A Google My Business (GMB) listing is a FREE local business listing platform by Google.
Creating a profile on this platform is critical to any local company wanting to show up in Google Maps or search results.
In fact, the graph below does a good job of highlighting the importance of a GMB profile.
Though it’s referred to as GMB signals, you can only project such signals, if you have a GMB account in the first place.
Do you Already have a GMB listing?
Before we begin, it is important to check whether your pest control business already has a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Fortunately, the process of checking a GMB listing is pretty simple, and you can do so by following the steps below.
Go to https://www.google.com/
Enter your full business name in the search bar.
If you don’t, it means your pest control business doesn’t have a Google My Business (GMB) listing, and it’s time for you to create one.
In the next section, we will cover the process of creating a new GMB listing.
How to Create a GMB Listing
Now let’s look at how you can create a GMB listing/profile.
Note: It’s VERY IMPORTANT to have a consistent NAP (N = your business name, A= your business Address, P= your business phone number) across all your online profiles.
This includes your GMB listing, your websites, and citations (we will talk more about citations in the next module). If you don’t have a consistent NAP profile, you’ll struggle to see results with local SEO.
Thus, before you move forward, make sure you create a definitive set of contact information associated with your pest control business. Then, use this set of information, and nothing else, when creating any online ‘citation profiles’ for your business.
Okay… With that in mind, let’s start with the GMB listing process:
Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and click on ‘START NOW’ in the top right-hand corner or on the center of your screen.
- Check ‘I deliver goods and services to my customers’ option.
- Uncheck ‘Hide my address (it’s not a store)’ option, because your pest control business has a physical address.
Based on the information that you provide, Google will show a few similar business listings. Just select ‘None of these’ and click on ‘Next.’
The distance around your business’ physical location.
It’s worth noting that for this second option, you can select multiple zip codes. Thus, if you cater to a number of different regions, this option might be preferable.
Once you select the option that suits best to your business, click ‘Next.’
In this step, you select the ‘category’ of your business.
The good news is Google has ‘Pest Control Service’ as one of the category options. Just type ‘pest control,’ and you will see the option in the drop-down.
Once you have added your business category, the next step is to add your business phone number and the website URL.
On the next screen, you will see the following message as a confirmation for your listing.
Success! Your listing has been created. Now you need to choose a way to verify your listing.
There are different methods to verify your Google My Business listing. But for most local businesses, the postcard option is the one that is available, and it’s what we’re going to cover in the next section.
How to verify your Google My Business (GMB) listing on Google
On the postcard request screen (see the below screenshot), make sure your ￼address is displayed accurately.
If it isn’t, edit the address before you request your postcard. You can also add your contact a name (optional).
It usually takes 5-14 days for most postcards to arrive. If you didn’t get a postcard, you can request a new one.
Note: Do not edit your business name, address, or category, or request a new code while you’re waiting. It may delay the verification process.
Once you receive your postcard, use the code printed on the card to verify your listing.
To do this, sign in to Google My Business and select the location you’d like to manage.
Then click ‘Verify location’ from the menu. You should then be able to click the ‘Verify now’ button.
How to Optimize a Google My Business (GMB) Listing
Creating a GMB listing isn’t enough – you want to make sure your GMB listing is optimized.
This essentially means you make use of all the features that GMB has to offer. You provide as much information as you can and you use as many of the tools that are on offer.
If you do this, you dramatically improve the odds of your business ranking higher in the organic listings and within the map packs. After all, the more information Google has about your business, the more credible it will seem.
To start with the optimization process, log in to your Google My Business (GMB account).
Once you get in, the ‘home screen’ should look like this –
- Any latest review
- Any latest photo or other request submitted by any user
- Create a post
- Create an ad
- Add new photos to your listing
- Enable messaging to allow customers to get in touch without any hassle
- View your listing on maps
- View your listing on search
On the left side panel, you also get multiple other options to optimize your listing further. These are:
Posts or Google My Business (GMB) Posts
GMB posts are a great way to publish/push your events, services, offers, and coupons directly to Google Search and Maps.
This is incredibly powerful, as creating Google Posts can help increase the level of visibility you have in the search listings. Following this, potential clients may click on your listing, instead of a competitor listing – even if you don’t have a #1 ranking.
To create the posts, Google provides an easy-to-use editor.
All you need to do to get started is click on ‘create your first post’ to start a new one.
When writing your post, you have the option of selecting a ‘Post Type.’
You also have the option of adding some images or video content. Try to add some high-quality images/videos that provide context, and help you explain the content of your post.
Make sure you give your post a clear, and easy to understand title. You should also try to describe your post in maximum 4-5 words.
You also have the option of ‘adding a button.’
We highly recommend you include one, as doing so increases the odds of someone interacting with your post. Try to select on that best matches the content of your post.
Once you finish writing the post, you can always check the preview to ensure everything looks good. To do this, click on the ‘Preview’ tab next to ‘Publish.’
Below you can see an example of what a ‘preview’ looks like.
- Number of Posts: You can have up to 10 live posts at once. They show up in a scrolling carousel in search results.
- Timespan: Each GMB post (expect the event posts) expires in 7 days. So, the ideal frequency is to do one post a week.
Try to make full use of Google Posts.
It’s a new feature provided by Google, and you’ll tend to find that with new features, Google will reward the businesses that make use of them.
This is to encourage other business users to take the same action. Thus, if you get in early, you’ll experience some advantages.
Info or Business Information
As the name suggests, this is where you add your business information such as:
- Business name (make sure you add the full name)
- Business address (full address with zip code. No abbreviations)
- Your primary and secondary business category
- Business hours
- Business phone number
- Business website URL
- Booking URL (if it is different from website URL)
- A brief description of your pest control business
- Payment modes or types that you accept
- Exterior: The outside of your business location from different directions. (minimum of three photos)
- Interior: The inside of your business location or office from different angles. (minimum three photos)
- Service: A picture showing the services you offer. (minimum one photo per service)
- Employee: Photos of your employees delivering the services you provide. (minimum two)
Important note: To ensure the authenticity of a business’ information, Google allows anyone (not directly related to your business) to ‘suggest an edit’ for your listing.
So, it’s essential to double check the info you provide, just so you can minimize the odds of receiving a suggestion.
Periodically (once in a month at least) check your listing to ensure all the details are correct.
Note: Later in this post, we’ll cover in greater detail, the importance of reviews and how you can get more of them. For now, though, we’re just going to take a look at ‘Google’ reviews and how you can ‘interact’ with them and the benefits of doing so.
It’s worth noting that Google gives you the chance to respond to reviews.
Responding to reviews is a good idea because it creates a good impression for your business. Interestingly, it can also lead to an increase in the number of positive reviews for your business.
Because of this, you should try to reply to each review – positive or negative.
Let’s take a look at how you can do that.
Click on the ‘Review’ tab on the left side panel. It loads a page. This page lists all the customer reviews associated with your business.
- Haven’t replied
To reply to unattended reviews, click on ‘Haven’t replied’ view and start responding to all one by one.
Whenever you respond, the reviewer also gets a notification.
This lets them know that you’ve acknowledged their comments. If they left a positive review, it reinforces their opinion that you’re a good company, and this’ll improve the odds of them telling others about your business.
If they left a negative review, your response might cause them to have a change of heart and they may edit their negative review, to show their appreciation for your response.
Everyone will be able to see this, and this will help you when potential customers are reading reviews in the future.
Messaging or GMB Messaging
If you offer messaging, it means that potential customers can start a ‘chat’ with you by clicking on a button within the search listings.
This is incredibly powerful, as it makes it easy for potential customers to get in touch with you. After all, for potential customers, starting a ‘chat’ is often are easier than making a phone call and can deliver faster results than email.
Thus, if you make use of this feature, and respond to these chat messages in a prompt manner, it can be a great way to close leads.
Let’s look at how you can enable the ‘messaging feature.’
Go to the ‘Messaging’ tab in the left side panel.
The first screen you see on the screen looks something like this:
- Use existing number.
- Use a different number. In case you choose this option, enter your other number in the given space.
Once you are done, click on the ‘Next’ button. On the next screen, you see:
- A place to add your welcome message you want your potential customers to see. Your message length should be 120 characters or less.
- Option to change the phone number (if you want).
Once you’ve done this, potential customers should be able to contact you via this messaging app, making it easy for them to gain quick answers to any questions.
Insights or Google My Business Insights
As the name suggests, this is the place where you see the performance of your GMB listing.
Initially, this area isn’t going to be of much use. But over time, it’ll allow you to figure out if your local SEO strategy is working.
One of the cool things you can do here is find out how people search for your business.
One is via the ‘Direct’ route.
This is when customers find your listing by searching for your business name or address. Such individuals may have heard about you from a friend or some kind of offline ad you might’ve placed.
For instance, someone may have mentioned your business to a friend. This person may then have Googled the name of your business and found your website as a result.
The other option is the ‘Discovery’ route.
This includes customers who find your listing searching for a category, product, or service.
In most of the cases, these people are interacting with your business online for the first time. People use various keywords or search terms to find your business or a similar business like yours.
So, if you service the Miami region, this might include people that search ‘pest control in Miami,’ for example.
Thus, if your discovery search count is high, it’s a sign your local SEO strategy is working.
This section also allows you to see where/how customers view your business on Google.
The below graph shows a breakdown of the number of times customers viewed your business and via which listing (map pack listing or search listing).
A month-on-month growth in the number of views is a sign of an effective local SEO strategy.
In this section, you get to see how customers interact and act once they found your listing on Google. The graph shows how many customers completed the following types of actions when viewing your listing:
- Visit your website
- Request directions
- Call you
- Message you: You see it only if you enable the messaging inside your Google My Business account.
- Total actions: The sum of all the four actions (website visits + direction requests + calls + Messages)
You can see your GMB account performance in last:
- 7 days
- 30 days
- 90 days or 3 months
This data is helpful because it lets you know what’s working and what isn’t.
You can use this data to compare the impact of your SEO strategy on ‘inbound inquiries.’ This then lets you measure your SEO strategy, through the lens of actual business improvements.
You can also see data regarding the number of people that made a phone call, upon finding your GMB listing.
The best thing about this graph is you can view trends of customer phone calls by ‘Day of the week’ or ‘Time of day.’ It gives you an insight on when customers call the most.
You can then use this information to optimize the way you run your business.
For instance, if the data shows you receive a lot of phone calls on a Monday, you might ask one of your employees to focus on answering the phones that day.
In doing so, the odds of you missing a call is limited, and this will then result in you closing a larger number of clients.
You can also see the number of views for your photos.
In this section, you see the number of photos associated with your listing and how often they’re viewed compared to similar businesses in the following graphs.
If your business photos receive more views than similar businesses in your area, it means your business shows up more for the most common search queries. Again, this is a sign that your SEO strategy is working.
That about wraps of everything you can do, and analyze in regards to a Google My Business listing.
In the following sections, we’re going to explore how you can build upon this work, by using additional tactics to create an effective, well rounded local SEO strategy.
4. Local and Global Citations
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