Have you set up your Google My Business (GMB) to succeed or to fail? Your GMB Knowledge Panel (KP) should be chock-full of awesome and vital information about your business. It is your opportunity to let your customers get the much-needed information they crave.
When was the last time you checked your GMB KP? If it has been a while, you should double-check your information to ensure this valuable information is complete and correct. Here is what a standard KP looks like, using SEMrush as the example.
The vital information Google displays:
- See Photos
- See Outside aka Streetview
- Phone number
- Questions and answers
If you are not monitoring any of the above information and it’s incorrect, you are providing a bad user experience and probably losing out on acquiring new customers. Below are the nine most common GMB mistakes business owners make. They are all easily rectified. You need to monitor your listing, or these mistakes might affect your listing and your bottom line.
1. Unclaimed Listings:
If you do not claim your GMB, how are you going to manage it? You won’t be able to reply to reviews. While you can suggest edits on your address, phone number, website URL, and hours, claiming your GMB listing gives you far more control. Without claiming, you can even upload photos, but it will be from a customer and not as the owner. The Google My Business team will not be able to assist your concerns while the listing is unverified, and you will not be able to use or create Google Posts. Ultimately, you’re missing out on a valuable tool you can use to improve your business listing.
If your listing is not claimed and left dormant long enough, a user can suggest an edit that the listing does not exist. Google more than likely will accept that edit and delete the listing. If your listing is unclaimed, you run the risk of another company coming in and either claiming your listing or editing your information and adding their telephone number and website. Since the listing is left unclaimed, Google will not be able to alert you that the information has been updated or changed and your business can be hurt.
The easiest way to claim your GMB listing is directly from the Knowledge Panel. Click the “Own This Business” and follow the steps.
2. Closed Businesses:
If your business shut down, please mark your business as permanently closed. You can do this in your Google My Business dashboard. Although you may no longer have need for the listing, it presents a bad user experience. If a potential customer attempts to visit you only to discover you are closed, they will become upset that they wasted their time. Google filters out closed GMB listings to prevent them from coming up in the map pack.
3. Missing Information:
If you have set up your GMB listing and have not checked it recently, your listing could be missing vital information. The most common missing pieces of vital information are hours, website URLs and phone numbers. How are your customers going to know when you are open or how to contact you if this information is missing? Potential customers are going to go to your competitor if they are unable to reach you.
I don’t know of any business that wants to lose potential customers to their competition. Log in to your GMB account and check that all of your information is A) listed, and B) correct. If it’s not, you’re working for the other guy.
4. Incorrect Information:
Having incorrect information is actually worse than not displaying information. If you do not update your hours and potential customers show up at your location only to find out that you are closed, they’ll be upset. When I had to take my car to get smogged, I checked their Google listing for the hours of the business I was going to. They did not open when they said that they would, so I left a negative review for them. Then, I went to their competitor and left them a positive review; this is how it works.
5. Map Pins:
Map pins are often overlooked, and too often they are in the wrong place. I have found map pins on the opposite end of a shopping center, in the middle of the parking lot or in the street; this doesn’t help potential customers. More and more people are using GPS programs, and they don’t want to be directed to the wrong spot. If they can’t find you, they may call you or just assume that your business is shut down and go elsewhere.
6. Ignored Reviews:
Reviews are one area where business owners mess up the most. For starters, they ignore or don’t reply to the reviews, positive or negative. Consumers want to see a business that is engaged with its customers. If you don’t reply to the reviews, you are showing potential customers that you don’t care, and they will go elsewhere. Reply to both positive and negative reviews.
I booked a massage for my wife’s birthday. She enjoyed it so much that I left positive reviews on all of the review platforms they were listed on. The owner, replied to me directly to thank me for my review and kind words. It felt great to be appreciated and acknowledged.
Replying to negative reviews is tough and not enjoyable. Sadly, I see business owners respond in anger, lash out, and insult the reviewer. While you may want to tell the customer to take a hike, you need to know that future customers will see your reply and judge you on your response. Your future sales are also dependant on your response. No one wants to deal with a jackass.
Some ways to reply to a negative review:
- That is not how we want our customers to feel.
- We are going to address this and ensure that it won’t happen again.
- Please contact us, so we can address this with you directly.
7. Google Customer Missed Q&A
Q and A is a new feature, and because of this, it’s an element that gets ignored a lot. There are a lot of questions from potential customers that could translate into new sales. If you don’t answer them, they will be left unanswered or answered by somebody else. What if the answer that is provided is wrong?
Google allows business owners to post their own questions, so post the ‘frequently asked questions’ you get. If users can get the information from your listing, they won’t need to call you or a competitor looking for the answer, and you can focus your time on the customer in front of you.
Photos are often neglected. I have seen businesses that only have the Streetview. Sometimes the only other photo is from a customer. The example below is a photo taken by someone sitting in their car; you can even see the dashboard, which is not an overly attractive picture for a business. Also, if you’re not careful, Google will cull a photo from the wrong Facebook page or a news article.
I recommend adding five to eight exterior and five to eight interior photos with and without staff. Pictures with people look much better than empty storefronts and lobbies. Show off your personality and let people see that real people who work at your business and that employees are capable of smiling. Play around taking photos at different times of the day to see which photos you like more. Ask your friends and staff to vote on which pictures they like. You can also hire a Google Trusted Photographer to take a 360-degree tour of your location, and they also snap staff photos.
9. Located In:
Google now allows users to edit the Located In feature in Google My Business. The example of RedBox below was shown in the wrong business; I also noticed that the hours are missing. You need to perform a Google search to verify that your GMB shows the correct “located in” location. With this feature, you can advise users that you are located in a specific store, shopping center, grocery store, building or in a mall to help make it easier for your customers to find you.
All nine of these common GMB mistakes can be easily rectified. If you have a Google My Business, you need to perform an audit on your listing. Look for any of these glaring issues that might be affecting your listing, and correct them. Your customers will appreciate it, and you might find it’s the key ingredient between remaining in business or closing down permanently.