The Complete Guide to
Optimizing Google My Business

Google My Business

What is Google My Business?

Google Knowledge Panel

Is Google My Business Free?

Google My Business is 100% free. Google does not charge businesses for their listings.

How Google My Business Helps Your Visibility?

Google My Business Helps Visibility

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.

Claim or Create a Google My Business Profile

Claim Google My Business Profile

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.

Update Your Information

Google My Business Update Business Information

Now that your Google My Business account has been claimed, you can start adding information to your profile that will help make your business look more trustworthy to both customers and Google’s ranking algorithm.

Anyone has the ability to “suggest an edit” to your Google My Business profile. Make sure that you get everything right the first time so you don’t have to take edits from random people.

This includes:

  • Adding correct contact information such as email address and phone number.
    Make it as easy as possible for potential customers to reach out so that you can convert them into customers.

  • Uploading high-resolution images and videos.
    By uploading photos that show the best that your business has to offer, you can make a great first impression on your customers.
    You also have an option to post videos. While you don’t have to do this, a great video can serve as a great introduction to your business.

  • Keeping accurate hours of operation, including holiday closures.
    Remember the more accurate the hours of your business, the more useful your profile is to your customers so they know when is the best time to visit.

Google My Business Reviews Explained

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.

Manage and Respond to 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.

Here’s a sample template that you can use to respond to a positive review.

Respond To Positive Customer Reviews

In the event that you do get a negative review, don’t panic. By acting quickly and decisively, you can turn an angry customer into a happy one. Make sure that you apologize to the customer and make it clear that you’re working on the problem that they experienced.

Here’s a sample template that you can use to respond to a negative review.

Respond To Negative Customer Reviews

Occasionally, you might even get reviews that are completely unfair. Maybe you’re a dental practice who gets a 1-star review from someone who isn’t in your patient records. If you don’t take action, this might end up hurting your business.

You can’t delete Google reviews from a customer, even if the review isn’t actually from one of your customers. What you can do is report a customer review. Google will delete reviews that violates its terms of service.

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, the example that you see below. Every potential customer who stumbles on the review will immediately know that this fake review is not an accurate representation of your business.

A Better Way to Monitor Customer Feedback

Monitor Customer Feedback

It can be tough to keep track of every single review site on the internet- there’s over 150 of them! And it’s not like all of your reviews will be on Google. It’s important to stay on top of your reviews all over the Internet, but with all the work that goes into running a business, it’s just not feasible.

Luckily, there’s a better way. A reviews software like BirdEye can help you to respond to reviews across all platforms quickly and easily. BirdEye is directly integrated with Google My Business and more than 150 other sites. Instead of manually having to go from site to site, you can monitor all of your reviews within the BirdEye dashboard.

Share Your Google My Business Profile with Customers

So you’ve got a great Google My Business profile with quality customer reviews. Instead of just letting customers stumble on it, you can share it with the world. Google recently introduced a way for businesses to do just that with a custom short link.

Instead of your Google My Business URL being a long string of numbers and letters, you can get an easy-to-remember URL in the format of: g.page/YourBusinessName

Once you get a custom short link, it’s easier to share your Google My Business profile with your customers both in-person and in marketing materials.

Here’s a 5 step guide to getting your own custom short link.

  1. 1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. 2. If you have a multi-location business, open the location you wish to create a short name for.
  3. 3. From the menu on the left, click Info > Add profile short name. If this feature is available, you should see this in the box under “phone number”.
  4. 4. Enter your short name. Your short name can be anywhere between 5-32 characters.

    If your name isn’t available, you’ll receive an error message and have to choose a different name. Try abbreviating your name or adding other descriptions, like your location. You can also pick another word that describes your business or brand.
  5. 5. Click Apply. Your short name will show as pending. It will show on your business profile when it’s approved.

Google My Business Insights

Google My Business Insights

Your Google My Business profile also contains insights that show how customers are finding and then interacting with your Google My Business profile. These Google My Business insights can provide valuable data to make informed business decisions. Let’s go through three of the insights that Google My Business can give you.

Direction Requests
Customers have the option to request directions to your business from Google My Business. You can see exactly from what ZIP codes customers have been requesting directions from.

Phone Calls
When you have your phone number uploaded, customers will have the option to call you through the Google My Business app. Insights can show you what time and what day of the week customers are calling the most.

Popular Times
If you’ve seen any Google My Business page before, you’ve probably seen this blue graph showing when the most popular times to visit a business are.

Google My Business App

Now that your profile is all set-up, you can download the Google My Business app on your mobile device. The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play.

Once you sign-in with the account linked to your Google My Business account, you’ll be able to view your account on the app. Here are three of the things that you can do on the Google My Business app.

Keep Your Listing Accurate
If your business changes its phone number or address at some point, it’s important that customers have the most accurate, up-to-date information. The app allows you to update your listing information so that all of your customers know how to find you

Instant Notifications for Customer Reviews
With all the work that you and your employees are doing, it’s easy to forget to respond to a customer review. Luckily, BirdEye can help with that. Let’s say you want to send a personalized response to every negative review your business gets on Google and other review sites. BirdEye can send you an automatic notification every time a bad review is posted, so you’ll be able to stay on top of each one.

View Business Insights
Remember, the more information you have about how customers are engaging with your business, the better. The Google My Business app gives you easy access to some of the important stats that we mentioned in the last section.

Google My Business Posts

In 2017, Google gave businesses the ability to create posts. These posts will be on your Google My Business profile for seven days and are meant to advertise things like special offers, discounts, and new products.

While a Google My Business post can’t go viral the same way a Facebook post or a Tweet can, it can be a great way to engage customers who are looking at your profile.

Google My Business Categories

  1. 1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. 2. If you have multiple locations, go to the location whose category you want to change.
  3. 3. Click the pencil icon next to your primary category. You’ll have the option to change your primary category and add an existing category.
  4. 4. When you’re finished editing, click Apply. There’s a chance you might be asked to verify your business again if you’ve made significant changes.

Local Favorite Badges

Google is constantly updating Google My Business, making sure that business owners have all the features they need in order to show potential customers what they have to offer. Just this June, Google announced an exciting new feature: the local favorite badge. These badges will be given to the top 5% of local businesses in a given category.

Google said that businesses have a better chance of being a local favorite if they stay responsive to customers and constantly update their profiles. While the company didn’t give out too much detail, it’s probably safe to speculate that some of the factors from customer reviews like overall star rating and review quantity will be when determining top local businesses.

The Next Step: More Reviews

Get More Google Reviews

Now that you have a custom short link to your business, there’s another step you can take to make your business look fantastic to potential customers. Remember, customers don’t just see your business’s contact information when they see their Google My Business profile, they also see how other customers are reviewing your business.

Though having high-definition pictures and videos is great, what really matters is your customer reviews. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent $100,000 on a business photo shoot if you have no customer reviews. Customers care about your reviews. After all, these reviews represent how other customers actually feel about your services.

The more reviews you have, the better your business looks. After all, a business with 500 reviews looks a lot better than one with 5.

If your business doesn’t have too many reviews right now, don’t stress. There’s an easy way you can get more Google reviews for your business: just asking. Research shows that 70% of customers will leave a review if asked.

Of course, things get a little complicated when you’re talking about getting great results. While asking customers for reviews doesn’t hurt, it rarely gets businesses the results that they’re looking for.

When you ask a customer to leave a review in-person, you’re asking them to do the work of finding your business page themselves. Even a happy customer probably isn’t willing to jump through hoops in order to leave a review.

Let’s talk about what you can do to send high-conversion review requests.

Send Emails and Texts that Link Directly to Your Google My Business profile

Remember, the less steps that are involved in leaving a review, the more likely customers are to actually follow through. Instead of asking for reviews in-person, send customers emails and texts that link directly to your Google My Business profile. All they have to do is click the link and leave a review. It’s simple and easy.

Time Your Requests

It’s important to send requests for feedback on the same day as the sale. If you send a review request the same day your customer buys a new car, you have a much higher chance of the customer actually leaving a review. If you send a review three weeks later after the customer visited your store, chances are that they will no longer have a clear memory of what their experience was.

Send Review Requests to All your Customers

Some of you might be scared of the possibility of getting negative reviews. You might only want to send review requests to customers who you know love your business. This is not the right way to move forward.

Negative reviews are nothing to be afraid of. After all, a few negative reviews here and there shows customers that your reviews are genuine. Studies show that customers trust businesses with some negative reviews more than those with none.

Plus, only sending review requests to select customers is known as " review gating" and is strictly prohibited. If Google discovers your business review gating, your business might face a penalty and rank lower in search results.

How Can I Send Review Requests Quickly and Efficiently?

You might wonder whether you have time to send review requests manually. It’s not easy. If you want to send a review request email or text to each new customer who walks through your front door, you’re going to be spending a lot of time composing new emails and texts. This can be a time-consuming process that can take valuable resources away from other parts of your business that need attention.

Luckily, there’s an easier way. You don’t have to send review requests manually. With BirdEye, you can send automated review requests to your customers on a regular basis. BirdEye can integrate with your Customer Relationship Management system so that you can get new reviews without having to lift a finger.

By sending review requests that link directly to your Google My Business profile, you can expect lots of new Google reviews and lots of new customers. BirdEye customers who’ve used a CRM integration have seen an average 8% increase in revenue after six months.

How BirdEye Can Help Your Business Be the Best Business

Claiming your Google My Business profile is just the first step in the journey. BirdEye helps you handle every aspect of customer feedback. With BirdEye, businesses can get new reviews, manage and respond to reviews from over 150 sites in a single dashboard, automatically share posts on social media, and receive actionable insights through Natural Language Processing.

Start growing with BirdEye today