There are hundreds of online business directories and search engines out there. But of course, Google is the most important place for businesses to be listed. Google My Business is a free tool that allows local businesses, national brands, and organizations to effectively manage their presence on Google Search and Google Maps. 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 Google searches are becoming geographically specific and Google’s algorithms have been changed to consider user intent.
What, specifically, is this “Google My Business” thing?
Put simply – a Google My Business (GMB) listing is that box with a company’s information that is shown on the right-hand side of a Google search results page or on Google Maps. See our example image here on the page, or you can click this link to see it in your browser.
What can I do with Google My Business?
Your GMB listing gives you more opportunities to reach your customers than ever before. GMB is constantly evolving and improving the service for its users. It started off just as simply, “NAME, ADDRESS,PHONE NUMBER” – and so it was a pretty straightforward business listing. Now there are lots of different features available for listings on Google My Business. Are you taking advantage of all of these?
- Add photos and videos: According to Google, businesses with photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps.
- Respond to reviews: It shows you care, it helps your search rankings, and it encourages customers to leave more reviews.
- Posts: Google Posts allows you to share your latest news, events, and offers directly on your GMB profile. Each post can stay published for a week. So mark one day each week on your calendar to update your post!
- Messaging (AKA texting): People can text message you straight from your GMB profile. Just add a text-enabled phone number (don’t add your main store’s land-line) to your GMB account in the messaging section. So if people have a quick question for you, they can just text!
- Services Provided Details: The most recent addition to GMB is the Services section. This area allows businesses to create custom service categories, and write full detailed descriptions of their products, services, and offerings along with prices.
- Make an Appointment: This feature allows businesses to post an appointment booking URL in their Google My Business listing.
- Food Menu: Restaurants can your entire menues for restaurants directly in their Google My Business profile
- Q&A Section: Slightly similar to Messaging, except this is publicly shown on your GMB listing. A user can ask a question that is shown in your profile, and you have the opportunity to answer it. And GMB publishes how long it typically takes you to reply to questions – so make sure you’re regularly monitoring Google My Business for questions and activity.
And all of these features are controlled from one central dashboard. Here’s a peek of what it looks like:
Is having this information in GMB important to your business?
Well, how many times a day or a week do you search for something on Google? I bet you search quite a bit…whether it’s for a locksmith, a dentist’s office, a community park – if you think about it – almost everything is found by
performing a local search on Google. People are searching
for local places all the time!
Provide as much information about your company as possible in your GMB profile. Ensure the information is accurate, and consistent with what is on your website. Keep in mind, selecting the most relevant Google My Business category as your “Primary” category is extremely important to how well your GMB profile drives customers to your front door. Take a look at this example below…I searched for “Plumber in Novi, MI” – and you can see all the top search results spots on the map were for GMB listings with “Plumber” as their primary category.
All of this information in your GMB profile also helps your website’s SEO. Similar to on page SEO, your Google My Business profile also needs to be optimized. Here are some ways to optimize your profile quickly:
- Include Keywords within your name and description when possible and natural.
- Add data for all available sections including hours of operations.
- Be sure to select all appropriate categories for your business.
- Include relevant and appropriate rich media such as images and videos.
Having a strong digital presence on Google will place you precisely where potential customers are searching for your product, experience or service. Our Michigan-based GMB experts are ready to help you take advantage of all that Google My Business has to offer. Get in touch with us today!