How to use Google My Business correctly to take up space

The business listings offered by Google are a showcase of choice in light of growing requests for local businesses and services.

According to a Google study revealed in 2018, in the United States, “mobile queries “near me” (“near me”, ed. note) which clearly expressed a purchase intention (“can I buy”, “to buy” or other variants) has increased more than 500% in the last two years”. This usage brings mobile users back to the store, who arrive with a specific idea in mind, and not just to stroll around. To inform the customer, the merchant sheet in Google My Business is an optional window because it is very functional and provides visibility on the local package, on Google Maps, in organic search and of course in the knowledge graph.

From left to right, a Google My Business listing in the Local Pack, in Google Maps, in the Knowledge Graph, and in Organic Search. Click to zoom. © JDN

A free tool, Google My Business is updated very regularly and new features appear as it evolves. It is therefore important to optimize your Google My Business file correctly, which requires more persistence and creativity than technical knowledge.

1. Become the owner of your file

Google is keen to be comprehensive and does not wait for sellers to create their Google My Business listing to display one if they have detected the presence of a business. There are two ways to become the owner of a file: get the property validated when it already exists by phone or mail, or create a new one. In order to avoid having two competing sheets that raise doubts among users, it is therefore advisable to check on Google Maps that the land is free before creating a new one.

“You must periodically re-read all the information in each file to check that it has not changed”

Once the card has been validated, the owner gets access to the dashboard from which he publishes information, sends news and analyzes the increasingly detailed performance data that Google provides him (since the beginning of July 2018, the requests entered by the visitors to arrive on the form are available in metrics). From the “Info” category, the account administrator can change the contact information and opening hours of his business(es). All fields are important and must be filled in correctly. The “category” of commerce is a reference criterion that allows users to receive personalized results according to their search intent (online tools allow finding existing categories). It is better to try to be as specific as possible to stand out from the competition, e.g. chooses “dance goods and dance clothing store” rather than “clothing store”.

As a regular collaborative practice, Google has opened up the ability for all contributors to “suggest changes” to any Google My Business listing. But very often this leads to effectively changing the information in the file… without notifying its owner. Incorrect user responses to “quick questions” and conflicting information found by Google on other media can have the same effect. To avoid losing customers due to inaccurate information, Mickaël Le Du, SEO consultant at Resoneo, recommends that every file manager get into the habit of regularly re-reading all the information on each file to check that it has not changed in the meantime .

Since the beginning of 2018, all companies can add a list of products or services with their prices, an option inspired by restaurant menus. Another novelty is the description of the company in 750 characters, of which only 250 are visible at the bottom of the knowledge graph on computers. On mobile, go to the “about” tab to read it.

2. Strengthen Google My Business

Just like a website, a Google My Business listing is not meant to remain static. In addition, Google regularly sends notifications to encourage owners to add new content. The images, provided they are exclusive, offer a showcase to present its premises, its products, its team and narrate in photos the company’s daily life to feed the brand’s storytelling. Since January, videos of up to 30 seconds can complete the company presentation.

Description of the company at the bottom of the knowledge graph. © JDN

Posts are the most interesting opportunity to talk in some detail. The latest post is displayed in the knowledge graph. You need to click on it to scroll through all the publications. For each post it is possible to integrate a category (events, offers, news…), an image, a text, a button. The latter, whose text must be selected from a list, can refer directly to a page on the website where the transaction can be completed. From the SERP to the purchase page, it’s just a click away. Issued at the end of 2017, the posts are not yet part of the practice of professionals or users, but Mickaël Le Du considers them a way to improve the conversion rate that should not be overlooked.

Although endowed with a limited lifespan, these publications function somewhat like blog articles, but without all the features. For example, they do not take links in the body of the text, and the impact of keywords on SEO is zero.

3. Manage the interaction

Google My Business listings are increasingly serving as an interactive interface. Many businesses now use this option and add a link to their listing that points to a page on their website or a partner website, such as for restaurants, to make an appointment. This is an additional opportunity to establish direct contact with just a few clicks.

Short presentation of the post on the knowledge graph on desktop. Click to zoom. © JDN

Reviews are the oldest and best-known interaction between companies and their users. Their influence on SEO is unquestioned in the SEO community. The number from which their weight starts to weigh in the scales varies according to the intensity of the competition. A restaurant in a touristy city center must have more than an electronics store on the same street. “When an owner receives a message on his listing, whether positive or negative, you must always respond to it, and in a certain way. This is important for SEO, Google regularly reminds us that this is a criterion. But above all, is a good practice that inspires confidence in users when they consult the reviews and see that the professional pays attention to their customers”, explains Mickaël Le Du. For now, experts agree that the amount of reviews matter more than their quality, but in recent months we’ve seen Google test ways to ensure an increase in the quality of these reviews and to value their content.

“To build trust in Google, the Google My Business listing does not work alone”

Presented to Internet users and mobile users as a channel for customer interaction, Q&A has begun to open up to professional owners of the files. From now on, they can also react, ensuring that false information does not circulate. The owner receives an alert when a question is asked. Please note that Internet users with Local Guide status, attributed to those who regularly contribute their opinion on Google Maps, and who have already submitted an opinion on this page, will also receive a notification. Answers from other customers can build more trust, so you don’t always have to be the fastest to answer. However, it is advisable to read all the answers thoroughly.

Finally, a messaging system allows users to ask the owner their questions directly. Regarding this conversion arm, Aurélien Delefosse, traffic acquisition manager at E-influence, encourages her clients to instead direct conversations to the site’s contact page or store locator to maintain control over the direct interactions generated by their Google My Business listing. .

4. Think complementarity

The Google My Business listing is a conversion tool that its growing power makes essential. But to create trust in Google, it does not work alone, reminds the SEO consultant from Resoneo. It is accompanied by a website and detailed mentions on local websites and directories. The exact match between the data on the file and what the search engine can find on these other media serves as the basis for the bots to know if a file is reliable. If Google finds inconsistencies, it may initially spontaneously change the information in the listing and then reduce the business’s authority score, limiting the number of queries it will have a chance to appear on.

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