In more detail, Google My Business (GMB) is a fantastic, free tool launched in 2014 to aid local search for companies worldwide. As an alternative to directories and sponsored listings that Google had previously hosted, the easy to use interface has allowed businesses to market themselves functionally on the local market. If you haven’t used GMB, you should certainly be familiar with how it looks in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and might have even interacted with it on occasion.
Whether you’re searching for a takeaway pizza, repairs shop, or browsing maps while in a new city, Google My Business helps users to find the ideal shop or venture that suits their needs. Following a brand name or the searchers intent, the SERP will provide as much information about a place as it can find but it is up to businesses to optimise and update their profile. Read on to find out more about what Google My Business is, latest news, and our top tips for success!
Google My Business is one of the best-featured tools that can be used to promote and display your Brand. By providing your address, opening hours, phone number and appointment page, there is a simple opportunity to increase your footfall and customer contacts.
Over the past 10 years, Google has increased its aim of zero-click results for users. This is giving searchers the ability to find their results simply from the SERP without clicking through to the site holding the information. On the surface, this seems negative for SEO but there are advantages and the GMB feature is one. Google My Business is an opportunity for your company to display all the key information a potential customer requires on the SERP. You may be disappointed to hear that your informational pages may get fewer hits but through GMB you might see more business through the door, more calls, more contacts and ultimately more conversions.
Quality reviews are a fantastic way to drive traffic to your website. There are few methods more effective than a 5 star, positive review from a customer to give any business a great light. The reviews are easy to find and are reflected in your overall rating next to your business name. Of course, even the best companies can receive negative reviews which often or not can be from a misunderstanding (Running out of an item or an offer not being available at the time). Replying to those who have had a troubling experience can pay dividends when other users see how dynamic the business can be in solving issues.
Searching a key term like “Vegetarian Restaurants” or “Mechanic Near Me” will open up a local pack on the SERP. This will include a map of results for the most notable businesses of that type in the area. This feature is very useful for local SEO as the results are highly visible on the SERP using clear imagery to show potential customers which locations are near-by. Most agencies report that GMB is the biggest factor in ranking well on Google maps and local listings.
You can think of your GMB profile as a pre-homepage, a list of information before a user decides to visit your site or even your location. Before clicking through to your site, a user can find out how to contact you, what your company offers, and where you are located. This reduces the number of clicks from investigation to conversion. As well as that the extremely useful question and answer section can reassure users who are about to take the next step in visiting your site or business. Confirming “Does your restaurant offer vegan meals” or “Do you have on-site parking?” could make the difference.
It could be that you’re losing customers to a competitor or looking to gain an edge in a difficult market. Insights is the reporting tool found within GMB that tracks a number of factors that are influencing customers that search for your product or business. Discovering which queries are being searched to find your brand, where customers view your listing, or how people are interacting with your business can lead to great opportunities
As we are living in a mobile-centric world, Google has followed suit and operates on a ‘mobile-first’ basis by giving smartphone searches the priority. This way the results on a smartphone are often on the move or dynamic such as searches for food or attractions. Having an optimised GMB profile will improve your visibility in these circumstances.
One of the biggest advantages of Google My Business is also one of its drawbacks. Since it is easy and free to use, anyone can realistically set a profile up to promote their business. In 2016 it was reported that fake locksmiths were committing fraud through local listing and GMB with bogus profiles. While the majority of profiles are genuine businesses trying to promote themselves in a competitive world, there are some that see this feature as an opportunity for scams. Some believed that reviews, photos, and verifying a business by mail would be enough to deter scammers and give peace of mind to users however in an age of ‘fake news’ as well as misleading e-commerce reviews, Google decided to take action.
The result is looking like Google will be pushing for advanced verification of businesses much like how twitter verifies their users. Displaying a green tick after evaluation, legitimate companies are confirmed as “Google Screened” or “Google Guaranteed” to bolster users trust that the search engine is recommending the right people. This is currently limited to Google search Ads in the USA but there is a clear thought that this will roll out further. Preventing users from being scammed is a move to be clearly supported but may leave businesses behind if they are unaware or not able to follow the change.
If you’re looking to create, optimise or manage your Google My Business profile, contact one of our friendly marketing experts at HROC for advice today!