Many small business owners we speak to would rather listen to someone rake their fingernails across a blackboard than optimize their Google My Business (GMB) listing. We get it, logging into your Google My Business account can be intimidating. That’s why we made this guide, to make the process less onerous. This Google My Business guide will provide step-by-step instructions to focus your attention on the four most important new Google My Business features you need to start using today and how to use them. Without further ado, let’s jump into the only Google My Business guide you will ever need to improve your search presence on Google.
Google My Business Feature 1: Google Posts
What are Google posts? Google posts allow Google My Business users to blog directly on their GMB listing. Simple, right?
Why are Google posts important? We recommend that you allocate some of your blogging time to Google My Business because having a well-optimized GMB listing accounts for approximately 25% of the website’s rankings in the map pack. We pulled this data for Moz’s 2018 local ranking factor survey. See the full breakdown of ranking factors in the pie chart below. Moz indicated that Google posts were the single most important recommendation they had for improving your search engine rankings in the map pack.We recommend that you post half of your blogs on Google My Business going forward.
How do I post blogs on Google My Business?
- Log into your GMB account
- Select “posts” on the left-hand column
- Click on “write your post” in the main area
- Select “event” if there is an event you wish to promote. Add start and end times for your event.
Google My Business Feature 2: Google Q&A
In August of 2018, Google rolled out a new feature called Google Q&A. This feature allows users to directly interact with your brand by asking questions that can be answered by you as the business owner or by other customers. We highly recommend that you maintain a careful watch to make sure you are the one answering the questions as customer answers can often be inaccurate or less than complimentary. In order to be notified when questions from customers arise, business owners need to have the Google Maps app and make sure they are signed in with the same Google account they use to manage their GMB account.
Google My Business Feature 3: Google Services
Traditionally, Google My Business allows small business owners to select three categories that describe their services. For example, an accountant could select the following three categories
- Tax preparation service
- Accounting Firm
Small business owners were relegated to selecting from a limited list and were forced to check categories that most closely reflected their suite of services.
Google Services allows business owners to provide a detailed list of services they can input on their own. In our accounting example, they could list that they provide enterprise level accounting services, M&A consulting services, and other niche offerings that are not existing GMB categories.
To begin adding your services, simply follow the screenshots below.
Step 1: Click on info and then services
Step 2: Input your services. Rinse and repeat for each service.
Google My Business Feature 4: Google Short Names
In June of 2019, Google announced a new feature to GMB users called short names. This feature allows business owners to send its shorter, branded URL to customers and potential customers. Business owners can claim a short name that they can give to their customer that is personalized as they see fit. The good news is that any verified GMB user can create a Google short name. Follow the steps below to claim your Google short name.
Before we show you how to claim your short name, it’s important to understand a few of the ins and outs of claiming your short name.
- A short name gives you the opportunity to create a more concise, easy-to-remember URL for your customers.
- Any verified Google My Business account can create a short name.
To claim your short name, sign in to your GMB account and then go to the left-hand side menu and click on the info tab; you will then be presented with an option to “add profile short name.”
When you enter your short name, make sure that your name is no fewer than five characters and no longer than 32 characters. In our accounting example, let’s say our accountant’s company name was DBC & Associates. Their short name could be “g.page.dbcassociates.”
We believe that the four tips explained above will have a positive impact on your company’s search presence. A short name will make your company’s URL easier to share with clients, add to stationery, and print on business cards. Google posts will help customers better understand your brand. Google Services provides an excellent opportunity to show up for long-tail keyword searches, and Google Q&A provides a great platform for users to understand what working with your brand looks like.