What comes to mind when you think about online searches? If you are like most people, the word Google pops into your head almost immediately, and with good reason. A whopping 5.6 billion searches happen on Google every day. Not to mention, people are always looking for local businesses on Google.
As a contractor, don’t you want to be where people are looking online? Of course you do. Setting up a Google My Business listing is an easy way to ensure you’re in control of your presence online.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to set up your business listing and start getting traffic and leads.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google Maps and Google Search.
Think of Google My Business as the upgraded version of Yellow Pages. Having an updated, well-optimized GMB listing is more or less the same as having a full-page Yellow Pages color ad.
Chances are, you already know what a GMB listing looks like. It’s typically represented by a card that shows up on the right-hand side of the screen when you search for a local business on Google.
Why is Google My Business Important for Contractors?
According to Think With Google, 53% of shoppers say they always do research before they buy to make sure they’re making the best possible choice. In addition, 76% of people who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a physical place within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase.
Other statistics reveal pretty much the same trend:
- 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information (GoGulf)
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles (HubSpot)
- Search result information will send 70% of consumers to a physical store (Joel House Search Media)
What do all these statistics mean for a contactor?
People who search for your service are often really close to making a purchase. To avoid missing out on these prospective buyers, you need to make sure that you have an active and well-optimized Google My Business listing. A well-optimized listing is one that shows up at the top of any local searches related to your contracting business.
How To Claim Your GMB Listing
If claiming a GBM listing for your contracting business sounds easy, it’s because it is easy. You can do it in a few simple steps, as shown below:
Step 1: Search for your contracting business on Google. Unless it’s a brand new business, it’ll likely show up in the search results. If not, you’ll have to create a new listing. Click here to create one.
Step 2: Next, click on “Own this business” at the right-hand side of the screen.
Step 3: You’ll be prompted to sign in to your Gmail account. If you do not have a Gmail account, create one.
Step 4: Once you’re signed in, you’ll be taken to a map. Search for your contractor business and find the correct listing on the map. If you can’t quite see your listing, choose the “Add Your Business” option and add all necessary information.
Step 5: Counter-check to make sure all of your business’s information is accurate. If you need to make changes, choose the option “Verify Later.” If all the information is accurate, proceed to the next step.
Step 6: Select your preferred verification method. Depending on your situation, there are several options available, including the following:
- Mail verification (available for some businesses)
- Receiving a postcard by mail at the business
- Instant verification (available for some businesses)
- Automated phone calls (available for some businesses)
We suggest using the phone or mail verification methods. If you choose to verify via phone, you will receive a call from Google within minutes. The automated call will give you a PIN, which you will need to enter in your Google My Business Local Dashboard to verify your account. Phone verification is quick and easy but may not be available if Google doesn’t recognize your business.
You can also opt to receive a postcard in the mail that takes up to two weeks to receive. This postcard will contain a PIN which you’ll need to enter into your dashboard to verify the listing. The other verification methods are not particularly reliable since they only work in one-off situations.
Step 7: Pat yourself on the back. You now have a new GMB listing!
How To Optimize Google My Business
So far, so good. You know what a Google My Business listing is and how to claim one. Now let’s shift gears and look at arguably the most important part of this blog: how to optimize a GMB listing for your contracting business.
Optimizing simply means editing the listing. By logging into your Google My Business Dashboard, you can easily edit the listing.
That said, here are four of the best Google My Business practices that’ll help you amass more local leads and get ahead of the competition.
How to Upload Photos and Videos to Google My Business
As a contractor, you’re often involved in creating some visually stunning work—whether it’s remodeling a house, building a brand new state-of-the-art swimming pool, or even repairing a patio.
After all, if a homeowner is planning to hire a contractor for an upcoming project, they’ll want to see some of your past work to decide if you’re the best fit.
To make sure Google highlights only your best work, add some of your latest photos and videos to your Google My Business account. Fortunately, that isn’t a difficult thing to do.
Once you’re logged into your GMB account, go ahead and upload pictures or videos in different sections. This could be the exterior section, the overview section, the cover photo section, and more, as you’ll see from the top menu.
Given that the cover photo is the first thing homeowners lay eyes on, you’ll want to upload a clean, up-to-date, professional photo that piques their interest straight away. They can then click on ‘view more’ if they’re interested in seeing more photos.
Here are more specifications you’ll want to follow:
- Each image should be between 10KB and 10MB in size
- Each image should be large, well-framed, and features your work heavily
- Each image should follow this format (or something close):
- Photos should be in PNG or JPG format
- The minimum resolution of every photo should be 720 px tall and 720 px wide
- Each image should be high-quality and without significant altercations or excessive filters
Top tip: Uploading before and after shots is a no-no. People might only see the before images and conclude you did a shoddy job.
Google My Business Services
If you’re a contractor, choosing the right type of service for your Google My Business listing is of utmost importance. Even statistics prove it.
The average business is found in 1,009 searches per month. Out of these, 852 are indirect or “discovery” searches. This simply means that customers are not looking for “King Power Plumbing Rooter & Plumbing” when they need a plumbing service. Rather, they are looking for “plumbers near me” or “plumbing in Los Angeles.”
To scoop up those 852 indirect searches, you need to make sure your Google My Business listing is optimized for the correct services.
This is especially true for companies whose “types of services” aren’t present in the company name. For example, a contractor with a name like “Ryan & Co” will want to counter-check their service listings to make sure they’re not missing out on any indirect traffic.
The good news is that adding or editing your services on your GMB profile can be done in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Log in to your GMB account
Step 2: From the menu, click Info
Step 3: In the “Services” section, click Edit
Step 4: Add your services
Step 5: Click Save
Some of the best practices you’ll want to follow here include:
- Avoid vague service descriptions. Be as specific as possible.
- If applicable, edit your services according to seasonality.
Google My Business Booking
70% of customers prefer to schedule appointments online, compared to only 22% who prefer to book via phone.
What does that tell you?
Homeowners crave convenience. They want to book a roofing or plumbing appointment online, and they want it done in a few seconds.
The best way to go about this is to add an appointment URL to your GMB listing. Think of it as a “call to action” link or button.
Thankfully, there are a variety of online booking platforms you can liaise with. SimplyBook.me, Appointy, Calendly, Housecall Pro are all worthwhile options.
To add an appointment URL to your listing, follow these quick steps:
- Step 1: Sign in to your GMB account. If you have an account with one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, your booking button will automatically be added to your listing. If not, continue with step 2.
- Step 2: Click Info from the menu on the left-hand side
- Step 3: The Appointment links section is on the bottom of the menu, so scroll down until you get to it
- Step 4: Click on the pencil and paste your URL inside the box
- Step 5: Click Apply
Here are some of the best practices you’ll want to follow:
- For credibility, have only one link
- Check the link every now and then to make sure it’s working properly
- Have a clear, concise, well-branded landing page for your link. You don’t want people thinking they accidentally clicked on spam.
Google My Business Post Examples
Another way to make the most of your GMB listing is through Google My Business posts.
First launched in 2016, Google My Business posts allow you to share even more information with homeowners right from your listing or your search results page.
You can use this feature in many ways—to communicate your special offers, highlight any content you might have, share interesting news, or clarify changes in working hours.
Follow these steps to create a post on Google My Business:
- Step 1: Log in to your GMB account
- Step 2: Click Create Post
- Step 3: Choose your post type—the information that you’ll need to enter will change based on the type of post you’re creating.
- Step 4: Fill out all the necessary fields
- Step 5: Preview your post
- Step 6: Once everything looks good, click Publish
When creating posts, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Share content that you already have. It’s generally cheaper and quicker to repurpose a post than creating one from scratch.
- Post regularly to keep your brand consistent and assure homeowners that they’re looking at the most up-to-date information
- Keep the text short. Anything between 150 and 300 characters is highly recommended.
- Include keywords that would appeal to searchers to increase relevancy
- Since your GMB post might be the first real impression a searcher has of you, keep it professional, educational, and informational
What is The Google Guarantee Badge?
Now that you know a bit about optimizing your GMB listing, let’s look at the next best thing to get you more traffic and leads: the Google Guarantee Badge.
The Google Guarantee Badge is essentially a green and white check mark that’s given to businesses who pass Google’s screening and qualification process.
When you apply for this badge, Google will scrutinize your business license, insurance, and online reviews. They’ll also conduct background checks on your team—at zero cost to you.
If your business passes the screening, you’ll receive the Guarantee Badge to show customers that Google has pre-qualified you.
If a customer isn’t happy with the way you repaired their patio or fixed their leaky pipes, they can submit a claim to Google to be reimbursed for the amount of their invoice. Thereafter, Google will get in touch with you to establish the validity of the claims and try to come up with an amicable solution. The maximum amount that customers can be reimbursed for is $2,000.
Why Is This Important?
The Google Guarantee Badge gives customers an extra sense of confidence and security when booking your contracting services.
And it’s not just about the eye-catching badge—it’s the knowledge that they’re able to choose a company already certified by Google.
How The Google Guarantee Benefits Your Business
In addition to the added trust among your target audience, the badge also warrants additional advantages, including improved search result rankings and more leads.
As part of the Local Services Ads, your business will be displayed at the top of the search engine results page. This allows you to directly connect with customers looking for the services you offer.
How The Google Guarantee Benefits Your Customers
Google Guarantee signifies to your customers that they’re making the best possible decision by choosing to work with you.
If homeowners in your locality are a little bit skeptical about your services, Google Guarantee will give them that extra nudge to trust you. It’s like a stamp of approval that your business is indeed the “real deal.”
How to Improve Your Google My Business Ranking
As you’ve likely noticed throughout this blog, where your Google My Business profile ranks on Google matters a lot. The higher it ranks, the more your chances of earning a few more customers for your contracting business!
Here’s how you can improve your GMB ranking:
1. Generate reviews and respond to them
Did you know that 90% of homeowners are on the internet reading reviews before engaging with a company? Google is also aware that reviews are the primary influence on customer purchases.
There’s no better publicity than the positive word-of-mouth that your customers can give you. So, be sure to encourage as many positive reviews as possible. Remember to also respond to as many reviews as you can, even the negative ones.
The bottom line? For your business profile to rank high on Google, have as many 5-star ratings as possible.
2. Regularly post on your business profile.
Your business profile won’t get on page 1 of Google if you don’t post regularly. Whether through announcements, events, offers, or even blog posts, make sure your GMB profile is always up-to-date.
Posts appear as “Updates” at the bottom of your Business Profile panel. They can also appear on Map-oriented results.
3. Run Local Services Ads
Searchers watching their sinks overflow can’t wait for a plumber from across the state. They’re also hesitant to call a stranger to help them come up with a blueprint for their new facility.
Running a Local Services Ad helps you connect with local homeowners who search on Google for the exact services you offer. The ad promotes your business, and you receive leads directly from potential customers.
The best part? You only pay if a customer directly contacts you through the ad.
With these kinds of ads receiving 13.8% of all local SERP clicks, it’s certainly an option worth considering.
Google My Business listing is an incredibly powerful tool for contractors to rank high on local search results, earn more customers, grow their brands, and delight homeowners before they engage with them.
The sooner you set it up, the better. But don’t stop at that. Optimize it to the fullest to make sure it ranks higher for both branded and indirect searches. While the results may not be immediate, you stand to reap huge in the long term.
That said, remember to keep your GMB profile updated and accurate. One wrong entry can cost you a lifetime customer, and in the service industry where margins are incredibly tight, you need as many paying customers as you can get.For more information, please contact us today, and we’ll be more than willing to assist!