Is your Google My Business Up to Par?

Vacation Rental Managers: Is Your Google My Business Listing Up to Par?

The single most important thing a vacation rental manager can do to improve their local presence is to keep their Google My business listing up to par. We’ve discussed previously on this blog the importance of local optimization, so if you have yet to claim your listing do so immediately. If you have, good job! You are already ahead of some of your blissfully ignorant competitors. Apply the following Google My Business best practices, and you can leapfrog your other more educated competitors.

  • Accurately and consistently represent your business
    1. Your business name should match how you represent yourself when conducting business in the real world. DON’T try to add keywords or service categories into your business name. What does the sign on your front door say? That’s what your GMB listing should say.
    2. Ensure your physical address is accurate and precise. Your website’s footer should also contain the exact same address.
    3. Use a unique local phone number. Each office location should have its own phone number. These can all forward to one phone line, however having a unique number helps Google distinguish your business as it is the most unique identifier. If you absolutely can’t secure a local number a toll-free number will suffice, but either way ensure this number is contained in your website footer.
    4. Add a link to your website from your GMB listing and add a link to your GMB listing from your website.
  • Update Business Categories & Hours
    1. Categories – Use as few (2-3) of the pre-populated categories as possible, i.e. be as concise as you can.
      • For example, “vacation home rental agency” and “property management company.”
    2. Business Hours – Add in normal business hours and adjust them around the holidays if applicable. Google also gives you an area to add ‘Special Hours’.
  • Fill out a 750-character business description.
    1. Include the most important information about your business in the first sentence as your description will often be truncated.
    2. Mention the cities you service in your description and the services you offer. Include valuable keywords without the description feeling stuffed.
    3. DON’T display links, specials, or misleading or inappropriate information. Here is a complete description of best practices.
Knowledge Panel
  • Add Photos
    1. Your profile photo will show with your business listing on Google Maps and in Google search results. Make sure it represents your business well. Consider using your logo.
    2. Add 10+ photos of your business location and products.
    3. Refresh photos every few months.
  • Google Reviews
    1. Get More Reviews – Encourage happy customers to leave you a review. Create a direct review link that you can provide to your customers to make this as easy as possible.
    2. Respond to Reviews – Google now alerts users when a business responds to their reviews, making this especially important. Address customer concerns in negative reviews; take the conversation offline when needed. Don’t forget to respond to positive reviews as this helps build a report with your customers.
  • Answer Customer Questions
    1. Google users can now ask questions about your business. Be sure to respond to all questions in a timely manner.
  • Setup Email Alerts
    1. By setting up Google Alerts, you will be notified every time someone leaves you a review or asks a question. For an even timelier response, download the Google My Business app to your phone and set up push notifications. You can set up these alerts under “Settings” on the back end of your GMB listing.
  • Review Suggested Edits
    1. From the backend of your GMB listing you can see if users have suggested edits that are inaccurate. Anyone can suggest edits, and sometimes they completely miss the mark.
  • Post to Your Google My Business Listing

    A newer feature rolling out to a variety of GMB users, is the ability to post a brief update about your business.

    1. Example posts could include special offers, upcoming events, featured properties, new properties, new blog posts, holiday business information, etc.
    2. Always include an image and link in your posts. Learn more about posting to your GMB from Google.

While this may seem overwhelming, monitoring your Google My Business listing weekly will help keep your it accurate and healthy. Doing so will keep you miles ahead of your competitors, and as with most things in SEO, it doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be better than everyone else!