What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free, multi-featured business listing that local businesses can use to manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. Google My Business is not unlike listings on online business directories such as Yelp, but it’s found directly in Google and Google Maps search results, and therefore doesn’t require a visit to a third-party site.
As we’ll discuss later, Google My Business has gone far beyond a simple business listing, and thanks to a wealth of features and functions, is now considered a core part of local SEO.
Here’s how Google describes Google My Business (GMB):
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.”
How consumers use Google My Business?
Consumers use Google My Business for a whole host of reasons, such as:
- To find out a business’s opening times
- To get directions to a local business, or find its address
- To call a local business without needing to visit their website
- To write and read reviews about a local business
- To see photos of a local business and its products/services
- To visit the business website
- To make online bookings
- To view the available products and services
- To ask and answer questions about a local business
Why is Google My Business Important?
7 Ways Google My Business benefits consumers
Up-to-date, accurate Google My Business listings help consumers in a multitude of ways.
1. Making it easier for searchers to source important information
Having a GMB profile makes it far easier for consumers to locate information such as a business’s phone number, address, or health and safety policies.
How many times have you found yourself wanting to call up and ask a question, or check a business’s hygiene measures before visiting?
With all this information easily locatable on a business’s GMB listing, searchers can get on with the important stuff, like working out if a business is really suitable for their needs.
2. Quick and easy local business comparison in one place
Finding and switching between multiple businesses’ websites can be a real headache for searchers. With Google My Business, it’s easy to compare and contrast businesses’ offerings by flicking between their listings.
3. Searchers can easily check out photos, reviews, and offers from nearby businesses
Through photos and Posts, businesses are able to showcase their offerings, their brand, and even their personality.
With so much information available these are the features that searchers will likely be paying attention to.
Knowing what a cocktail bar looks like (Does it have heaters in its outdoor seating area? How spacious is the bar area? Is there room to dance?) can help to inform searchers quickly. Having the option to read relevant reviews will help the searcher understand if your business offers what they need.
Features like this can be make or break in saturated markets where consumers often feel inundated and overwhelmed by choice. Your potential customers are sure to be grateful that you’ve saved them precious time and energy by providing them with all the information they need to make a decision.
It could save your business time, too. After all, searchers no longer need to call up and ask these questions because the answers are immediately visible right there on your GMB profile.
Likewise, review content can provide answers to these types of questions.
This all means that when the searcher does contact your business or visit you in-store, they’re even more prepared to invest in your product or service. Think of it this way: you’ve turned a lead from warm to hot, all without lifting a finger.
4. It’s easy to make bookings and appointments in Google My Business
With its Book an Appointment feature, Google My Business makes it accessible for consumers to get what they need from your listing. In the case of beauty salons, spas, dentists, or other appointment-taking industries, this can be an extremely useful function that saves both the searcher and the business time.
Simplifying the customer journey through tools like this is only going to lead to happier customers, which in turn should mean happier businesses.
5. Google Maps users can follow and make lists of their favorite local businesses
You thought Google+ was dead? Well, Google isn’t done playing in the social and community space. Even Google Maps has a social function!
Users are able to follow businesses they like and create a list of their favorites. This makes it easier for searchers to keep up with their favorite local stores, and support them, too.
When a Maps user opts to follow a business, they’ll be notified of Offers, Events, Posts, and changes to opening hours. Again, this saves time and makes the user journey much easier.
Beyond that, this element of Google My Business allows customers to feel even more connected with businesses, which is vital in the age of eCommerce giants like Amazon.
6. ‘Justifications’ make it easy for searchers to see how relevant a business is to their search
Google My Business has simplified the search for relevant, nearby businesses. Thanks to the ever-evolving local algorithm, Google (generally) does a great job of surfacing the right businesses for users’ search queries.
As a result, finding the right business is easy.
7. It gives consumers ways to provide feedback and improve local businesses
Google My Business allows Google Maps users to provide their own feedback on businesses through the app and validate the opinions of others, ensuring a more accurate, picture of the business.
Through user-focused features like ‘Suggest an Edit’ or ‘Provide Feedback’, Google ensures any information found on GMB profiles is as up-to-date as possible.
Crowdsourced features like Q&A, reviews, and even photos also help to provide a fair picture of businesses on GMB.
All this contributes to simplifying the process of searching for and pinpointing the relevant local business for a user’s search.
14 Essential Google My Business Optimizations to Rank Higher in Local Search
Any business today needs targeted visibility on Google. Most businesses know that this requires optimizing their website and Google Ads, but what most don’t know is that there is a third entity that also needs optimizing: their Google business listing. Officially known as your Business Profile, this powerful listing is a dynamic snapshot of your business that highlights your best features and enables potential customers to quickly find, learn about, and engage with you—all from the SERP. The best part? It’s completely free.
And yet, despite the 167 billion searches performed on Google each month, a BrightLocal study showed that the typical Business Profile only averages 1,260 views during that same period (that’s 0.00000075%!). Even worse, only 59 actions are taken from those 1,260 views. That’s less than 5%.
The problem is not the Google My Business platform; it’s that not nearly enough businesses take full advantage of its impressive features. And that’s why we’ve written this guide. Here, we’re going to share 13 optimization strategies:
- Create/Edit Your Google My Business
- Claim your Business Profile
- Complete every section of your Google My Business account
- Be meticulous with contact information
- Select primary and secondary categories
- Mark off applicable attributes
- Write a complete “from the business” description
- Publish Google posts weekly
- Upload new photos weekly
- Answer questions
- Collect and respond to reviews
- Add your products and/or services
- Set up messaging
- Maintain your Business Profile
With these optimizations, you can turn your Business Profile into the best free customer acquisition tool you didn’t know you had. Let’s get into it.
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