With more consumers relying on the Internet and Google to find what they need, Google My Business has become an essential tool for companies looking to grow. What is Google My Business, though, and why should your business use it?

Did you know that 91% of website traffic comes from the first page of search results? Only 4% of traffic comes from the second page of search results. Being second best isn’t good enough. Fortunately, your Google local business listing can help propel your business to that coveted position on the search results’ first page.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business Logo

GMB – Google My Business is a free device provided by Google. It is a powerful and enlightening tool for the local and overall business. Entrepreneurs submit all business data in this tool like business name, business hours, social media links, business address and contact number, proprietor name, business beginning date, month, year, subtleties and so forth. 

After all, confirmation is done, this data shows in query items by the GMB tool. For example, Guests and clients who search your business name and your item or administration related keywords on Google then see everything on GMB data on the right side on the desktop.

Even though Google My Business has been around for quite a while, it has become more significant as more clients use search engines to discover information about a local business, considerably more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Google My Business has become an essential tool that influences your local SEO legitimately. If you need your clients to discover you on Google Maps with all the precise data about your business in local search, you should optimize your Google My Business listing. 

 

Features of Google My Business

What does Google My Business offer business owners?

Here are a few of the most popular features:

1. Insights: 

Google’s dashboard provides critical customer activity and interaction, allowing businesses to learn what is working—and what is not—on their listing. Besides, it also helps companies understand their community better as they target new customers. Questions like:  How did searchers find your business?; Where did they come from; How are your photos performing? etc. Google My Business insights highlight the answers to these questions and help businesses optimize and improve over time.

2. Posts: 

Quickly post custom updates and offers on your local listing, inviting customers to make return visits and engage further with your business. Updates can be made anytime from your phone, tablet, or computer for on-the-go maintenance. Not sure what to post about? Try a few ideas we know customers will love, like limited-time offers, contest promotions, and partnership announcements.

3. Bookings: 

Allow customers to schedule an appointment or book services directly from your listing with a simple click. Integrated scheduling partners help you easily organize, track, and manage your bookings in one place.

4. Review Management: 

Did you know? More than half of consumers won’t use a business if it has less than a 4* rating. A single business review can lift its conversions by 10% or that 86% of consumers would consider writing a review for a business—a Hosting Tribunal finding.

Online reviews are everything. Engage customers in two-way communications as you receive and respond to reviews.

5. Q&A: 

Respond to customers’ direct questions about your business and pin frequently asked inquiries for easy viewing.

6. Photos: 

Strong visuals are crucial for good first impressions—and they are critical to a more well-clicked business listing. Google My Business allows you to upload your best photos and videos to entice customers to visit you.

7. Accuracy Across the Web: 

Google is Google. It powers so much of the internet, and many third-party sites use Google for their info. Meaning, the business info you post on your Google My Business listing helps disseminate consistent and accurate information about your business across the web.

While you look at Google for top rankings and put in all the necessary efforts to get there, remember a huge part of your success depends on Google My Business. Research shows that 60% of consumers have searched for a business at least six times in the last year. So if your business checks these initial boxes, Google My Business could help you become more accurately represented, visible, and visited the business. 

 

Why Do You Need a Google My Business Listing?

Thanks to today’s technology, it is now faster and easier to promote your product or service. As per Hubspot’s stats, 58% of mobile users search for local businesses daily, and 72% visit a local business within 5 miles, and 50% of the people who use mobile phones for local searches end up visiting a store. 

Considering almost everyone uses a smartphone nowadays, can you imagine the potential sales you can get just through organic search and Google My Business?

Creating, verifying, and adequately optimizing your Google My Business account is an invaluable opportunity, which is why you should utilize this feature to its fullest extent. 

1. GMB Allows You to Appear in Maps and Local Pack Listings

Notice the apparent map and the list of business names that appear right on top of the page whenever you search for Google? That is called the Local Pack, and there are two reasons you should pay attention to it.

  • It is Highly Visible

The Local Pack takes up substantial real estate on page one of Google search results, and it’s the first thing any Google user will see after they type in their query.

  • It enables Users to See the Information They Need briefly.

The Local Pack is a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that displays the places related to your search. It also includes other relevant information that any potential customer might want access like —location on the map, the business’s contact number for making a quick reservation, inquiring about store hours, and even the establishment’s star rating. It’s a convenient feature for both the business and the customers.

According to Moz, GMB is the most significant determining factor of local pack rankings. So, if you aim to connect to your target audience — in this case, the people within your service area — verifying, updating, and optimizing your online information through Google My Business can help.

2. GMB Allows People to Leave Reviews of Your Business

One must never underestimate the power of customer reviews, especially when it comes to search rankings. Another study by Moz shows that online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how search engines rank results.

Thus, if you want your business to be visible in the search results, using GMB to make it easy for your customers to leave positive feedback about your business is a must. Here are other reasons why you need people to leave reviews.

  • Reviews Improve Local SEO

Many rely on reviews when making decisions about their purchases. In fact, as much as 93% of customers might be influenced by online reviews. In other words, almost all of them.

These little text blocks are testimonies of actual consumers who didn’t pay to promote their product or service. Thus, people feel that they are more credible, and so, many believe what they say.

More and more people are checking out customer reviews before choosing a local business. Since people love reading reviews, search engines use them to rank search results. If you can adequately utilize this GMB feature, it can have a significant impact on your business.

  • Reviews Increase Sales

Positive reviews matter. They improve your search engine ranking and serve as free and reliable ads for your products or services. For instance, customers are more confident to try out a product with many positive reviews than one with a lot of criticisms.

It is essential to gain positive reviews but remember that even the best businesses get negative reviews. If this happens to you, professionally handle them. Do not take these criticisms personally. Instead, use them to improve your product or service. Negative reviews, when properly utilized, can provide useful information to help your business advance.

  • Reviews Show What Customers Think About Your Business

Reviews provide business owners with a glimpse of how customers see your brand. They allow you to view how consumers are using your products or services, what strategies you ought to keep, what things you must change, or the areas you should improve on.

Whether they are good or bad, reviews can help you understand what your clients think. View them logically and consider them.

3. GMB Provides Insights That Gives You Helpful Information

GMB is a helpful tool for your business. It not only promotes your product or service; it also helps you understand the market. How is this possible?

Google My Business comes with powerful features that provide insights on critical areas to help you create strategies and make decisions. This tool enables you to access statistics and insights to determine where your audience is coming from.

  • Views

GMB can show you the number of views your business profile, photos, and posts are getting. This is especially important to verify your campaigns’ effectiveness — whether they are working well and getting the attention you want or aren’t doing anything for your business.

  • Search Queries

GMB provides a report where you can learn and understand how consumers find your business. It shows how people are searching — specifically what keywords they input — to see your listing.

Knowing what keywords are relevant to your online presence can help you significantly boost traffic. For example, you can dominate relevant long-tail keywords to increase clicks to your webpages seriously. GMB can provide this information.

  • Engagement

GMB can show you just how your audience is interacting with your posts. It enables you to see what posts they share and what types of comments they leave. This way, you will have an idea of the kind of material that works well for your business.

  • Audience

GMB has a section where you can find a summary of the profile of people following you. You will be able to check out the age groups, gender, and even the countries they’re from. These are all helpful when you are building a campaign.

  • Clicks on Website Link

GMB can also show you the number of clicks on your website link.

Quantifying the information and knowing these statistics can help you create sound strategies. If you want to improve your audience engagement, website traffic and boost company sales, you should take some time to study the numbers.

4. It is Free and Easy to Use

No matter how helpful a product is, its potential will not be maximized if it’s overly costly, impractical, and difficult to use. Fortunately, that is not the case when it comes to Google My Business.

This efficient tool is free and easy to use, so even local businesses can promote their business. Creating and verifying your profile can be done in a matter of hours. Once that is done, you are ready to rock page one of Google. Plus, it has excellent tools to help you analyze performance to find ways to improve your business’s ranking.

 

Google My Business Additional Features for Your Business

Google My Business is always announcing innovative and exciting new features that can help local and national business owners make the most of their listings. Here is a list of our top new elements that Google has rolled out.

1. COVID-19 UPDATES

  • Support Links

Google has rolled out a new feature where businesses can ask for their customers’ financial support via gift card purchases or donations.

Utilizing the COVID-19 Support feature in the posts section of the GMB back end, owners can create a post that includes a gift card and/or donation links for customers accompanied by a short message from the business.

Google supports the following providers: for gift card purchases, the business website, Square, Toast, Vagaro and Clover; for donations, GoFundMe and PayPal. To be eligible for this feature’s use, the business must have a physical storefront, and the GMB listing must have been verified by March 1st, 2020.

        

Image Source: searchenginesmarketer.com

  • COVID-19 Scheduling, Hours, and Posts

With social distancing requirements changing the way we do business, many businesses have adjusted their business operations and hours. Google has revamped existing features and added new ones to allow business owners to share these changes with their customers. In the back end of Google My Business, listing managers are invited to update their online estimate links and business hours and add a COVID-19 post.

The Online Estimate feature draws attention to the Appointment Links section of the listing. If your business already uses the Appointment Link feature, selecting the Online Estimate button will autofill your existing Appointment Link URL. If your business does not already have an Appointment Link, you are prompted to one to the appropriate page on your website.

Business hours can be updated in three locations in the GMB back end, regular business hours, special hours (for holidays, etc.) and under the newest feature – More Hours. The More Hours section provides space for a business to describe business operations such as delivery, takeout, and drive-through.

     

Image Source: searchenginesmarketer.com

Adding a COVID-19 specific post to your Google My Business profile is another new feature Google has rolled out because of the pandemic. Accessed under the Posts tab in the back end, users can select the “COVID-19 Update” option to highlight business updates related to the virus. These posts are prioritized at the top of your GMB profile, just below the business name and website link.

  • Temporary Business Closures

       

Image Source: searchenginesmarketer.com

If your business is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are now able to disclose this information on Google My Business. Marking your business “temporarily closed” will trigger a red bar below your business name on your GMB listing that alerts customers of your temporary closure.

From an SEO standpoint, this change will not affect local search ranking, and it will be treated as an open business. If your business is operating at a modified capacity and still offering services such as pickup or delivery, do not mark the business “temporarily closed” as functionality showing these services will be limited.

2. Attributes

Under the Info section in GMB, owners can now list their business attributes as another way to stand out to customers and highlight specific services, features, and other business qualities.

          

Image Source: searchenginesmarketer.com

Attributes provide customers with helpful information about your business, featuring amenities such as online-scheduling and Wi-Fi or wheelchair accessibility if the business is women- or veteran-led. The availability of these attributes depends on the type of business you operate, ensuring different businesses provide information relevant to their industry.

Below is a list of some of the Attributes Google My Business currently offers, but keep in mind your business category determines the attributes available for your Business Profile, so you will not see all of these.

Accessibility: Wheelchair-accessible elevator; Wheelchair accessible entrance; Wheelchair accessible parking lot; Wheelchair accessible restroom. Mobility scooter rental

Amenities: Gift wrapping; Online scheduling; Wifi (Free or Paid); Restroom; Unisex restroom; Bar onsite; Good for kids; Restaurant; Baggage storage.

Highlights: Veteran-Led; Women-Led; Active military discounts; Live performances; Play area.

Offerings: Same-day delivery; Assembly service; Installation service; Repair services; Coat check; Help desk

Payments: Cash only; Checks; Credit Cards (American Express, China Union Pay, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, VISA); Debit Cards; NFC mobile payments.

Planning: LGBTQ friendly; Transgender safe space

Retail & Food Services Attributes: Curbside Pickup; Takeout; In-Store Pickup; Delivery; No-Contact Delivery

3. Shortname

Image Source: autonetmedia.com 

Sharing your GMB profile is now easier than ever. The short names feature has cleaned up long, messy URLs. Located in the Info tab on GMB, you can add a short name for your business by clicking on the @ symbol. Once completed, you are ready to share your new, clean listing URL.

4. Service Areas

Image Source: brightlocal.com 

Struggling with local SEO because your business doesn’t have a physical location? The new Service Areas feature on GMB addresses that problem. Service Area Businesses can now define their service areas by region, city, or ZIP code without having a physical business address.

5. Products

Image Source: support.google.com 

Google recently rolled out their new Products feature, allowing businesses to catalogue their products right on their GMB profile. This feature is a great way to stimulate consumer interaction, all without leaving your GMB profile. Users can scroll through a carousel of product images, each opening into their page with more details, pricing, and related products from your business.

Each product page is an opportunity for a link to its relative page on your business’ website. Products can be grouped into Collections, allowing businesses to organize the listing as businesses see fit.

6. Social Icons

Image Source: Google     

Google My Business has been hot and cold about linking social profiles to local business listings, but it looks like they are here to stay! Located at the bottom of the knowledge panel is displaying icons for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Myspace, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and Tumblr.

The process of adding these social links deviates from the norm, requiring some quick coding that will alert Google which social profiles are associated with your business website. With the help of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, generating this code is as easy as copying and pasting after your site’s <header> code.

7. Google Marketing Kit

Image Source: marketingkit.withgoogle.com 

The Google Marketing Kit gives businesses the ability to showcase outstanding customer reviews from Google My Business on other platforms and in real life! Users can now create custom posters, social posts, and videos highlighting 5-star reviews and further business details.

The Google Marketing Kit offers free stickers to businesses that promote interaction with their GMB profile, inviting customers to review, follow or book with the business on Google.

8. Photos & Videos

Image Source: brightlocal.com 

GMB now offers businesses more control over photos displayed on their profile. Businesses can choose the logo and cover photo that will be highlighted at the top of the GMB listing and various additional photos throughout. Logos were previously only displayed at the top of the listing but are now featured on Google Maps and search results.

9. Appointment URLs & Online Reservations

Image Source: support.google.com 

Google My Business now features the ability to provide a second link to your site, known as the Appointment URL. This link is meant to direct search users directly to the place on your site where they can schedule an appointment, place an order, or contact you for more information.

User experience is prioritized with this feature, as they are sent exactly where they want to go – minimizing the time users spend clicking around on your site in search of your contact page or form. For businesses that offer Online Reservations, GMB partners with your site to allow users to book without ever leaving your listing!

Your Gateway To More Leads

1. Keep your listing up to date.  

Are you offering new business hours? Did you move to a new location or change your business phone number? It’s essential to ensure that your Google Maps local business listing is always accurate. There’s nothing worse than a customer making a trip to your location, only to find that your business is closed or that you moved. 

You can use Google My Business to update your information quickly, and your listing will update across Google Search and Google Maps. (Note: If you have a listing in other local search directories besides your Google local business listing, make sure your NAP — name, address and phone — information is the same across all of the sites. Inconsistency will hurt your search rankings.)

2. Share the news 

For best results, don’t rely on the same old Google Maps listing every day. Turn your listing into a marketing tool by regularly sharing what’s new with your business to attract attention and keep customers coming back. For example, you can use your Google listing to post your special of the day, new products you just got in stock, current promotions you’re offering, or special hours for an upcoming holiday. 

Just create a post from within your Google My Business account, and it will show up in your Google Maps listing in search results. This is a great way to ensure that when people see your listing, they also see your most current offerings.

3. Take a picture

If it comes down to a choice between two local businesses — one with plenty of eye-catching photos of its menu items, products, or location and the other with a blurry shot of the storefront — which do you think the average consumer will choose? Not only is a picture worth a thousand words, but it can also tip the scales in your favour. 

Entice prospects with professional-quality photos. There’s no limit on how many images you can add to your Google Maps listing. If you’re active on social media and share lots of photos on Instagram, for instance, it’s simple to use the same images in your Google local business listing to keep things fresh.

4. Be proactive with your reviews. 

Pay attention to the reviews that appear with your Google Maps listing. The more Google reviews you have, and the higher your overall star rating, the better. Your reviews are also a factor in your local search ranking, according to Moz. 

To make the most reviews, respond to positive reviews with a quick “Thank you” or share some additional information the reviewer might be interested in. Keep your comments and responses very brief — remember, people reading them are likely to be on their smartphones, so don’t test their patience. You can respond to reviews from within your Google My Business account.

5. Take advantage of analytics. 

Once you’ve claimed your Google My Business listing, you can use Google’s analytics tools to see what users do after they view your listing. For example, you can see how many people call your business directly from your listing, how many looked up directions to your business, and how many visited your website. If potential customers request driving directions to your business, you can see where in the community they’re coming from. 

You can also see how many times your listing photos have been viewed and compared to other businesses like yours. For example, if you discover that photos from the restaurant down the street are getting lots more views, look at their photos to get ideas for improving yours.

Conclusion

Maintaining your online reputation is a cornerstone of digital marketing. Creating and optimizing a Google My Business listing might seem like a challenge to busy business owners, but the payoff is worth it.

Customers are looking for you, making it easy for them to find you and be willing to spend money with you.

Your Google My Business listing allows you to manage interactions with customers and present critical business updates to potential customers searching out your products or services.

Want to learn other ways your business can increase sales? Schedule a Free Consultation with us today, and let’s script your success story together!