What is Google My Business & why should I use it?
Google My Business Account (GMB)
Chances are you have already used Google My Business (GMB) without even knowing it. When you want to see what the opening times of your local grocery store are or the location of a restaurant, you are likely to consult the knowledge panel that shows up on the right-hand side after a Google search.
But did you know that you can make one of these for your business for free?
Google offers GMB so that you, as a business owner, are able to control how your company shows up across a general Google search, a localised Google search and Google Maps.
Target market in a specific location
Google My Business is particularly important for businesses with a target market in a specific location. Google My Business is a fantastic tool that helps your business reach more clients and increase and spread awareness about your business.
You do not necessarily need a website to use GMB as it is beneficial for online searchers to find your business, however studies show around 70% of consumers expect a business to have a website, with 30% of customers refusing to consider a business without one. You can enjoy all the benefits of GMB as soon as you sign up and even better, its entirely free and easy!
GMB How to use it?
Find out how to use GMB for your website
With Google My Business, your potential customers will be able to access important information about your business without having to go onto your website via the knowledge panel. The knowledge panel comes up on the right-hand side after a Google search is performed and can contain the business name, a short description about your company, address, phone number, website url, opening hours, photos as well as client reviews.
This information presents several advantages; by directly providing the information about your business you can ensure that your contact, location, and availability information are always up to date to ensure accessibility for your customers. Also, GMB provides a platform for you to advertise your business by using enticing photographs of your products or location, describing what your business is about and can direct clients to your website or contact details. Additionally, and most importantly, it allows you to interact with existing and potential customers either through the reviews function or the Q&A feature. Customers are even able to communicate you directly online with the GMB direct messaging tool. In today’s market customers expect responses quickly or they may consider giving their business elsewhere. The GMB messaging tool can help you bring your customer service to the next level and create positive impressions with potential clients. Your responsiveness will be displayed on the knowledge panel, and this is a great way to convey to potential customers your excellent customer service and professionalism, even before they have interacted with your business. Google My Business is the best and easiest way to provide potential clients with relevant and up to date information.
Why You Need A GMB
GMB allows your business to appear on Google Maps as well as show up in localised searches. Google statistics have revealed that 46% of all searches are trying to find local information, and that 76% of local searches result in a physical visit. There are three ways that a local business can appear to its customers, via the knowledge panel, as a location on Google Maps or on the local pack.
The local pack is the three business listings that appear under a map when a client executes a localised search. Being in the local pack makes a great impression on a potential customer, as they are highly visible, making it far more likely they will seek out your business.
The Benefits of having a GMB
Having a GMB for your business also means that you will have access to insights, statistics, and information about your business not available through other platforms.
Having this knowledge makes it much easier to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing and online presence, leading to better informed and strategic decisions.
A GMB offers insights such as the number of views your profile receives, the demographic of your audience including the age groups, gender and country of origin, overall engagement with your business profile as well as more specifically, the amount of website clicks, directions requested, and communications made through the details provided.
A very important insight GMB offers is the search queries that customers are using to find your company, this is essential information for your search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing.
How to optimise your Google My Business for the best results
Google My Business can give you the information you need to successfully optimise your search engine terms.
GMB is the perfect tool
Optimizing For Your Customers.
Knowing what search terms your potential customers are using to locate your business and businesses similar to yours, you can alter your profile to better match the language your customers are using and help them find you quicker. To do this we need to look at how Google evaluates and ranks each listing to present in a search.
There are three key factors that Google uses to determine rankings for businesses that you must be aware of, relevance, proximity and prominence.
To achieve relevance in Googles eyes you need to fit the criteria of the intended search of the customer. To do this you need to be crystal clear about what your business does so that a client, and Google, can see that you will meet their needs. Its important to keep your business focus distinct so that Google knows what to expect from you and is therefore able to better promote you in search results. Try to avoid being vague wherever possible. It’s also important to keep in mind that the more information you provide, the better. Also keep in mind that fully complete profiles are more attractive and give more data to Google to better evaluate your listing.
Quality Over Quantity
However, the quality of the information you provide is also important. That’s why you need to consider the vocabulary you use on your GMB to maximise your SEO. The best way to do this is to use structured data, which is a way of describing your profile in such a way to make it easier for search engines like Google to understand and use effectively.
Structured data uses a certain standardised vocabulary such as specific tags and properties to describe products and services.
With this vocabulary you are able to make it easier for Google to understand what your business is about and therefore be presented better in search results and reach more people.
Looking at the insights provided by your GMB profile, you can determine If the majority of your customers found you via a direct search of your company name or via a discovery search which included a category, product, or service that your business has listed.
Knowing this, you are able to determine what the best way to describe your business category, products or service is and what key terms are the most used when attempting to locate your products and services. Adding these important key words will help Google better categorise your data and determine what you are offering a customer. This is incredibly powerful as Google can decide that relevance overrides proximity.
It can decide that your business profile is more relevant to a clients search terms, even though your company may not be the physically closest to them, it will rank higher in local results. By using GMB, you can improve your whole marketing approach and your SEO techniques.
The Importance of Location
Proximity can be achieved by accurately setting your location and promoting local-oriented content to help Google understand which area you are in and therefore suggest your company in other localised searches.
Creating posts such as event, sales or seasonal messages with your location information in your GMB can hint to Google where you are and give it the ability to promote you in localised searches.
Engagment Is Key
Find out how to use GMB for your business
Prominence has to do with the engagement of your business profile; Google likes active profiles. The simplest way to ensure this is to keep your business information updated, whether it be changing holiday opening hours or updating photographs to better show off your business. It’s proven that businesses with more attractive and clear photographs receive more engagement. A key thing to remember is that inaccurate data negatively affects your rankings, so make sure that the information you provide on your website and on your GMB align. Another great way to keep your profile updated is to respond to reviews from customers. Its also the best way to encourage other customers to leave positive reviews if its obvious that you have taken the time to respond and appreciate their feedback. Its also a great marketing strategy, being able to show potential customers multiple positive reviews to attest to the quality of your products or services, as reviews as a main method of influence to most online customers. Responding to reviews also includes responding to negative reviews. Doing this shows that you take them seriously and will genuinely take on their feedback, making you look more professional as well as accountable by demonstrating to future customers that any potential problems or queries will be answered. It is also critical to remain very courteous so as not to make their review seem more credible. Reviews are also a great tool for understanding your client base and testing whether your business is meeting their needs and expectations
This information, if utilised properly can aid you to update your available services or products, create something new or fill a gap in your services, or improve your customer service. The accessibility of GMB is a big benefit, information is available immediately after a search is executed. This means that customers have access to information about your business without having to actively search for it. The Q&A feature available on the knowledge panel can be a powerful tool to enhance a customer’s positive experience with your business.
Having frequently asked questions about your business readily available can go a long way to making a good first impression, as it means a potential customer doesn’t have to go looking for the information they wanted. This means that they are also able to make their minds up about your company quicker and not be swayed by your competitors. References on other well-regarded sites are also a good way to increase your prominence. Creating quality links back to your site on reputable directories or review sites, especially local ones, can benefit you a lot in the long run.
Most importantly, to get the most out of your GMB you must keep your profile active and updated. Posts on GMB only last up to 7 days, so plan ahead to have content and important dates covered. The Google My Business App is a handy tool to have in your arsenal as it gives you the ability to keep your GMB profile up to date in the palm of your hand. Having easy access to your GMB profile will make it easier to respond to customers reviews, read and respond to direct messages, update your Q&A or opening hours and ensure that your profile looks the way you want it to. Having the app handy also means that you can turn on notifications and respond to customer queries that much faster, which in turn will reflect more positively on your GMB profile.
Everything you do to optimise your business profile on GMB matters and your 5 minutes can be the difference between a customer gained or lost. Remember, your Google My Business profile shouldn’t just be created then left. Just like a plant it needs continuous care and looking after. To ensure your business listing is gaining the biggest audience it can, your GMB must contain all the current and important information Google and your potential customers need to decide that your business is worth their time. With Google being one of the largest search engines, putting the effort into your GMB will certainly pay off in due time.
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