Have you ever searched for stores, places, restaurants or other locations that you want to go on Google Map? When you search for something on Google Map, many nearby stores, and their reviews would pop up based on the search words you keyed in.

For merchants who want to develop local SEO, you must build a Google My Business. Google My Business is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across the search engine and google maps. It shows the information of your business name, location, reviews, hours, and more to increase store exposure and increase store popularity.

google my business

In the past year, GMB (Google My Business) has added a lot of powerful features to make it more robust, and in this article, we’ll teach you how to utilize these features to optimize your GMB’s local SEO.

A lot of merchants would forget to update their GMB once it’s built. Instead, I’d recommend merchants to keep an eye on it closely, no matter it’s replying reviews, answering questions, or optimizing store information, and more.

1. Edit your business profile

Google will ask you all kinds of questions for you to complete your GMB profile, if you don’t fill in this information by yourself, others will—meaning your competitors.  Once others suggest an edit, the edit will be immediately effective, so check your GMB time to time is critical to ensure no false information is up there.

2. Create Posts

One of the recent enhancements that   added to GMB listing is a called a “post.” The great thing about the post is that when a potential customer searches for a particular business on Google, the post shows up in your profile, and can be used as a marketing or promotional message. Just like your social media posts, it allows you to add photos, CTA, and insert the final URL.

Picture source: https://instant360.com/google-posts-1/

Furthermore, with emojis everywhere these days, users can also lookup for businesses with emojis. You can include emojis that are relevant to your business in your post to increase visibility. If you own a pizza shop, people can find you with  [🍕+nearby]

3. Photos and Videos

Through enticing pictures and videos, you can grab visitors’ attention more easily compare to text. It’s easy to upload videos and pictures at GMB’s backstage, most of the videos would take for minutes or a day to review.

Photo guidelines

Your photos will look best on Google if they meet the following standards:

  • Format: JPG or PNG.
  • Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB.
  • Minimum resolution:  720 px tall, 720 px wide.
  • Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.

Video guidelines

Make sure your videos meet the following requirements:

  • Duration: Up to 30 seconds long
  • File size: Up to 100 MB
  • Resolution: 720p or higher

4. Answer Questions

GMB has a question and answer column on your profile, so users can ask questions related to your business and services. We recommend you to create a list of frequently asked questions and answers with thorough detail. With suggest an edit, every passenger who passed by your business profile can help you answer the question. To avoid any misunderstanding or false information, it’s best that you check often on this section, and reply on behalf of the store.

5. Reviews

Based on marketing research, these days, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Think about when’s the last time you didn’t read the reviews about a business before visiting it for the first time? With this being said, review management has become critical for consumer-facing industries.

BrightLocal conducted a survey in 2017, and the results have shown that:

  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses
  • Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a local business
  • Positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use a local business

It’s needless to emphasize the importance of online reviews, and Google has confirmed that responding to google reviews actually help local SEO. If you’re providing outstanding services to your customers, don’t be shy to ask for some positive feedback. It really does help people view you as a credible business.

6. GMB Direct Messaging

This new feature is only limited in a few countries, it allows merchants to message customers on the go and in reverse. Once you turn on these features, customers will see a “Message” button on your Google My Business listing and customers will then be able to message you at any time.

google my business direct message

Conclusion

Hopefully, you have learned how to optimize your business profile, building a business profile takes time and energy, and it’s a lot more than just trying to get good reviews, it requires a thorough business and marketing strategies over time to develop a good profile.