When it comes to online business directories, the most popular local listing is Google My Business (GMB). As a flexible office space operator, an optimized GMB profile is essential to your local SEO strategy as it makes it easier for new members to find your space.
For most searches performed on Google, the first three local results that appear (in what is known as the “Local 3-Pack”) are the ones with multiple reviews and solid star ratings. By optimizing your GMB listing, your coworking space can rise in rankings and level-up your local marketing game plan. Here are a few simple ways to optimize your listing.
Add Photos To Your Listing
- According to Google, customers are 42% more likely to request driving directions to a business if its GMB Business Profile has photos, and 35% are more likely to click through to its website. Furthermore, a BrightLocal study showed that businesses with more than 100 photos get 520% more calls, 2,717% more direction requests, and 1,065% more website clicks than the average business.
- Ideally, it is recommended that you upload an image per week, or at least 2 per month. Something to consider: when uploading images, have full file names (such as Capitol Meeting Room at Pacific Workplaces as opposed to IMG3596.JPG). Use keywords and take down outdated photos. Avoid using stock photos, and don’t use images with special effects or branding. Google is trying to represent your business as it appears in the real world. For more details, refer to Google’s photo guidelines for specifications, but be sure to include happy members, interior and exterior views, and team photos.
- Use keywords your audience uses to find businesses like yours. Use all 750 characters, with key information in the first 250 characters.
- Repurpose content from your “About Us” page or mission statement. Don’t repeat any information already visible in the other sections of your profile. Use this space to talk about what sets you apart from competitors and what customers like most about your business.
- Don’t include links or HTML.
Utilize Services & Messaging Features
- Use additional features to add more information such as Services, Messaging, etc. Adding products and services is especially helpful if you’re offerings are not made clear in your business name. Populating this section also adds content to your profile that can help it to rank for even more relevant searches.
- When adding products and services, include the name, description, and price (if applicable). The full description will show up once a searcher clicks on the product. Also, Google may link to your products from your category section.
- To enable messaging, select the “Messaging” tab in your GMB dashboard, and you have the option to install this via Google Play or the Apple App Store. This feature gives searchers the option to send a text message to your phone directly from your GMB profile. With 82% of smartphone shoppers (92% for millennials) using their device for local search, this is a great opportunity for customers to get in touch with you. Some side notes regarding GMB Messaging:
- You don’t need to worry about displaying your personal phone number, as you’ll use a different number via Google’s Allo app.
- Be sure to set up alerts for messages in your Google My Business dashboard. Head to settings and check off “customer messages.”
Optimize Your Profile with Reviews
- Start with your long-time, loyal customers to get the momentum going.
- Make it as easy as possible for customers by creating a review shortcut link or using Whitespark’s shortcut link generator (both are free).
- Ask! 62% of customers will write a review if asked. Do so via email, text, social media, and in-person conversations.
- Remind customers that reviews aren’t just for your benefit; they help people who have the same pain points as them to find a solution and make informed decisions.
- Have a “Reviews” page on your website with a CTA to leave one.
- Respond to reviews in a timely manner (ideally less than 24 hours, otherwise keep it to 48 hours or less). This incentivizes additional customers to leave reviews, reveals a lot about your business to prospects, and improves your local SEO.
- Google displays business profiles in search results if reviews contain relevant keywords. Google will embolden keywords in your reviews to further validate relevance. Relevant keywords are based off what customers are searching locally by category. Example: search for coworking space san jose – and these keywords should be highlighted in a search result.
Use Google Q&A Section
- This section is particularly important to optimize because not only can anyone ask a question on a business Google profile, but anyone can answer.
- Set up alerts so you can stay on top of questions and answers posted to your profile.
- Seed your own Q&A section. Make a list of the most frequently asked questions your business gets. Then ask, answer, and upvote your answer on your own profile. This does not go against Google’s terms and conditions. In fact, Google encourages it.
- Keep keywords in mind. Questions and answers that contain keywords can help improve your profile ranking for that keyword. So keep your keyword strategy in mind when seeding your Q&A section, but use them loosely and organically, and do not keyword stuff.
Lastly, you want to specify your hours of opertation and update holiday hours as needed. This is an easy thing to forget, but it’s very important as customers want to know your hours of operation front and center. Also, leverage Google Posts and try to create content weekly, otherwise quarterly. Google Posts can be used to highlight special offers or upcoming events.
Jamie Russo of Everything Coworking also offered some great video content on GMB including how to let members use your mailing address for GMB with lower risk, and three things you should do to stay on top of your Google My Business game.
Become a CloudVO Partner and get access to more resources specifically for workspace operators. Listing is free. Go to CloudVO.com to learn how to join our global network of nearly 1,000 workspace operators.