Google My Business, a free and easy-to-use tool that helps you, as a small business, reach more customers and boosts their confidence in your products and services. But Google My Business (GMB) is more than just a free business listing. Here is what you need to know to make the most of GMB’s potential.
Give your customers more ways to reach you within seconds: A quick Google search is typically the beginning of most customer journeys online. Your free Google My Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google’s platform, by calling, messaging or leaving reviews. With more ways in which people can find you, you’ll soon be doing more business, too.
Google My Business can help your business in more ways than you think
In today’s post we’ll cover:
- What is Google My Business?
- 3 Benefits of Google My Business
- 12 Ways to Optimise Your GMB Account
- How to Create a Google My Business Account?
Your customers are ready to connect. The question is: Are you?
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With a GMB account, you can connect with your customers, keep them up to date with changes and track how they interact with your business on Google.
The 3 Benefits of having a Google My Business listing
Makes you visible to your audience
A GMB listing is a fail-safe way to show up in Google Searches and on Google Maps. It’s often the first impression prospective customers have of your business, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a good one. GMB brings your business to the customer, to their phones and desktop screens. This is beneficial for both businesses that are trading online and those with physical stores.
No matter what kind of product or service you offer, the more information customers can easily access, the more you’ll appeal to them. For example, if you’re in the food industry, GMB will show users not only customer reviews and your menu with images but a price range that’ll help them decide whether or not they want to book a dinner table with you.
“Google My Business is simple to use and allows us to share in-store events and sales with our potential customers in a matter of minutes.”
Brooke, Owner, Little Sprout uses Google My Business
During the recent COVID-19 outbreak, many local businesses understood that GMB could help them keep their audience up to date and informed on changes in regards to their opening hours, takeaway offers and safety precautions. GMB provides ample opportunities for you to engage with your audience if you know how to leverage it.
Improves credibility and trustworthiness
And here is another one of those opportunities: With the internet being what it is today, offering products and services online is extremely easy. This, however, means that competition amongst businesses is fierce, too. The two things that can set you apart and ensure the long-term success of your business are a) offering top-quality products and services and b) always delivering what you’ve promised, if not more, to establish trust in you.
We really can’t overstate the importance of building customer trust. Whether you are trading exclusively online or have a brick-and-mortar business, one of the biggest hurdles for your customers is building enough trust in you to confidently make a booking or purchase.
Your job is to help them make that jump as easily as possible. With GMB you can social proof your brand: Since most people have great confidence in Google, users will automatically be more likely to trust you when your business pops up in a local search.
Again, very few factors influence a potential customer’s purchase decision as much as online reviews by other customers. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. It has probably not been long since your last online purchase, so that shouldn’t be too difficult. When you decided on a product, did you go with the one that had the highest reviews, or the lowest? You see, online reviews are critically important to how your business is perceived online and can make the difference between merely surviving or thriving.
With a Google My Business listing, any customer can leave a review of your business for others to see. All of these reviews are public and you can respond to each one individually. Since negative reviews carry as much weight as positive ones, you should carefully monitor what people are saying about you. By the way, negative feedback is not the end of the world and can be used to your advantage. To learn more, check out our expert guide to handling customer complaints professionally.
Improves your search ranking and increases traffic
Your GMB profile is an easy way to feed Google information about your business. And the more consistent and high-quality input Google has from you, the better you rank in search results.
When users search for products and services using related keywords, they’ll see Google ads and then something that’s called Google’s local 3 pack. The 3 pack displays the top three local businesses in the same category. If someone searches for “coffee shops near me”, the Google algorithm determines which three businesses best match that query, based on the information it finds on the web.
By creating a GMB profile, your business has much better chances to be amongst those top three local results, to pop up on Google Maps and the local finder, giving you in return more exposure and leads.
12 Ways to Optimise Your GMB Account
- 70 per cent of users view businesses with complete listings as more reputable
To make the most out of your Google My Business profile, rank higher in local searches and show up in the local pack, you have to optimise it. Here are a few quick and easy ways to go about it. Feel free to treat the following as a best practice checklist.
- Be meticulous. Complete each and every section of your GMB account. This will help you rank higher in search results and gives users more confidence in you.
- Add a “From the Business” description. A section that appears lower in your profile and should contain your mission statement. Make sure to not repeat information already visible in your profile and include keywords your audience uses to find businesses like yours.
- Choose a category. It’ll help you get found in discovery searches. Once you’ve chosen a category, you can highlight category-specific features that make your profile even more attractive.
- Select attributes. Once you’ve chosen a category, you can select attributes to further describe your business. Google’s attributes get really granular, like “Serves Local Specialty” or “Pets Welcome” and even “OK to Just Order Coffee”.
- Contact information. Your business name and contact information need to be identical to other listings across the web – otherwise, Google might consider them spam.
- Address. When creating a GMB profile, you must add an address. If you’re operating online, you can enter your home address and hide it from the public. Keep in mind that having a street address can however be reassuring to your customers and help to build trust.
- Opening hours. List both your regular and holiday hours to avoid the potential of a negative review when someone rocks up at the wrong time. There’s a cool feature that shows ‘popular times’ and indicates peak waiting times and how long people usually tend to stay.
- Link to website. If you’re a service-based company, you want your audience to easily be directed to your website.
- Social media profiles. It will increase your authority and authenticity to include your social media profiles in your GMB listing.
- Add images. According to Google, users are 42 per cent more likely to request directions to a business if its GMB profile has photos. Adding your own at least semi-professional photos ensures that your profile looks its best. Regularly adding new photos also signals to Google that you are active and that your profile is up-to-date, which will positively impact your ranking.
- Post to your profile. Similar to social media, GMB allows you to talk about announcements, offers, events, and products via posts that can be created in your GMB dashboard. Those posts show up on the “Updates” section and help to make your profile look more appealing in the eyes of Google, in the same way adding photos does.
- Allow questions. Allow your customers to directly ask you questions. Giving them an opportunity to engage with you can greatly improve your customer relationships. Since anyone can answer questions and you can’t turn off this feature, we recommend setting up alerts in your GBM profile so you can stay on top of anything that’s posted to your profile.
Setting up your Google My Business Account
Signing up to Google my Business and verifying your business is easy. Here is how to go about it:
- Visit https://business.google.com/create and log in with your Google account or create one if you don’t have one.
- Click on the plus button and select “Add a Location”.
- Check if your business already exists. If you’d like to close an old profile, suggest an edit. If your business doesn’t have a profile, click “Add your business to Google”.
- Add the name of your business.
- Choose a category.
- Add your location. Don’t skip this step, it’s very important for SEO purposes.
- If you own a restaurant and offer delivery services, add that here.
- Add your contact information.
- And you’re done. All you need to do is select a verification option.
In a Nutshell
Google My Business gets you in front of prospective customers, helps with local SEO and offers a chance to engage with your customers in meaningful ways. As a free and valuable tool, local businesses of all sizes can leverage its potential to successfully manage customers interactions and gain a competitive advantage.
Do you need help optimising your Google My Business listing? Get in touch with the SEO gurus at Anchor Digital. We would love to hear from you and support you on your way to greater customer engagement and more leads.