Google My Business: What is it and why you need it

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For those of you who’ve never heard of Google My Business, it’s a free tool for businesses that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes adding your business name, location and hours, monitoring and replying to customer reviews and adding photos and videos.

Why is it so important for my business?

The benefits of Google My Business are increased visibility in search results, an easier way for your customers to find you and an increase in traffic to your website, social media and front door.

An optimised Google My Business listing helps Google understand more about your business;

  • Who you are?
  • What services and products you offer
  • Where your located, opening hours, etc.

If you haven’t claimed and verified your free Google My Business listing yet visit https://www.google.com/business to get started.

Many businesses just claim the Google My Business listing and forget about it, however there is a whole bunch of features Google gives you that you can use to optimise your listing to ensure you get the most value.

Complete as much information as you can

Once you’ve claimed your GMB listing you will be asked a variety of questions from opening hours and business contact information to letting customers know that you offer free wi-fi and your business is wheelchair accessible.

If you’ve got the time fill out as many of the questions as possible – It ensures that when someone searches for your business, products or services Google can instantly display the most relevant and up to date information as possible.

Upload images and video

According to Google, business with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher request for driving directions in Google Maps.

There are 3 different types of photos you can add to your business listing:

  • Logo: Help your customer recognise your business on Google. For businesses that have their basic information (phone number, hours, etc.), the Business Profile will highlight the logo.
  • Cover photo: Set a cover photo to the top of the profile that best represents your business.
  • Additional photos: Add different photos to highlight features of your business that customers consider when making purchasing decisions.

If you own a business that is a high-traffic area like a cafe or restaurant your customers can also upload photos of your products when leaving a review.

Update your listing with relevant business news

For business owners that are time poor the GMB posts are a great way to keep your customers up to date with the latest business news and product/services without having to write blog posts on your website.

Google My Business posts are a great way to highlight a range of different updates happening with your business:

  • Promote new products and services
  • Active with your website blog? Post a quick snippet of your latest post.
  • Organising an event or workshop? Create an ‘event’ post with dates, times and a link to register.

Just remember that posts stay active for 7 days so be sure to post at least once a week. Posting regularly has been shown to improve local search rankings as it demonstrates to Google that you are an active business.

Respond to custom reviews (positive and negative)

One of the best ways to encourage future customers to leave positive reviews is to respond to current ones. Replying to custom reviews both positive and negative builds your customers’ trust.

Research has shown that customers who had a bad experience are more likely to leave a review or a comment than those who had an excellent experience.

Here are some great findings from BrightLocal’s 2019 Consumer Review Survey.

  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • 90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year
  • The average consumer spends 13m 45s reading reviews before making a decision
  • 91% of consumers say that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business
  • 76% trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends
  • 84% believe that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant

One of the biggest take-aways is that 97% of review readers take in business’s responses to reviews. This means whether the review is good or bad the way you respond to your customer reviews can have an impact on how a negative review can impact potential customers.

Track insights and analytics from your GMB Dashboard

Once you’ve got your business verified and you’ve completed your business profile check back once a month and get an overview of how your customers are interacting with your business.

From the Insights dashboard you can get an overview of:

  • How customers search for your business:
    • Direct: Customers who find your listing searching for your business name or address.
    • Discovery: Customers who find your listing searching for a category, product, or service.
  • Search queries used to find your business.
  • Where customers view your business either Google Search or Google Maps
  • What your customers do when they see your GMB listing:
    • Visit your website
    • Request directions
    • Call you

So there you have it. Setting up a Google My Business listing is a great way to optimise your business for local search results and should be a high priority for all businesses looking to stay ahead of their competition. If you need any help settings yours up or going even further with your local search results, be sure to get in touch with us.

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