It’s time to deck the halls and hit the malls. The holiday shopping season is upon us.
The National Retail Federation projects this year’s holiday sales will build off last year’s strong showing and will increase by between 4.3 and 4.8 percent over 2017 (totaling between $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion). That’s promising news for local businesses this holiday season.
The key to increasing foot traffic during the holiday season, however, begins online. While 76% of holiday shoppers prefer going to a physical store for their gift shopping, 97% of consumers report having turned to the web for more information before visiting a store.
That’s why this holiday season is a great time to make sure your Google My Business (GMB) listing accurate and up-to-date. Not to mention, while it’s certainly vital to get your Google listing ready for the holiday rush, you’ll reap the rewards of an appealing and well-maintained GMB listing all year round.
That’s what makes it the gift that keeps on giving.
Here are 4 quick updates that you can make to your GMB listing today to get ready for the holiday season:
1. Check for Duplicate Listings
Sometimes multiple people from the same organization will create listings without knowing the other exists. Sometimes people just forget that they’ve already created a listing and sign up again. However it happens, it’s worthwhile to do a quick check to make sure it’s not a factor that’s affecting your SEO.
To check, you can type your address into Google Maps to see if multiple listings pop up. Alternatively, you can use an online tool to check for duplicate listings (simply Google “My Business duplicate listing tool,” and take your pick).
To have listings merged, you need to call Google’s support line, but trust me, the SEO benefits are worth the hassle.
2. Report Inappropriate or Inaccurate Content
Google users can add content like reviews, photos, and answers to questions to your Google My Business listing. So, as with most user-generated content, it’s expected that inaccurate information will sometimes make its way onto your listing. While you can’t have every one-star review or unflattering photo removed from your GMB listing, you can report content that violates Google’s policies.
If you believe that content submitted to your listing is inaccurate, misleading, offensive, or profane, immediately report it to Google.
While you may not be able to control what other users upload to your listing, you are ultimately responsible for monitoring it for inappropriate or inaccurate content. After all, your listing is a reflection of your business. Make sure to manage it well.
3. Add Relevant Categories
Remember the Yellow Pages? You know, that huge book that you might still be using as a door stop? Well, that’s what we used to look up local businesses before we had Google.
Think of categories like sections of the Yellow Pages. It helps potential customers quickly and efficiently find the type of business they’re looking for. Google lets you pick from over 2,000 (!) categories to describe your business. You will have chosen a primary category when you created your listing, but you can add more categories to further describe the products and services you offer.
To add more categories to your My Business listing, go to the “Info” tab. Under your business name, you will see your primary category. Click this to edit your primary category and add additional ones.
Be careful, though, to make sure you’re accurately representing yourself. If you run a salon that has a complimentary coffee bar for waiting customers, don’t list “coffee bar” as a category.
4. Update Your Images
Along with your “Identity” photos (i.e. your Profile and Cover photos), Google also recommends that you upload some additional “business-specific” photos to your listing that help spotlight the things that potential customers most care about:
- Exterior Photos: Taken from each direction your customers could approach your business, exterior shots let people know what your business looks like from the outside and make it easier to find.
- Interior Photos: Interior photos show potential customers what they’ll see when they open the doors to your business. Your photos should give viewers an accurate idea of what it’s like to step inside.
- Product Photos: Whether your business is a restaurant, a small boutique, or a bed and breakfast, people want to know what to expect when they make a purchase from you.
- Photos at Work: If your business is service-based, you may not necessarily have a physical product to showcase. In that case, you’ll want to include pictures of you or your team working on a project.
- Team Photos: Photos of yourself and your team add a personal, welcoming touch to your listing. These pictures shouldn’t look like your LinkedIn headshot. Instead, they should capture the individual personalities of the people who work at your establishment.
Google recommends a minimum of three photos of each type, and all images should be high-quality (well-lit, focused, and without excessive alterations or filters).
There you have it: 4 easy ways to improve your GMB listing in time for the holidays. Remember, if your Google My Business listing needs a little sprucing up for the holidays, there’s no time like the present. (See what we did there?)
Need a little Holiday Help?
We know the holiday season is hectic, but the good news is that you don’t have to do it all alone. (Even Santa needs a little help from his jolly Christmas elves.) Michaels Wilder is here to help manage your local listing. Contact us today if you’d like to inject a little “Wilder Thinking” into your local SEO strategy this holiday season.