Google My Business is a free business profile that lives in Google search results. Containing key pieces of information, the main point of having an active business listing on Google is to build visibility as well as streamline the local search process.
As an extension of this, Google has an algorithm that is used to sift through low-quality content in order to boost more valuable listings. These listings provide insight and assistance to a greater number of people, and therefore are more likely to appear within the first few pages of search results.
The best way to keep your listing at the top of search results is to optimize it on a regular basis. This means keeping up with Google’s ever changing algorithm, providing any relevant and updated information, and providing high-quality visuals across your listing(s).
Every established business can activate their listing in just a few easy steps.
You won’t have immediate access to your listing, but it should be approved within a week - just continue to sign in to Google My Business to check in.
From then on, you’ll be able to optimize your listing with information, photography, posts, etc.
If your office ever happens to move, you’ll have to update your listing’s address.
How to Optimize Google My Business
Google My Business: Best Practices by Industry
Virtual Tours and Street View
Understanding Google My Business Insights
Boosting Your Google My Business Customer Engagement
Review and Reputation Management
Commonly Asked Questions
Every industry has a different set of requirements in regards to their listing.
Multifamily, for instance, requires a lot of local SEO optimization in order to maintain visibility in search results. Because this process can be a bit tedious, we’ll explain various result-driven tips and tricks below.
First off, as soon as you claim your business listing, you’ll need to add all necessary information as listed:
Technically speaking, these key pieces of information are optional. However, it is highly recommended that it’s added so customers can easily go from your listing to your website since the overall goal is to convert.
Since the entire point of GMB listings is to stand out among local searches, you’ll want to make your apartment community appear in the best light possible.
In order to do that you’ll have to optimize your listing with high-quality visuals of the correct Google My Business image size requirements, which you can see in the infographic below.
The best part about an optimized GMB listing for real estate businesses is its ability to prevent property manager burnout.
When peak renting season comes around, property management has to deal with a lot of moving parts - so having an active and optimized listing to leverage can streamline the search process immensely.
As stated above, different industries should have different content on their listings.
Multifamily, for instance, has many options to choose from. As always, we suggest high-quality photography with correct dimensions for any business, but to take that one step further, virtually staged images will make a listing multidimensional.
Adding onto that, leveraging a virtual tour through your listing can have tremendous benefits. Virtual tours in multifamily actually double the interest in your company and therefore produce higher engagement rates.
Read below for an in-depth look at Google virtual tours.
As for Google My Business listings for commercial real estate, the same key pieces of information are recommended.
That means all contact information, descriptions, image sizes, etc. will all need to follow Google’s requirements.
The difference between multifamily and commercial real estate, however, is the emphasis on location and visuals.
A few of the best types of digital content to leverage for commercial real estate include high quality photography, virtual tours, drone shots, and virtual staging.
These tools are perfect for providing the exact dimensions and use of space for potential prospects, as well as give a better visual of the surrounding areas.
Google My Business listings for hospitals require somewhat similar digital content to both commercial real estate and multifamily.
However, business listings for hospitals will need to be much more informative.
Your first task for optimizing your listing should be to ensure all contact information is 100% accurate and that your location is updated for Google Maps. In addition, maintaining product posts and any updates can help keep patients and their families easily informed.
Next: the importance of virtual tours in healthcare.
Google tours for hospitals are so important for improving the patient experience. Between providing comfort, a resource for distant or immobile patients, and information about staff and your services, this tool should be number one priority.
Lastly, hospitals should ensure someone is on top of incoming questions. Whether or not it’s a medical emergency, responding to inquiries in a timely manner will help you and your patients, while simultaneously building a reliable reputation.
It has been proven that Google My Business listings with photos and virtual tours push results.
Reasons your business needs a virtual tour:
Google virtual tours are one of the most budget-friendly and effective tools to have on a listing.
Not only do people love them, but they also show off your business personality as well as give an inside look of your community from the get-go.
This is great for boosting your search ranking, reaching out of state prospects, and helping customers make an informed decision.
Google Street View, on the other hand, is just as useful.
In fact, it’s been proven that consumers rely on Google Maps and other map websites 44% of the time.
Being easily found with Google Maps is pertinent to a businesses success - especially in regards to real estate.
I mean, how else will you be able to give property tours?
84% of consumers leverage search engines to find out information for a local purchase.
Little Dragon Media
This makes Google My Business listings detrimental to a company’s success.
And in order to gauge that success, businesses will need to track the way consumers are interacting with your listing.
This is where Google My Business Insights comes in.
GMB insights are an analytics tool leveraged for businesses to see how customers find your listing on Search and Maps, and what they do after they find it.
Here are some ways to measure success within a listing:
First off, there are three ways in which consumers find your listing:
In addition to the type of discovery, there are time filters for better accuracy that include 1 week, 1 month, or 1 quarter.
Pretty self explanatory, but this graph is dedicated to the actions customers take after discovering your listing.
These actions could include:
Type of engagement can illustrate either the success of your listing, or a possible issue like a lack of clarity.
Overall, Insights are a pretty effective free tool that help maintain a successful business listing, so knowing how to read them will definitely assist in future ventures.
One of the greatest features for Google My Business listings is the ability to post on it.
Acting like a more professional social media page, GMB suggests categories like updates, events, offers, and product posts for promotional use. Adding an image, caption, and a link (if applicable), your post will eventually show how many people have viewed and/or clicked on your post.
The noteworthy benefit of posting, however, is the direct impact it has on your ranking.
Since Google works to provide the most relevant information, businesses that post register positively with its algorithm, and will bump your listing up just for being informative.
In addition, Google posts can literally be Googled, so actively posting about your business can streamline the sales cycle and increase visibility immensely.
Last but not least, like every other aspect of your business listing, posts should be optimized as well.
By adding targeted keywords, you can effectively reach people that are looking for your services. And if you attract people that are already searching, you’ll have a higher chance of converting them.
Overall, posting is an easy and effective way to promote your business, so it will be best practice to post to your listing at least once a week.
The great thing about GMB listings are their transparency - unless, of course, your business has a negative reputation. Which is why reputation management for business listings will be best practice from the moment it’s established.
A few tips and tricks for managing your reputation from your listing are discussed below.
It may sound a bit awkward, but requesting a review (or testimonial) from a happy customer can be great to share on your listing.
As of right now, we’re part of a “referral generation.” Due to modern consumers desire for trust and transparency, they want to ensure they’re making a safe decision.
And what better way to do this than by asking for referrals?
Good Google My Business listing reviews actually outnumber bad reviews 2:1 last year, so be sure you’re not the business on the bad side of that ratio and be proactive instead of reactive.
Unfortunately, once a customer review is posted, the only person that can take it down is themselves. Unless of course you dispute it as a fake review Google may take it down, however, that is not guaranteed.
With that being said, it looks much better if you confront a bad review head-on.
This absolutely should not be accusatory or aggressive in any way - simply asking what the issue is, requesting help, and apologizing will be best practice.
Not only will it show that person you acknowledged the issue, but it will also reflect well on your overall reputation. People like businesses that care, so keep that in mind.
And don’t only respond to bad reviews, either.
Consumer interaction shows people you’re interested in the level of satisfaction your business brings to people, so responding to good reviews is an excellent way to build trust and loyalty with consumers.
This can be as simple as responding with a thank you, or a simple “I appreciate the time you took for giving us a good review.”
As we mentioned above, it reflects extremely poorly on your business if you’re seen attacking or insulting a customer that gives a bad review.
Regardless of whether or not they were wrong, there are ways to acknowledge the dissatisfaction of a customer without making yourself sound like a bully.
The best route to go when you are at a loss for words is to just ask what you can do to help, this way no one can use your words against you.
Everyone is familiar with the Google Street View car that goes around semi-regularly to capture 360 degree photography of [most] incorporated streets.
However, updates don't always happen as frequently as a business would like, which means sometimes it has to be taken into their own hands.
Queue: Google trusted services.
LCP360, for example, has the ability to update Street View when needed - which should typically be done once every couple of years unless you're a new development.
For more information on Google Street View updates, read How Often Should You Update Google Street View?
A basic audit for Google My Business listings consists mostly of regular updates.
The main point of an audit is to stay up to date with Google's algorithm, which works to highlight valuable content among listings for a more informed Google search.
Examples of valuable content:
For a more detailed guide to GMB listing audits, download our free offer: The Ultimate Google My Business Audit
More specifically, how long is real estate digital content good for?
As far as your listing goes, it's best practice to invest in new content every few years. The shelf life for digital content is reliant on three things:
It's relatively easy to tell when your listing starts to look like it could use a boost, but if there's any confusion, Google Insights will always be there to guide you in the right direction.