There are a lot of things you’ll need to know when you have an online business today. One of the terms you may hear used frequently is “Google My Business.” You may find yourself wondering what this is, how it affects you, and even how you can use it to your advantage.
With Google My Business you can promote your business' website and information in Google and on Maps for free. While there are many tips to help you with this, one of the biggest is to be consistent and accurate in what you list here. Doing so will help you interact with your customers better.
Google My Business is a tool that will help you manage and optimize your business profile on Google. A business profile is your business listing as it appears in Google search and Google maps.
When you create a business profile you’re doing the same thing as adding a place to Google Maps. Anyone is able to do this as long as they have the business’s name, location, and category. Once a business is added to Google they’ll confirm that it isn’t a duplicate before creating a profile for that location. After one has been created customers can add photos, leave reviews, and ask or answer questions. Google will also pull information from around the web to further populate the listing with important information.
It’s possible for a business profile to exist alone apart from a Google My Business account. Regardless of whether you’ve created this business profile, you won’t be able to manage the information that it chooses to display or the reviews it works to collect. Here’s where Google My Business comes into play. When you take time to create a Google My Business account you’ll then be able to access, customize, manage, and enhance your business profile as it’s seen on Google. This is something you’ll be able to do for free.
The first thing you’ll need to do to create a Google My Business listing is either claim your page or create a new one. In either case, you’ll be asked to verify that this is indeed a business you own. Once you’ve taken this step you’ll be able to create a simple website that you can use to drive more customers to your business.
At the very least, you’ll want to make sure that you take the time to optimize your Google My Business listing. This is important because whenever someone searches for the products or the services that your business has to offer the first thing that they’ll see is the local search listings. When you’ve spent time working to ensure that your Google My Business listing is well optimized you’ll be among the first listings to be displayed there. In fact, the information from your Google My Business page will show up in three different places giving your customers information regarding your location and how to contact you. These places include Google’s sidebar, local results, and Google maps.
Google My Business is an important tool for all businesses to use today. Not only will it help your business be able to better interact with your target audience but it’ll also provide your current and potential customers with the helpful information they need in order to be able to do business with you. If you don’t take the time to take advantage of Google My Business you’ll find that your business will miss out on potential sales, exposure, and revenue. There are also several other very compelling reasons why you should be using Google My Business to your advantage today.
There’s nothing better than a free traffic resource for your business. Since this is essentially what Google My Business is, you should most definitely take advantage of it. Regardless of whether you’re just launching your business or you’ve already established it, there’s no cost involved with creating your Google My Business profile. There also aren’t any tiers or limitations involved so everyone (both you and your biggest competitor) have access to the same tools to use in promoting your business. This means you’ll both have an equal opportunity when it comes to maximizing your business’ rankings in the search results pages (SERPs). Once you’ve moved your way up in the SERPs your business will start getting more exposure from its target audience. Since all of this is free you won’t have to invest any money but you will get to start enjoying its benefits right away.
Google My Business Generates Leads
It should come as no surprise that when people want to search for information online today they go to Google. What may surprise you though is that the number of people who are including the phrase “near me” in their Google search has greatly increased. This just goes to show that the number of people who are searching for businesses that are located near them (e.g. restaurants, movie theaters, stores, doctors) has also grown.
When you conduct a local search (a search using the phrase “near me”) on Google typically the results you’ll find are from Google My Business profiles. This is why it’s so important for you to create and maintain one of these profiles for your business. If you don’t have a profile users will find, visit, and shop with your competitors instead. By taking the time to make Google My Business a part of your digital marketing strategy you’ll not only be able to compete for this business yourself, but you’ll also start getting new visitors which means you’ll start generating additional sales. If you still have doubts here, take a moment to consider this fact: The conversion rates’ of local searches are 80%. This confirms the immense benefit of using Google My Business today.
Now that you know why it’s so important for you to use Google My Business, you’ll want to know how you can get the most out of doing so. Simply put, you’ll need to optimize your profile then take time to nurture it. This means you’ll want to add information (e.g. your business’ hours) to your profile, respond to reviews left by customers, and make sure to keep your contact information up-to-date.
Google My Business Helps You Rank in Google’s SERPs
You’ll want to make sure that your business doesn’t get lost in Google’s SERPs. Instead, you want to make your listing as visible as possible. Doing so will improve your chances of being found by people who are in search of the products or services that you’re offering.
Since Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best experience possible (both online and offline too), they work hard to make sure they’re delivering the most relevant search results. This is why it’s so important for you to optimize and maintain your Google My Business profile. Taking the time to do this will improve the number of clicks your profile gets and the number of people who will visit your business.
As you work with your profile here, Google will take notice. They actually prefer those profiles that contain a lot of information and have a lot of engagement. This is because Google believes that when they have a complete picture of your business (e.g. your hours, location, and services) they can ensure that it’s relevant when ranking their search results.
Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of Google My Business, you’ll want to take a few minutes to create your business’ profile there. There are certain steps that you must take here.
Sign Up for an Account
Your first step is to create an account. If there’s already a profile for your business, it’s time to claim ownership of it. Otherwise, you’ll want to sign up to create a new profile.
Enter Your Business Information
Once you have an account you’ll want to add your business’ information (e.g. name, address, phone number, hours of operation, niche). You should also add some pictures of your store since this will help entice people to visit you there. Your goal is to add information that’ll help form a connection between you and your customers.
Verify Your Account
After you’ve set your Google My Business account up you’ll still need to verify that you’re the business owner. There are several ways in which this can be done including email, mail, phone, or through the Google Search Console. The fastest way to do this is through the Google Search Console but this option will only work if you’ve verified your business through the Google Search Console in the past. If you choose to verify your business by mail, email, or phone, Google will send you a verification code that you must enter into Google My Business. For those who’ve chosen to verify their business by postal mail, it may take up to 14 days to do so which is why it’s in your best interest to choose one of the other options that are faster.
Make Routine Updates
Creating and claiming your Google My Business account is only the beginning. It’s important for your digital marketing team to continue to optimize it. Whenever things change (e.g. hours, locations, specialties) they’ll want to update your account immediately. Having someone who’s able to check on this account daily is a good idea. They can then promptly respond to your visitors’ questions and any reviews they may leave for your business. Taking the time to interact with people in this way will be helpful to them as well as to any future customers.
Knowing that you need to optimize your business’ account so that it stays up-to-date is important but this may leave you wondering exactly what you’re supposed to do.
Fill out Your Whole Profile
You’ll want to make sure that Google has as much information about your business as possible. This will make it easier for them to match you with customers who are searching for you. It’ll also increase your ranking in the SERPs because Google will match people with the local results that are the most relevant to them. To determine your relevance Google will need to look at all the information in your profile which is why you want to fill it with accurate information (e.g. contact details, category, attributes). You’ll also want to use the right keywords but make sure you do so in a way that flows naturally.
After you’ve taken the time to fill out your entire profile Google will use it to determine your ranking in the SERPs. Things that are taken into consideration here include:
Use Photos to Help You Stand Out
When you use photos you help people see what your business is all about. At the very least, you’ll want to make sure you add your logo and a cover photo so people will be able to recognize your brand.
You should also add photos to show off your location and products or services. You’ll want to make sure these photos look professional. Adding these photos will increase the likelihood that people will ask for directions by as much as 42%. It’ll also increase the likelihood that people will click through to your website by as much as 35%.
Hiring a professional photo to capture these images for you will make a big difference. Ultimately this is something that’ll pay for itself. For instance, when Airbnb photos are taken by a professional photographer they’ve helped increase earnings by as much as 40% this is because bookings increased by 24%.
Regardless of who takes your photos, when you’re ready to add them to Google My Business here’s what you’ll need to do:
Create Posts to Tell People What’s Happening
Make sure that if your address, hours of operation, or contact information change you make these changes in your Google My Business account. You should also create posts about your business to inform customers of these changes. You can also make posts about new products or services you’re offering and any events you may be hosting. These posts will keep your profile fresh, help drive sales, and encourage people to visit your website or physical location.
To make a post to Google My Business you’ll need to:
If you’re able to include some pictures or videos in your post, make sure you take advantage of the opportunity to do so. Google says that people will engage more posts that include this type of content.
Add Special Features and Attributes
Depending on the category you’re listed in, you may have some special features available. These include:
If you believe that your business is eligible for such a feature but don’t see it listed, it’s possible that you’ve chosen the wrong category. Since you’re able to add up to 10 categories for your business, make sure that you’re listed in one of these categories. Otherwise when you’re ready to add these attributes simply:
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Research has shown that people are more likely to trust other people than they are to trust a business. This is why it’s so beneficial for your business to get good reviews. Furthermore, reviews will also help improve your Google ranking. This is why you should ask for a review anytime you’ve provided someone with a great experience whether it’s in your physical location or online. There are many ways in which you can do this including:
Build Trust by Responding to Reviews
One of the easiest ways in which you can show your current and future customers that you really do care about them is simply by responding to the reviews they leave for you on your Google My Business profile. Positive interactions have been shown to help build loyalty.
Ipsos Connect also conducted a survey in which they discovered that when a business takes the time to respond to a review customers view them as 1.7 times more trustworthy.
When you respond to a review you’ll want to make sure you use your brand’s voice. This should be a voice that’s both professional and respective. Even if you get a negative review you should still make sure to respond in this way. By listening to your customers and offering a sincere apology you can address the issue in a way that turns things around.
You’ll also want to take time to answer questions. Since anyone is able to respond to a question that someone leaves on your Google My Business profile you should do your best to be the first to respond. This will demonstrate that your business is both active and reliable. It’ll also prevent misinformation from being spread.
Refine Reach With Insights
Having a Google My Business profile is also advantageous in that it’ll give you access to Google Insights. This will provide you with a lot more information than you receive from Google Analytics.
With Google Insights you’ll be able to track how many customers are searching for you, calling your business, asking for directions, and checking out your pictures. This information will help you to make adjustments to your profile and create social media content. You’ll also find this information helpful when you’re working with Google Ads because you can include a clickable local extension that shows your visitors where you’re located. When you use this feature along with Google Insights you’ll be able to increase engagement while paying less per click.
Clearly, you can see that it’s important for your business to be listed on Google My Business. However, it’s not enough just to have your business listed there. You want to make sure that your listing is up-to-date and as detailed as possible. If you don’t take the time to do this, your business will be missing out on one of the best ways to make sure that you get your fair share of free, organic traffic from Google. What’s especially nice about this source of traffic is that it’s so adaptable that you’ll be able to update it to reflect the changes that happen within your business. All you have to do is take the time to optimize your page so make sure you do it. You may be able to see the benefits instantly.