Your website isn’t your be-all and end-all anymore. Google is always adapting and changing to best serve users searching for businesses and what they want, and look to deliver that as quickly as possible (while generally keeping the user on the SERP). They can’t do that with your website, so that’s where Google My Business comes in. Google My Business (or GMB) helps you manage your business on both Google search and Google maps by providing users with the best information, news, promotions and ability to interact with your business via questions, reviews and more. You’ll often see this “profile” materialize on the right side of your desktop browser, or throughout your screen on mobile as you scroll when you search for a business in Google search. It also populates similarly in Maps view, an ever-increasing way people are searching for businesses, not just to find them online, but to visit in person as well.
Google My Business isn’t an entirely new concept though, so you’re probably thinking, “that’s great, Evan, I know what Google My Business is, and I already knew cool people shorten it to just ‘GMB,’ but how else can I use it to my benefit beyond as just a business listing?” Ask and you shall receive; below is a quick and simple beginner’s guide on how you can optimize your Google My Business profile, and what that can do for your business.
Google My Business Optimization
You can’t just slap your dealership’s info on your Google My Business profile and then walk away and hope everything will be fine. We’re not talking diligent management every second of the day, but you’re going to have to update and optimize (or, more correctly, make sure everything is still correctly optimized) on the daily. Google is a democratic company (ha!), which means anyone can change or make suggestions on your profile. Sometimes that can be good if there’s incorrect information, but sometimes people just want to be nefarious and add purposefully spammy or misleading information on a GMB. So, consistent optimization and checking up is important. How do you do that? Follow along as we run through some of the most crucial GMB features to optimize.
This is the crux of your profile, showing the vital information for your business. Working our way down, these are the things you’ll want to make sure are added and correct. And I’m even going to make it into a handy list so you can digitally check each one off as you do it.
- Your profile name should be your exact franchised business name (no keyword stuffing, just your branded business name that will match your citations online).
- List your business with its correct primary category (ie. just because you’re a car dealer that doesn’t mean you’re a “car dealer;” be as specific as possible. If you’re a Ford dealer select “Ford dealer,” if you’re a Volkswagen dealer select “Volkswagen dealer” and so on).
- The primary category is the most important one to make sure is correct, but you can also add supplementary categories beneath, which if you’re a vehicle dealership can include things like “car dealer,” “used car dealer,” “oil change service” and “vehicle repair” among others. This will also then activate the Services section down below where you can further break down what you offer within a category like vehicle repair, such as battery, brakes, electrical and more.
- List your address correctly (hint: look your address up on Canada Post to get the proper formatting).
- Fill out your opening hours (the guidelines for representing your business on Google state to list them as the sales department hours, even if you have differing service and parts hours).
- Add in your main phone number (secondary phone numbers can be listed below).
- Come up with a short name (ie. something very close to your business’ name) so you can easily link people to it later, for things like reviews.
- Of course, you should add in your website URL to easily direct people to your online hub.
- Fill out any services or amenities you offer to best let users know what you can do for them
- Check off any and all payment options you provide, or conversely the ones you don’t accept.
- Take some time and write a short but thorough description of your dealership, to really give the customer a feel for how your experience differs from competitors.
- You only get 750 words to work with, so make them count!
- Outline your key advantages over competitors, and your unique offerings.
- Make the content as professional and straightforward as possible.
- The text should be exactly that, no URLs or coding needed or necessary.
These are the main, essential fields you should have filled out and complete, then you can worry about any extras that will flesh out your profile.
Pictures and Videos
Who wants to read a jumble of text (besides this excellent blog you’re reading now) when you can browse through a selection of pictures and videos? People love to explore and get a feel for a business before they physically (or digitally) step foot into it, so let them get that unique view into your dealership. Here you can upload all the best pictures and videos that show off your dealership, or ask for customers to do the same. Take advantage of your position at the dealership and showcase areas customers might not always get to see, and highlight how you’re unique and make people want to come see it in person.
When people have something to say about a business, good or bad, the Google My Business profile is often one of the first they flock to. And, for your sake, we’re hoping they’re of the good variety. Regardless, good or bad, you need to be replying to every review you get. That means don’t ignore the bad and only respond to those glowing, ego-boosting ones; use the negative ones to try and connect with the customer and learn how you can improve their experience now and for others in the future. Google’s algorithm favours the presence of reviews, and you interacting with them, so don’t neglect them.
These are kind of like social media posts for your GMB profile. Here you can create a little “card” full of information that will live at the bottom of your profile, whether about a new incentive, dealership event, inventory spotlight or whatever your creative brain can come up with. Use this area to promote the latest and greatest of what’s happening at your store or online! Remember, this is YOUR dealership, so focus on promotions and events directly related to your location, not just generic brand posturing. And, since this is basically a social media post, short and sweet is better than just cramming all you can into both the picture and caption. Follow these tips and tricks and you’ll be supplementing your GMB profile with mini content in no time!
Questions & Answers
We’ve all been there, we have a question for a business, maybe not important enough to go in or call for, but something you can’t look up or find out yourself. In this section, customers ask questions about your dealership, and you (along with other users) can answer it. It’s important to make sure you’re doing this, not only to help your customers out with what they’re searching for, but also to prevent against them getting incorrect information from another user, who might not have the exact correct info like you do at the dealership. As well, it’s another signifier to Google showing that there’s life on your GMB profile.
Don’t Neglect Google My Business, It’ll Be Your Best Friend
Google My Business offers a ton of utility to really make your business stand out in search and maps, so get the main essentials down, and then play around with it to see how it can best work for and with you. Always keep on the lookout because Google is constantly adding new features, like the profile short name, which rolled out in the summer of 2019 (the Google My Business Twitter account is a great source to keep up on the latest). Cover every base and stay ahead of the online curve with a properly optimized Google My Business profile that not only answers user queries, but helps your dealership improve its visibility in search.