What Local Businesses Need To Know About Google My Business

Jun 24, 2021 | Local SEO

https://youtu.be/stMTFkFqH4A

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My name is sheri benelli i'm owner of early bird digital marketing here in lovely cedar
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rapids iowa uh we are a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in search
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engine optimization i'm a google my business silver product expert which means that i focus heavily
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on google my business and i've been doing it for 21 plus years why should businesses
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focus on google my business specifically and what kind of value can it bring to a business
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so if you own a local business whether you actually have a physical storefront where customers come to you
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or whether you are service business where you may be working out of your home like a pest control company or a
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landscaper for instance and you go out to your customers claiming and optimizing your google my
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business listing is probably the number one way to
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get found on google and so it's really important that you claim your google my business listing but not only
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claim it make sure you optimize it and make sure that nobody is making any unwanted changes to your listing
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and so a lot of people make the mistake of just claiming their listing and then forgetting about it you want to
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make sure and update it by adding photos maybe of work that you've done like let's say
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you're a landscaper you may want to take before and after photos of jobs that you've done
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or if you are run a bakery for instance take you know pictures of the cupcakes that
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you make for instance um add a business description so customers know what your business is all
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about google my business is really a robust way for people to do
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searches online and look and learn a lot about local businesses so it's really important that if you own a local
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business that you claim your listing which is asking about what types of businesses
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should focus on google my business so you mentioned some of them service can do it
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brick and mortar local business but are there any other kind of categories that should be taking advantage of this
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pretty much any local business should be claiming a google my business listing there are
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certain businesses and categories that are not allowed to claim a listing so for instance if you're an online only
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business you cannot have a google my business listing there are other certain categories that
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are kind of iffy so for instance if you have a business inside of a business in a lot of cases you don't
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qualify i have a google my business listing so like let's say for instance you have a
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business inside of a nail salon for instance and you sell
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maybe hair accessories but you have a business you neces you wouldn't qualify to have a
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google my business listing because you're inside of another business so there are
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certain quirky rules that sometimes prevent businesses from claiming listings
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and so you'd want to make sure that you're adhering to the guidelines that google specifies
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so there are some rules but basically any local business that meets with clients or has clients
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come to them it for the most part can claim a google my business listing
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what are some strategies businesses can implement to drive more leads customers and even sales from
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google my business the best thing that you can do is make sure that you have all of your
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information filled out so that when people do a search online and they find you on google my business
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they get as much information about your business up front from that search result you know because
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a lot of people you know won't even click through to your website
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often they'll get enough information from your google my business profile if it's filled out properly
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that they can make a decision to call you to visit you to stop by your store for instance just
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from that listing alone and so it's really important that you complete as much information
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upload as many photos as you can you know google gives you a lot of ways that you can optimize and really
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make a really robust listing take advantage of every single one of those opportunities that google's giving
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you in light of what's going on with covid19 google is aware that a lot of businesses
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now that you know we're running only storefront businesses for instance
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are now kind of having to do this weird hybrid between i'm sort of open but still have to do a
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lot of things online so they are making different features available now
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so for instance if you're an attorney you can now put an attribute up that says that
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you're accepting online appointments which is great so like if you're meeting with clients over zoom for instance
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you can put that attribute up there so that customers and clients know that they don't have to come to your office
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that they're that the you know business is willing to meet with you online so that you don't have to like
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physically leave your home to meet with people so google's kind of being a little bit
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nimble and very helpful to local businesses and starting to make changes that they
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probably wouldn't have otherwise made are there any challenges to optimize your google my business profile
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and do you have any tools and resources that can help with that yeah i think the biggest challenge is um
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anybody can make any changes to your listing virtually at any time and that's kind of
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a scary thing and a lot of business owners don't like that understandably so
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i mean who wants somebody to change their website url for instance i mean right
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it kind of seems unfair uh but google really is all about community and user
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generated content for instance and so there are a lot of businesses that don't keep up with updating their
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information so for instance if a business business's hours have changed and that business
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owner isn't making those changes and people notice that the hours are incorrect
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they can go in and suggest changes to those business hours for instance and so google relies on those suggested
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edits sometimes those edits are made immediately sometimes they're made you know within a week or two
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sometimes they're not accepted and so that's kind of a challenge for business owners and they
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need to pay attention to their google my business listing by logging in and making sure that no
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changes were unnecessarily made that are incorrect the other challenge is sometimes your listing can get suspended
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and it's either because you're violating something you're not adhering to google guidelines often
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that is because you know your service area business and you have a physical address listed and
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that's against guidelines um so those are i think the two biggest challenges
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is making sure that you're you know keeping an eye on your listing to make sure everything's still correct
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and then if you get suspended that can be a really challenge to try and figure out what you might have been doing wrong
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as far as tools go there are some tools that will con that will say they can connect and maybe
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even auto post make posts to your google my business listing i'm always leery
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about letting a third-party tool have access to my listing some third-party tools um
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some even review tools for instance can cause even suspensions to happen and that's
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been known to happen in the past so i don't like to connect third-party tools to any of my clients
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google my business listings it's kind of a prefer you know preference that people have
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and you can you can do it i generally don't recommend it but that's just my personal preference
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absolutely and i just want to add as far as resources sherry now has two insider trainings in
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the lab platform about google my business so if you're looking to get hands-on deep in there
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you can use shari as a resource she's a really good one thanks what are the biggest mistakes you
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see businesses making with their google my business profile and how can they
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kind of take steps to start correcting those yeah i would say the biggest mistake is
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probably not uploading enough photos photos have been shown
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to help engagement and can lead to clicks and calls and visits to your store those are studies that have been
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done by google so google is actually the one saying that those types of things can cause
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engagement and actually drive traffic to your place of business so uploading photos is a really
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important thing i would say the other thing is making sure that all of your
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information is correct and updated and then i think the other third thing
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is to make sure that you're engaging with your customers so for instance if you have the messaging app set up
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make sure you're responding to those messages within at least 24 hours because
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google watches those things and keeps track and actually recommends that you respond within like i think an hour or
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two from the time you receive a message from the time you respond so timeliness is really really important
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when it comes to to google my business listings they want to make sure that the business is
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picking up the phone when people call responding to messages when people are are you know messaging them and asking
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questions and those types of things what is on the horizon for google my business is there anything
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new or upcoming that you know about i know it does change pretty frequently make making updates but any predictions
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that you have for it what i predict is that there's going to be more changes
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due to covid19 i think that they're going to they are releasing new what we call
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attributes which are basically um new enhancements that provide customers with more information about
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what your business offers and one example like i said was the one for attorneys
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or other businesses that may have online appointments available and so there are more attributes that
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are going to be coming out depending on your category so be on the lookout for those like for
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instance i up recently updated one for one of my auto repair places and they had a slew of new
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attributes available like do you have 24-hour security do you have you know dropbox available
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do you have you know cameras do you have a secure lot those attributes were all relatively new that
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weren't available to us before and so check to see go into your info section
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and then you'll see a place where you can add and check the attributes see if there are any new
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ones and if they apply to you add them because sometimes those will be prominently displayed
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in your knowledge panel which is on the right hand side if you do a search for your business name
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and um those will let customers know more information about whether or not you know your business and whatever
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situation you're in right now best fits what they're looking for so i think that google is going to be
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more nimble and a little bit more flexible than they were in the past with regard to
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kind of a hybrid model i don't think they're going to ever get to the point where online only
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businesses are going to be allowed to claim google my business listing so don't get me wrong about that
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but i think they are understanding that in this crazy world we're living in at this moment
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that they do know that businesses do have to kind of be flexible in how they're operating their business
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and that not everything can be done in their place of business and that they have to maybe
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do more things online and they're making that much more easier for businesses and i can see that there's going to be more
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changes on the horizon with regard to that that's amazing and i think it's going to
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help a lot of people as we're still kind of getting back into the swing of some
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things no i can't say back to normal no i don't think it's ever going to be back to normal unfortunately
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well thank you so much sherry i super appreciate your time as a reminder it is optimize your google
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my business and google my business ama which are both in the lab platform under insider
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training but if people are looking to reach out to you where can they find you instagram
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linkedin facebook yeah the best the best way is through um
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uh i would say twitter and that my handle is sherry binelli and then linkedin is another great way
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to reach me i'm not on instagram as much as i probably should be but linkedin and twitter is definitely
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