If you are not using Google My Business for your company, then you are missing a trick!
Google has a history of encouraging organisations to focus their business websites on Google’s own social platforms. Who remembers Google+?!
Today the tech giant has a new focus: Google My Business (GMB). Here’s how to get the most out of your free Google My Business Listing.
Google My Business, Defined
Google My Business is a free directory provided by Google that shows vital information about your business to searchers. It appears on the right-hand side of the screen after a Google search.
- Your contact details
- Opening hours
- And of course, what it is that your company offers.
As people are steadily using mobiles more than home computers for buying online and booking things, GMB has been optimised even more for mobile phones. Customers can contact you, leave reviews and get directions straight to your door without ever visiting your website.
How to get a Google My Business listing?
Google My Business is available to almost every business that can be found by Google. If you have a website or business, it’s likely that Google has already created a listing on your behalf using information that it’s found from your website OR that your customers have provided. You can claim this listing and update your information. One of the quickest ways of doing this is to search your business on Google Maps, if your business appears you can select ‘claim this listing’.
If you are creating a brand-new listing then you’ll need a Google account to create a new business.
For both options, you’ll have to prove that you are the owner of or a representative of the business. Usually, this is done by posting out a code to your registered address but sometimes can be done by phone.
While you are waiting on your confirmation you can fill in all the relevant information about your business as well as your favourite photographs of your business.
Here’s an example of a hotel’s Google My Business Listing:
Here’s the reviews summary on Google My Business
You may add posts to your Google My Business profile to inform our customers about updates. Why not give them a preview of your latest blog?
Why is Google My Business essential for hospitality?
As Google is putting more emphasis on Google My Business, they are constantly releasing new features most of which are perfect for those in the hospitality industry. From links, click to call, to checking prices without ever entering your website.
1. It’s not all about Tripadvisor
Unlike TripAdvisor, Google My Business is completely free! Sites such as TripAdvisor are great but to have total control over your own profile you must pay for add ons such as TripAdvisor Business Advantage. That’s a fee just to have a link to your own website! With GMB you can send potential customers to multiple links. At no extra cost.
As well as their own review platform Google My Business can pull in reviews from TripAdvisor, meaning users don’t have to actively go to the site to find out about your business.
2. Google Reviews
If you have an Android phone have you been encouraged to leave a review when leaving a restaurant lately?
Reviews are essential for hotels and restaurants; Google reviews allow your potential customers to see your glowing reviews as well as your responses to them. For hotels, guests can see a breakdown of reviews by different sections.
3. Google Hotel Ads
Googles’ latest paid search platform allows guests to check availability without ever leaving Google!
Hotel Ads is a paid advertising platform that is shown on your listing. This displays room rates and prices for the property so potential guests may not even enter a site to check prices. Users can also search availability right from the platform.
After searching for availability your guests are then given the price for their stay. As it’s a pay-per-click model, other businesses like online travel agents (OTA), such as Booking.com and Expedia, can also bid on your Hotel Ads. If you are not paying to be on Hotel Ads these OTAs can still bid and show prices on your property. So, ensuring that you have the best rate is key for this to work.
4. Add your best photos
Along with reviews, customers can post their own photos of your hotel or restaurant. Though getting customer photos can be a blessing (or a curse) it’s important to showcase your best photos to encourage potential guests to visit your website. Using Google My Business you can add photos of all aspects of your business from the restaurant, food, room pictures or even an outside view. Your logo, branding, and a virtual tour can be added if you have one.
5. Add your menus
Restaurants can now add their full menu on their profile, currently, this feature only works on mobile devices. Each menu item must be added one at a time. You may consider whether to add your whole menu or just your most popular items depending on the size. You can also add a link direct to your menu page on your website.
6. Improve your SEO
Having your business listing up to date is more important than ever due to local SEO and Google places. For example, if you search for a restaurant in Cork, you may notice that instead of normal Google search results you’ll be shown a map listing some local restaurants, showing their reviews and locations. This is powered by your Google My Business Listing and is one of the best ways for potential customers to find you.
7. Get social
You can post directly on your GMB listing. This is a great way to get important news or pictures directly in front of your customers. These posts are great for restaurants or anyone who wants to show off special offers and get your most important news to your customers right away.
Unfortunately, not available for hotels as space is taken up with Hotel Ads.
Most recently Google has allowed showcasing nearly every aspect of your company, there are now over 3000 categories available to your business. Before many organisations may have struggled to place themselves in the correct category of exactly what their business does.
As well as adding amenities and facilities such as gyms etc. you can even add what languages your staff speak and even what days are available!
Author Bio: Katie McGarr is one of the resident writers for SPRINT DIGITAL Agency Dublin, a firm offering an extensive range of digital marketing and website services to businesses across UK, Ireland, and Continental Europe. She enjoys sharing her insights about blogging, web design, SEO, and other forms of digital marketing.