If you render services at client locations (e.g., contractors, painters, roofers, cleaners, HVAC, electricians, plumbers, etc.) you may not have a flashy storefront to attract new businesses.
Thankfully, most people are now doing their research online when looking for local service providers and you can generate leads for free by getting found on Google.
However, many search terms are very competitive and it’s quite challenging for local businesses to get top positions.
But did you know that 95% of searchers don’t go past the first page of search results?
That means being shown on page one of Google can have a direct impact on lead generation and revenue.
The good news is, you can get to the top of Google search results for free with local SEO by optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
A GMB listing allows your business to get shown in the local pack, which is displayed at the top of a SERP (search engine results page) for local service queries.
For instance, if a searcher includes the location, adds “near me” in the search, or uses a mobile device with location services – she’ll more likely see your business in the search results.
The first step to leveraging GMB for lead generation is to set up your listing – we have explained the process in this article.
Next, make sure your listing is optimized so not only will it show up in the local pack but is also attractive to your ideal clients or customers so they’ll click through to your website and/or get in touch via phone, email, or contact form.
How To Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing for Local SEO
It’s important to ensure that your GMB listing is as complete and client-attractive as possible. Here are 12 ways to make it work harder for you:
1. Add a Description
You can now add a description of your business to your GMB listing. Although Google doesn’t say how this information impacts ranking, we believe it uses the description to help determine the most relevant listing on SERPs.
Fill out the description section by going to the info tab on your GMB dashboard and selecting the “edit” option on “Add business description”:
Keep in mind that even though the section has a 750-character limit, only 250 characters are shown on the knowledge panel. Make sure you’re including the most important information, such as keywords and location, at the front of the description.
2. Answer Questions About Your Business
Users can post questions about your services and Google encourages those who are familiar with your business to provide answers.
This type of user-generated content can help complete your profile and improve your ranking. Encourage your happy clients to answer questions related to your services so prospects can learn more about your business.
3. Highlight Services On Your Website
When a service is mentioned on a business’s website, it’ll show up on GMB results.
If you want to capture leads that are looking for a specific type of service (e.g., “emergency plumbing” instead of just “plumbing,”) make sure you have it listed on your website.
Do some research to find out the exact keywords or search terms your ideal customers use to describe your services so you can incorporate those phrases in your website content.
4. Complete the Category Section
It’s important to indicate the primary category of your business by editing the content on the “info” tab.
You can also add more categories. However, keep in mind that including too many could reduce the chances of your primary category being shown in the top 3 of the local pack.
5. Get Five-Star Reviews
Google encourages businesses to ethically ask their clients or customers for online reviews, which appear next to the listing in Google Maps.
84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations while positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more. Great reviews can help your listing stand out and generate more leads.
Reviewers can remove or update their comments so respond to every review and contact your clients to resolve reviews with low ratings.
6. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
When your listing captures the attention of potential clients, they’ll click through to your website.
Since many local searches are performed on mobile devices, your website needs to be both desktop- and mobile-friendly (e.g., fast load time, easy to navigate.)
In addition, make sure it’s professional and succinct, with a clear call-to-action for visitors to contact your business or make an appointment online.
GMB allows users to create a simple website for free and it’s a great way for a new business with a limited budget to get up and running quickly.
7. Keep Your Access Secure
You should create or claim your GMB listing as soon as possible and keep the primary ownership.
You can give out management rights to your team but not the ownership in order to retain control at all times.
8. Get More Attention With GMB Posts
Consider GMB posts as “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up in your GMB listing on Google searches.
You can use GMB posts to drive more leads to your website by sharing special offers, latest content, new service packages, or special events etc. Don’t forget to include an image to capture more attention.
9. Leverage the Booking Button Feature
If you use an online scheduler for clients to make appointments, you can leverage GMB’s booking button feature so users can request a service appointment directly from your GMB listing.
This feature integrates with many online scheduling software applications, making it fast and convenient to get new clients to try out your services.
10. Communicate in Real Time With Messaging
More consumers are used to interacting with businesses via live chat and messaging, which are great ways to communicate with potential clients one-on-one in real time and increase conversion rate.
GMB offers a messaging feature that enables prospects that come across your listing to engage with your business via text messages.
All you need to do is to verify your phone number on the Messaging tab:
11. Enhance Your Listing With Photos and Videos
Google flat out says “Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.”
As visual content is getting increasingly popular, searchers expect to see more images and videos about your products or services.
With a smartphone, it’s super easy to post photos to your GMB listing. Install the Google My Business app, log in to your GMB account, click the menu button, click Photos, click ADD PHOTOS, and select the photos you’d like to post or take a new photo. Very easy!
Your photos and videos don’t have to be super polished either – some of the best visual content is captured on the fly, showing you in action servicing your clients. And you should always take pictures of your great work, with the customer’s permission, of course, to show your local market your great craftsmanship.
12. Monitor Your GMB Listing
Did you know that anyone can edit or add information to your GMB listing without your first being notified?
Even though Google may send you an email notification about the changes, you shouldn’t rely on it.
The best way to confirm that your GMB listing information is accurate is to log onto your dashboard regularly to make sure no one has made any unwanted changes.
13. See Results – Insights
After all your hard work, its good know whether you have actually produced something of value. Click “Insights” on the menu bar and Google will show your GMB Listing’s activity. See how times people saw your listing, how many times people visited your website from the listing, and how many people called you directly from your GMB listing.
Getting ranked on Google SERPs is an effective strategy for local service businesses to get noticed, generate leads, and get new clients.
Google takes many factors into account when ranking search results, including GMB listings.
Besides making sure that your listing is complete and accurate, don’t forget to interact with your potential clients and ensure that you’re providing relevant information – which is key to improving ranking in the local pack as well as general organic searches.