Google My Business is a powerful tool to attract customers to your local business. Learning how it works is a great way to boost your online presence and improve recognition.
Want to know why Google My Business is so important? Think about your own search habits.
Jumping on to Google to search for information has become second nature to most of us. Whether it’s the weather and the news — or typing “coffee shops near me”, a Google search has become the easiest option.
That’s why it’s important for your business to be found on Google. The more Google users in your area can find you when they’re looking for what you offer, the better the chances of them becoming your customers.
When used right, it can get you local leads without having to spend too much on your digital marketing.
Let’s take a closer look at Google My Business (GMB), what it is, why what it does matters, and how you can use it efficiently.
What is Google My Business?
There are two steps to showing up in more local searches on Google, and the first one involves creating a Business Profile. Google uses these profiles to create a business directory and gives users search results relevant to their location for businesses offering products and services that they are looking for.
What many businesses don’t realize though, is anyone can create a profile, and just creating a Business Profile does not mean you can manage or edit it.
All that Google needs to add a business to the list is the name, location, and category. After a quick check for duplicates, a new Business Profile is created for that location, and customers can leave reviews, add pictures, ask and answer questions, and more. The profile might also be automatically updated with information that Google finds in other places online.
What this means is, a Business Profile can exist on its own, and you can’t manage the information on it without a GMB account.
For your Business Profile to perform as a lead generation tool, you need to have control over your Google Business Profile. And that involves creating an account that is linked to that profile.
Google My Business combines many of Google’s past offerings like Google Places for Business, Google+ Pages Dashboard, and present ones including Maps and Search, so everything you need to know about a small business can be found in one place.
Here’s how Google My Business works
There are many aspects to Google My Business, and according to your needs, it can be used in different ways. We’ll keep it simple and focus on the 5 main things you can start with to get GMB working for you.
The first step is obviously creating your account, and uploading basic information about your business. It’s possible that a business profile for your company might already exist, through data that Google has pulled from your website or listing and review pages like Houzz or Yelp. If this is the case you’ll have to apply to “Claim your business” as the owner.
Once you’ve created your account or claimed your business, you’ll have to verify that you are in fact the owner or person in charge of that business. Google will send you a postcard with a code or verify ownership through a phone call to your business number. When you’ve verified ownership, you’ll be in charge of the business in question in Google’s listings.
Next up, you’ll need to fill out your profile with all your information including what you offer, your opening and closing times, delivery radius, working days and holidays, etc.
For small businesses that don’t have a website, Google My Business offers the opportunity to create a basic website to establish an online presence and showcase their offerings more clearly to potential customers. These basic websites are generated from the info and photos linked to a Business Profile, and but business owners can then customize and build on this basic outline.
A little-known but very important feature of GMB is post updates. These posts show up when someone searches for your business by name on Google or views your business profile on Google Maps, stay online for a week. You can share news, offers, events, or announce product launches. There’s even an option to add a call to action with a link to allow customers to order, buy, sign up, or any other action you would like them to take.
Why does Google My Business matter for your business’s online presence?
Understanding how GMB works and setting up your profile is extremely important for a number of reasons. Let’s discuss the most obvious here.
Google My Business will boost local visibility
According to data from Google itself, more than 30% of searches on mobile devices are based on location, and include the phrase “near me”. What’s more, they also say that 76% of people who search for local businesses actually visit a physical location within one day of searching.
Thus despite the global interconnectedness of the world wide web, the most important searches, especially for small businesses, are local. Businesses that are focused on local customers need to ensure that their GMB presence is poised and polished to maximize reach.
Your Google My Business profile helps conversions
The information from your GMB profile is what Google uses to fill out the Knowledge Panel on their search results page and on Google Maps viewers.
This Knowledge Panel appears in approximately 40% of searches, and the detailed information that shows up, like opening hours, recent reviews, overall review score, and pictures prompt more, and quicker conversions. In fact, Google data shows that profiles with photos get 35% more clicks.
Google My Business boosts local SEO
25% of search traffic to small businesses comes from Google My Business. As the one source for the huge percentage of searches, small businesses working to boost their search rankings should focus a significant part of their efforts to build their rankings.
We know that query relevance, time spent on a page, and click-throughs all affect overall SEO. Aiming to optimize for local search through GMB will thus positively impact your general search rankings too.
Digital marketing with Google My Business
If you’re a small local business without the bandwidth or budgets for digital marketing, using GMB can give you a great boost in local online recognition. Besides, the basic website feature offered has helped many small businesses establish an online presence and attract local customers.
Customer insights through Google My Business
The insights on customers that GMB offers can be very helpful for small businesses. Your insights can tell you how customers are finding you, whether they’re using search queries, or your business name. You can see if they found you through Search or Maps, how many visited your website, how many looked for directions, your photo views, post views and more. All this information can help you manage your profile better and maximize its effectiveness.
Boost your online brand presence with a strategically managed Google My Business profile.
It’s a great way to strengthen your digital presence and get your business in front of more people when they’re actively looking.
We invite you to schedule a no-obligation, 15-minute conversation with us to understand how you can help your business do more, with an SEO and digital marketing plan that includes Google My Business.
We’ll guarantee you’ll walk away with some great tips on how to maximize your digital marketing efforts.
Pick a time that works for you.