The 5-Day Guide to Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing
Written by Chris Roberts on October 15, 2020
“Having an optimized Google My Business listing is critical to the success of your business!”
Perhaps you've heard this at some point from another business owner, a colleague, at a conference or from a multitude of articles online.
And, to be honest, it’s not an untrue statement. Obviously, you CAN have a successful business without ever setting up a Google My Business listing (GMB for short). There are plenty of businesses out there that thrive on word-of-mouth references alone and have more than enough work to keep them busy.
However, for other businesses that need a constant influx of new customers, having an optimized Google business profile will help people who’ve never heard of your before learn more about your company, products or services without ever leaving the search engine.
Where to begin?
It is incredibly challenging to sift through all the advice about everything that’s possible with a GMB listing and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Good news: we’ve done the hard work for you.
We’ve spent hours combing through all the latest and greatest information about GMB listings and have arranged the information into a 5-day program to help you improve your existing listing or create a brand-new listing that sits head and shoulders above the rest.
It’s not difficult, it won’t take a lot of time and – if you’re diligent about it – you can complete every step in one business week.
But before we get into those steps, let’s answer an important question.
Is Google My Business Worth It?
Google My Business is definitely worth it for the following reasons:
- It helps your business show up in Google search results and maps when prospective clients search using the phrase “near me” (e.g. “apartments near me”, “restaurants near me”, “chocolate near me”) or when they search for your business by name.
- It allows you to provide contact information in Google (website, phone number, hours of operation) so that it’s easy for prospective clients to get in touch.
- Google My Business is free, so there’s no financial limitation to setting one up. The only investment required is time.
These are the obvious reasons why GMB is worthwhile. In addition, there’s a more subtle, customer-based reason for making sure that your listing is robust:
- If your competitors do not have GMB listings, then you will immediately stand out just by setting one up (simple, right?)
- Even if they do have listings, the majority don’t leverage all the features that Google provides – you’ll gain an advantage by using them all
So – there’s a real opportunity for you to optimize your GMB listing so that when a new prospective client is comparing your Google business profile to another, yours stands out as the obvious choice.
Let’s take a look at a real-world example to see this in action.
A Tale of Two Drain Cleaners
Here is a Google map search result for “drain cleaning charlotte nc”. Check out the second result that is not an ad: Ben’s Saves on Drain Cleaning.
If my drain was clogged and water was spilling onto my kitchen floor, I’d have some concerns about giving Ben’s a call:
- No website – there’s no way for me to learn more about the company
- One five-star rating – it’s great that the one rating is 5 stars, but this is a very limited sample size
- No questions & answers – surely someone has had a question at some point?
- No Products or additional information about the services that Ben’s provides
Now, take a look at the listing for Roto-Rooter.
As a person having a drain crisis, this looks good to me:
- A website – if Roto-Rooter didn’t have a website, I’d be worried
- Products – a $75 off coupon for next service (I like discounts)
- Q&A – not many, but they are there
- Reviews – lots of them, along with a high star rating
- Posts – these keep me up to date on any recent events or promotions
Bottom line: Roto-Rooter has taken full advantage of their Google business profile to share as much information about the company and their services as possible.
The likely thought that you’re having right now is that this is not really a fair apples-to-apples comparison. Ben’s Saves on Drain Cleaning is probably a very small company (could be just Ben) while Roto-Rooter employs 7,000 people with annual sales over $700 million.
Here’s the key point:
Yes, Ben’s will have a much harder time building up an equivalent number of reviews due to lower volume, but they can definitely have more than one.
In addition, Ben's can have photos, Posts, Q&A, special offers and everything else that you see in the Roto-Rooter GMB listing. The playing field here is level – David can compete with Goliath.
Let’s find out how.
5 Days to a Superior Google My Business Listing
By now, two things should be abundantly clear:
- If you don’t have a GMB listing already, you definitely should
- If you do have a GMB listing, you’re probably not using every feature
Over the course of the next 5 days, we’re going to correct this.
Please don’t feel that you must take days to do this. Assuming that you have some spare time (spare time? What’s that?) you can dive right in and get through several of these steps in less than an hour.
We just arranged the steps by days so that even if you have less than 15 minutes each day, you can still make measurable progress on your GMB listing.
Every GMB listing is broken up into multiple elements, and each day we’ll focus on optimizing one element. These elements are:
- Questions & Answers
Before You Begin
I'm sure that you're eager to dive right in and get started, but there are a few housekeeping items that you need to take care of first.
First, make sure that you have a Gmail account that has been granted access to Google My Business.
- If you are working with an existing GMB profile then you will either need to be the person who set it up OR have the person who set it up grant you access to the listing so that you can manage it.
- If you need to create a new profile, then go here first. IMPORTANT: make sure that you are logged in with the Gmail account for your business (not your personal one) before you set up the profile.
Second, even though we've kept the information in this guide as simple and actionable as possible, we realize that you're probably going to be interrupted before you make it through all 5 days.
Since we want your Google My Business profile to stand out, we'd like to make sure that you complete every step in this guide. To help you, we've created a checklist that you can download and print.
Use the checklist like a workbook, and keep track of the progress that you've made. This way, when you do get distracted, you'll be able to resume right where you left off.
Everything in order? OK, let’s get started!