Google My Business Explained
Google My Business is a free listing and can help your business more easily show up in local searches. Go into the Google search engine and look for a restaurant, retail store, solicitors or garage, and you’ll see a map come up on the first results page that shows the location and a link to the nearest businesses.
According to Google, nearly 50% of searches on their site have a local intent. All of us have a smartphone nowadays and it’s simple to look for a local business and get the answer we need, whether we’re in the car, walking down the street or at home.
It makes sense, therefore, if you have a local audience that you give yourself a chance to appear on these kinds of search result. The good news is that it’s easy to do, even if you don’t aren’t that tech-savvy.
What is Google My Business?
It’s essentially a slightly more sophisticated listing that is free to sign up for and, more importantly, free to use.
Let’s say you do a generic search such as ‘find a café near me’. The first page of searches will have a map with red dots where the nearest cafés are located. Below that map will be a listing of about three cafes, their addresses, star rating, an image and a few other minor details.
Click on the link or the red dots in the map and you go to the full listing and get more information.
This includes pertinent details such as the latest offers, vouchers for discounts, opening times, directions, more reviews, images the business owner has uploaded, a telephone contact and a link to the business website.
In essence, Google My Business has all the relevant information that a potential customer needs to decide whether they want to visit you or give you a call.
1. Stand Out From the Crowd
First of all, while many businesses have signed up for Google My Business, there are probably more that haven’t. You could be stealing a march on your competitors by completing a listing and getting it up and running in the few minutes it takes to fill out a few online forms.
One factor to consider is that a lot of us nowadays search for local businesses on our mobile phones as we’re on the move. Having your listing show up when someone is primed to avail themselves of your services and is nearby is the closest you’ll probably get to a certain sale.
For example, let’s say someone is on holiday and looking for a family-friendly restaurant nearby. They put the search in Google, the map comes up and your business is there on the front page. It shows that you’re only just around the corner and that you are currently open and that you are, indeed, family orientated.
Or maybe you own a hardware store and someone is in a rush to get a hammer or drill because they are in the middle of a DIY job. They see that you are just down the road and jump in their car to buy from you rathe rather than someone further away or who is not listed on GMB at all. Your convenient and you’re there for them at just the right moment.
2. Market Your Business for Free
Google My Business gives you some smart tools to market your business that make it useful.
You can, for example, add in FAQs about your service, you can tell people if your restaurant or café is busy at the moment or even what your specials are. You can add images, logos and videos for your products or services and create a direct and immediate connection with potential customers who find you online.
- The listing allows you to collect reviews and respond to them.
- You can create posts with special offers and include coupon codes.
- Potential customers can message you directly through the listing if they have questions.
- If you have a store, you can add products that you currently have on sale.
- You can also link directly into your website.
3. Get Some Useful Data
Google also provides some useful data for your business. This shows how many people have clicked on your listing, whether they look for directions, visit your website or pick up the phone, even how many times they view your photos.
All this can help you optimise your Google My Business listing so that it performs better. This allows you to find more ways to engage with your customers.
4. It’s Free
The big benefit for businesses is that it’s 100% free to have your listing added to Google My Business and it takes just a few minutes to get a basic account set up. When you consider how much you might pay in advertising to get your business noticed, GMB offers a simple way to get a genuine listing on the front page of search results without any outlay.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to optimise your listing so that it has much more chance of showing up on that listings page and therefore drive more customers to your business.
For a start, if you own a local business, you want to be adding posts and engaging with the listing as much as possible. Google loves people who post regular content and it should improve your chances of appearing top of the list every time someone searches.