When you want to get your local Irish business off the ground, one of the first port’s of call is the Google My Business listing.
Google’s GMB service has been through many incarnations over the years, but essentially it’s the vehicle behind the business listings in Google Maps and it has become an essential lead generator for many enterprises around the world.
An optimised listing, coupled with a well structured website, will lead to a higher place in not only Google Maps, mobile and desktop, but also Google’s Local Search. Local Search gives the user immediate access to informaiton like address, hours, reviews and maybe the specified product or service.
Google also uses the information you register to drive it’s Knowledge Graph building a database of different entities and the connections between them. A simple example of this can be seen when you search for a local business.
It may seem daunting at first, but creating a basic Google My Business listing is not so difficult.
You’ll need a few things before you start. Some of these may seem straight forward but there are some gotchas.
The photos are important, it’s the first thing a potential customer will see. Make sure they are the correct dimensions and clear.
The address can be annoying for some new listings due to the fact that Google may not recognise your road the way you do. Find your street on Google Maps and make sure the spelling is the same and be careful of abbreveations.
If your Dublin based business has been around for a few years, there’s a good chance that it is already in Google Maps. Google buys information from a variety of sources and in Ireland at one point bought local business information from the Golden Pages.
Search for your business name in Maps to discover if it’s already there. If it is, click the “Claim Listing” button to get started. If your search results in nothing, input your street address and and find the button marked “Add a Missing Place”. Complete the details fully and when you are ready, hit “Claim this business”.
Pay particular attention to the category field, as this is one of Google’s primary ranking signals.
The verification can be a bit of a pain due to Google’s slightly restrictive practices. This of course is due to the apperance of spam listings over the years. There are several options to verify your Irish Google My Business listing but the only viable option nowadays is to verify by postcard. After submitting your details, you must wait a week or so for the postcard to arrive.
At which point you’ll be asked to log into your GMB account and input a code.
When your Irish GMB maps listing is live, it’s important to explore the GMB dashboard and use all it’s features. By telling Google as much about your business, you will help their system understand your products/service and serve it to your intended audience.
That being said, there are some important aspects that deserve a bit more attention than others.
Google has worked for years at tweaking it’s algorithm. It wants to give the user the most relevant results but it can only do this when you provide it with the detail it needs. So when you are completing your GMB profile, make sure that you include as much information as possible. Don’t leave anything out.
Update any changes in service or inventory in your listing too. This is a clear sign to Google that you are engaged and determined to supply your potential customers with a genuine service. This could be sharing photos of new products or being careful to update opening hours over a holiday period.
Whilst we don’t stuff keywords anymore, we do need to signal to Google the most relevant topics and services so to include these. Just keep it natural and remember that you are writing for humans and not for robots.
The photos you include are possibly the most impactful element in your listing. Make sure that your profile picture or logo is crisp and sharp. Include photos of inside the business and staff at work. These don’t have to be professional photos but make sure they are bright.
Any feedback from customers should be addressed as soon as possible. If it’s a positive review, thank the customer and invite them to return. If it’s negative, try to resolve the issue. Remember that your correspondence will be immortalised on the web and there for everyone to see.
This also signals to Google that customer satisfaction is important to you and many local businesses have noticed improved maps placement from this.
These are only the basic steps required for a new GMB listing, there are a ton more optimisations possible to give you the edge in Irish Maps and Local Search. For a free site review, get in touch.