5 Routine Steps to Maintain Your Google My Business Listing
When it comes to your Google My Business (GMB) listing, it’s not enough to just set it and forget it. You need to complete routine audits of your listing to ensure that your listing is still performing at the head of the pack (the local 3-pack, that is). While you do not need to audit your listing very often, you should give it a complete head-to-toe assessment a few times each year.
Not only does this help you keep your information up to date, it also gives you a chance to make any changes to your content and make improvements based on past performance.
GMB Audit Checklist
Check NAP Consistency
The first thing on our maintenance checklist is a comprehensive audit of your NAP consistency (and no, I’m not talking about your sleep schedule). NAP (sometimes NAPU or NAP+W), refers to your key business contact information:
- Phone Number
- Website URL
It’s crucial that your NAP not only be correct on any and all Google My Business listings but consistent across the web, so make sure to update an information if necessary and monitor your other online listings. You can use an online NAP consistency checker or just perform a vanity search for your own business name to periodically check for new listings or changes. Claiming your listings on other local search sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing, or Yahoo Local helps you stay in control of your online citations.
Report Inaccurate or Inappropriate 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.
Even if you aren’t regularly posting or monitoring your GMB listing, you should set aside time to review your listing periodically for any offending content. 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, whether or not you’re the one uploading the content.
Revise Menu, Products, and/or Services
When was the last tie you added a new service or product to your list of offerings? Did you remember to update that information on your Google My Business listing?
Google My Business allows business owners to create a list of product offerings to feature on their GMB page, which is a great way for potential customers to research your business to find out if you have what they’re looking for. You do, however, need to keep this list up to date. After all, no one wants to show up at a business only to find out that they don’t actually offer what they advertise.
A picture says a thousand words…don’t let those words misrepresent your business. Google My Business allows both business owners and customers to upload their photos to a listing. You shouldn’t, however, rely solely on customer images to fill out this section. After all, as we all know from trying to capture that perfect selfie, grainy cellphone images aren’t always the most flattering. Also, those pictures may not show everything you want to highlight. That’s why it’s essential to curate your own pictures to present your business in the best light possible.
You probably already have some high-quality images posted to your My Business listing from when you first created your listing, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to hang up your camera. As your business grows and changes, you should continue to post new pictures periodically to highlight the best you have to offer. While you can’t determine which images Google My Business decides to feature, photos that get a lot of engagement (i.e. interesting, high-quality shots) are more likely to feature prominently on your listing.
So, make sure to keep your camera handy for any special events that take place at your business to capture memorable moments, and take some time every once in a while to update your images to ensure that everything is up to date, including interior and exterior shots and pictures of product offerings.
Add Temporary, Seasonal, and Holiday Hours
Chances are, you’ll be changing your business hours sometime in the upcoming months. Maybe you’re running on special seasonal hours. Maybe you’re shutting down for Christmas or Easter. Either way, you want your customers to know when they can pay your business a visit. The last thing you want is for someone to show up for some last-minute shopping only to find out you’ve closed early.
Luckily, Google My Business (GMB) makes it easy to change your settings to reflect any temporary changes to your schedule, and you can set these special hours well in advance. Here’s how:
- Sign in to Google My Business, and click on the location you’d like to manage.
- Click the “Special Hours” section. (Note that you’ll only see this section if you’ve already set regular hours for your business.)
- You can either click “Confirm Hours” next to an upcoming holiday or click “Add New Date” to change your hours for a different day.
- Enter the opening and closing times for that day.
- If your business will not be operating on that day, slide the circle to “Closed.”
- If you’re open 24 hours, click “Opens at,” and select 24 hours from the drop-down menu that appears.
- For two sets of special hours on the same day (for example, if you are open in the morning, close for lunch, and reopen in the afternoon), enter them in separate rows. Click “Add Hours” to add an additional row of hours.
- When you’ve finished entering all of your special hours, click “Apply.”
- That’s it! Your special hours will now appear to Google users on the designated days.
Here’s one more important tip to keep in mind: It’s a good idea to confirm your holiday hours even if they’re the same as your normal hours. If you don’t confirm your holiday hours, Google will automatically warn users that the location’s hours may differ from normal hours, and they may assume that you’ll be closed.
To give your customers a head’s up about your temporary schedule, you can also post to social media or create a Google Post with all your scheduling information.
Performing these 5 routine steps every few months will keep your listing in tip-top shape and ensure that your GMB listing is accurate and effective. Keep in mind, however, that these are the bare minimum steps you need to take to keep your listing working as it should. If you’re looking to level up your listing, you’ll also want to take advantage of all the additional features that GMB has to offer, from Google Posts to FAQs (or let us handle it for you). Google My Business is more than just an online version of the Yellow Pages. It’s your key to standing out in a sea of search results.