Ready, Set, Social Success: Guide to Optimizing Your Google Business Listing

January 2019
 minute read
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When you are looking for a new hair salon, a new restaurant in town, or a trusted plumber for your leaky faucet, who do you turn to first? If you’re like most people, 90% of your journeys - to the hair salon or out to dinner - begin with a google search. Google has become such an integral part of our everyday lives and, consequently, the running of our businesses and online marketing strategies. That’s why Responsival - the Pittsburgh content marketing experts - is featuring the Google Business Listing in this edition of our ‘Setting Your Business Up for Social Success’ Series. Here we’ll show you why your google business listing is so important, how to set one up, and how to optimize and manage your GBL to, quite literally, put your business on the map. Let’s get started.

Why do I Need a Google Business Listing?

Place your business in the phonebook of the 21st century

Salty Dog Cafe GBL

Asking why you need a Google Business Listing is much like asking someone 20 years ago why they need to be in the phonebook. Studies show that a whopping 97% of people look for local businesses on Google. However, only 37% of businesses are using a GBL --- meaning, if you’re one of 3 carpet cleaners in your town, you will be the one that most people have access to if you properly optimize your GBL.

This is all part of Local SEO, or the act of optimizing search engines to recognize your business as one of the top businesses in your locality for the services you offer. A huge first step in your Local SEO is your Google Business Listing, because:

  • Your GBL puts you on the GoogleMap
  • A strong GBL can help place you in the “local 3-pack” or the first three businesses the pop up when searching for a business like yours
  • An optimized GBL makes contacting your business easier than ever before

In other words -- if you want people to shop at your store or utilize your services, they need to be able to find your business. With Google being an increasingly important way that customers find your business, creating your GBL is an absolute must. Let’s not waste another second and get started.

How do I Create a Google Business Listing?


The first step in creating your GBL is claiming your business, which you must do at From there, you answer the necessary questions (business name, address, etc.). After answering few questions...voila! You have a GBL

But just claiming your Google Business Listing isn’t enough. Next, you must verify your GBL via mail or phone call to access the extensive features that a GBL offers, to get on the Google Map, and view the analytics for your listing. You’ll be prompted to verify your listing shortly after its creation. The process takes a few days, so get started as soon as possible.

I’ve Claimed my Google Business Listing… Now What?

GBL Service

After creating your listing, it’s time to fill out as much information on your listing as possible. The most information you provide on your listing, the more visitors can discover about your business in a quick glance. Some things you can add to your listing include:

  • Business Address
  • Service Areas (for businesses not always working from a storefront)
  • Hours
  • Phone Number
  • Website Link
  • 750-Character Description of Your Business
  • Founding Date
  • Categories (specific self-reported business types that help users find your business). Don’t worry -- we’ve got what we believe is the full category list.
  • Images

Once you’ve added those basics onto your Google Business Listing, you have a good chunk of the work done. But it’s important to note that a GBL isn’t a once-and-done piece of your SEO plan. Google Business Listings require updating, feedback,and frequent monitoring for several reasons. For starters, ANYONE can ‘suggest an edit’ to your listing - meaning slimey competitors can adjust your hours to being closed on your busiest days and undoubtedly slow down your business. Additionally, you may want to add holiday hours to your business listing or utilize a variety of the special features a GBL offers. We’ll get to that in the next section.

Optimizing Your Google Business Listing & Special Features

GBL Analytics Optimization

If we’re thinking of a Google Business Listing as the phone book listing of the 21st century, it’s important to point out the features that make the GBL an important aspect of contemporary business marketing and strategy.

Booking and Reservations

GBL Button

Your GBL allows you - if you use an integrated booking system at your business - to add booking directly on to your GBL. Instead of clicking through your site, people planning to visit you or call for a reservation can easily do so online, freeing up your phone lines and sparing your valuable time.


GBL Video

If your business has videos of the staff, a video tour of the location, or anything of the sort, be sure to include it in your GBL. Video is an extremely powerful tool in online content marketing because it attracts attention (even without sound) and adds a professional flare to your listing. Videos can be up to 30 seconds long, up to 100 MB in size, and 720p or higher in resolution for best results.


Create a post

You can add posts to your Google Business Listing, too. If your business was recently featured in an article or has a big event coming up, be sure to share it on your GBL. These posts will always be viewable on your listing, but you can only have one active post at a time. After a week, that post gets pushed to the bottom --- meaning it’s best to add a post to your GBL about once a week.

These posts can include photos, events, products, offers, and almost anything you can dream up. Keep them simple but enticing to drive customers to your website. Most importantly, ALWAYS add a button - also known as a CTA - to your posts to drive traffic to your site (and we really cannot stress this enough. Please just add a button. Please).

Google Website

Google Website

If your business doesn’t have a website, you can create a mini google site from your GBL. Though this is a great option for business just getting started, your business deserves a site that works as hard as you do. For a website designed to drive sales and best showcase your business, get in contact with Responsival: your Pittsburgh-based content marketing and web design specialists.


GBL Reviews

One of the most important aspects of your Google Business Listing is the reviews. More than 97% of people read online reviews to help decide whether to utilize a service or eat at a restaurant, so it’s important to have reviews on your business listing.

Luckily for you, Google is one of the few places that encourages you to tell your customers to send reviews. These reviews can work wonders in optimizing your listing, but don’t stop there. Continue boosting your local SEO and customer response rate by replying to reviews -- good or bad.

Think you’re ready to get started with your Google Business Listing? Utilizing these tips can help you best optimize one of the most important aspects of your business’s content marketing and digital marketing strategy. Worried you’re not doing enough to market your business online? Get in touch with Responsival for the best Pittsburgh content marketing, web design, and social media management you can find.

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