The Ultimate Guide to Google My Business for Accountants
Every accountant can use some additional visibility to drive new business, and your Google My Business listing is the perfect place to start optimizing your local internet presence. Also known as your Business Profile, this highly-authoritative business listing is the internet gateway to your accounting firm, highlighting your services, staff, reviews, and NAP (name, address, phone) information. Most importantly, your GMB listing helps potential clients to find you in the first place using local search. Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile is an essential building block of Local SEO, and the absolute best part of this powerful tool is it costs absolutely nothing!
Here are a few key benefits of a completely optimized Google Business Profile:
- Improve local ranking
- Increase engagement
- Convert customers
So how can you ensure that your GMB listing doormat is swept clean and ready to welcome and engage potential clients? We put together the “Ultimate Guide to Google My Business for Accountants” to help you fully optimize your listing, and leverage every tool and feature Google has graciously provided for free! Let’s get started.
Google My Business for Accountants
The first step in building your Business Profile is to claim or add your Google My Business listing (if you haven’t already done so). Start by performing a Google search to make sure a Google listing doesn’t already exist. If you’ve been in business for a long time, chances are your business already has a GMB listing. In this case, you will simply need to claim your business listing.
If your listing doesn’t exist, you can quickly add your business to the Google listing platform. There is a verification process, which usually takes about a week to complete – more about this in a minute.
Once you start the process, follow these simple steps:
- Enter the official name of your business. Be sure your business name is identical to how you use your business name in the real world, on your website, and across the internet.
- Choose the category that best describes your business (ie. Certified public accountant). You may also choose secondary categories, such as Tax preparation.
- Next, Google will ask you if you want to “add a location customers can visit, like a store or office?”.
- If you answered yes, enter your complete business address, including a suite number if applicable. Again, like with your business name, make sure your address is identical to your other listings. Any inconsistency will negatively impact your business in Google’s algorithm.
- Next, Google will ask “Do you also serve customers outside this location?”.
- If you answered yes, enter your other service areas.
- Next enter your phone number and website URL.
- Click finish and continue to verify your business.
Verify Your Google My Business Listing
Before your Business Profile can go live, you will need to verify your Google My Business listing. Google will mail a verification postcard, which usually takes up to five business days. Completing this step is critical to the visibility and performance of your Google listing. Without verification, you will be unable to access insights, analytics, or reviews from the backend dashboard. While you await the Google verification postcard you can go ahead and start populating the business listing data (see Publish Your Google Business listing section below).
Once you receive the Google verification postcard, verify your listing by entering the verification code. After completing this step, your Google listing will go live and you can now use all of the great features and tools.
Complete Your Google My Business Listing
Since the information provided to Google My Business may appear in Google Search and Google Maps, you better be certain your Google listing data is complete, accurate and relevant. By doing this, your listing will be easier to serve up in search, so don’t leave any stone unturned when completing the business information section.
When entering your business information, it’s important to consider SEO. Include relevant keywords and phrases in your business description and services.
To access the information portion of your Google listing click “info” from the left hand dashboard, and enter the following information:
- Business Hours – including special hours for holidays, etc.
- Profile Short Name – this makes it easier for customers to find your business on Maps and Search. This feature is not available until your listing is verified.
- Appointment Link – such as calendly or a landing page on your website to capture leads.
- Services – list all of your services and include descriptions.
- Choose applicable business Attributes – such as veteran-led or women-led.
- Brief Description – follow Google guidelines and be sure to use all 750 characters, with key data points in the first 250 characters. Use keywords that customers may use to find the services you offer.
- Date Opened – month and year. On certain places in Google Search, the opening date may be used to let customers know how many years a business has been in operation.
Add Photos to Your Google My Business Listing
When it comes to your GMB profile, photos have a huge impact on the overall performance of your listing. How huge? According to Google, businesses with photos receive 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos. And more traffic equals more new clients for your business.
Adding photos to your business profile will:
- Ensure quality – by adding your own approved photos, you can be sure your business profile looks great.
- Stay relevant – adding photo on a regular basis signals to Google that your are keeping your profile up-to-date.
- Get more search results – Google includes photos in local search results.
- Increase engagement – According to a BrightLocal study, businesses with more than 100 photos get 520% more calls.
Be sure to upload a cover photo and logo, as these will be the most prevalent images on your Google listing. But before you go gangbusters uploading photos, be sure you read our tips for optimizing your listing with photos. This information will help ensure you upload the right photos in the correct format.
Get and Respond to Google Reviews
Google Reviews for accountants are more important than ever. In fact, 90% of consumers consult customer reviews before engaging with a business. That’s why reviews are a key ranking factor in the Google algorithm. Let’s face it, just the sight of five stars builds up all the trust and confidence a potential customer needs to do business with your business. And if your reviews include keywords, that’s even better!
Here are some quick tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile with reviews:
- Start out by asking for reviews from long-standing, loyal customers.
- Provide a shortcut Google review link to share with your clients.
- Let clients know that reviews don’t just benefit you; they assist others in making informed decisions.
- Ask for reviews using email, social media, or during a phone call.
- Install a “review” page with links on your website.
- Respond to your reviews. This provides insight on your client interaction and encourages other customers to leave reviews.
For more in-depth tips and strategies, take a look at this post on Google Reviews for Accountants.
Post to your Google My Business Listing
Similar to social media platforms, Google allows you to post timely content directly on your Business Profile, such as news, updates, announcements, events, services, and even videos. Posts are uploaded from your GMB dashboard and will display in the “Updates” section towards the bottom of your listing.
Here are a few key benefits of Google posts:
- Engage your audience – posts increase consumer actions
- Improve your presence – sends positive ranking signals to Google
- Leverage searcher intent – searchers have higher intent on search engines vs. social media
Here are some tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile using posts:
- Post content regularly. By default, posts are live for 7 days.
- Include relevant keywords in your posts.
- Use links and CTAs in every post.
Be sure to checkout Google Posts instructions and follow all guidelines when creating a post.
Ask and Answer Questions on your Google Listing
The “Question and Answers” on Google My Business listings is an often neglected section, however there are some key benefits to engaging with this feature. For starters, this section is yet another way to interact with potential customers. Customers always appreciate having their questions answered, and even if they didn’t post their own question, an answer to someone else’s question may encourage them to contact you about your services.
But even more importantly, using the Q&A tool shows Google that you are responsive and customer-oriented.
So you say no one is asking any questions, therefore, you haven’t responded? Fortunately, you can seed our own questions and answers. For this exercise, we recommend coming up with a list of FAQs and ask the questions yourself.
Maintain your Business Profile
Perhaps the biggest take-away from this guide is to make sure you consistently update your Business Profile and maximize all of the great features and tools Google provides. This includes:
- Update your business information
- Add photos and posts regularly
- Continue to bring in new reviews and respond to them
- Freshen the Q&A section
Remember, Google’s goal is to connect searchers with the best fit for their specific search query. A well-maintained Business Profile ensures your accounting firm is well-represented with detailed and trusted information, and increases your chances of showing up in search.
If you would like Build Your Firm to help manage your Google My Business listing, contact us at 888-999.9800, ext 1, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our websites and marketing services for accountants.