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When was the last time you reviewed your business listing in Google My Business? I’m willing to bet it’s been awhile. It’s an extremely easy thing to push off when other tasks come up, but it’s an important tool to optimize and monitor. If your listing contains out-of-date or inaccurate information, you could be losing both current customers and the potential for new ones.

Get the full benefit of your Google Business Listing with these tips.

Choose the proper category for your business.

Google offers a pretty extensive list, and your primary category should be as specific as possible. “Barbecue Restaurant” is a better choice than “Restaurant” because it’s more likely to put you in the top three for relevant searches.

Use a consistent format for your address and phone number.

For instance, decide whether to use Avenue or Ave, Boulevard or Blvd, Suite or Ste. This might seem trivial, but consistency appeases Google when it comes across your business in different places. Your listing looks that much stronger when it matches your website, Facebook page, press release PDFs, etc.

Keep business hours up to date.

They probably don’t change that often, but if you forget to change them when they do, you risk irritating customers who show up to closed doors or losing out on patrons who don’t know you’re still open. In addition to your standard daily hours, Google lets you add special hours for irregular situations. This option is great for holidays with extended or shortened hours, special events or scheduled renovations/maintenance.

Include great photos.

High-quality photos of your products, services or atmosphere will make your business stand out and give customers a glimpse into what they can expect. Own a gourmet bakery? Include photos of your pastry counter and loaves of bread coming out of the oven. Operate a hair salon? Show off your sleek and modern décor and show patrons receiving your signature hot towel treatment at the wash station.

According to Google, businesses with photos receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions and 35 percent more clicks to their website than businesses without visuals.

Check your Google Business Listing often.

Many business owners don’t know that anyone – yes, anyone – can actually request updates to their Google Business Listings. There’s an option to “Suggest an edit” that lets users submit changes for everything from address to website, and also “Know this place? Answer quick questions” that offers yes/no questions to help Google learn more about your company.

Now, don’t be too worried… most users skim right over them or wouldn’t click on them anyway. Even if users or competitors did try to mess with your information, you’ll receive a notification that changes were submitted and you can deny them. To avoid any potential issues, review your information regularly.

Create a Post.
Last June, Google rolled out Posts, which are like mini ads. They’re great for advertising specials, events, new products, etc.

Let’s say you own a coffee shop. You might use Posts to promote new menu options or advertise offers like BOGO drinks or double punches on loyalty cards. If you hosted live musicians or poetry readings, Posts could help you get the word out. You might even create a Post when there’s a snowstorm and you want to let searchers know you’re still open for business. You can add photos to Posts and set a timeframe for how long they’re available, up to seven days.

It was challenging for me to find a great example to include in this article, so it’s still a very underutilized tool for local businesses. Become an earl(ier) adopter and play around to see what works best for you.

While Google is the prize fish, consider your presence on other search engines, too. Bing offers Bing Places for Business, and Yelp is popular for restaurant and retail inquiries. Optimize your profile on those sites and additional directories that make sense for your industry. Still have questions or need some help? We’d love to work with you!

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Melissa Slack

Author Melissa Slack

Melissa is a Digital Content Specialist at InQuest Marketing. She creates and manages social media content for a variety of clients, and she also has experience in SEO, SEM and public relations. Her favorite things about InQuest are the people. Melissa loves her rescue dog and tackling home renovation projects, and she could eat tacos everyday.

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