First of all, what is a Google My Business Page?
Google My Business provides you with the ability to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results. Google developed Google My Business as a way to make it easier for searchers to get the information they need, quickly and conveniently. Your business’s address, opening hours and contact information will appear in your Google My Business listing, without the need for someone to click through to your website and go looking. Put simply, it allows potential customers to more easily find you, and contact you.
The listing is free but it should be regarded as a necessity by all businesses, whether you have a physical shop or an online business.
If a potential customer is just looking for a phone number, an address or opening hours for your business, then there is no need for them to click through to your website – those details are provided in your Google My Business listing, right there in the search results.
Some business owners have asked “Isn’t that a bad thing? If people don’t need to click through to my website?” But don’t look at this as one less click to your website; look at it as a potential customer finding the information they were looking for more easily. If they only wanted your phone number or to see if you were open on a Saturday, they found that information more quickly than if they’d needed to click onto your site. That customer is entirely satisfied!
Of course, if the customer wanted some other information, they would have clicked through to your website.
Some benefits to having a Google My Business listing include:
1) Helps Your Website Rank Better
Google My Business is essential for Local SEO as it enables your business listing to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services. Even broad queries with large search volumes display local results, and this is something small business owners can capitalise on.
2) Control Your Information and Service Offering
At the very least, use Google My Business to put basic information about your business into Google’s Local Search index. But it also offers a range of additional tools to help you attract and inform local customers. For example, you might add information like product lists, accepted payment types, menus and prices, plus interactive features such as photos and reviews. You can even add coupons and special offers for your visitors.
3) Manage, Showcase and Respond to Reviews
Increasingly, one of the most important elements of a Google My Business listing is User Reviews. Google has recently started a campaign to recruit users as “local guides”, rewarding them when they rate and review local businesses. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’ visibility, and increases the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.
4) Learn More About Customers
The Google My Business platform enables local businesses to learn even more about their customers by including a lot of extra analytics data you won’t find elsewhere. For example, on Google Maps, you can access information on where requests for driving directions to your business originated from. This might be useful information that can help you target new customers in the area, or potentially target a new suburb to expand into as your business grows.
Improve Your Business’ Local Search Visibility
Setting up your Google My Business listing is one of the simplest and most effective ways of setting your business up to be found online. More and more search queries are becoming geographically specific and Google’s algorithms have been developed to consider user intent.
You’ve probably done a Google search at some point such as, ‘places to eat near me’, if so then you’ll notice that Google returns a list of three locations where you can eat based on your current location. The three businesses that have shown as a result of your search query have a GMB page and are one step closer to attracting you as a customer.
If these places to eat did not have a GMB page then they would not have shown. Think about this in the context of your business, whatever product or service you may be selling. How can local searches benefit your business and what might you be missing out on without one?
How to Optimise Your Google My Business Page
After you’ve set up and claimed a GMB page for your business, the next step is to make sure it’s optimised and you’ve filled in all the important information. You should aim to include as much information as possible on your GMB listing as possible.
The way people search is changing and information needs to be accessible instantly. If you haven’t set an accurate business address then it won’t be easy for people to physically find you. If your business isn’t easy to find then people will go somewhere which is. It’s as simple as that.
This is the online environment businesses must now compete in, so make sure your business is taking advantage of the way people are searching online and don’t let it hinder your ability to attract new customers.
1) Get Your Description Right
Take the time to write a good description to add to your listing and try make it as local as possible where you can so it’s more relevant to the user. The description is used as an overview about what your business does and keywords related to your business can be used here. Your GMB description can be up 750 characters but it’s worthwhile getting the most relevant information in the first few sentences. Try to include 2-3 keywords that describe your business best.
2) Add Posts to your Google My Business
To add a post all you have to do is go to your GMB account and create a new post. You will be able to upload an image, write up to 300 words of text or an event title, which should include the start/end date. There is then an option to add a call-to-action with a variety of button choices including ‘Learn more’, ‘Reserve’, ‘Sign up’, ‘Buy’ and ‘Get offer’.
The post option gives you great flexibility to promote events, share your content and promote your products or services, highlighting when you are running special offers. The post will last for 7 days before you will need to replace it with a new post. Google will email you a reminder to do this.
3) Add Images on a Regular Basis
You may have added core images such as the exterior/interior of your business, your logo and your team but you shouldn’t stop there. Post images as much as you can. This will show Google you’re active and it will favour you when it comes to showing you higher in map or local search results.
4) Collect Reviews
If you want to rank higher in search and map results then collect reviews. Reviews act as real-world signals of what people actually think about a business and are a key factor when it comes to ranking in local search. Not only this, but they act as social proof to your potential customers and help them make a decision on whether to do business with you or not. The best way to collect reviews is to ask for them. Seek out customers who you know what been satisfied with your product or service. To make it easier to collect reviews, set up a templated email but make sure you personalise it where possible before you send!
5) Respond to Reviews
Whether good or bad (and especially bad) – make sure you respond to all reviews so your customer knows you’re serious about them and their experience with your business. This will also help other customers build trust in you as a brand. Acknowledge and thank customers who leave a good review as it shows a level of engagement at the post-purchase stage.
Finally, you can use your reviews as an opportunity to get better as a business; learn what people like and what they didn’t like and improve upon it. Reviews are valuable data to a business.
In a nutshell:
Make sure that your business has an up to date and detailed Google My Business page. If you have not taken the time to create and optimise one then you’re missing out on one of the best free ways of appearing in Google search results. It’s also highly adaptable and can be updated as needed to reflect day to day changes. All it takes is time and knowledge to optimise your page, so make sure you do it. You could see the benefits instantly.
If you would like to know more about setting up a Google My Business page for your business, please speak to either Kimberley or Kegan, who will be happy to help you.