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NPI Marketing Team
NPI Marketing Team

    

The 6 Biggest Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Google My Business Listing

By Stepha Vesper

Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second–that’s 3.5 billion searches a day! Needless to say, your Google My Business listing is a key piece (if not THE key piece!) of your digital footprint. Below, we’ll tell you the top six mistakes business owners make with their listing as well as the best ways to optimize Google My Business for happy customers and maximum return.

Not Choosing the Right Category
When you first create a Google My Business account, you’ll be prompted to select a category for your business from a drop-down menu. While this tiny task is easy to brush aside, choosing the wrong category has less-than-tiny consequences.

That’s because the category feature is one of the primary ways Google accurately indexes your listing in local search results. Accidentally selecting the wrong category can “hide” your business from the right customers and confuse anyone who comes across your listing. If you set up your Google My Business listing years ago, it’s more than worth it to re-confirm your category choice.

Google does allow you to add multiple categories to your business listing, but keep in mind that order matters. If you perform multiple services, you’ll want to add the category you do the most business in first, then follow with the other services you offer. This will create a hierarchy for Google’s algorithm and boost your chances of coming out on top.

Having the Wrong Photo as Your Cover Image
If you update and add to your Google My Business photos on a regular basis, great job! There are just a few things to keep in mind to get the most out of your efforts, starting with the cover photo.

The cover photo is the main image that shows up for your listing in Google search results. That means it’s essentially your first chance at making a great impression on potential customers. You’ll want to make sure that your cover photo is high-quality and highly relevant. Either a professional picture of you or one that relates directly to what you do on a daily basis is best.

If you have any photos that could be better, now is a great time to replace them. Since Google+ is incorporated with your listing, make sure that any photos you post are up to snuff and highly relevant to your business.

Having a Duplicate Listing
Regrettably, Google makes it relatively easy to unwittingly create a duplicate Google My Business listing. Most often, this happens when you move, forget the account or password associated with the listing or simply can’t recall making one years prior. But despite the ease with which you can create a new account, duplicate listings remain one of the biggest don’ts of all when it comes to your Google My Business listing.

Duplicate content of any kind will drive down your ranking significantly. If Google detects multiple listings with similar information, there’s a big chance your business will suffer the same fate. Multiple listings also confuse customers, and sometimes reviews end up split between the two. Trust us—it’s far better to have 20 reviews on one listing than it is to have 10 on one and 10 on the other.

If you have multiple listings, the best course of action is to contact Google directly. That way you won’t have to guess about whether you’re taking the right steps toward getting that second listing removed. You’ll also have a better chance of getting the issue resolved quickly.

NOTE: Wait times for Google representatives can vary, depending on time of day and several other factors. We recommend setting aside an hour for the task of calling in and speaking to a rep.

Not Keeping Your Information Up-to-Date
This one is a no-brainer. You should always keep your phone number, hours, services and any promotions you’re offering up to date on your Google My Business listing. But this one extends to other platforms your business might be listed on as well.

Google’s algorithm is designed to pick up on consistency for your business across platforms. That means that your address, phone number, services and hours should be an exact match across your web presence. This includes street abbreviations versus spelling out words and including country codes versus not including them. The best practice is to have other platforms, like Yelp and Facebook, match your Google My Business information exactly. You should also make sure your business name matches exactly.

Not Directing Reviews to Your Listing
Nothing speaks to the success of your business more than glowing testimonials from your very own customers. The best way to set your business apart from your competitors’ and rise to the top of the local 3 pack is to have the best and the highest number of reviews under your listing.

Pushing review numbers up can be surprisingly challenging, and it all comes down to busy day-to-day life. Meaning unless you give them a friendly nudge, there’s a chance your customers won’t make time to review your business, no matter how happy they are with your services. Sending them an email with a link to your Google My Business listing, a kind word and an invitation to leave feedback can go a long way. Remember, incentivizing reviews in any way is against Google’s Terms of Use, so you should never offer goods or discounts in exchange for a review.

Responding to Reviews the Wrong Way
Getting critical feedback is never a great feeling, but there are ways to handle it gracefully and still come out on top in future customers’ eyes. For one, if you have several reviews, a lower rating or two can actually legitimize your business. No one is perfect, and most people understand that a bad review once in a blue moon is realistic for any business. Best of all, you can respond to any review and show clients that you have their best interests in mind.

When responding to a negative review, it’s important to never get defensive. Whether your customer is painting a clear and accurate description of their inspection results or not, your main objective in your response is to demonstrate that you hear their feedback and care about their satisfaction. Resist the urge to insult or correct the customer or to type a long-winded explanation of exactly what happened. This is between you and your client, and politely stating that you’ll reach out to them privately is your best bet when it comes to reaching a resolution. In fact, many customers will actually change a review to a higher star count if they feel you’ve heard them out and treated them with respect.

 

About the Author
Stepha Vesper, Marketing Communications Specialist
Stepha has more than five years’ experience in marketing, content creation, SEO and copywriting. Her favorite part of her job is assisting franchisees with their digital marketing strategies so they reach their goals that much faster. When she isn’t at work, Stepha is going on adventures with her basset hound, Frank, and husband, Zach, perusing used bookstores, reading or writing.

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