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Google My Business or your Maps Listing is a huge asset that actually gets more traffic than your website! Look at these top-performing fMS client GMB pages in order of total search impressions.

It’s important that we take advantage of all of the resources offered by Google My Business listing details to get the most out of your golf course listing. This simple listing is a component to getting more tee times, visits to your website, and calls to your pro shop.

For our FMS clients, we make sure that you own your page during the onboarding process.  We have re-claimed many pages for owners that realized that an old manager or employee actually owns the page under a non-company Gmail account.  We have a process for reclaiming these.

Here are some basic but crucial tips for optimizing your listing:

  1. Enter Complete Data for Your Listing

Local search results favor the most relevant results for searches. Golf Courses offering the most detailed and accurate information will be easier to serve up in search.

In the business description field make sure your listing communicates your golf course type Municipal, Public, Private, Semi-private. Mention your location in the description. Also mention whether you have a driving range, pro shop, full-service restaurant, etc…

  1. Include Keywords

Just like traditional website SEO, Google uses a variety of signals to serve search results.

Including important keywords and search phrases in your business listing will be incredibly helpful, especially since your business website is listed directly within your GMB listing.

Use these in the business description and each time you post a Local Post to your audience.

  1. Keep Business Operating Hours Accurate

It’s important to include your golf course business hours, but it’s equally important to update them whenever they change.

Google offers the ability to customize hours for holidays and other special events.

It should always be updated to keep your site accurate and users happy.

And, in the age of COVID-19, GMB offers even more flexibility around hours and messaging for potential customers.

Note: Additional hours won’t show for your business until regular hours are set.

  1. Add Photos

Photos help business listings’ performance more than most business owners and marketers probably expect. We see a tremendous # of photo views on our fMS portfolio clients.

Golf Courses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos, according to Google.

Make sure to get good photos! Use them on your website along with posting them to your GMB! Take a look at this article on How to Take Unbelievable Photos of your Course with your smartphone! (LINK)

  1. Manage & Respond to Customer Reviews

Interacting with customers by responding to their reviews illustrates that your business values its customers and the feedback that they leave regarding it. (fMS does this for you. We also pass along anything under a 4 star for a more detailed response from management)

Positive reviews are going to have a positive effect on potential customers when researching your business.

They also increase your business’s visibility in search results.

We encourage golfers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews for your course straight from our automated Thank You Email Journey. 

  1. Let Customers Message You

It can be somewhat inconvenient at times but messages to and from customers are solely enabled through the Google My Business app. This is a really great way to answer questions quickly and build that relationship.  If not you, find someone on the team that can dedicate responses and upkeep of this great channel.

  1. Stay Connected During COVID-19

The last two years have provided us with plenty of surprises. The biggest has been COVID-19 and the craziness it left (and continues to leave) in its wake

If your golf course has operated differently than normal due to COVID-.19 restrictions, mandates, or safety guidelines, we can update your profile on GMB to provide the most accurate information to customers.

Recently added features make communicating with current and potential customers easier in the time of the pandemic.

In addition to customizable business hours and Local Posts, a business can:

  • Mark store temporarily closed.
  • Manage delivery options.
  • Add healthy and safety attributes.
  1. Use the Product Catalog

For golf courses with products to showcase like memberships, weddings, tournaments, GMB’s Product Editor allows them to do just that.

Golf Courses are eligible to showcase products. Offering information about products including pricing, details, and photos, allows customers to get a better idea of products offered and interact more with businesses.

These product details also allow Google to better understand what your course has to offer thus providing better information to users.

Photos & Videos for Your Google My Business Listing

The most important piece of imagery for a GMB listing is your logo.

There won’t be an image that gets more exposure, and there isn’t an image that will have more of an impact.

Google recommends businesses use their logo to help customers identify your business with a square-sized image.

Other types of digital assets that should be added to your GMB listing are:

Cover Photo

Your cover photo should showcase your golf courses personality.

The cover photo is the large photo featured at the top of your course’s business profile, it will always be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. Make sure this photo is crisp and clear.  The best “Hero image” of your golf course.

Interior Photos

This helps customers better understand your F&B, pro shop, locker room, and bar.

It lets course operators share the look and feel of the business interior, so make a good impression!

It also lets potential customers get a visual idea of your club, its layout, and any potential limitations it may have.

Video

Videos are one of the most popular media forms on the web.

It’s because they are extremely effective at telling a story and/or explaining something that could otherwise potentially be tough to explain. 

Technical criteria google recommends are:

  • Up to 30 seconds long. 
  • File size: Up to 75 MB. Minimum resolution: 720p or higher.

Creating a video summary for your course can be a big project, but it’s worth the investment. 

Additional Photos

Other kinds of photos are used to spotlight features of your business that customers consider when making purchasing decisions.

These photos will differ from the above-mentioned rich media and are dependent on the kind of course you manage.

These photos may include other general photos that summarize the business and what it can do for its customers.

Try photos of:

  • Goods and/or services your business offers.
  • Business staff working and/or assisting customers.
  • Golfers having fun!
  • Tournament Scoreboards.
  • Wedding Photos.
  • Photos of your Food.
  • Your golf cart fleet.
  • Hole in one profile picture of guest!
  • The exterior of the business and available parking.

All photos should follow Google best practices:

  • Format: JPG or PNG
  • Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
  • Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720px wide
  • Quality: The photo should be in focus and well-lit, and have no alterations or excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.

Google also offers the opportunity for a Virtual Tour, which will further enhance the brand profile’s visibility.

It can also draw traffic to the business with a 360-degree interactive experience.

Over the last several years, Google has made tremendous strides with available analytical data for Google My Business listings. During onboarding, we create a live dashboard for you to see # of visits how people are finding you and what they are doing on your page. View the sample fMS GMB report.

Now called Insights, Google offers businesses a different way to understand how customers interact with business listings, including:

  • How customers find your listing.
  • Where customers find you on Google.
  • Customer actions.
  • Direction requests.
  • Phone calls.

How Customers Find Your Listing

This section of Insights shows how customers found you in a “Direct” search (they searched for your golf course name or address) versus a “Discovery” search (they searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared).

These sections have the following labels in bulk insights reports:

  • Total searches.
  • Direct searches.
  • Discovery searches.

Where Customers Find You on Google

This section shows how many customers found you via Google Search or Google Maps.

Besides Listing on Search and Listing on Maps, you’ll see the number of views your listing received from each product in the timeframe you’ve selected.
According to Google, “views” are like “impressions” on other analytics platforms.

To see how many people found you on a particular product on a particular day, place your cursor over the appropriate segment of the graph on the day you’re interested in.

These sections have the following labels in bulk insights reports:

  • Total views.
  • Search views.
  • Maps views.

Customer Actions

This section shows what customers did once they found your listing on Google.

Total actions give the total of the following types of actions that customers took on your listing:

  • Visit your website.
  • Request directions.
  • Call you.
  • View photos.

The following labels are available as reports in this reporting section:

  • Total actions.
  • Website actions.
  • Directions actions.
  • Phone call actions.
  • Direction Requests.

This part of Insights uses a map to show where people are that are requesting directions to your business.

Your business location is identified on the map and some of the most common spots that people request directions to your business from are shown.

It even breaks the total number of direction requests down by city or neighborhood.

Phone Calls

This section shows when and how often customers called your business via your listing on Google.

At the top of the section, Total calls give the total number of phone calls for the selected time frame.

The graph offers the ability to view trends by phone calls by either day of the week or time of day.

This lets marketers and business operators know when customers are most likely to call after seeing your GMB listing.

Photos

Lastly, GMB allows you to examine how often your business’s photos are being viewed with the Photo views graph and Photo quantity graph.

There are also lines on the graphs that compare your business’s photo data with photo data for other businesses similar to yours.

Section of this reporting component includes bulk insights for:

  • Total owner photos.
  • Owner photo views.
  • Total customer photos.
  • Customer photo views.

When your Google My Business page is optimized, it will probably pull in more traffic than your actual website — and that’s not a bad thing! High traffic on a GMB page means that you’re doing everything right and Google’s algorithm is working in your favor.

The fMS team knows what these tricky algorithms are looking for.

Not an fMS client? Get a demo today to see what we can do.

Mark Farrow

Mark Farrow

Mark was a golf course owner-operator, a PGA Member for 24 years, served as executive director for the Florida Golf Course Owners Association, was the Director of Acquisitions at one of the largest golf management companies, and is passionate about growing revenues through digital marketing at foreUP.