Founded in 2014 through merging Google + Local and Google Places, Google My Business was born. It is a completely free tool that allows you to showcase your business whilst improving the likelihood of appearing in local searches and maps results.
Business owners are given the opportunity to add photos, contact information, answer questions, post updates, services and products as well as display their reviews all in one place.
Whether you are a business supplying grounds care maintenance equipment or you are a chain of book stores, having a Google My Business listing will help potential clients find you and understand you.
Customers are able to capture a quick screenshot of your business before visiting or purchasing from you. The importance of Google My Business is significant in increasing brand awareness and customer reach.
When searching for your business on Google, the first thing users will often see is your Google My Business listing. It is essential that the information on your listing is correct, relevant and up to date as this is the first impression you are giving a potential customer.
On the other hand, when someone searches for a service or product your business provides, your business listing plays a large role in whether the customers pick you over competitors.
With that being said, there are several factors to consider when analysing why your listing will appear over others. This includes proximity being the location of the searcher, the relevancy to the query and prominence of the business. This is Google’s local algorithm and are the three aspects that determine whether your business will appear in the local pack.
There is a high chance that your business will appear in a brand search, however the same can’t be said for service or product type searches. Depending on the level of competition in your area and the reviews you have, getting into the local 3-pack is essential in winning over searchers.
If your business listing is under-utilised and lacks vital information such as special holiday opening hours, it is likely that a searcher will look to your competitors over you. However, when your Google My Business listing is fully optimised, the chances of appearing in the local pack are much higher and in return, you will experience more visitors to your website or physical location.
It is said that 46% of all searches on Google are local searches and so if you are a local business, you should be utilising your Google My Business listing.
On mobile searches, the page is dominated by local results and according to Google, 93% of local searches display a local pack.
By having a Google My Business listing, it increases chances of appearing in maps results which makes it easier for customers to find and request directions to you.
Having a listing allows customers to easily leave reviews about their experience with your business. This is beneficial as it adds information to the listing about the types of services and products you sell, as well as forming unique selling points where customers can pick specific areas of the service they were happy with, e.g. customer service.
Further, by showcasing good reviews from real people, it shows potential customers that they can trust you and that others liked your service or product.
Unfortunately, the reviews you receive on your listing won’t always be good. This can damage your listing if there is a large quantity of them, however, if you deal with them by professionally responding, it can work to your advantage.
By having a few bad reviews, it can help to make your business look more realistic and trustworthy than if there were thousands of five-star reviews. And customers will see you responding and resolving the bad reviews which will add to your business credibility.
Many businesses undermine the benefits that the posting feature offers. A business can use a post to promote current offers and display news updates and upcoming events. All of this information will improve the chances of customers wanting to visit your business.
On top of the other features, Google shows your data such as how many times people have requested directions to your location, how many have clicked through to your website, how many people have clicked on your post and much more.
Thus enabling you as a business owner to act on the behaviour of the customers and implement changes to your marketing strategy to either attract more visitors or to cater for the fluctuations in visitors at specific times of the day, month or year.
Overall, whether your competitors are utilising their listings or not, by optimising yours, you can win over customers by providing all the information they need. By appearing in the local pack, you will experience a further customer reach and build awareness for your brand.
Google My Business is a tool that is commonly under looked by businesses and therefore can prove damaging to local SEO campaigns if not utilised effectively.
Google My Business is straightforward and simple to use, make sure you are benefiting from this free tool. Claim or create and verify your business listing now if you haven’t already and keep your customers in the loop.