Google My Business has recently launched a video upload feature after a period of testing.
Since GMB dropped the ability to edit or create your business description, videos now offer an alternative way to describe the business and the services you offer to potential customers.
The new video feature also allows customers to upload their own videos, whether that be to review your service, or record how the products they purchased from you are working for them, or not.
The key features of the new Google My Business video feature are:
- Videos added can be a maximum of 30 seconds in length
- Videos can appear on Google Maps
- They can also appear in Local search listings
Allyson Wright from Google My Business announced that upcoming features may include the ability to flag inappropriate customer videos, as well as offering mobile support.
However, many businesses that have tried this new feature have not seen their video go live within the 24 hour time frame promised by Google.
Why? Well just a week after the video feature was announced, Google announced that some videos weren’t being uploaded correctly due to a bug in the system, and have since been working to resolve the issue.
This seems to be a common issue recently when Google release updates and new features. The last one to have issues was Pagespeed Insights displaying unavailable’ messages due to Google not having enough data to present to users.
How can you get the most out of Google My Business?
So along with the new video feature (bugs aside), how can you use Google My Business to your advantage?
With the number of voice search queries being carried out on the rise, all business with a local presence should invest the time setting up a Google My Business profile, otherwise the chances of appearing as the top listing within local packs is significantly reduced, but still possible.
The Local Pack are the results shown in Google when there are local businesses relevant to a user’s search query and are generally shown in a box above the normal organic (unpaid) results with company names and useful information. Users have the opportunity to find out more about your business by clicking on this listing.
Most businesses are able to set up a Google My Business freely as long as they follow Google’s guidelines, however there are some businesses Google deems as ineligible; such as those under construction, new properties on the market, or businesses that don’t have a fixed location.
Whether you’re a small business operating in specific locations or a larger company that has presences nationwide, you still need to make sure your profile is as fully optimised as possible to increase the chances that your listing will be displayed in relevant search queries.
So how do you do this?
Ensure that all information and details about your company are correct and up-to-date: Details such as phone numbers, opening and closing times and payment methods need to be present and accurate.
Be specific about your business’ sector: Make sure you choose the right categories when listing your business. To do this, you should consider what users might search for to find your company, as well as how you would like customers to interpret your business and its services. Don’t use too many categories as Google can help to show your listing in similar searches users make – Google also states that just because you may have a cafe in your building, it doesn’t mean you should be promoting something like ‘catering’ as one of your categories if that is not your core business offering.
Get reviews from customers: As you can no longer describe your business on your profile, customer reviews become even more vital. 74% of customers say that reading a positive review helps them trust a local business more, whilst 50% say that a star rating is one of the most important things they look for when choosing a business to use. Politely ask your customers to review your business and offer incentives to them to do so if possible. It’s important however that you only ask for honest reviews and don’t ‘bribe’ them into giving false ratings – users might notice fabricated reviews and comments, and this can actually turn away potential customers.
Dealing with negative reviews: If you do happen to get a negative review you shouldn’t let this put you off. A good way to react to negative review is to consider it alongside the (hopefully) many positive reviews you have received, and carry on asking for reviews if you are confident that you are delivering a great service. Receiving negative reviews are also a way to improve your products and service, and also gives you the opportunity to respond publicly, showing that you are are a business that cares about its customers.
Finally, negative reviews actually help users trust your positive ones. Over 50% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both the good and bad ones.
Upload photos of your business – Photos should include:
- A profile photo – another way to help users to recognise your business
- A logo – allowing users to see your branding
- A cover photo – this is for your Google+ profile and should help display your business’ personality
- Internal and external photos – so that users know what to look for if they travel there.
- Team photos – so that customers can recognise a familiar face should they go to your location.
- Product photos – this helps show users the kinds of products you have to offer.
- Photos whilst working – it’s great to see what goes on behind closed doors.
Things to keep in mind when uploading photos are:
- They should be in JPG or PNG format
- The size of the images should be between 10KB and 5MB
- They should be high quality pictures that are focused and taken in good lighting.
- Images should be real-life so should not be edited to offer a ‘false image’.
Also try to get customers to upload their own photos; this kind of customer engagement looks great to other users. Customer photos aren’t likely to be taken professionally like yours, so may look as though they are more ‘authentic’ than the pictures specifically posted for the businesses profile. You can offer your customers incentives to take and upload photos, similar to gaining their reviews.
Businesses do have the ability to remove customer photos, for example if a user posts an inappropriate or harmful image that could make other users distressed, or if the photo doesn’t have anything to do with your business, or the products that you have to offer.
So what are the overall benefits of having a Google My Business profile?
- It’s a free and easy-to-use tool that allows you to engage with and attract new customers.
- It creates an online presence for your company as you appear in local search queries as well as on maps
- It allows users to find you, learn about your business and choose your products and services over competitor profiles.
- You can respond to reviews to show users that you’re constantly looking for ways to improve and better your business
- According to Google, businesses that have photos on their listings receive 35% more clicks through to their sites than businesses that don’t post photos.
- Precise directions are given to your business when featured on the maps, which means users don’t have to go out of their way and research directions for themselves.
- Better visibility in the SERPs; for queries where the users query appears to have local intent (which is all queries on Google mobile). An optimised listing can help you to appear as one of the three local listings that may be triggered.
- Gain valuable insights; the ‘Insights’ tab in GMB allows you to look into the Analytics of your profile such as visibility, engagement and audience. You can also link your Google Analytics to your profile to track how much traffic you’re gaining from your listing.
Creating a Google My Business profile can really help to promote your business, increase your brand profile as well as allow you to share important information that users wouldn’t normally receive unless they clicked onto your site. It can also help users looking for your product or service if you are local to them to, and allows you to stand out in Google’s search results for highly relevant queries.