Potential customers look over your Google My Business (GMB) profile before deciding whether to visit your business, buy your products or use your services. Therefore, knowing how to make the platform work for you is important. Along with a robust social media presence, GMB is a vital part of every local business’s SEO efforts. It provides useful insights into the behavior of search engine users by interactions with your listing, helping you do the following:
- Evaluate the efficiency of your listing by tracking views of your business profile, photos, and posts
- Discover which keyword searches people use to find your business
- See and react to how users interact with your posts
- Geographically target potential customers based on direction requests
- Further optimize your site for local SEO
Knowing how to interpret this information is invaluable to your marketing efforts. Read on to discover how you can measure the performance of your GMB listing and optimize it to ensure the platform sends valuable traffic to your website and your physical storefront or office.
How to measure the success of your Google business listing
You want to get as much out of your GMB listing as you can—improved online reputation, more visitors to your location, more contact with customers, and so on. How do you know whether your listing is doing its job?
There are many ways to find out how well your GMB listing performs with potential customers. Google offers a suite of marketing insight tools, including the Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and the GMB Insights dashboard itself. Businesses can pull information from these sources to determine how well their listings and websites perform across various touch points with customers.
Many of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that apply in other areas of social media and digital marketing are also useful when evaluating the performance of your GMB listing. Important KPIs include the following:
- Phone call volume and click-to-call rates
- Search rankings
- Website traffic
- Online customer reviews
- Requests for driving directions
- Photo views
- Discovery vs. direct searches
If you combine these insights with information about the conversion rate of each of your ad campaigns, you’ll start to get a sense of consumer behavior in your area, allowing you to create more effective listings and advertisements. This in turn will bring greater numbers of visitors to your physical location and to your website, creating more opportunities for sales and increased revenue.
A well optimized GMB listing will draw customers to your business with proactive reviews management and accurate up-to-date information about your location, business hours, etc. A GMB listing optimized for local searches has a far better chance of showing up in the Local 3-Pack at the top of the search results.
In general, a high level of engagement from consumers is a good sign—photo submissions, phone calls, and other interactions all indicate that people are interested in your business and want to know more about it. Check in on GMB regularly to make sure that visitors are talking about their experiences with your business. In addition, Google will notify you every time users post reviews and will send monthly rundowns of your listing’s performance, allowing for easy month-to-month comparisons.
The more positive user-generated content you can accumulate on your listing, the more confidence potential customers have in your business before they even walk through the door. If you notice reviews, photo uploads, or other KPIs trailing off, reaching out to your customers to encourage engagement is well worth the effort.
Tools like the Google Search Console and Google Analytics dashboard provide you with useful data and insights into your local search performance. With Google Search Console, you can get a look at the frequently used search queries that lead users to your website. You can then filter your searches with local modifiers in Google Search Console to get a better idea of the number of users in your area that come across your business.
Google Analytics will offer you broad to in-depth overviews of your digital marketing efforts, allowing you to measure your performance wherever you come in contact with potential customers. In comparison, the GMB dashboard focuses on metrics related to maps, images, posts, and user interactions of those who have viewed your GMB listing. Use this data to understand how your listing performs over time.
How customers find for your business
For your customers to stumble upon your GMB listing in their search results, their searches have to have local intent. Users performing local searches intend to either visit your business (ie. store, office, restaurant) or purchase a service from you (ie. lawn care, in-home care, cleaning services, plumbing, etc.). While local searches are mainly driven by relevance to the searcher’s query, proximity to the searcher’s known location, and your business’ prominence, these searches can also be driven by intent modifiers.
Typical search queries with local intent include the following modifiers:
[term] + city
[term] + near me
[term] + closest to me
Through GMB Insights, Google breaks search traffic down into a few distinct types to help business owners gain insights that help them more effectively direct their digital marketing efforts according to how customers find their businesses. You can find search metrics neatly broken up into these categories in your GMB dashboard:
- Direct searches are performed by customers who search for your business by name or location, indicating that they’ve come across it before via word-of-mouth advertising or some other marketing channel.
- Discovery searches indicate traffic coming from search engine users who research your business category. Potential customers performing discovery searches are looking for solutions that meet their needs and have not yet made a business choice.
- Customers performing branded searches arrive at your business listing via search queries for a brand with a direct relation to yours, such as a brand partner or another business that offers a link to your GMB listing. Customers may also find your site through third-party review sites, such as Yelp.
Knowing how customers search for a business helps you direct your local marketing efforts by giving you a better sense of your target market. For example, knowing that many of your customers find your business through the Google Maps app suggests directing your advertising to reach people using their mobile devices as they walk through your area.
In addition, knowing the role user-generated content plays in attracting potential customers to your business can help you take the steps you need to get more positive reviews on your GMB listing and more frequent positive mentions on social media.
Because many of your customers will first encounter your business in these places, maintaining an accurate, up-to-date listing wherever consumers are talking to one another is crucial, as is being ready to fix any problems that may come up.
How to optimize your GMB listing
Simply claiming your GMB listing and leaving it alone won’t generate traffic for your business. To get the most value out of GMB, interact with the platform on a regular basis by keeping your business’s information current and responding to user-generated content. Show your customers you pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and criticisms by writing prompt and thorough responses to all reviews that you receive—both positive and negative. Keeping your listing active in this way will increase its ranking, putting it in front of potential customers looking for products and services in your area.
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure you’ve claimed your GMB listing to begin with. Claiming the listing for your address is a simple but vital first step in the process of turning GMB into a powerful digital marketing tool—one that can help increase overall social media ROI. Once you have your verification code, don’t just leave your listing to sit and accumulate negative reviews—active and frequent engagement helps make your listing the best it can be.
An optimized GMB listing is a complete GMB listing. Especially over the last few updates, Google has greatly expanded the amount and type of information you can put into a GMB listing—meaning a search for your business can turn up more useful information for customers than ever before.
Your Google My Business listing should include the following (some sections are dependent on your type of business):
- Business name: Clearly represent your business name.
- Primary category: You must choose from Google’s existing categories. Describe your business as a whole, but be specific.
- Additional categories: Describes secondary categories for your business. Be sure to add more categories for better visibility.
- Address: Your featured address should be consistent and formatted the same as it is on your website and other listings.
- Service area: If you service specific areas, add these here. Specified by city, postal code, etc.
- Hours and Special Hours ( Holidays & etc.): Sunday – Saturday regular hours that are customizable by day. Also, let people know when you are closed on any special or necessary days.
- Primary phone: List your main phone line, or use a call tracking number for GMB here if your main line is listed in additional phone.
- Additional phone: A secondary phone line you use. Place your main line number here (for NAP consistency) if you are using a tracking number as your primary.
- Profile short name: Create this for quick access to your GMB profile with a short url: g.page/<shortname>.
- Website: Link to your business homepage.
- Products: Show people product offerings in your GMB listing. All fields must be complete per product.
- Services: A fairly new field where you can list services. Google may populate suggestions based on primary category.
- Highlights: These attributes are dependent on business type. (Ex: Veteran-led, Women-led)
- Business description: 750 characters max. Be careful and don’t be misleading or inappropriate.
- Opening date: Only the year and month of your opening date are required.
- Photos: Cover, Logo, 360, Video, Interior, Exterior, At work, Team, Food & Drink (restaurants).
- Reviews: Remind your customers to leave reviews, but don’t offer incentives. Reply to reviews to build trust.
- Settings: You can set email and app notifications from here.
Make your GMB listing a living online record of the most essential aspects of your business. This includes information that will help users find you, as well as the way you respond to customer feedback, which indicates your commitment to high-quality customer service.
How to increase your GMB performance
The best way to improve both ranking and visibility for your GMB listing is to maintain an active, engaged presence on the platform. By responding quickly to online reviews, promptly uploading photos, and routinely updating your information to keep it accurate, you dramatically improve the likelihood of appearing in a relevant search for your local area.
Providing up-to-the-minute information about your business also makes it easier for potential customers to get in touch with you—GMB call tracking is an excellent way to develop leads. Operate with a customer-centric marketing strategy in mind, and keep people’s wants and needs at the forefront of all your digital marketing decisions.
If your business is not appearing in the Local Pack, Google Maps, or near the top of relevant search engine results pages, you may need to do some optimizing. Re-engage with the GMB platform, and look for areas that need updating. If you haven’t responded to user-generated content in some time, address any unresolved reviews, and optimize any new photos.
Responding quickly to both negative and positive reviews helps communicate to Google users that you care about customer feedback and will listen and act when feedback is given. Moreover, your listing will be more likely to have a higher ranking when you engage with customers on a regular basis.
You should also double-check to make sure your listing is as complete as possible. If you have not yet provided hours, contact information, or other key information on your GMB listing, adding it in will help to optimize your post and put it in front of potential customers. Make sure that the information you provide about your business is consistent across all social media channels and online reviews websites. You want your business hours, location, and so on to appear identically on your GMB listing and your business’s Facebook page, Yelp listing, and all other local listings you appear on.