Four Best Practices for Fixing Common Google My Business Mistakes

Four Best Practices for Fixing Common Google My Business Mistakes

Carolyn Baughman Carolyn Baughman

So, a Google thing happened the other day:

A friend asked me for info about a must-visit shop that just relocated to our area. When I went to find the shop on Google Maps, I saw that its location had an old address, plus the shop was labeled “Permanently Closed.” (I knew this wasn’t the case because the shop was new, local, and very much open last week.)

It was a bummer, because that inaccurate information made it hard for me to quickly pass along quick, shareable info about the shop. One quick link could have provided all that my friend needed to know about its location, business description and community reviews.

Google My Business is a free platform that allows your brand and website information to show up on both Google Search AND Google Maps. You can also use the tool to communicate with customers, and see how they are interacting with your business.

With this free resource at your business’ fingertips, why not make sure your GMB page is as robust as possible?

In this blog, we’ll share a few common Google My Business mistakes, plus the simple, “quick fixes” that can make all the difference for your brand.

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GMB Best Practice #1: Check Your GMB Business Info

It’s important to make sure your basic business information is current on your Google My Business listing.

Like we’ve noted in the previous ALINE blog: Using Online Directories to Drive Customer Engagement, it’s doubly important to check that your GMB business listing info is aligned with your website’s info. Not only is this important to Google, you want to ensure that your business info is accurate across all platforms. So check (and cross-check) the following information for accuracy:

  • Location: We can’t emphasize this enough. If you’ve relocated, or just started your business, make sure to add this very important detail. Geolocation is a big driver for Google. The more people can find (and share) your exact address, the more likely they are to do business with you, and share your link with their friends!
  • Hours: Do you have summer hours that vary? Did you just expand your hours now that it’s your busy season? Is there a holiday on the horizon? Make sure to adjust your hours accordingly, even if it’s a temporary change. Remember the times when you’ve arrived at a store (that said they were open until 5p)...only to find that they were closed early for a seasonal siesta? Grrr!
  • Website Link: This is one of the most important details to include, as it’s a direct line to a broader, more comprehensive version of your brand. Clicking that simple link can tell the potential customer everything they need to know about your brand. Add it!

GMB Best Practice #2: Cover Photo

They say a picture says a thousand words, and this is certainly true about your GMB cover photo!

The photo you choose for your listing says a lot about your brand, plus it allows customers to visually experience interacting with your products and business offerings. (Think: house shopping on Zillow - pictures are everything!)

Ask yourself a few questions about your selected GMB cover image:

  • Does the photo represent your brand?
  • If yes, is it a high quality photo? (Grainy, low-resolution photos are a no-go)
  • Does it show the outside and inside of your business, plus key products, experiences customers or clients will encounter, or “behind the scenes moments” that illustrate your work ethic or company spirit? The more you can paint the picture for the customer, the more likely they’ll be to engage.

GMB Best Practice #3: Checking & Updating your Listing

Circling back to the “can’t find that local shop on Google Maps” example above, when viewers find surprising or inaccurate information about a business, Google will prompt them to suggest edits. The more you, the business owner, check your GMB listing, the quicker you’ll be able to view those suggested edits. From there you can choose to accept, edit or reject them as you see fit. This is pure brand management, with a little help from your virtual community!

Doing this is beneficial for two reasons:

  • You’re showing Google that you’re actively engaging with your GMB listing and your audience.
  • Alternatively, by NOT checking your GMB listing consistently, Google will update your listing as it sees fit. This may or may not paint an accurate picture of your company info.

Additionally, it's important to update your listing regularly with exciting company happenings. Let’s say you’re a flower shop and a special holiday is around the corner, your GMB listing is a great way to share pictures of your seasonal floral fare, plus any specials that you’re offering.

Or maybe you’re a restaurant owner looking to ramp business up, use your GMB listing to update your future customers about that night’s specials, and add pictures to further entice your audience!

GMB Best Practice #4: Customer Engagement

If a business has a string of unanswered reviews, it can make the business seem cold and unconcerned about unhappy customers. Alternatively, not responding to glowing reviews can ironically feel the same way. That likely is NOT how you want to do business, so be sure to follow up with positive and negative reviews on a regular basis.

One tip: just put a non-negotiable recurring weekly note on your calendar to make any GMB updates, check edits, post pictures, and respond to reviews. Your business will appear much more engaged, plus you’ll have a finger on the pulse of what your customers are responding to, or want more of.

Need help getting started?

We hope these quick fixes help guide you through success with your Google My Business platform. Want to chat more with our team at ALINE about your digital marketing strategy? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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