What is Google My Business and How Can it Help My Online Presence?Greg Swiszcz
Google My Business is an online dashboard that allows business owners to have more control over the information (officially called your “Business Profile”) which Google displays about businesses when it populates Search results pages and Google maps.
Google My Business Profiles are used to populate Google Maps, as well as the “Snack Pack” Local Listings.
Why is it important to utilize and maximize your Google My Business Profile?
According to Bright Local on average, businesses receive 943 Search views of their GMB listing information on a Google search results page and 317 Maps views each month. In addition, the typical business receives up to 59 actions (clicks to their website, phone calls, etc) per month based on their GMB listing on a Google Search results page. Lastly, 64% of consumers have used Google My Business listing info on a Google search results page to find contact details for a local business, a figure that is likely to grow.
Now that you know why it’s important to utilize and maximize your Google My Business Profile, let’s cover some crucial optimizations every business must make on their Google Business Profile. The steps are below, and for details how to complete these, check out more information here.
- Claim your Business Profile
- Complete every section of your Google My Business Account
- Be meticulous with contact information
- Select primary and secondary categories
- Mark off applicable attributes
- Write a complete “from the business” description
- Publish Google posts weekly
- Upload new photos weekly
- Answer questions (at least weekly before others answer them for you!)
- Collect and respond to reviews as they come in
- Add your products and/or services
- Set up messaging
- Maintain your Business Profile
Remember, as marketing consultants, this is an opportunity for us to educate our clients as to what they can do for themselves, so that they continue to come to us for their needs.
Educate your clients to think of Google just as they would the homepage of their website. The listing has to have ALL of the pertinent information. Mainly, this is because almost 50% of searchers DON’T click beyond the search page – they are getting all of their info there without going to the business’ website!
Maximizing your Google My Business listing is all about improving a business’ SEO.
But, this isn’t one of those “set it and forget it” tools. This is a tool that needs to be set up and optimized. Again, use this link to find the step-by step guide as to how to set it up and optimize it. Here are a few things you SHOULD optimize in your listing:
Google My Business Posts:
You can add text, photos, video, gifs, and even call to action buttons. You can promote events such as webinars or open houses. You can promote sales and limited time offers. You can even link to your latest website blog post (yes, your company should be blogging).
Google My Business Questions & Answers:
Did you know that when your Knowledge Graph is displayed or your Google Maps listing, it includes Questions and Answers and those questions can be answered by ANYONE? The guide we referenced earlier has some great tips as to how to manage this section. This article shows you 3 ways you can access your questions and answers.
Google My Business Photos & Videos:
Yes, you should upload photos of your business to your Google My Business Listing so that they show up in your Knowledge Graph and in Google Maps. But, just like in digital advertising, we are starting to see more preference given to videos.
Now that you have an idea as to what Google My Business is and why it’s important (and you’ve read through the step by step guide hopefully), let’s talk about how it can help you, especially during the holidays.
Street Fight Magazine has provided 5 best uses during the holiday season:
- Holiday Coupons and Deals – let’s face it, in the world we’re in right now (not knowing when COVID-19 is going to disappear), everyone is looking for a good deal. Because Google My Business is a free tool, it’s a great way to display your sales. Whether it’s a percentage off, a popular BOGO, or just a limited time offer, attaching a coupon or deal to your listing is a great way to catch the eye of your prospective customer. If you’re looking for a great digital couponing tool check out Facebook’s Offer Ads
- Buying Online or Picking Up In-Store – since COVID-19 came into existence, this popular method of purchasing and receiving what we want has skyrocketed. Grocery stores have increased their pick-up in-store offerings. Also, businesses that sell heavy items that may be expensive to ship and even those stores that offer same-day-need items. Also, we’ve seen a TON of restaurants promoting the curb-side pick up options as well.
- New Product Launches – If you have a new product that you’re launching this holiday season, you can include it in your Google My Business Listing so it shows up in the search engine results.
- In-Store Holiday Events – we all know that events are far and few between right now. However, if you do have Santa coming to your store, or even a special sale, you could include a link to have people register right online.
- Store Services – If your business is going to change hours for the holiday season, offer additional services, free services (like gift wrapping), make sure to highlight that.
If you are using Google My Business in addition to digital advertising, you want to make sure that you are linking your listing to your digital campaign. It’s very important. Here’s why:
If your Google My Business listing is updated, and you have your hours, your specials, some photos etc and someone can find all of this information in a search engine result, they may never come to your website. We call this a “Zero Click” in digital advertising. It means that they found all of the information they needed from the search engine result.
By linking Google My Business to your digital advertising campaign report, you can get a look “behind the curtain” so to speak. You can see what people are searching for, what they click on, and how they get there.
Here are just a few things you can see by linking to your advertising campaign:
- Overall clicks to their website
- Overall clicks to driving directions
- Overall clicks to phone number
- How many direct searches (customers who find your listing searching for your business name or address
- How many chain searches (customer who find your listing searching for a brand/chain related to your business)
- How many categorical searches (customers who find your listing searching for a category, product, or service)
- Local Post Views Search (customer who find your listing searching through Google My Business Local Posts)
One last thing we’d like to point out is a new feature that has just been rolled out for Google My Business. This new feature is Calls. It will show you some call history of people that have called your business, from your profile.
Now, one thing to understand that if someone calls your number from the number on your listing, it will use a Google forwarding number, complete with an assigned area code that is the same as your business phone number (when possible). So, the number one sees on their dialer will be different than the one on your profile. When you receive that call, at the start, you’ll get an automated message that says, “Call from Google.”
If you have the call history feature turned on, there is a place in your Google My Business dashboard where you can see the Call History. You’ll be able to see call ID info. It may have the name of the person and phone number, if the contact shows up in your Gmail contacts.
Being found online is very important, so making sure your company is online, and online correctly is vital to your customers finding you. Using tools like Google My Business to keep all of your business info up to date is a great place to start! If you’ve forgotten everything that you can do on your own, check out more information here.