Many eCommerce business owners understand the importance of optimizing their website. After all, the higher the site is ranked on search engines, the easier it is for customers to find. This will ultimately mean more traffic and therefore more conversions.
A great way to optimize your online business is using Google’s free location tool called Google My Business (GMB). This is a convenient way for customers to locate your business. Of course, the easier it is to find you, the more attention the site gets.
In turn, Google’s algorithm will view this as people being interested in what your site has to offer and will rank your website higher.
Features such as the local search results allow people to also see a list of similar businesses located nearby. Other pertinent information that customers are able to find include the addresses, working hours as well as reviews. It makes sense, therefore, to optimize your website using Google My Business. After all, up to 90% of all online searches happen on Google.
This article summarizes key information about this amazingly free Google tool and why it can help your eCommerce business grow.
Why You Need to Consider Google My Business
There are three (3) main reasons why Google My Business is important for your eCommerce website:
- It makes your business more visible in search engines
- It brings more traffic to your website
- It provides an enhanced shopping experience for online shoppers
By optimizing your website for Google My Business, Google can crawl in and understand the type of services that you offer, where you are located, and your operating hours. With the information that Google gathers, it can then rank your site for multiple searches.
When searching for a business, you will see many business listings displayed on Google My Business. Some may include reviews while others may not. Also, some may have more reviews than others. Others may not have their business hours posted.
As a customer, who one would you rather go for? Customers naturally gravitate to businesses with more reviews and display more information such as business hours, addresses, and website links, to mention a few.
This is why it is crucial to provide relevant information to potential customers. Remember that they are comparing the different businesses on the GMB card and choosing one that is most suited to their needs. The trick is to stand out.
Understanding Google My Business
There are a few basic things that you need to understand about Google My Business before you try and use it.
First off, the GMB tool is completely free.
Second, the tool will complement your website by creating an online identity and presence for your business. Even better, your business is also going to show on Google Maps.
Many of us are familiar with Google My Business. If, for instance, you have tried at some point to search for a business using a desktop, you may have seen GMB results appear to the right of organic search results.
On the other hand, if you are using your phone, you will find it on top of the organic search results. The listing contains relevant information that customers would be interested in. You will notice that there is plenty of valuable information displayed about a business such as:
- Business address
- Business name
- Business type
- Contact numbers
- Website link
- Operating hours
- Customer reviews
- Google maps link
- Popular visiting times
- An overall star rating
- Related businesses
Any customer who views this information will get an understanding of the type of business and the types of services offered. The customer can then decide whether or not they would click on the website link and engage with the business.
This is what Google My Business is designed for. It provides fast and relevant information and data to customers before they even click on the business website.
Can I List My Business on GMB?
Some businesses can be listed on Google My Business, but others cannot. According to Google’s guidelines, businesses that qualify for the listing are those with a physical presence or should be the type of business that can travel to the customer once the customer buys a commodity or service.
To recap, your online business should either have a physical presence or you should be in a location where you are able to travel and meet your clients. For more clients to understand this, you can also include the geographical region and precise location that your business covers.
Here’s a summary of nine (9) steps for you to optimize your online business presence by using the free Google My Business tool.
1. Complete Business Information
It is crucial that you provide relevant information to your customers, including:
- A business name
- A business address
- Business operating hours
- Business phone number
- Business category
Think of a situation where a customer viewed your business on Google My Business and decided to visit your store. When they arrived, they found that you were already closed. What do you suppose the customer would do?
For one, they would give your business a bad review. They would also move on to a competitor and would be unlikely to visit your store again.
It is therefore important that you provide accurate information that is on par with the information on your website. Cross check and double-check to make sure that the correct information is accessible to potential customers.
Secondly, it is crucial that you add a business category. This will help Google rank your e-commerce site and help customers to find it. The categories on Google My Business are quite specific, and it is important that you choose the most accurate category.
Note that while your business will benefit from choosing specific categories, it will also be found when users type in broad keywords in their search.
There are two main points to note.
- Google My Business only allows you to add a single primary business category. This should be your main area of expertise. Customers searching for this keyword will be able to find your business.
- Google My Business also allows you to provide up to 10 additional categories. This allows you to add other keywords that customers may use in searching for products and services, to include categories that are relevant to your business. With this, more customers will be able to find your business.
Then, you will need to provide a business description. While the categories will provide potential customers with valuable information, these may not provide the kind of information that customers want to know about the type of business that you run. For that, you have the option to provide a business description.
Google My Business allows business owners to come up with business descriptions as long as 750 characters so that they can tell potential customers all about the business in their own words. It is recommended that you make use of all 750 characters and provide your customers with as much information as possible.
But that’s not all.
Google is also able to find out more about your business so that it can rank your business for even more keywords and make it easier for customers to find.
2. Verify Your GMB Listing
After you have filled your business details including your inclusive service area, the next step is to verify your Google My Business listing. This will help make your business listing visible to potential customers and will ensure that the business listing does the purpose that it is intended for.
The most efficient way to verify your business listing is through your email. This tells Google that, indeed, your business exists in that location because your mail will be delivered to that destination. As a result, Google is able to provide the correct address and eliminate any false information that could give potential customers wrong directions.
Please note that Google will not display your listing online until you have verified the listing.
A week after you have verified your listing, Google will send you a postcard with a secret code. You will use this code for the final verification step, then your listing will be live.
3. Use Insights From Your Listing
E-commerce business owners now have access to data on Google My Business listing. This data is called insights. It allows business owners to see how potential customers are interacting with Google My Business listing. Some of the information that you can use are summarized here.
- How customers find your listing – Here you will see the customers that found your listing through a direct search as they searched for your type of business. You will also see the customers who found your listing through an indirect search. These are customers who found your listing by searching for a product that your business offers.
- Customer reactions – After the customers found your listing, what action did they take? This is what you will learn with this feature. Some of the actions may include viewing photos, visiting your website, asking for directions, or leaving your website without taking any action.
- Viewed photos – You will be able to tell how your customers are engaging with the photos of your business. By using the graph feature, you will see the frequency of photo views as well as the number of photos being viewed. Furthermore, you will see how customers are engaging with similar photos from similar businesses. This is information that you can use to make changes that will grab more customers’ attention.
- Asked for directions – This allows you to see the location of the people who are asking for directions to your business by using Google Maps. You can see the hotspots or common areas where most people are asking directions from. You can use this information to improve your website content.
- Phone calls – This allows you to see the frequency of phone calls made by customers who found your business through Google My Business. You can pick a timeframe and then see the total calls for that period of time. Furthermore, you can also use the graph to view the frequency of phone calls during specific times of a day or particular days of any week when customers tend to make most phone calls. This is highly useful information that you can use to ensure that your support team is active to answer any questions that customers may have.
- How customers searched for you – You can find out the number of customers who were able to find you by using Google Maps or through Google Search. Moreover, some customers will also find you through the commodities that you offer. You can select a timeframe and see the number of customers that found you through a particular product or service that you are offering.
If you are not confident in doing this on your own, you can always opt for the GMB optimization service.
4. List Goods and Services
There is a feature in your Google My Business listing that allows you to add the goods, services, and prices that your business offers. This feature is available for businesses in the food, health, beauty, as well as in most other service businesses.
The main advantage of using this feature is that potential customers can quickly see what your business has to offer. Keep in mind that internet users have short attention spans. They do not want to waste time searching for something on your website if they can find it faster elsewhere.
By being able to quickly see what is on offer, you will provide them with the impression that they can get what they want and this can motivate them to visit your website.
5. Upload Quality Images
One of the most crucial aspects of any online marketing is quality photos and images. In fact, studies from Google show that a business with good photos is 42% more likely to receive driving direction from Google. In addition, these businesses are also 35% more likely to get website clicks through Google My Business.
This in itself should be enough to convince anyone running an eCommerce business to upload quality images.
Think of it this way: Which one would you rather visit as a customer, a business with only images of their logo and storefront or one with images of the staff, surrounding street, as well as products on offer? The answer is straightforward; many online buyers will prefer the latter.
What’s more, you can also encourage your customers to take photos and upload them on your Google My Business. A group photo of people having a great time at your coffee shop, for instance, will motivate others to want to have a similar experience.
Such customers are also more likely to mention and tag your business in social media posts, and this can help and grow your brand.
Also, while it is a great idea to have customers upload photos, it is important that you have them sorted. This ensures that the images are relevant to the business and that they portray the ideas that you want.
6. Always Respond to Reviews
Reviews are a crucial part of your Google My Business optimization and play a huge role in determining whether customers engage with your business or not. In fact, online shoppers trust reviews much the same way they would trust personal recommendations.
One of the goals of every eCommerce business is to ensure that customers get the experience that they were hoping for. A big chunk of your customers will go on to write reviews about their experience and will not shy away from writing anything negative if they did not enjoy their experience.
Other than ensuring customers pleasant shopping experiences, it is also important that you respond to every review. This proves that you care about what customers think and that your business is sensitive to customer needs.
When reading reviews, customers want to know what others found when shopping in your store. If, for instance, many customers didn’t get a good experience, and left bad reviews, do you think that this would cause other customers to avoid your business? The answer is Yes.
In this context, it has been noted that, even after you try and do everything right, you will still have some dissatisfied customers. The truism that you can’t please everyone still holds true What do you do when you receive negative reviews from such customers?
The best then to do is to respond to their message. Do so in a calm, positive and rational tone. This will help and balance any negative impressions left by the negative review. At the same time, this also gives the reviewer a listening ear and a response.
Other customers who view this will therefore not rely on the negative review and will have an understanding of how the business works.
7. Make Use of Google Posts for Promotions
Google Posts was released in 2017 as another tool for eCommerce use. In the earlier days, whenever someone wanted to share information about their business, the only option was social media. Now you can provide information to potential customers through Google posts. You can use this information for promotions and offers. The type of content you can provide includes:
- Blog articles
- E-Book downloads
- Special offers
- Product offers and promotions
- Company or business news
Simply put, you can pretty much promote any type of information that you would like to share with your customers.
8. Upload Videos
Initially, the internet was all about text and information. However, the use of videos has proven to be an even more effective attention-grabbing strategy than using still images. Just to put things into perspective, most users view online videos with the sound turned off. That is the power of video. And some free video editing software with no watermark can help you with this.
You can take advantage of this by adding videos to your Google My Business listing. This is guaranteed to catch the attention of potential customers and motivate them to click on your website. Remember this: conversions and increased returns are directly related to the number of site visits. The more visitors on your websites, the more transactions can be expected.
If your business has not used the power of video, then it’s about time that you do. This option will require you to make multiple videos. Even better, you can upload some of the videos to your Google My Business page. There are two main ways that you can upload videos. These are:
- You can upload the videos to Photos.
- You can upload the videos as a post.
Each of these methods has its pros and cons. When you are uploading videos to Photos, one of the main drawbacks is that the video is not always going to go to the top of the list. If there are many photos in the album, this can make your video hard to find. However, since the videos will auto-play your customers are scrolling, this makes the video much easier to find.
Note that when you are uploading your videos, it is important to keep them under 100Mb. Google My Business says that the limit is around 30 seconds but as long as the video is under 100Mb it can be as long as 90 seconds.
The second option allows you to upload the video as a Google post. This makes it possible for the customers to view it on Google My Businesses knowledge card. In fact, this can be a highly effective way of promoting your business and can often help customers to choose you instead of your competitors.
9. Use Shortnames
This is a recent feature added to Google to make it easier to find anything on Google Maps and on Google Search. With shortnames, a business owner provides customers with a short URL that allows anyone to easily follow the business through Google My Business.
All a customer needs to do is to follow your business through the Google Maps “For You” tab and any new information and post will begin to show.
The main benefit of this feature is that an increasing number of local customers will engage with the business that, in turn, can translate to more transactions.
The customers are able to easily find the shortnames between the contact number and the website link on the info tab.
By following these our top tips on Google My Business optimization for eCommerce websites, you will help your customers locate your business easier. This can translate to more traffic and, ultimately, to more conversions.