Do you operate a physical shop and want to get more clients?
If that’s the case, you need a sound local SEO strategy, though it may be a long time before it starts to pay off.
And that’s exactly why we’re going to tell you all about Google My Business, a faster way to get good positioning and attract clients to your business.
This is, without a doubt, an essential tool to know for those who run a physical store in addition to their e-commerce shop.
To help you start using it right away, this article will explain:
- What Google Business is.
- How to use it with a step-by-step tutorial.
- How to improve your SEO with this tool.
Ready to turn your shop into a client magnet? Then here we go!
👉 Google My Business: The tool for local businesses
In case you haven’t heard of it, Google My Business is the platform created by Google to help companies with physical locations reach their clients.
This platform allows you to create a business card that pops up when a local user searches for a business like yours.
This card lets you include all the most important details of your physical store, such as:
- Contact info
- Products and/or services
Also, the card shows your location on Google Maps so your customers can find you more easily.
Here’s an example so you can see it more clearly.
This is what comes up if you Google “House of Books London”:
As you can see, alongside the organic search results, there’s a section showing the details of the local business.
It’s not difficult to figure out all the advantages this brings:
- It gives you more visibility: Business cards are highlighted over the organic results, regardless of your website’s positioning.
- It facilitates contact: Having a business card allows you customers to find your phone number or email address without visiting your website.
- It offers you some stats: If you’re the owner or administrator of the Google My Business profile, you can check how many people have viewed your business card and how many clicks it’s gotten, among others.
- It includes reviews by your users: Getting reviews from your users (something we’ll talk about below) may be the most important aspect of Google My Business, as it can encourage other users to become customers.
And the best thing is that it’s a completely free tool to use. ;)
👉 A Google My Business tutorial: How to register and create your business card
Perhaps you’re excited to get started with Google My Business but you don’t exactly know how, right? No worries! After reading this tutorial, you’ll have your card ready in just five minutes. 😉
Let’s go through it step by step.
✅ 1. Use your Gmail account to access Google My Business
Your company’s profile will be linked to your Gmail account.
If you still don’t have one, you just need to click on this link to create a Google account and fill out the form.
Once you’re logged in to your account, visit this page and then click on “Manage now”.
✅ 2. Enter the basic information for your business
When you’re in, you’ll find a questionnaire with a few basic questions about your company:
- Name, phone number, and website.
- Business category.
- Location of your physical store.
- In some cases, it’ll ask you to specify the services you offer.
Once you’ve filled it out, click “Finish”.
✅ 3. Complete your business card
After filling out the initial form, you’ll be taken to the dashboard of your Google My Business profile.
Here you’ll see a side menu with different tabs, but in this tutorial we’ll only focus on the three most important ones at the moment:
- Information: this tab allows you to provide more information on your physical store. For example, you can add photos, you opening and closing times, or your business bio. Google will usually warn you if there’s important information missing.
- Products: Google My Business allows you to include a selection of your most popular products with their corresponding cards (here’s how to create the perfect product card).
- Manage locations: In this section, you can see the business cards you’ve created and add new ones if you own more than one physical store.
Once you’ve included the main information, there’s only one step left to do.
✅ 4. Verify your business
The first time you add a location on Google My Business, the platform will ask you to verify it to check that the information you introduced is real.
At the top of the page, you’ll see a message warning you that the location hasn’t been published yet.
Google will typically send you a physical letter with a verification code, although they may also do it via a phone call.
And that’s it! With these four steps, your business has its own card, which will come up on local searches.
Piece of cake, right? 😉
👉 How to improve your SEO on Google My Business
After creating your business card, it’s time to work on its SEO positioning.
You may be wondering: SEO on Google My Business? What’s the use?
It’s simple – here’s what happens if you Google a more general term like “toy store London” instead of the specific name of the company.
Now, instead of a single featured card, there are several businesses that match this search.
If yours is on the list, you’ll certainly want to see it at the very top, right?
Here are 6 tips that will help you get there.
✅ 1. Create a good profile: Complete and detailed
Don’t be afraid to give a lot of information about your company on Google My Business. In fact, the more, the better.
Apart from the basic contact details, you should include anything that may be of use for your potential customers, such as your opening and closing times.
Additionally, the card includes a slot where you can tell your clients about the different kinds of services your store offers.
Ideally, this should be a short sentence stressing your strongest points, just like your e-commerce value proposition.
✅ 2. Include keywords in your business description
Of course, we couldn’t leave out keywords when talking about SEO. 😉 To jog your memory, here’s a post on them and why they’re so important.
Your business description should also include the search terms your users would typically type to find you.
And, since it’s all about local searches, it’s important for them to be location-based or geolocated keywords.
In case you’re not familiar with those, they’re search terms that include the name of a specific location (for example, “bookshop in London”).
✅ 3. Get positive reviews (and respond to them)
Getting good positive reviews is, without a doubt, the best way to grow using Google My Business.
Reviews are the ratings (from one to five stars) your users give you to assess your establishment and service.
They can also leave a comment to express their opinion and elaborate on that rating.
Google pays a great deal of attention to the rating on your card when deciding where to show it because it assumes that if you have a lot of positive comments, you must offer a good service.
Besides, according to a study by Brightlocal, 82% of users take the reviews from other customers into account when choosing between two or more options.
If you want your shop to receive an endless stream of visitors, don’t be shy – ask your clients to leave you a brief comment.
On another note, it’s also important to respond to all your reviews, no matter if they’re good or bad.
Check out this example:
Positive reviews by other customers are the best incentive to get other users to buy (this is called “social proof”, and here’s an in-depth explanation).
✅ 4. Add photos of your shop
Can you imagine getting twice as many clients just because you’ve posted a couple of pics?
According to Google itself, business cards that include pictures of the shop receive “42% more requests for directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks on their websites than those who don’t”.
In other words, not only do you get twice as many people interested in your physical shop, but it may also be a good way to direct qualified traffic to your website.
✅ 5. Make sure your location is correct
You’d be surprised how often physical shops lose clients because they have the wrong location on the map.
Google Maps is very accurate, but not infallible.
When people search your shop, it may show that your shop is located a bit further up or down the street (or even in a wrong area).
If that’s the case, you should manually place the map indicator on the exact location.
In doing so, you’ll save your potential customers a lot of headache when trying to find you with Google Maps.
✅ 6. Provide updates about news and events
Did you know Google My Business also lets you post publications?
They’re sort of like featured articles that appear at the end of the card.
You can publish anything you want in this section, such as news featuring your business or exclusive offers.
What’s more, it allows you to insert a small picture to accompany your post.
Mind you, these publications only last for seven days, so they’re not useful to create a “second blog”.
Instead, they are useful to publish events your shop will be holding soon, such as a talk, a meeting, or even a special event (for example, many bookshops invite storytellers or the authors of new books).
In terms of the events, you can decide how long you want the notice to remain active and also specify where and when they will occur.
👉 Ready to attract more local customers with Google My Business?
As you’ve seen, attracting visitors to your physical shop is easier than it looks.
Now you just need to get your hands dirty and start building a flashy profile on Google My Business.
And remember to ask your clients to leave a review. ;)