GMB Case Study – Chartered Accountant Hamilton
You want more leads for your business, but you don’t know where to start!
This case study outlines my entire process for optimising a Google My Business listing.
Google is the FIRST place people begin a search for something – YOUR thing… It’s important you’re represented well on Google, because if you’re not, your competition will eat you alive!
I’m going to say right off the bat….. What lies ahead is a hell of a lot of work… Like 12+ hrs of work…
My process begins with being granted access to the listing, as a manager – gaining an understanding of the business requirements & the outcomes they desire.
I’m no mind reader (ask my wife…) but in most cases, clients want the result that comes from an improvement in their GMB listing – more enquiry & more leads for their business.
Next up is to start forming some keywords.
Clients may have an idea of which keywords to use, but oftentimes, I assist to form these keywords, or key phrases.
MOST business owners overcomplicate this process, with fancy industry terms no-one ever looks for on Google.
Think like your ideal customer! This planning stage can take a little research, but once it’s right, it’s a powerful asset to have.
Step 1 – Baseline Numbers.
I jump into the insights area of the listing & look at the main numbers – Views, Searches & Activity. I usually screenshot these & send them through to the client, in my first update email. I also pay attention to the Customer Actions metric, which details website visits, direction requests & phone calls. I also make a note of how many reviews a business has.
This gives me a solid baseline to jump from, so both the client and I can fairly assess the performance of any changes.
In this listing, the numbers looked like this –
Step 2 – NAP Assessment.
Are the Name, Address & Phone number of the listing consistent with the client website?
Open up the client website & check. If they differ, find out from the client which is correct & alter if required. At the same time, I look to see if the hours of business line up with what’s published on the website. All of this information is super important to keep consistent across the web presence. Google can become a little confused, if the information is inconsistent.
Step 3 – Business Category.
The next place I look is the business category, that’s been listed in the Google My Business listing. In this case it’s been listed as “Chartered Accountant”.
I open up a new web tab & load up Pleper Tools
(https://pleper.com/index.php?do=tools&sdo=gmb_categories) & search for “Accountant”. I then click ‘related categories’ “Tax Preparation Service” came up, with a good ranking relating to accountant, so I added that to the listing. I add no more than 5 categories in total, having more is not advised. Pick the best ones that describe your main business activity.
Step 4 – Location / Service Area.
This business is based in Hamilton, New Zealand & serves the city & surrounding suburbs. I found the listing had 20 areas listed under service area, which is the maximum allowable number of entries.
I confined this simply to “Hamilton, New Zealand” If you keep this part of the listing simple and tidy, it helps Google to understand where you work. If you work further afield, you could put “Waikato, New Zealand” as the service area. If you are a retail outlet for instance, this won’t really be applicable, you’ll list the store location, and leave the service area out.
Step 5 – Short Name.
The addition of a short name (or @name) to your business listing, is something that greatly helps to simplify the sharing of your business profile. If it’s yet to be added to the listing, click in the edit box & Google will offer a suggestion to help out. If it looks reasonable, I generally run with it. In this case, the short name was present & it looked good.
Step 6 – Website & Appointment Links.
Next up, I check the website address matches up with the client website. The thing I’m looking for here is that the address is correct / pointing to the main page of the site & if the site is a secure site (https). Often, the site entered into the GMB profile is the http version (non secure). It’s a small detail, but one I feel is important to get right. The more correct you can be with Google, the better.
If the option for an appointment link is available (in some listings it’s not. This is based on business category), I add one. I check with the client if they have a direct booking link, or system. If this isn’t in play, I’ll point the appointment link to the contact page. Again, it’s a little thing, but I like to do it to make sure the listing is totally complete.
A note on websites, in particular – the website option within GMB located in the lower portion of the left hand menu. I look in here to see if it’s been activated by a client. This section is really only used if a client doesn’t have a website.
I receive quite a bit of enquiry about the GMB “website” taking over from the main website (that you’ve spent good money on) & hogging the search results.
If it’s activated / published, I solve that.
Step 7 – Products / Services.
This is where some of the REAL magic happens.
Depending on the type of business I’m dealing with it’ll have products, services or a mix of both. Generally an Accounting firm has a list of services they provide to their clients. I sift through the website to see what these are & discuss these with the client to get super clear on what the services are. I add these to the listing & add copy to describe each service, so visitors can get a feel for what’s on offer.
There’s a space to add pricing, if this is applicable & if needed, the option to set a range for the pricing.
Each description section has a limit of 300 characters, so there’s a little editing / cutting / pasting that goes on to get it just right. This is a great section for adding in some keywords!
Step 8 – Business Description
Another magical place for adding keywords on a listing!
But really, this is where you outline what you do, who you do it for & the outcomes you can achieve for people who work with you. I spend quite a bit of time looking at the different messaging that’s already available on the website, social pages & of course the copy that’s already been added to the GMB listing.
I’ll make a draft and send it to the client if required. In the case of this listing, I was instructed to “go for it”.
Step 9 – The Other Bits
Within the info tab of each listing, there are other bits that you can add, if they apply.
Special Hours – Hours around holiday periods
Highlights – Women Led
Accessibility – Wheelchair Accessibility
Ammenities – Customer Bathrooms
Health & Safety – COVID-19 Health Info
Planning – LGBQT Friendless
Service Options – Appointment Options
Opening Date – Date You Started Your Business
Step 10 – Reviews
I take a look at the current reviews for the business & check that all of the reviews have been responded to. I alert my client of any that require a response.
I also take care to check for reviews by staff members or owners & recommend they’re removed by the user who posted them. It’s a professional thing that’s only noticed by a few people, but in my opinion, it makes a difference.
Reviews are crucial to the ongoing success of your listing. Spend some time each week, to ask for them from your customers & of course – reply to each one you get, even the bad ones.
Step 11 – Mobile App Install
I ask my client to install and sign into their Google My Business app. This opens up a few options not available on the desktop version of the site.
Step 12 – Messaging
Inside the mobile app, you can turn on messaging and alter the welcome message people see. I advise all of my clients to ensure notifications for the GMB app are set to ‘on’, so you don’t miss a message that could result in a sale. Google advises you to reply to messages within 24hrs, or risk losing the ability to message – keep an eye on this!
Step 13 – Welcome Offer
Another “mobile app only” section of GMB is the welcome offer. This offer encourages customers to follow your GMB listing, from the Google Maps search area. It’s not the most developed part of the GMB offering, but I sense it’ll become a bigger deal in the future. In the meantime, I advise my clients to come up with a compelling offer & set it up here. Followers have 2 weeks to redeem your offer, so make it tasty!
Step 14 – Photos
This is a BIGGIE!
Photos get a huge amount of attention on a listing & contribute to the “activity” metric in insights. Adding photos is good. Adding photos that have “location services” data attached are better. Photos that have location data & keywords attached to them are best.
Begin with adding your logo & your header image.
Pro Tip – Navigate to canva.com & start a new doc. Select a square document & drop your logo inside the square. Alter your image to fill the square side to side. Download the image and add it to your listing in the logo section.
You can add photos to your listing using the mobile app, or via desktop – there is a difference between the two processes though.
On mobile, you have the option to add a caption (space for an explanation, or keyword(s). On a desktop, this option isn’t available.
I use the desktop site to load client images to listings, but to bake in the location & keyword data, I use a third party tool called Geoimgr – https://bit.ly/3iDk1cu (affiliate link), to add all of the data I want & create an optimised version of the images. After I’ve followed that process, with about 18 images at a time, I upload them to the GMB profile. I usually add 50-100 images, depending on the profile.
When I use a mobile to upload, I’m using the location baked into the image by the device at the time the image was taken, and I use the comment to add a keyword. This process can be a bit slower, unless you use the same comment / keyword for all of the images.
Step 15 – Posts
Posts are super important for the ongoing upkeep of your listing.
Posts can take different forms on GMB – Regular updates, offers, events and product launches are all available. Of course the COVID-19 updates are available at the moment as well – although I would avoid them here in NZ. Posts last for 7 days – Google will send you an email to remind you your post is due to expire.
Post an update each week, drawing from the best post from your other social platforms (Facebook, for instance). Look for high comment numbers or likes on a post – or a post you really like.
Always add an image – refer to the photos section of this guide.
Add the copy to your GMB post and make sure you avoid any reference to price, your phone number or any words or terms that “could be” construed as dodgy.
Google are very sensitive to anything suspect in the post copy & will quickly reject it if they feel it breaches their rules.
Add a button to every post – my favourites are the ‘more info’ button (add a link to your site), or a ‘call now’ button. If you’re posting from mobile, the call now button isn’t available (I have no idea why…).
Step 16 – Ongoing Work
Ongoing maintenance is required on your listing – Posts, Photos & Reviews are mission critical to the continued success of your GMB strategy. I encourage each of my clients to set a calendar reminder each week, to complete the required work.
If you complete the work outlined above & continue to maintain your listing regularly, you’ll be more likely to rank well against your competition & gain more business.
More information about Google My Business from our blog: