Operating online without a Google My Business account is a bit like opening a shop on the high street with a boarded up storefront, then being surprised when you don’t attract any customers.
Google My Business (GMB) effectively controls how your business information appears on Google, so it’s a bit of a big deal. In the same way that your storefront is an opportunity for you to set out your brand proposition - who you are and what you do, GMB is your chance to get noticed by people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer, and gives them a way of getting in touch with you.
Here are our top 5 reasons you need to get working on your GMB page.
1. GMB helps you stand out from the crowd
With literally billions of searches conducted on Google each day, GMB helps to prevent your business from drowning in a sea of similar providers. When someone searches for a company or service online, Google will pull the info you submitted when you set up you GMB profile and serve it up in prime retail estate right there on the first page of search results. Let’s take a look...
While there are numerous different factors that contribute to how Google decides which businesses to place in the 3-pack, the fact remains without a Google My Business page you won’t be appearing at all, and ultimately, If you are appearing in the local 3-pack then you are winning at search.
As you can see from the image above, in addition to your business name, address and pictures you have set up, your location on Google Maps will also be displayed, so don’t be lazy or haphazard when setting up your GMB account information otherwise you will give potential customers the run around when they try and find you.
2. Draw Attention With Your GMB Posts
In the same fashion as Social Media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, you can publicise yourself through GMB posts. When someone Googles your business these posts will then show up in the knowledge panel that appears on the right hand side of the search results. Crucially, with the right CTA or ‘call to action’, your GMB post can directly result in valuable conversions and clicks through to a specific page you want the user to visit.
GMB posts will only stay live for 7 days but the beauty of them is that they are flexible enough to promote any aspect of your business that you like. For example leading up to Valentine's day a restaurant may want to attract attention to a special meal for 2 promotion, around Mother's day boutique jewellery stores will likely want to push a particular item designed to melt the hearts of old dears across the nation, and on Fathers day stores will want to promote… well the usual old guff poor dad gets lumped with.
Whilst there are text restrictions on GMB posts and you need to be make sure you size your images correctly or they won’t display properly, GMB posts can be a tremendously useful tool to promote your business and attract traffic to your site.
3. GMB Provides Customer Behaviour Analysis
GMB has an ‘Insights’ section where you can find out more about how users are finding your business, how many people are viewing your content and what they are doing when they land upon your GMB listing.
These analytics help to make the value of local search marketing tangible and in turn allows you to develop your listing in order to gain even more value from the platform. Optimising your listing and posting strategy as a result of utilising GMB insights can take various forms. For instance If the metrics reveal that you are not being found on discovery or category searches then I’d suggest that you would probably want to look at changing your PPC (pay-per-click) strategy to try and get in front of people entering search terms that are relevant to your business.
4. GMB Reviews
People trust what other genuine customers say about your business and your services, and it seems that Google do as well. How well and how often you are reviewed are an important factor in getting your listing to rank in the listings and appear in the “3 pack” we discussed earlier.
There are various ways you can encourage customers to leave reviews on your listing, you can mention the listing at the point of sale and even point the customer towards your GMB address that you have printed on the receipt or promotional material you have handed to them, but the best method is to simply provide customer centric service that’s good value for money.
Additionally always make sure you respond to feedback whether it is positive or negative. The good stuff is easy - respond to kind words and build a rapport and relationship with customers that leave encouraging comments. Perhaps even more important however, is how you react to negative comments. If possible engage with the user and address the issue, people reading the review don’t expect your business to be perfect, but they will turn away from you if they sense that you don’t respect customers with legitimate grievances.
5. It’s Free
There’s got to be a catch here, right? So like it’s free to set up but then you are charged when a customer clicks on it? Nope. You get all of the above for nada, zilch, niente pounds. Google want you to stay on their platform, so if they can provide users with all the information they need without them having to click onto another parties site then they are happy to do so… FOC! (thats Free Of Charge, not an exclamation of surprise)
In short, it really makes a lot of sense to set up and properly maintain a Google My Business account, but be aware that just sloppily firing up a business description and a picture or two isn’t likely to cut the mustard as far as appearing on the 3 pack is concerned.
However, a properly maintained listing used in combination with good on site SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and a healthy amount of business citations with strong authority all contribute to getting your business front and centre on the Google search results. Oh yeah, and it’s free.