The Ultimate Guide to “Google My Business” for Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
This is a complete guide to ‘Google My Business’ for IT service providers and MSP’s that want to rank their business at the top of local search results.
You will learn some actionable, step by step techniques to optimize your listing, set yourself apart from the competition and grab a prime spot on the Google map pack.
What is Google My Business?
Has your Google My Business listing already been claimed?
What is an optimized Google my Business listing?
The Google My Business platform
Request a Quote Button
Questions & Answers
Upgrade your Google My Business!
As local service providers, being found on Google for local search queries can be the determining factor that differientiates MSP’s that get a steady flow of leads and MSPs that struggle with lead generation.
When a user performs a Google search for a term like “IT support”, Google prompts the local map packs in the search results page.
The first 3 listings on the Google map pack get most of the clicks. Have you ever wondered how your IT business can land itself in that coveted 3 packs?
There is an alternative to spending all your marketing budget on Google ads for expensive keywords like “IT support”. You can have your IT business show up on local search without paying for ads, simply by improving your local SEO strategy.
The number one local SEO strategy to land your IT business in Google’s local map pack is to optimize your Google My Business.
What is Google My Business? (GMB)
To gain more visibility on Google, you may have already created a free Google business listing for your MSP.
What you may not know is that creating a business listing (known as Business Profile) does not automatically give you management over it, and that if you want to fully manage, edit and optimize your Business Profile, you need to also create a Google My Business account.
A Google my Business account is the only means by which you can claim ownership of your Business Profile and unlock additional features that will help you optimize and rank your listing higher in search results.
The average Google listing that has been well-maintained with Google My Business gets 5X more views than listings which haven’t been claimed by their owners.
How to find out if your Google My Business listing has already been claimed?
To check the state of your listing, go to maps.google.com and search for your business. Click on ‘Own this business?’ link, you will be prompted to a page that will tell you if your listing has already been claimed or not. If your MSP business is owned by a chain, you might see: “Manage this listing” instead of “Own this business”.
If your listing has already been claimed, you can look up the first letters of the email to guess who in your team holds the listing. Don’t forget to document the right credentials to access your GMB in your documentation software like IT Glue. Your Google My Business listing is a crucial marketing asset for your business.
If your Google My Business page for your MSP, hasn’t been claimed yet, do it now. Here is where to claim your Google My Business for free. This is the first step to start improving your local SEO.
If you need help claiming your “Google My Business” listing, reach out to our team, we can help you verify and claim your listings to ensure you get full ownership over your account.
What is an optimized Google my Business listing?
Before getting into the details of which strategies you can use to optimize your Google My Business, let’s take a look at what an optimized profile looks like versus a profile that has not been optimized:
Here the 1st listing is a short box missing a number of crucial business information like website, business hours and reviews, whereas the 2nd listing is an attractive and engaging profile that gives a lot more information and is more likely to get a click.
So where do you go to edit and optimize the information that shows on your Google My Business listing?
The Google My Business platform
The following primary sections of your profile should be completed right away and maintained with accuracy:
These sections are very strategic to differentiate your business from competitors and to increase conversion.
- Category and Attributes
- Products and services
- From the business
- Questions and answers (Owner-generated queries)
When you create a Google My Business account, you’ll be asked to set a primary category for your business and you’ll also be able to set 9 additional categories as your secondary categories.
You need to be very strategic with your category selection and make sure that you are using the right primary category for your MSP.
There are over 3000 Google My Business categories as of 2021 and 50 that are IT related. See here our complete list of IT related Google My Business categories.
Google My Business IT related categories
- Business Networking Company
- Cable Company
- Computer Accessories Store
- Computer Club
- Computer Consultant
- Computer Desk Store
- Computer Hardware Manufacturer
- Computer Networking Center
- Computer Repair Service
- Computer Security Service
- Computer Service
- Computer Software Store
- Computer Store
- Computer Support and Services
- Computer Training School
- Computer Wholesaler
- Copier Repair Service
- Data Recovery Service
- Database Management Company
- Digital Printer
- Digital Printing Service
- Electronic Engineer
- Electronic Parts Supplier
- Electronics Accessories Wholesaler
- Electronics Company
- Electronics Engineer
- Electronics Exporter
- Electronics Hire Shop
- Electronics Manufacturer
- Electronics Repair Shop
- Electronics Store
- Electronics Vending Machine
- Electronics Wholesaler
- Fiber Optic Products Supplier
- Internet Service Provider
- Internet Shop
- Institute of Technology
- Printer Repair Service
- Printing Equipment and Supplies
- Printing Equipment Supplier
- Software Company
- Software Training Institute
- Telecommunications Contractor
- Telecommunications Engineer
- Telecommunications Equipment Supplier
- Telecommunications Service Provider
- Video Conferencing Equipment Supplier
- Video Conferencing Service
- Web Hosting Company
- Website Designer
You need to select the categories that most accurately describe your MSP practice. If you’re a more generalist MSP, “Computer Support and Services” might be a good primary category. If your MSP practice is mostly centered around cybersecurity, “Computer Security Service” might be a better choice to help you rank for local queries related to cybersecurity.
You can also look up your main competitors to find out which categories they have listed in their GMB.
If you want to see the complete list of their primary and secondary categories, visit their business via Google Maps (on desktop).
Right click their listing and click “View Source”. The new tab will take you to the HTML source code of their listing.
Open up your browser’s search function (Ctrl +F) and type in their main category, in this case: “Computer support and services”. It will take you to a section of the page that identifies the primary category.
The following highlighted terms are the additional categories this MSP listed in their Google My Business:
When it comes to Google My Business categories, more is not better. Even if Google allows you to choose one primary category and up to 9 secondary categories, you’re better off limiting yourself to 4 or you risk diluting your ability to rank for your main categories.
Google My Business attributes help you advertise specific services and features that help your listing better rank in local search.
When searching for a restaurant, you may have seen attributes like “Takeout” or “Dine-in” listed in their Google My Business listing.
While “Takeout” or “Dine-in” attributes might not apply to your IT business, there are many more attributes you can leverage to optimize your listing.
Some of the attributes you could list for your MSP Google My Business:
• Help Desk
• Languages (in which languages you serve clients)
• On-site services. You can activate this attribute if you perform IT support at a customers’ location.
• Women led, Veteran-Led, Black-owned.
You should use your GMB listing attributes to showcase everything that sets your business apart from the competition.
This is an important feature of the GMB that very few businesses leverage to their advantage. Google gives you the ability to showcase your products directly in your Google My Business listing.
Potential customers will be able to see in a glance all your IT products in your GMB profile when your business listing shows up search results.
GMB products are a great way to expand your mobile footprint. On mobile, your product collection appears in the products tab under product posts.
This is a great way to differentiate your business, grab a larger digital footprint and get access to a built-in shop window for your IT products.
This is the place to make your business more personable, engaging and to build trust with your potential customers.
You can showcase photos of your office space, your amazing team and even showcase some of your hard-earned IT certifications. Strike a good balance between approachability, trustworthiness, and professionalism.
This is a digital window into what it is like to work with you, so strive to make a great first impression!
Request a Quote Button
Google has introduced the “Request a Quote” button which allows prospective clients to engage with you directly from your GMB listing.
This is a great way to increase lead generation and shorten the sales cycle. If you want to unlock the “Request a quote” button for your listing, you need to turn on the messaging feature on your Google My Business platform.
While activating the “Request a quote” button on your listing is a great way to boost conversion, you need to put in place a process to respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner or you risk getting negative customer reviews.
Another very efficient way to differentiate your listing and increase lead generation is by creating Google Posts. The great thing about Google posts is that they show up front and center on your business ‘Knowledge Panel’ and are a great place to promote events, special offers and content.
Google posts might event help you capture increased local search traffic, if your post content coincides with the type of events and promos, users are searching for in your local area.
Questions and answers (Owner-generated queries)
Google gives you access to a Q&A panel on your GMB listing where both external users and the business listing owner can post and answer questions.
You should leverage that feature to field some of the frequently asked questions you get from prospective clients. Remember, the goal is to shorten the sales cycle and if a prospect gets the type of answers, they are looking for directly in Google, they are more likely to pick up the phone and reach out to you instead of your competitor.
Some of the questions, you can address in your Q&A panel:
Good reviews mean better search ranking and a significantly increased chance of conversion.
In fact, Google reviews are the main trust signal, users rely on to determine the quality of service a business delivers.
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So, what’s the best way to get more reviews for your MSP?
It’s highly unlikely that your clients will head over to your Google listing to write a review without you asking them. Asking for reviews is permitted and even encouraged by Google as long as you’re not paying for them.
Here is an effective way to get regular reviews from your customers:
- Go to your GMB and create a link for customers to write reviews. Google will issue you a unique short URL.
- You will be prompted to share that link trough social media or via email.
You can also go one step further and embed that link in your email signature or in your company’s newsletter and email campaigns.
According to Google, local search results are based on 3 factors: relevance, distance, and prominence.
While relevance is determined by the amount of information you provide in your GMB listing, prominence is based on the number of times your business is mentioned and listed across the web.
Google indexes information from local directories and data aggregators and the more accurately your business information is represented across the web, the higher your chances are of showing up at the top of search results.
Data consistency and accuracy is paramount for local search success.
It all boils down to your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number). If your NAP data is inconsistent or inaccurate, you will not accrue credit for all your citations and you will lower your ranking potential with Google.
Ask us how you can instantly distribute your accurate listings to 300+ web sources.
Continuously optimize your GMB!
Optimizing your GMB is not a set it and forget it affair. Google’s algorithm for ranking Business Profiles considers activity and updated information as positive signals.
Your Google My Business is a powerful tool to generate leads, so make sure you are making the most out of this prime real estate on the world’s biggest search engine.
Increased chance of conversion
Improved Business Reputation
I hope you found value in this “Ultimate Guide to ‘Google My Business’ for Managed Service Providers and IT businesses.
If you need guidance on how to best leverage Google My Business for your IT business, don’t hesitate to drop me a line, ask any further question or share your experience with Google My Business firstname.lastname@example.org
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