We Asked the Experts is a series designed to provide you with the most relevant insights from local search experts. Each month we’ll cover a different question and share insights from key figures in the local SEO community in an effort to help you further your knowledge and strategy.
We Asked the Experts is back with a new task to tackle and some new expert local SEOs to share their insights!
This time around we’re tackling Google My Business — considered a key source of visibility and leads for local businesses – and more specifically, how to make your Google My Business listing more clickable.
Attributes, posts, photos, reviews, Google Pointy and beyond – there’s a lot to tackle when it comes to Google My Business, and it can be hard to know where to begin.
Hopefully, our experts can help to simplify the process, as they share how to make Google My Business listings more exciting, more engaging, and more ‘clickable’.
Read on to hear how our roster of local marketing pros would approach Google My Business optimization, and how they help clients make their listings more enticing — leading to more leads, more conversions, and better business.
Please Note: In November 2021, Google retired the name ‘Google My Business’ and now uses ‘Google Business Profile’ to refer to the profile searchers see and ‘Google Business Profile Manager’ to refer to the dashboard used to manage the listing.
How do you make a GMB listing more click-worthy?
Niki Mosier (Head of SEO, Two Octobers)
Having a GMB listing is definitely important but getting people to engage with the listing is even better.
I’m a big fan of utilizing the Q&A feature to help make the listing more helpful and hopefully encourage going to the website for more information.
Fresh photos don’t necessarily make the listing clickable but are a great way to make it more engaging. I’ve found product listings can be a great way to get more traffic to a website from the GMB listing as well.
Andy Simpson (Senior SEO Specialist, Digital Law Marketing)
Use as many of the GMB features that are available!
If there are Services then I’ll use that; if there are Products, I’ll use that; if both are open to me, I favor Products over Services, as it’s much more visually stimulating on the GMB profile. You can also add links on Products that you can then track using UTM codes, etc.
We use GMB posts on all top-level services provided by the client. We post because we know these posts appear in the 3-pack, plus we’re just fueling the beast (Google). Is it a ranking factor? Probably not. But do our clients’ GMB profiles look better than our competitors’ profiles? Yes.
We also upload good images, and videos too, as and when possible.
Ben Fisher (Founder and VP of Marketing, Steady Demand)
Pay attention to the first 80 characters of a GMB post. This makes it much more engaging across most surfaces.
Make sure that you have Q&A populated with real questions and answers that you get/give on a regular basis, and finally, respond to all reviews for the sake of a prospective client.
Krystal Taing (Solutions Engineer, Strategic Partnerships, Uberall)
Focus on delivering the same aesthetic as if you were a brick and mortar shop on Main Street decorating your storefront window. Use every inch of digital real estate to teach the customer about your products or services.
Determine what is most important to communicate to your audience and put it on display. Assuming you have the previously mentioned core elements covered, I’d focus on visualization and engagement. From a visual perspective, I’d ensure you have rich and helpful images as well as updated Google Posts live, if available leverage the Product Editor or have Local Inventory Ads displayed.
Engage with your customers by responding to their reviews, answering their questions, and enabling messaging.
Steve Wiideman (President, Wiideman Consulting Group)
When it comes to improving appearance in Google Maps, image is everything. Literally, a business’s photos can make or break a potential user action. Monitoring and managing photos that appear in search results should be a weekly, possibly even daily, task.
For multi-location brands, one test of replacing a default store image with local store images increased listing engagement by greater than 20%. One might guess that users know the difference between a stock photo and a photo taken by a company who cares about their first impression with potential customers.
Amy Toman (Search Engine Optimization Analyst, Digital Law Marketing)
Photos! I make sure [my clients] have many photos of valuable content, showing the staff who provide the services or work at the business. So we’ll show the staff in photos working with their specialized equipment, or standing by their vans with signage, or (for SABs), standing near local monuments like Welcome to [Location] signs. Because these are seen primarily on mobile devices, we tend to crop them so the subject is easy to identify.
We don’t recommend stock photos for this; we want to show recognizable staff to gain interest, especially when the same staff can also be seen on the associated website.
While it’s never a guarantee, designating a cover photo is also helpful, but because you’re never sure if Google will use your “suggestion,” we don’t count on that. (But if Google is reading this, it would be lovely if listing owners could indeed designate cover images and expect them to be used.)
Products! Adding your products and especially services to this menu is the best thing you can do right now. This section appears quite prominently in knowledge panels and attracts lots of attention. Attention should be paid to cropping so the elements may be quickly identified on mobile devices. This section especially helps SABs gain more attention to their listings.
Reviews! Having reviews, in general, is a good thing, but reviews that mention the business by name, or specific services, are more likely to be seen in the small snippets in Maps results. I, therefore, recommend suggesting several ways of approaching clients about reviews, helping phrase your “ask” so their reviews get picked up by Google.
Greg Gifford (VP of Search, SearchLab)
I’m a big fan of optimizing everything possible. Reviews are key, so we make sure our clients have a killer process for requesting reviews – we want as many as possible and a score in the sweet spot of 4.3-4.6.
We also upload awesome, professionally-shot photos. If clients have them, we upload videos. We upload common questions to the Q&A section and then write awesome answers (this has probably been one of the most successful strategies).
Finally, we make sure that there’s at least one live Google Post every week, with an optimized thumbnail image and compelling visible text in thumbnail view.
Crystal Horton (Digital Account Manager, Accelerate Marketing)
We coach our clients on how to get reviews that generate great reviews that will get people to take action and click. We also get our clients to respond to reviews to increase the likelihood of somebody clicking because they like that our client has taken the time to respond.
We create review videos with our clients’ customers in order to get the video carousel to show up on Google while somebody searches for our client. We also add a booking link to the client’s GMB site.
We make sure that the “leave a message” option has been turned on for our client to make it easier for people to message our clients quickly and/or make an appointment. Hours of operation are always updated and that special hours are posted as well.
We add as many FAQs as possible to answer questions and to be the only company that provides answers to questions, and add products and services to the clients GMB page to give people an idea of what is available.
Blake Denman (Founder, RicketyRoo)
For the local pack, the listing’s review count is going to make it more ‘clickable’. Once a user clicks into the GMB listing, we want to make sure we have the Questions & Answers filled out with good content, and great photos and videos.
Tim Capper (Local SEO Consultant, Online Ownership)
Each business is a little bit different and you should certainly experiment to see which produces the best results.
Also, keep in mind that results shown to users are slightly different depending on where the user finds you – branded query, local pack service query, local finder, or maps – each displays slightly differently. There is no one magic way of optimizing that will suit all.
So, according to our experts, you can increase your chances of gaining more leads through Google My Business by taking advantage of and optimizing each GMB component. Make sure you’ve got authentic, engaging photos, use Q&A to show customers more about the business, and showcase great customer support through responding to reviews.
Finally, as Tim Capper suggests, experiment with what works for you and keep testing until you find that magic formula.
Below we’ve shared some of our top resources related to Google My Business, so you can take the experts’ advice into your own hands.
- BrightLocal: The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business Photos
- BrightLocal: What is GMB?
- BrightLocal: How to Set Up and Optimize GMB for SABs
- BrightLocal: How to Set Up GMB
- BrightLocal: How to Get More Google Reviews
- BrightLocal: What to Do If Your GMB is Suspended
- BrightLocal: Google My Business Insights Explained
What are your top tips for making a Google My Business listing more enticing to potential customers? Have our experts taught you something new? We want to hear your thoughts! Shoot us a line in the comments below.