Understand the power of Google My Business & how you can leverage it to gain more visibility & customers via local search with Hurekatek's ultimate guide!
In this ultimate guide on Google My Business, we discuss what Google My Business is, why you need it and how to optimize your Google My Business profile.
What is Google My Business?
It’s a tool that helps you claim and manage your free business listing on Google. Google calls it ‘Business Profiles.’ These appear in Google search results & Google Maps.
The caveat with the Business Profile is that it works very much like Google Maps listing. Anyone can create it & customers can leave reviews, add/suggest edits. A Google My Business account lets you take control of your Business Profile, manage the information about your business, ensure it’s up to date, manage customer reviews & enhance your overall Business Profile.
Google Knowledge Panel
It’s the information box that often appears on top-right of desktop-based search results or on the top in mobile devices. It’s called Knowledge Panel as it displays key information about a business - business name, address, contact information, opening hours, and industry-specific important information.
Google Local Pack
It’s the 3 results that appear at the top for a local search on map.
You probably use it everyday to find the location of a business. It helps you with directions but is also a place to discover more businesses.
Why You Need A Google My Business Account
Is Google My Business Worth It?
Google My Business listing of a typical business receives over 59 actions per month on average. 56% of these actions are website visits. 16% receive more than 100 calls each month from GMB(source). But imagine if you still have your listing unclaimed or worse, it doesn’t even exist, how much potential business you’re leaving on the table!
Google My Business listing is quite significant for local businesses as 64% of consumers have used a GMB listing to find the number or address of a local business.
Here’s why Google My Business is an essential tool for your business
Most customers begin their shopping journey with an online search. Even if you’re a brick-and-mortar store, your customers are looking for you online. 46% Google searchers are looking for local information, making it critical for you to focus on Local SEO for your business.
With a Google My Business account, your customers can find you online - on Google Search and Google Maps. A well-optimized Google My Business listing gets you more visibility, improves your local SEO, and guides the searcher with crucial information about your business like your working hours, business address, where to shop, etc.
Offer Up To Date Information About Your Business
If somebody is searching for your business, they must find up-to-date information instantly. An active Google My Business account ensures your customers can see details like your opening hours, contact information, address, and latest offers.
Google My Business has higher authority than other search results, especially for searches with local intent. All the information you put in your GMB profile will most likely rank higher than other search results if your profile is optimized correctly.
Another reason why it’s crucial is that offering the correct information to your customers is time-critical. You don’t want your customers to land up at your stores when you’re closed. Or maybe, your customer never knew you’re open on Sundays and are taking their business elsewhere.
Imagine if all this information was available right in front of them when they search for your business! You’ll never lose business opportunities due to a lack of communication.
Build Customer Trust
Customers are 70% more likely to consider businesses with a Google My Business profile. Purchase decisions are often based on whom a customer can trust. With a free listing, you can boost customer trust in your business.
Google My Business Reviews are another significant factor in building customer trust. 88% of customers trust online reviews just the same as they trust personal recommendations.
Highlight Your Business & Gain Insights
There’s more to your Google My Business profile than just your business name & contact information. You can add several attributes to your profile detailing your services and what makes your business unique.
You can also gain insights about your local search performance through your Google My Business account.
Gain Local SEO Advantage
A GMB profile offers you a significant local SEO advantage. By correctly optimizing your Google My Business profile, you can rank higher in search results, gain more visibility and attract more customers.
Google offers small business owners three main advantages -
- Free Business Listing
- More Customers
- Ability To See How Customers Are Connecting With You
How To Optimize Your Google My Business Account
Time to tell you everything you need to optimize your Google My Business profile fully.
Fill Your Profile With As Much Information As Possible
Local search ranking on Google depends on three factors:
- Relevance - How relevant your company is to the search query
- Distance - How far your business is from the searcher
- Prominence - How well-known your business is
Using the right keywords within your business profile could be a great start. Tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console, UberSuggest, Moz Keyword Explorer could be used for keyword research.
Photos on your Google My Business profile help you stand out. Businesses with more than 100 images on Google My Business get 2717% more direction requests, 1065% more clicks to websites and 520% more calls (Source:BrightLocal).
Various types of photos you can add include:
- Cover Photo
- Business Photos - photos of your products & events, your location, and your team
- Exterior images - to help your customers recognize your business from a distance
- Interior images - to help your customers get an idea of the ambiance & feel of your business
- Product photos - to give a better understanding to customers about the products you sell
- Photos at work - to capture your team providing services
- Food & drink photos - in case you’re a restaurant or F&B brand
- Common areas - to help customers that are planning business or leisure travel
- Team photos - to present the personal side of your business
- Website photos - to put your website images to work
Not all of these may be relevant to your business, but utilize any or all that is.
Ensure your pictures look professional & are high-quality. Businesses with photos on their Google My Business page get 42% more direction requests and 35% more clicks to their website (Source).
Add Special Features & Attributes
Depending on the business category (you can choose up to 10 categories for your business), you’ll have special features available in your Google My Business account. For example,
- Hotels can display class ratings & amenities offered
- Restaurants & bars can upload their menu, highlight specials & add a link for online ordering or reservation
- Service-oriented businesses can add their service menu and a booking button
- Small businesses can add their product catalogs
There are more factual attributes that can make your Google My Business account stand out. For example, if you’re a women-led company, you can highlight that on your business profile. If you've a shop or a restaurant, you can share information like your store offers free WiFi or if it’s wheelchair accessible or has outdoor seating.
Post Updates, News & Special Offers
You need to constantly monitor your Google My Business page to ensure the information about your business, like - address, hours of operation, and contact information, are always up to date. You can also add the latest updates, new products or services, news & special offers.
This activity will keep your profile fresh, drive more business, enhance your visibility in Google Search & Google Maps, improve your local SEO and encourage visits to your physical or digital storefront. Posts with photos, videos & GIFs do better.
Get More Google My Business Reviews
People do business with people. People trust people. A 5-star review is a major decision-making factor that can win you a new customer. They also improve your Google ranking.
But how do you get 5-star reviews? How many do you need? As many as possible.
Ask your customers for an online review immediately after providing an excellent service. Consider sharing a card or putting up a QR code sticker or NFT-enabled stickers in your store to encourage people to leave you online reviews. Establish a follow-up plan to remind your customers about this, and swiftly handle any negative feedback you receive. Need more details on how this works? Talk to us about it!
Reply To Customer Reviews
Online reviews can effectively put your word-of-mouth marketing at work on the web. They can help people find you online & establish customer trust.
By responding to the online reviews, you show your customers that you value their business, establishing a solid online reputation for both your existing and potential customers.
Establish a strategy to respectfully handle negative reviews as they’re an opportunity for your business to improve & to showcase to your customers that you value their feedback.
Track Google My Business Insights
Tracking Google My Business insights enable you to make data-driven decisions on your Google My Business strategy. They help you understand how effective your Google My Business listing is.
You can track how many people search for you, call your business, ask for directions, visit your website, see your photos compared to other companies like yours.
With a unified approach to look at this data, you can make more informed marketing decisions. Find out how Hureka Technologies makes this data-driven approach easier with Google Data Studio.
Expand Your Presence With Google Ads
By using smart campaigns, you can run ads on both Google Search and Google Maps. Benefits of smart campaigns include more exposure and increased visibility on local search.
With an active Google My Business account, you can also use local ad extensions in your Google Ads, which gives you more flexibility on how you reach your customers using Google Ads.
FAQs about Google My Business
Is Google My Business Free?
Yes, it’s completely free. You get access to all features of Google My Business without any added cost. Here are guidelines about representing your business on Google.
Do You Need A Physical Address For A GMB Account?
Google My Business is a feature available to businesses that have physical presence. If you’ve a physical storefront, you can definitely have a Google My Business listing.
However, let’s say you travel to conduct business, like many professionals like plumbers, electricians do and don’t have a physical location. You can still have a GMB account, you’ll need to provide an address for initial verification and you can choose not to display your address in the listing.
But if you’re an online-only business with no premises, you cannot have a GMB profile.
Can I have multiple locations with one Google My Business account?
Yes, if you’re a business with multiple locations, you can manage all your locations through a single GMB account.
My business category isn’t available. Can I still have a GMB profile?
Yes. Google My Business offers 3000+ business categories. Here’s a list of available categories. In case none of the categories fit for your business, you can choose a broader category for what you do.
What is the short name on Google My Business?
A verified GMB listing has the option to choose a custom ‘short’ name so customers can find them easily. A GMB listing link with short name looks like - ‘g.page/[customershortname]’
Once you’ve the short name, you can share it with customers who can enter an address in the browser to go directly to your GMB listing.
What do you mean by verifying your business? How to verify your business on Google?
Once you set up a Google My Business account, you’ll need to verify the ownership of your account. Verification helps Google confirm that you’re the rightful owner of the business or have permissions to manage the Google My Business account of the company. You can verify your Google My Business account over the phone, SMS, or by requesting/receiving a postcard to your business address.
Do I still need a website if I have got a Google My Business profile?
Yes, a website complements your Google My Business page. While a business listing on Google is a must, it cannot complete all the website requirements.
Should I use Google My Business if my website is fully set up?
Yes, Google My Business gives your website more visibility. It’s a must-use tool for local SEO.
Is Google My Business different from Google Business Profile, Google+ Business Pages, Google Places for Business & Google Listings?
Google My Businesses encompasses all these tools to help businesses into one.
How to add Questions & Answers in Google My Business?
GMB offers an opportunity to businesses to address commonly asked questions by customers. While viewing the listing, customers get an option to ask a question about your business. These questions can be answered by anybody, you or the public.
However, if you already have a set of frequently asked questions about your business, you can answer such questions while setting up your account to help out your customers. It’s also important to review any added questions or answers about your business to ensure the information is correct.
Google My Business is an essential tool for businesses. It’s crucial to set it up, optimize and manage it properly. Through proper optimization, you can be more discoverable, keep your existing and potential customers informed, build customer trust, highlight your business, and gain local SEO advantage.
Being active on the platform helps you inform your existing & potential customers about your latest business updates. It also is a great signal to the platform and builds trust and credibility for your business which impacts the overall visibility of your profile, your appearance in local search and your Local SEO rankings.
For proper optimization, you need to begin with completing your profile, adding photos, adding special features & attributes, posting updates, getting more online reviews, and tracking the insights for taking more data-driven marketing decisions.