Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organisations to manage their online presence across Google. This includes search and Google Maps. To take advantage of Google My Business all you need to do is register your business and have it verified by Google, this is a simple process which we will explain later in the article.
Google My Business is aimed entirely at local searches. Research shows that after making a search on a mobile device, 88% of consumers will either call or visit the source of their search. The same survey identified that 46% of all Google searches are linked to something local. These are figures that cannot be ignored. Google has pushed local SEO to the forefront of their business.
Do I need Google My Business?
If possible, every business should have Google My Business. Having Identified that almost half of all Google searches are for local businesses, you owe it to yourself to make sure your business is in the hat when these searches are made. Make no mistake, if you do not have a Google My Business listing your business will not appear in any results. What’s more, these searches only show the first three businesses in Google rankings.
Below is an example of a search carried out for Coventry barbers shop:
SEO Expert.com state that 92% of all consumers pick a business on the first page of local search results. This staggering figure alone shows the importance of having a Google My Business (GMB) listing and the need to be on the first page of Google. Remember, if you do not have a GMB listing, you won’t even be in the running.
So let’s take a look at Sagars barber shop, the top listing in this search. If you click on this business you will get the search result listed below. A quick look at this page gives you all the important information you’re likely to use as a consumer, such as distance from you, address, opening hours, telephone number, Q and A and the all important Reviews button.
How do I set up Google My Business account?
This is a simple process, all you have to do is take the following steps:
- Log into your Google account; if you do not have one, you will have to create one.
- Go to google.com/business and select ‘manage now’. (In the top right hand corner of the page)
- Enter your business name.
- Enter your business address.
- Choose if you want your business to appear on Google Maps.
- Search for and select your business category.
- Enter a phone number or url number for your business.
- Select a verification process.
Once your application has been verified, you will be able to login and access your GMB dashboard via the Google My Business homepage.You will then be able to begin adding content to you listing. It is important to ensure that all the information is accurate as this is what the consumer is going to see and use to contact your business.
How do I optimise Google My Business account?
It is not difficult to optimise your business listing, simply follow Google’s guidelines. Just make sure all the information is entered correctly. There’s a reason this has been mentioned twice, and it’s because it’s extremely easy to slip up. For example, it would be very easy to enter the wrong telephone number just by getting one digit wrong.
Once you have the basic information entered you can then begin to add creative content to your listing to enhance the look of it. A good starting point would be to add good quality images of your premises. These are very important for businesses such as restaurants and salons etc. In fact, any business that relies on consumers visiting their premises. If it looks good in the photographs it is a strong pull towards getting people to visit your business.
If you add content about upcoming events or special offers, discounts etc. remember that these only last for seven days. It is important to update your content every week to keep it up to date and relevant.
If you take bookings, there’s another great feature you can take advantage of. The booking button can be used to book directly from the search without having to contact your business.
Take a look at the example below for the Bayley Lane Kitchen and Cocktails Restaurant. All the consumer has to do is hit the button and you have a booking. This is a very useful tool, and great for for capturing spur of the moment bookings.
Take a look at other businesses in your line of work and see how they are advertising their business. Look at their content to help formulate ideas for your listing. Reviews should be made a priority, great reviews will make your business climb up the GMB listings and they are used by Google as a ranking factor.
Remember that this is a free tool offered by Google. Take another look at the statistics and the relevance of local search. Here’s a quick recap if you’ve forgotten, a staggering 50% of all Google searches are for local content. Google are constantly changing their algorithms and local search is at the forefront of their business plan.
Without GMB your business will not feature in any local searches, and the only traffic you can generate will be from direct searches for your website. Getting your business listed is very easy and doesn’t take up much time, adding content initially will take some effort after which, weekly updates can be done very quickly.
Our advice? If you want to keep up with the pack and hopefully be top of the pack, then Google My Business is an absolute must for any growing business and digital marketing strategy.
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