If you’re a small business owner and you DON’T have an up to date Google My Business profile you will be missing out on a number of features that can greatly benefit how your business is seen and perceived by potential new customers.
In the post below I’ll discuss 5 key things all small businesses should know about Google My Business and why it’s an important tool for growing your company.
First things first, what is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a completely free (yes, FREE!) platform from Google which allows you to set up a business profile for your company. This profile gives you complete control over the vital information shown by Google in search results regarding your business.
This information can include contact details, business address, opening hours, location map and lists of services you offer, as well as photos of your business. It can also allow customers to immediately find directions to your business location, send you direct messages, book appointments and write valuable reviews (more on that later…).
Once completed and verified, your Google My Business details will appear either on the right hand side of a Google search results page if someone is searching via a desktop, or within the search results when viewed on a mobile. It also means that your business will show up in both Google AND Google Maps.
Google My Business Desktop example:
Google My Business Mobile example:
Now that we’re clear what Google My Business is, you can read on to learn the 5 things small business owners should know.
1) Google My Business is for EVERYONE
It’s a fact that the first place potential customers will look when trying to source a specific product or service is ONLINE.
Therefore, whether you’re a bricks and mortar store selling goods in your local town or village, a mobile hairdresser servicing clients in their own homes, or a HR Consultant conducting most of your business remotely from your home, you need to have an online presence for people to find you.
Google My Business makes this easy for you by creating a listing which allows customers to discover key information about your service, (such as opening times and locations) directly within the search engine results and without having to search for them on your website…and without you even needing a website in the first place!
2) It's REALLY simple to set up
That’s right, for a tool that can be so powerful for small local businesses it can be remarkably easy to set up. This makes it an obvious “quick win” for anyone trying to increase their online presence and improve their local SEO.
- Visit www.google.com/business and sign in using your existing Google account, or set up a new one.
- Add your business name.
- Choose your business category from the drop down list.
- If your business has a bricks and mortar physical location that people can visit to buy your products or use your service, select YES. If you don’t have a physical presence you can instead select NO and then list the areas you serve.
- Fill in your contact info including website URL, phone number etc and then click FINISH.
- Once you’ve filled out the basics it’s time to get your listing VERIFIED. I usually choose the POSTCARD BY MAIL option which requires you to fill out some details and submit the form, then a few days later you’ll receive a surprise postcard in the post from Goggle with a verification code on. Type the code into your Google My Business account and hey presto, you’re verified.
- Once verified your listing will be published and start appearing in search results.
3) Helps customers find you locally
Where Google My Business really comes into its own is by improving a businesses LOCAL SEO. The better your local SEO, the more likely your company is to appear in search results when someone local to you searches for your service.
Google looks at the following three factors when deciding where to rank local listings:
- Relevance: How well your listing matches a search
- Distance: How far your location is from the search or searcher
- Prominence: How well-known a business is (based on several other factors)
4) Helps build credibility and trust
Recent research has found that customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing versus those without. This is due to a number of features within the profile that are designed to build credibility and trust between the customer and the business:
It is believed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With a Google My Business profile you automatically have a fully functioning review platform at your disposal without the hassle of having to integrate it into your website.
Another benefit of Google Reviews is that customers can see your rating within the search results, meaning if you rate 5/5 stars, potential customers will know this without having to visit your website.
The opportunity to incorporate logos, headers and any other brand imagery into your profile helps give customers a feel for your business which is great for letting them know that you are a credible company.
If you have a physical store it’s an absolute must to include images of the outside of your premises in your profile to make it easier for new customers to know they’re in the right place when visiting for the first time.
Opportunity to engage
Responding to reviews and sharing updates on your profile is a great way of connecting with your customers and shows that a) you are actively engaged in your customers experience, and b)your profile is current and up to date. These are 2 key ways to build trust and credibility for your brand.
Control over content
Finally, the ability to easily update all of the information discussed is a huge factor in building trust with customers. There’s nothing worse than travelling to visit a shop only to find it closed. By keeping your profile correct and up to date your customers will always know what they can expect from you.
5) It's FREE!
- Increased visibility of your business
- Greater trust for your customers
- Full control over your content
- Better Local SEO performance
Without you having to spend a penny on marketing or website development makes setting up a profile and keeping it up to date a real no-brainer!
THANKS for reading all the way to the end of my post! I hope you’ve come away with a greater understanding of how Google My Business works and the benefits it could have for your business.
If you think this all sounds great but you simply don’t have the time to set it up yourself. Or you feel like you’d benefit from some 1 on 1 time to discuss your companies online strategy, get in touch to arrange a free consultation.
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