When it comes to marketing for multiple location businesses, one of the best free tools to help save time and money is the Google My Business (GMB) profile.
GMB profiles help drive customer engagement by listing businesses in Google’s local search results and on Google Maps; they also help small businesses with their SEO. They’re also easy to set up and maintain and can help bring in serious revenue for multiple-location businesses or franchises.
So if you’re looking to increase your local business revenue and save time and money on costly marketing efforts—here are some of the best ways to use Google My Business for multiple locations!.
- What is a Google My Business profile?
- Best practices when Google My Business for multiple locations
- Filling out all details about each business
- Consistently using Google posts
- Navigating multiple location GMB access
- Using tools to schedule GMB posts
- Uploading high-resolution, quality photos
- Responding to both positive and negative reviews
- Analyzing GMB insights to improve your online presence
- Where to find help managing your GMB profiles
Google My Business (GMB) profiles are one of the best ways for multiple-location businesses to improve the visibility of their locations online and in the community.
They allow your business to be featured in local search results for common queries. Local results have a prominent spot on results pages after paid ads, but before organic search results, as you can see in the example below.
Your business also appears on Google Maps, and the higher up the list of local results your business is, the better.
According to Google, the rankings for these local results pages are based on three factors: distance, prominence, and relevance.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing a business’ visibility in local results by improving those three factors.
Local SEO is one of the best ways to increase revenue without a huge marketing spend, and it all starts with a properly optimized GMB profile.
When GMB profiles first came out, multiple-location businesses had to manage each of their business profiles from a separate location. Still, thankfully Google has made managing multiple locations easy in the past few years with the invention of the location management system.
The system allows you to see all the locations your business has listed with Google under one log-in.
The first step in local SEO is creating a GMB profile and adding all your unique business locations in this system. From there, we have just a few best practices to help you not only create and maintain a GMB profile but, hopefully, also move your business locations up the rankings for local results, increasing revenue.
Google My Business profiles for multiple locations start with inputting as many details as possible about each unique business location into Google.
You can do this individually by selecting each business and then filling in as much information as possible about everything from the hours of operation to the ‘about the business’ section.
Or you can use Google’s bulk uploading system to make the process easier.
Bulk upload to update all location information at once
After you’ve created your Google Account and made what’s called a location group to manage your locations, you can begin entering in all the business information of your locations using the bulk uploading system.
- Create a spreadsheet with all of your locations.
- Upload your spreadsheet to Google My Business.
- Request bulk verification.
No matter how you do it, inputting as much detailed information as possible about your business locations and the services they offer allows Google to match your business with relevant queries.
When it comes to GMB profiles, keeping up-to-date business details is one of the best ways to improve traffic and should always be your first goal. Just remember to follow Google’s guidelines for representing your business.
Consistently using Google Posts will help build your business’s prominence, and, therefore, improve your rankings in local results.
Unfortunately, you still have to make posts from each business location. Google doesn’t allow multiple-location businesses to post at all locations at once.
You can copy and paste your message to each location if it is similar, but for now, the only way to post on multiple profiles at once is with 3rd party software (more on this later).
So what are Google posts?
Well, there are four unique types of Google posts, and they all have a very specific purpose. Post types include:
- What’s New
Whether you’re educating, entertaining, or updating, GMB posts are a great way to connect with customers or clients.
Making posts is as easy, too. Simply select the post tab on the left side of the screen, selecting your post type, and creating a post to help inform and engage your clientele.
One problem multiple location businesses often run into with GMB profiles is navigating Google’s multiple location group system. Most of the time, GMB profiles are made by an owner or marketing manager who holds access to all the locations’ GMB profiles.
This can cause problems when an area manager, store manager, or the like wants to make updates about company information or GMB posts and can’t access them.
You can always use GMB’s location group managing support to find all the details about how to change group ownership and allow access to GMB posts, add store locations, and much more.
Or, you can save yourself some hassle and submit all your locations under one business email, [email protected] for example, and then simply share access to that email across the organization.
Managing GMB posts can be a real challenge for multiple location business owners. Since Google doesn’t yet have a feature that allows you to post on multiple business locations’ profiles at once, you’ll need to look to the aftermarket for some software help.
Social media scheduling tools now offer GMB post services. That means you can bulk upload on multiple profiles, create content calendars, and upload videos and GIFs on multiple profiles without spending all of your time moving from profile to profile.
Using tools to schedule GMB posts can save you hundreds of hours over a year if you have a multiple location business.
Some of the top social media tools that will help you schedule GMB posts include:
Including photos that are the right format, size, and resolution is a key step in optimizing Google My Business profiles for multiple locations.
Google provides photo categories similar to its post categories, as discussed earlier. Each business should include plenty of quality photos in each of the following categories:
- At work
- Product photos
- A logo and cover photo
On top of that, Google now allows commercial video on GMB profiles. It’s a great way to draw in clientele.
However, you need to be sure to follow Google’s picture and video standards to the letter.
For pictures, that means formatting in JPG or PNG, maintaining between 10KB and 5MB picture size, and uploading at the recommended resolution of 720 px tall, 720 px wide.
For videos, Google only accepts up to 30 seconds or 100 MB, and resolution should always be 720p or higher.
Multi-location businesses should also remember to use unique photos for each business location.
Thankfully, your photos can all be managed quite easily. All you need to do is select the business location.
Then, go to the photos section and add quality, properly formatted photos in all the sections listed above.
Remember, the more quality photos, the better.
Reviews matter—a lot.
In fact, a BrightLocal survey recently found 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Still, there are some things you can do to help redeem your business from bad reviews or if you don’t have enough.
Being active and responding to reviews you do have is step number one. It shows you’re an active manager, which is great for customers and might be able to help your Google results, too. That’s because the more reviews your business has, the more prominence it has, and that helps local results.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. Almost 70% of consumers will leave a local business review when asked.
If you’re worried about managing all your business reviews across all locations, it can all be done from one location.
Or you can respond to each review on the GMB page for that business if you want to allow individual managers to take on that role.
What matters is that you respond to each review with a positive attitude and show that you are an active member of the community.
7. Analyzing GMB insights to improve your online presence
GMB insights help businesses see how well their Google My Business profile is performing for each location—seeing insights like how customers search for your business can be incredibly valuable.
Is a direct name search driving your business traffic? Or are customers discovering you through a brand related to your business? Insights like these can help you make decisions about what to sell, what to market, and how much to spend doing it.
GMB insights also offer graphs of profile views on Google Maps vs. on Local Search.
Plus, you can see all customer actions taken directly from your GMB profile (i.e., pressing the call, email, or directions buttons).
GMB Insights help you stay informed of online activity and lead generation so you can tailor your marketing strategy, and business as a whole, to take advantage of how customers are reaching you.
Sometimes managing GMB profiles is too time-consuming for business owners or marketing managers. If you need help optimizing or even creating your GMB profile(s) for franchise SEO, it’s best to reach out to the experts.
Feel free to contact us with any GMB profile questions. We’d be more than happy to help. Or, if you need more information first, learn more about 15 Easy Steps to Optimize a Google My Business Listing.
Markitors is an SEO digital marketing company. We work with small businesses to rank their websites higher on Google, resulting in more traffic and leads. Explore what’s in our SEO toolbox: audits and keyword research, digital PR, technical SEO, and local SEO.