For many businesses and practices, getting noticed and standing out online is crucial to attracting new customers, clients or patients. Many find this increasingly difficult, as more and more competitors optimize their online presence and additional information gets published by the second. In this context, we’d like to examine if you can use Google My Business to reach your target audience more effectively.
Google launched Google My Business in 2014 with the goal to become the online directory of choice for businesses, competing with the likes of Yelp, Angieslist or industry-specific directories, with the promise to help businesses of all sizes have an effective online presence – for free.
What exactly is Google My Business?
First, let’s explain what is Google My Business, a.k.a. “GMB”. In essence, it’s a free business directory created by Google that will display your business profile “when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search or Google Maps”. It is aimed at your local consumers or professionals.
The tool allows you to optimize your business profile to make it attractive and informative for local consumers, ultimately helping them understand your offer and why they might want to do business with you.
From your business name and contact details to opening hours and a summary of your business activity, there is a multitude of options and features to provide information about your business to consumers. As long as you stay within Google guidelines, you can create a pretty complete business profile.
In a more advanced use of Google My Business, you can integrate this listing with your Google Ads if you run such campaigns, among other features.
How can GMB help your business?
Here is what the tool can help you achieve if optimized properly:
- Make it easy for potential clients to find your vital business info: address, phone number, website and use Maps navigation tool to get to your
- location (if relevant)
- Increase visibility in search results, in Google Search as well as Google Maps
- Drive more potential clients/customers/patients to visit your office or store
- Generate more calls to your store or office
- Increase awareness for your brand and name
- Make you stand out among competing businesses who have a less appealing GMB profile (lower reputation, less relevant information, …etc)
- Build up a positive online reputation that can be leveraged to convince more potential customers that you’re the better choice in your local marketplace
Do you really need to optimize your GMB listing?
In 2019, you cannot ignore the internet when it comes to gaining visibility and attracting new customers for your business. At the same time, with close to 90% of search engine market share in North America, you cannot ignore Google when it comes to searches for service providers.
Therefore, your best strategy is to optimize the tools Google uses as vehicles to service online users. Google wants the user to have a positive experience with the information it serves, so having an optimized Google My Business listing is a signal your business is trustworthy and offers a superior experience to potential customers.
How do you optimize your Google My Business listing?
To optimize your GMB listing, you need to take advantage of the tool’s features.
There are many features to a GMB listing, some of the possible experiments from Google which might or not stay for the long term, depending on how actively users embrace the feature.
Some features have a proven effect on helping you rank higher in Google Maps (the top rankings in Maps are called the “3-Pack” in local search results). An example would be the customer review feature.
Other features, like instant Messaging, or providing up-to-date opening hours, help in improving users’ experience, ultimately leading to more users converting into customers. Keeping up with the constant changes affecting your local online market is very difficult if you consider tackling all this on your own. Call our team of experienced local search specialists to determine how to create and/or optimize your specific Google My Business listing.