What is Google My Business, and why does your business need it?
In a nutshell, Google My Business is a free offering from Google which helps business owners curate and manage their digital/online presence across the entire Google suite, including Google Search, Mobile Search, Local Search and Google Maps. Google My Business allows business owners to create a ‘listing’ for their business on Google, which is particularly helpful for owners of small to medium-sized businesses. In essence, Google My Business listings appear as part of the search results when Google users perform a search query that is related to the business listing, or search for the business by name. These listings allow businesses to appeal to potential consumers, and to share important information about the business. This information includes address and contact details, and even potentially some information about the product on offer.
With an increasing number of consumers relying on the internet as their primary shopping research tool, it’s essential for businesses to list themselves on Google, especially for small or medium-sized businesses that want to expand both their reach and the size of their business. In fact, up to 75% of consumers search for products and services online if they want to find a business (as opposed to using a phone book or asking for a referral), and up to 70% of people make purchases from businesses they found online (on Google specifically), as opposed to purchasing from businesses that they discovered by other means. Research has shown that businesses which have complete listings (e.g. contact information, photographs and consumer reviews) have a much higher chance of attracting – and keeping – a consumer’s attention while they’re searching for your business (or a similar one) online. In fact, it’s been suggested that consumers are up to 50% more likely to consider making use of a business that has a complete listing, compared to one that does not.
One major benefit of creating a Google My Business listing is that you don’t need to do any complementary work on your website or any additional on-page SEO on your site – Google My Business takes the information you give it and does all the work for you! And while you have to update your Google My Business listing, that will require a lot less time and effort than you put in other digital marketing channels like email marketing or social media marketing.
What can you do on Google My Business?
By listing your business on Google My Business, you can achieve a variety of goals that will help you attract more businesses, like:
- Differentiating yourself from your competitors – Google My Business allows you to share recent and useful information about your business on your business listing, like directions, trading hours, photographs and even special offers.
- Engaging with customers – Google My Business allows consumers to leave reviews about your business and get in contact with your business directly. You can respond to these reviews, as well as to consumers’ questions and messages.
- Having a website optimised for mobile – Google My Business offers a free tool that allows you to make a website optimised for mobile with minimal time and effort. The builder also provides you with information about which photographs on your website get noticed by site visitors, as well as the source of customer traffic.
- Discovering how your customers find you – Google My Business supplies you with vital information about how consumers find your business and engage with your business listing. Google My Business makes it possible to track information pertaining to the number of user searches for your business, phone calls that come in from your listing, and requests for directions to your business.
- Promoting company events and news – Google My Business allows you to share not only contact information, but also other information about your business in general. This allows you to share the latest news about your business.
Why does your business need Google My Business?
As you can see, Googly My Business allows you to perform multiple functions, all in one place. And while we’ve somewhat touched on why that’s important for your business, there are a few other reasons why it’s absolutely vital that your business makes use of Google My Business. In a nutshell, Google My Business will not only give your business exposure, but also sales and revenue – this is how:
1) Google My Business is free
Using a free tool means that your return on investment will always be positive. Any for-profit business knows it’s a no-brainer to make use of reliable and useful free platforms, whether your business is a new start-up or a long-established franchise. Another advantage of Google My Business being free is that it really is free – it doesn’t use a ‘freemium’ business model, meaning you don’t have to fork out to access more tools, features or benefits. An added bonus of this model is that it levels the playing field, so to speak – no business using Google My Business has a competitive edge over another based purely on financial resources, making it super accessible regardless of your capital (or lack thereof).
2) Google My Business generates leads
Many people think that an online user needs to click through to a website and provide some kind of personal information in order to be considered a lead. And while this is true for many forms of digital marketing (both paid and organic), the opposite is somewhat true in the case of Google My Business – Research has shown that the volume of searches including the phrase ‘near me’ has increased over 500% in the past few years. This means that people have a very clear distance they’re willing to travel to make a purchase, and they’re looking for this kind of specific information. In this instance, providing the user with information without requiring them to click through to your website is generating a lead. Then, if the searchers wants to know more about your business by going to your website, they can still do so!
That’s why having a Google My Business listing is so important – you can include your location, which shows the searcher how far away your physical premises are. Local searches have an incredibly high conversion rate – up to 80% – meaning that the amount of leads local searches generates is invaluable for your business. However, it’s critical to remember that simply listing your business and it’s location isn’t enough – you need to optimise and constantly augment your profile by ensuring that all your information is up to date.
3) Google My Business improves your search results ranking
With every single search query, Google trawls through millions of sites and billions of pieces of content, so you’re going to want to make sure that your business’s website doesn’t get lost among the hundreds of results in which a search relating to your business could result. In our article about the importance of SEO, we mentioned that a good ranking on Google produces enormous volumes of website traffic, so it’s really important to be very visible on Google search results and having a listing on Google My Business contributes immensely to this visibility.
Google tries to deliver searchers the best results, meaning it tries to give users the most relevant answers (in the form of search results). This means that by optimising your Google My Business account, it will be shown to searchers looking for your product offering specifically. For example, if a Mexican restaurant were to optimise their profile for ‘Mexican food’, they would rank very highly for searches on Mexican food, as opposed to ranking lowly for searches for restaurants offering other kinds of cuisine, had they not optimised their Google My Business listing profile. That optimisation involves including all relevant information so that Google perceives your business to be relevant to the searcher’s search query, and so that it ranks your listing accordingly.
While Google My Business is free and an incredibly user-friendly platform, there are a range of technical nuances involved in optimising your Google My Business listing/account. Many of these principles are the same as SEO, and more often than not, it’s a good idea to turn to the professionals. Consider making use of a digital marketing agency to set up, optimise and manage your Google My Business account for maximum return on investment – it will be worth their time and your money!