Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most important marketing tactics you can use to acquire more plumbing leads and customers. In this article we will look at 13 things you should do to optimize your GMB profile. If you are not familiar with Google My Business you can learn more about it and claim your free profile at: https://business.google.com
Before we jump into the tips, let's first do a quick overview of what a GMB profile looks like so you have a better understanding of what we're optimizing and why.
GMB profiles can be found on Google search pages, Google maps and on Google mobile. The way information is displayed will vary based on where you view the profile, but the information will be the same.
When you perform a search on Google and your search term contains the name of a business or the name of geographic location, you'll most likely see GMB profiles in the search results page.
Because Google's primary objective is to return the most relevant search results, whenever you include the name of a business or geographic location, Google will do its best to present you with information related to the business name or geographic location searched.
Let us look at a couple examples. In the first scenario, we will assume you already know the name of the business you are looking for - Vaillancourt Plumbing. Vaillancourt Plumbing is a plumbing company located in Oshawa, Ontario. If we do a search on Google for "Vaillancourt Plumbing", you'll see that their GMB profile is displayed on the right-hand side of the search results page:
NOTE: If you perform the same search and are not located in Durham Region, Ontario you may see different search results. This is due to Google's search algorithm. A topic well beyond the scope of this article.
In our next example let us search for plumbing companies in a geographic location. Building off of the previous scenario we will search for a plumber in Oshawa, Ontario. In Google we will search for "Plumbers in Oshawa."
Notice that Vaillancourt Plumbing shows up in the first local organic position. That's because Vaillancourt Plumbing has optimized their GMB profile for the geographic areas they service.
If you are not an avid Google Maps user, you may be surprised to learn that consumers use it everyday to find local plumbing companies. So, ensuring your GMB listing is optimized, can help you stand out from the competition on Google Maps.
Let us look at an example. When a consumer does a search on Google Maps for "Toronto Plumbing Companies" they will find a list of plumbing companies in the area. The plumbing companies are listed on the left hand side of the page, and displayed on the map, showing consumers where each company is in relation to them.
If we click on the first organic listing in the Google Maps search results, in this case Priority Plumbing, you'll see their GMB profile.
There are three big reasons optimizing your GMB profile matters. First, Google has been called the new home page. What this means is that a lot of consumers find the information they're looking for within a GMB profile and have no need to visit a business's website. If a consumer is looking for your phone number, address, directions, or hours of operation, it's all right there in your GMB profile. There is no need for that consumer to visit your website. So, if you don't have a GMB profile that consumers can easily find when they need plumbing services, you're loosing business to your competitors.
Second, while Google may be the new home page for a lot of consumers, it's not the final destination for all consumers. There are many consumers that will click through to your website. Take bathroom renovations for example. If a consumer is looking for a plumbing company to renovate their bathroom, they are looking for more than just your contact information, they want to see your work. In this scenario consumers may visit your website to view your portfolio of work - assuming you have a portfolio of your work. This is just one example.
Most importantly, your GMB profile - when properly utilized - can help you generate a lot of new plumbing leads and customers. Look at it this way, right now consumers are searching Google for plumbing services. They are either going to find you or your competitors.
To help you improve your chances of being discovered by consumers, let us now take a look at the 13 tips you should follow to help improve your visibility on Google. All of these optimization tips can be found in the 'Info" section of your GMB profile.
Your business name is one of the most important elements of your GMB profile. It is front and centre. It is important that you follow Google's guidelines when it comes to the business name you use in your GMB profile.
There are numerous ways you can try and game the system for better rankings. Don't do them. One thing businesses try and do is put their geographic location in the name of their GMB profile. For example, George owns a plumbing company and the legal name of the company is George's Plumbing. George services Edmonton, Alberta. The name he uses in his GMB profile should be George's Plumbing, not George's Plumbing Edmonton.
If the name of the city or region you service is part of your legal business name, then by all means include it. But, if your legal name doesn't include the name of the city or region you service, don't add it to the name in your GMB profile. This is a tactic that might get you short term results, but it can also get your profile suspended by Google.
The categories you select for your GMB profile can help Google connect you to consumers based on what they are searching for. There are two types of categories - a primary category and secondary categories. You select your primary and secondary categories from a predefined list.
It is important that you select the right primary category. In the case of a plumbing company, the primary category you select should be "Plumber."
If you provide more than just plumbing services, for example, HVAC and/or electrical, you can add these as secondary categories - "HVAC Contractor" and "Electrician." There are other categories you may want to consider based on the services you provide.
Whatever your primary service is, put it as your primary category. If HVAC is your primary service and plumbing is secondary, then define your categories accordingly.
If you have an office or showroom consumers can visit, you should publish your address in your GMB profile. By providing your business address, Google can provide consumers with directions to your office, and it can help improve your visibility in Google maps.
If you do not have a business address that you would like to share publicly, you can leave this information blank. This is often the case if you are a one-person operation or you operate your plumbing business from your home and do not want to publish your home address online.
Did you know 38% of plumbing companies in Canada are non-employers. Meaning they are one-person owner/operators. That is approximately 10,624 plumbing companies in Canada.
You can select up to 20 service areas that you provide plumbing services to. Service areas can be defined by postal codes, cities, or by province. It's critical that you select the right service areas, as the service areas you select will determine if you show up in search results when consumers search a geographic location.
For example - if you provide plumbing services throughout Vancouver, British Columbia and the surrounding areas, you may want to select Vancouver, Yaletown, Kitsilano, Mt. Pleasant, Grandview-Woodland, Etc... Select all the areas you service (up to 20). Do not select areas for the sake of maximizing service areas, unless you actually service them. If you only service 10 areas, then select those ten areas - no more.
Setting your hours of operation enables Google to inform consumers if you are open or closed. If you are closed, Google can let consumers know what time you re-open for business.
In addition to setting your regular business hours, you can also set special hours for holidays such as March Break.
One of the most important elements of your GMB profile is your phone number. Your phone number is displayed prominently on your GMB profile and enables consumers to call you directly from your GMB profile without visiting your website. This is especially true if consumers are viewing your GMB profile on a mobile device such as a smartphone. All they have to do is click on your phone number to call your business. It is quick and convenient for consumers. The opposite is also true, it can be quite frustrating as a consumer if you are trying to call a plumbing company but you cannot quickly and easily find their phone number.
You can provide a primary and secondary phone number in your GMB profile. If you are not using call tracking, then you should set your local phone number as the primary number. If you are using call tracking, be sure to follow the tip below.
There is a phone number trick you need to be aware of. While Google will track the phone calls that come trough your GMB profile, there is debate as to how accurate their tracking is. Further, the information they provide is limited. You can, however, include your own call tracking number. If you are not familiar with call tracking, we will cover it in another article. Call tracking is something you should look into for your plumbing business if you are not already using it.
If you'd like to use your own call tracking number, you should set it as the primary phone number and set your regular local phone number as the secondary phone number. This will enable you to benefit from call tracking without jeopardizing your NAP citation on Google. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone Number. It is important that you maintain a consistent NAP across the web. If your NAP is not consistent across the web, it can hurt your search rankings.
A short name is similar to a domain name. It makes it easier for consumers to find and follow your business on Google Search and Google Maps. It also makes it easier for you to share your GMB profile with others.
Your short name can be up to 32 characters long and should reflect your brand and/or business name. A good practice is to use your business name as your short name. If we revisit George's Plumbing from a previous example, the short name for his GMB profile could be GeorgesPluming or Georges_Plumbing. This will create a unique URL George can share with customers. In this scenario, consumers would be able to find George's GMB profile by going to https://g.page/GeorgesPlumbing (this is an example URL and may not work.)
Including your website URL in your GMB profile can help drive traffic to your plumbing website. When you add your website URL, Google will display a website button your GMB profile.
NOTE: if you do not have a website, your GMB profile provides the option to create a basic website. While we do not recommend this as a long term strategy, it can be beneficial in the short term.
If you utilize scheduling software that enables consumers to book plumbing appointments online, share that link in your GMB profile. This will enable consumers to book plumbing appointments with you right from your GMB profile, without have to visit your website or contact you.
The Products section of your GMB profile enables you to create categories of products that you sell. For example, if you sell faucets you can create a product category for faucets and then list all the different brands and styles of faucets that you sell. If you do not sell any products you can leave this section empty.
Products are displayed as part of your GMB profile on Google search results pages. When a consumer clicks on a product in your GMB profile they will be able to browse all of your product categories and products.
For each product you include a name, image, price, description, and a button with a link to a web page related to that specific product. Adding products to your GMB profile is a great way to differentiate your plumbing business from your competitors.
In addition to adding products in the Info section of your GMB profile, you'll also find Products listed in the navigation of your GMB profile.
The Services section of your GMB profile enables you to list all the services you offer. For each service you can include the service name, a price, and a description.
Unlike products that are displayed as part of your GMB profile, services are currently only visible on mobile devices. On a mobile device, a services tab is displayed along the top of your listing. When a consumer clicks on the tab, they'll be able to view all of the services you have listed.
While the visibility of services is limited, I highly recommend you add services to your GMB profile. Adding services is a great way to differentiate your plumbing business from your competitors, and may help improve your local search rankings.
In addition to adding services in the Info section of your GMB profile, you'll also find Services listed in the navigation of your GMB profile.
In the section titled "From the business" you can provide a description of your business up to 750 characters in length including spaces. This description is displayed in your GMB profile for consumers to see.
By default, Google only shows the first few lines of your description followed by a link that says "More" When you click the more link, the entire description is displayed
It is a good idea to write this description in a word processor such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Google Docs. This will enable you to take your time and craft a compelling message as to why consumers should choose you over the competition.
When did your plumbing company open its doors for business? Providing the year your business started can help establish credibility with consumers, and is a signal to Google, that you are not a fly-by-night operation. It is a small detail, but they all add up.
While we covered most of the available options in the Info section of your GMB listing, you may have noticed that we didn't cover all of them. We are focused on the options that will provide you with the biggest impact. If the options we did not cover apply to your plumbing business go ahead and complete them.
The last option in the Info section of your GMB profile is the option to "Add photos." Photos are an important part of utilizing GMB to your advantage. As such, we are going to cover GMB photos in detail in a separate article.
If you have questions or need a hand with your GMB profile, be sure to schedule a free strategy session with one of our digital marketing plumbing Advisors. Until next time, here is to winning new leads and customers with your optimized GMB profile.