Google My Business is becoming increasingly more important as customers continue to turn to Google for answers. In 2020, a market research company named Morning Consult conducted a survey that involved 16,700 participants. Their study concluded that people trust Google more than they trust scientific studies, the news media, and even the U.S. government.
To stand out online disaster restoration companies must take advantage of all that Google My Business has to offer.
Google My Business is also the central hub that feeds data into Google Maps. If you want your business to be visible to customers searching for services in their area, Google My Business is a must. This is what we refer to as local SEO. SEO for disaster restoration companies is becoming increasingly complex.
In 2020, Google rolled out several updates to allow business owners to connect with users in the best possible way. They will continue to roll out updates as the economy, pandemic, and business as a whole shift.
Here are a few ways that you can get the most out of Google My Business in 2021 and beyond.
Health and Safety Attributes
Google Maps has done a tremendous job of putting users first with their recent rollout of "Health & Safety Attributes." These were added in September of 2020.
Within Google My Business, the central hub that feeds data into Google Maps, business owners can select attributes such as:
- Appointment required
- Mask required
- Staff get temperature checks
- Staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits
- Staff wear masks
- Temperature check required
Once these are selected, they will show up on a business's profile within Google Maps. The frequent updates from Google are part of their relentless focus to deliver the best user experience possible.
By keeping users both safe and informed, Google builds trust with their users, who are more frequently going to Google to find answers, rather than businesses themselves.
To update these for your business Login to Google My Business. On the left-hand side, menu select “Info”
Scroll until you see an area that begins with “From the business.” Then select the pencil icon.
You’ll immediately see a popup where you can select all the Health and safety attributes that apply to your business.
Questions and Answers
Although this feature is several years old now, many disaster restoration companies are still not taking advantage of this feature. Admittedly, it can be extremely difficult for business owners to keep up with all the features of their Google Business Profile.
The Q&A feature allows any user to ask any question they want to about a business. What’s even more interesting is that any user can answer the question. That’s important because if not handled properly you begin to lose control of your brand online.
Would you want just anyone answering questions about your team, your services, or your hours during Christmas? Probably not.
Once a question is asked, it shows up on a business’s Google My Business profile, for all the world to see.
So how can you take advantage of the Q&A instead of it becoming a thorn in your side?
Load the Q&A with common questions about your business. You’ve likely received enough phone calls and talked to enough customers to know what those questions are. Common questions may include:
- Are you available 24/7?
- Will your employees wear masks in my home?
- Will you work with State Farm Insurance?
- Do I have to throw away my things if my home floods?
- Is your office open to customers?
- What water damage services do you provide?
- How quickly can you respond to an emergency?
- What certifications do you hold?
You get the idea. The Q&A feature is designed to enhance the experience of users. Load your profile with common questions and then give them the answer. Don’t wait for a stranger to answer the question. Own the questions and own your brand.
Google My Business Category
Outside of your business name, using the proper category is the most important element of Google My Business. If you want to get the most out of Google My Business and get more customers calling your phone you must get this right.
As simple as it may seem, disaster restoration companies are frequently referring to themselves as “General Contractors,” “Roofing Contractors,” “Business Centers,” and other categories that inaccurately describe the service offered.
Google uses those categories when it decides which businesses to show in maps for a particular search. There are over 3,000 different categories and that’s because Google wants to give the most accurate information possible. They want to be specific rather than broad.
If someone searches for “fire damage san francisco” the first results will be the businesses that set “Fire Damage Restoration Service” as their primary category. Some “water damage restoration service” businesses will be sprinkled in. It won’t be the general contractors or roofers. It definitely won’t be the business centers.
Each business may choose a different category based on its core service or which service they’d like to get the most business for. Do a search in your city for the service you care about. Look at what the top competitors are doing. More than likely, you’ll want to imitate what’s working.
We hope that these three quick suggestions allow you to grow your restoration business and help you reach your goals. These are the most impactful tips, but you better believe these aren’t the only tips. Google My Business is full of features that allow you to engage with customers.
The more features you take advantage of, the better your chances are of showing up at the top of the maps. Higher rankings equal more phone calls.