lower your overall score. With neutral reviews, the key is to thank the customer for the review, while asking questions to identify what went wrong and the promise to take action.  
  3. Negative Reviews: Negative reviews are critical, and every negative review must be responded to.
  • Start by evaluating the feedback internally. Talk to your employees and find out what went wrong.
  • Acknowledge and respond to the review, while offering an apology.
  • Demonstrate transparency in case of a mistake.
  • Empathize with the customer and offer a solution.
  • Sign your name and request an update. 

This article will give you a detailed step by step response mechanism for each type of review. 

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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