Most small business owners understand the extreme importance of Google my business in customers finding you online. You can make a strong argument that it's more critical than almost anyone social media in its ability to drive traffic organically. Meaning simple mistakes can cost you real money. In the article below, we will point out the three most common mistakes small business owners make so you can avoid them.
1. Not Verifying Your Google My Business listing.
The Problem: Some small business owners think that just because their business might already be on google my business and showing up in the map pack, that's all that matters. They couldn't be more wrong, and it is vital that you go through the verification process and claim ownership of your business, which will increase Google's trust in your listing and help you climb up the rankings. It also gives you the ability to tailor your business listing to highlight your brand. The last and most important thing is the verification process. When you verify your listing, you can view analytics on your google my business listing and understand how much business it generates for you (which might be more than you think).
- Step 1: Sign in to the google account you want your GMB to be connected to.
- Step 2: Type in the name of your business. Chances are it will appear; if so, select it and click "verify now."
- Step 3: Now, you will want to verify your address on the postcard request screen.
- Step 4: If your address is wrong, change it. Once you verify all the information is correct, click "send a postcard."
- Step 5: Wait for your postcard to arrive. It usually takes a little under two weeks but can take as long as a month. It's important to note that while you are waiting for the postcard, don't make any changes to your listing or request another code. This can severely slow down the time for verification.
- Step 6: Once you get the postcard, simply login into your google my business account, click the verify now button and enter the 5-digit code and select "submit"
2. Having Incorrect Hours Of Operations Listed.
The Problem: Having incorrect or missing hours of operations information listed can be frustrating to your customers. Imagine looking up the closest ice cream place, loading up the whole family driving all the way there to find out the hours were wrong, and they closed at 6 pm instead of 8 pm like their GMB says. At the very least, you have a frustrated customer, and in the worst case, they will leave a negative review hurting your ranking.
The Fix: Luckily, this is one of the easiest things you can fix. All you have to do is make sure that if you ever change your hours, you change them everywhere, including GMB. This is where hiring a company to manage your online reputation can come in handy because it will be taken care of.
3. Paying For Or Soliciting Fake Reviews.
The Problem: Paying for or soliciting fake reviews can be a beautiful thing when you look at the map pack and see your competitor has 1,000+ reviews. You might think to yourself, "how would google even catch me" or even "how else am I supposed to catch up." While I can't blame you for having this thought process, it's essential to realize that the risk is not worth the reward. I will grant you that having many reviews "MIGHT" helps your ranking, but if caught, you will "DEFINITELY" be banned for life. A lifetime ban from Google My Business might not put you out of business, but in the long run, it will undoubtedly hurt your business.
The Fix: It might sound way too straightforward, but the fix is simple, DO GOOD WORK! Asking your existing customers to leave a review is not a bad thing and is a great way to get them organically. If you have a new company, don't rush the process, most people will know a fake review from a real one, and they certainly won't choose the company with clearly fake reviews.