It’s not the first time we’ve preached the importance of your Google My Business profile and it probably won’t be the last. Similar to just about everything digital these days, the pandemic has made it even more important than ever.
Your website may be your digital storefront, but Google is often your customers’ first source of key business information such as hours of operation. With life changing in fast and sometimes unexpected ways, ensuring your Google My Business profile is up-to-date is key in these times.
Here are six things you can do to ensure your Google My Business profile is always accurate and use it to effectively communicate with local customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Update Your Hours Accordingly
If your business hours have changed, your Google My Business profile needs to change too. This will help customers plan their future visits and purchases. It will also ensure that your business isn’t displayed as open when it isn’t, or vice versa.
Having customers make the trip to your location only to discover your hours have changed is not the way to make them happy!
Mark Yourself as Temporarily Closed Without Hurting Your Local Rankings
This step hurts, but for many business owners, it’s simply been the reality of the times. If your business has to go beyond modified hours to a full closure, it’s important that Google and your customers are aware of this.
In the past, marking your business as closed would have had a negative impact on your local rankings. That’s because searchers want a business that’s open, right?
In response to the times, Google introduced a “temporarily closed” function at the start of the pandemic. This ensures clear communication to the public without an impact on your local rankings, which you’ll need when you’re able to open again!
Use the Posts Feature to Keep Customers Up-to-Date
Still a mystery feature to many, Google My Business allows you to share posts to your profile. This lets you communicate information about news, promotions, events and more right in the search engine results page (SERP).
Google has even created a specific “COVID-19 Update” post type to ensure this information is featured more prominently.
Set the Appropriate Attributes
Depending on your business category, you will have a variety of attributes that you can set to give searchers specific information about your business.
These attributes range from the accessibility of your building (Is your entrance wheelchair accessible?) to on-site amenities (Bathrooms? Wi-fi?), payment options (Which credit cards do you accept? Are you set up for non-contact payments?) and more.
In response to the pandemic and how life has changed as a result, Google continues to add new attributes relevant to different types of business. These additions include shopping options (such as in-store, delivery and curbside pickup), special shopping hours and many more.
Some of these attributes can influence whether a searcher will visit your business. Attributes allow you to share this key information in a quick and simple way. It’s a Google My Business feature you definitely need to take full advantage of.
Link to Your Online Bookings
If your business offers the opportunity to book an appointment online, include the link in your Google My Business profile so searchers can go straight to it from the SERP.
If you use certain booking platforms, you may even be able to set up an integration so that customers can book their appointment from the SERP without even having to go to your website. How convenient is that?
Embrace Sector-Specific Profile Features
We’ve already mentioned how Google My Business features available to you can vary depending on what business category you fall under. Now, it’s time for you to take full advantage of those different features to ensure you’re as prominent as possible in the SERP and make it easier for customers to get the information they need.
If you’re a hair salon, that could mean linking directly to your online bookings. Retail stores can share products in their profile. And if you’re a restaurant, that could mean showing your menu right there in Google!
It’s so specific to your business we can’t list out all the possibilities in this blog, not to mention they keep adding more on a regular basis. Make sure you’ve set the right business category so you can access these features and then go and embrace them!
Searchers want answers fast, and Google My Business is a great way to give them the information they’re looking for. By making the most of the features available and keeping it up-to-date, it’s an excellent tool to keep in your digital marketing toolbox as we continue to navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking for some extra help with reaching customers online? Ready to improve your local SEO rankings? Give Design Thinking a call so our SEO specialists in Brantford can lend a hand.