No matter the industry you’re operating in, your potential customers and clients are going to head to the same place to do their research: Google.
The stats speak for themselves: Google holds a whopping 92% global search engine market share. The pandemic has only accelerated the need for local businesses to build a strong online presence, with Google search and maps a valuable place for business owners to focus their attention.
Ultimately, creating a Google My Business account is a non-negotiable in 2022. It’s your ticket to maximum visibility on the world’s most popular search engine and gives your customers a free and easy way to get in touch with you, too.
Not sure where to start with a Google My Business account? Let’s run you through six compelling reasons why you need to prioritize getting your businesses profile set up on Google and a stack of practical ways to optimize your account.
What is Google My Business?
A Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business, or GMB for short) is a way to promote your business on Google. It’s a free profile you can set up in minutes and allows you to share a bunch of helpful details about your business with potential customers.
From your location to opening hours to your contact details (and even photos from inside your physical shopfront), a GMB profile is a powerful way to give you potential customers a taste of your business, before they’ve even stepped foot inside your front door.
A GMB profile is visible across Google’s entire ecosystem, including Google search results, Google Maps and even Google Shopping.
Who should set up a Google My Business profile?
A Google My Business profile is specifically designed for businesses with some kind of physical, in-store presence. From hospitality venues to chemists to retail stores, this free online listing allows local customers to discover and visit your shopfront with ease.
However, online businesses can also set up a GMB profile as long as they have some kind of physical office space to direct customers and clients to.
This Google listing can be a great free tool to support your other social media and digital marketing efforts and help customers in your service area become familiar with your brand.
What are the benefits of Google My Business Listing?
If you’re thinking of creating a Google My Business page, you might be wondering where it fits in your overall marketing strategy (and whether it’s worth your time).
In short, there are stacks of powerful, cost-effective benefits to creating a GMB account. Let’s run you through six key reasons why your business needs to add this online profile into your marketing mix.
Get discovered for free in Google results
While content marketing efforts (like SEO blogging and optimizing the copy on your website pages) can help to boost your search visibility, a GMB profile is an even most effective tactic.
Whether you’re looking to drive sales, boost brand awareness or increase bookings, a Google business profile is a surefire way to get your business in front of high-value local customers.
By setting up your profile with the right address, keywords and business category, you can get your business listing in front of high-value online visitors. This listing can help boost your presence in local search results and make it more likely for potential customers to discover your business.
Unlike paid social advertising or Google ads, a GMB listing is completely free and gives your business name priority in the search results to increase interest, enquiries and even sales.
Improve your local SEO with Google Maps integration
If you provide a product or service in a specific local area, you want to make sure your business information appears front-and-centre for potential customers.
That’s why a Google My Business listing can be one of the best ways to reach warm leads when they’re ready to convert. Take this example:
Let’s say you need to buy a new pair of running shoes and don’t have time to wait for an online order to be delivered. You jump onto Google and search for ‘sneaker stores near me’ or maybe ‘sportswear stores near me’.
Because Google knows you’re looking for a physical store in your local area, they’ll show you a tailored selection of Google Maps results. That allows you to easily find a store that has positive reviews, has opening hours that work for you and is a short commute from your front door.
By optimizing your GMB listing, you can ensure your business shows up when interested customers are searching for the products or services you offer in your local area. Whether a customer searches directly into Google or even through Google Maps, your business will appear at the top of the search results.
Build social proof with Google My Business customer reviews
We know that 68% of customers consult online reviews before they decide to trust a business. Plus, a whopping 93% of customers are swayed by online reviews when deciding what to buy.
That’s why the next benefit of a GMB profile is the ability for your business to gather and showcase reviews at scale. By gathering a stack of positive reviews from your customers, you can win the trust of potential shoppers and help them move down the sales funnel with ease.
What makes online reviews so effective is this: it allows your happy customers to vouch for your skills, expertise and quality of service in their own words. While your own marketing materials can be a useful way to reach new audiences, nothing is more convincing than the words of a reliable, external customer.
Ultimately, potential customers want to know if other consumers have had a positive experience with your brand before they choose you. So, by showing your Google reviews front-and-centre of your GMB listing, you can streamline the path to purchase.
Easy way for your customers to find your physical shopfront
As we mentioned, your GMB listing has seamless integration with Google Maps. Along with helping to boost the organic visibility of your business on Google, this integration makes it easier for customers to navigate to your shopfront, too.
With Google Maps directions, users can discover and score the directions to your physical store in one tap. Plus, they can access your business hours and important contact details (like your website, email address and phone number) to make it easier to get in contact with you.
The easier it is for new customers to contact you and reach your shopfront, the more likely they’ll be to have a positive association with your brand. It’s all about offering seamless online-to-offline experiences that turn users into paying customers.
Total control over your online presence on Google
On marketing platforms such as social media, businesses (like yours) need to play by the rules of big tech. Their algorithms dictate how who discovers your business and what impression they have of your business.
But with a Googe My Business profile, you can curate exactly what kind of experience potential shoppers have with your business. From showcasing your contact information to updating your hours of operation for specific special events or public holidays, you can give every potential customer the best experience possible with your business.
Plus, by learning how to optimize your profile, you can boost the chance of your business information appearing at the top of the search rankings. That gives you the greatest potential to influence the purchasing decisions of searchers who stumble upon your brand.
Score powerful insights about your customer’s behaviour
Did you know that you can score powerful analytics and insights from your GMB listing? Within your Google account, you can dive into helpful stats that can give you a deeper understanding of how well your listing is performing in the organic search results.
Let’s run you through the key stats and analytics to add to your radar:
- Views: see how many times your profile, photos and posts have been seen by searchers.
- Search queries: learn what keywords searchers are using to discover your brand (a great marketing tool to improve your SEO strategy).
- Engagement: see which posts are generating the most activity from searchers.
- Audience: discover the age, gender and location of searchers who discover your GMB listing.
- Website clicks: discover how many users are taking high-value actions, like visiting your website from your Google business listing.
How to optimize your business profile in the Google search results
Ready to make the most of your Google business listing? Here is a stack of practical steps you can action today to boost your results on Google.
Complete your entire GMB listing
The more information you add to your business profile, the more effective your listing will be. In fact, businesses with a complete profile are 70% more likely to receive a visit from a searcher.
In general terms here are the key sections you need to complete in full to maximize your results:
- Business Category: select the most appropriate category for the industry you operate in.
- Location: make sure to enter your physical location address correctly to send customers in the right direction.
- Contact Information: make sure your phone number and website address are up-to-date.
- Business Hours: make sure you keep these current and update any special hours (such as during the holidays or different seasons).
Verify your business location
To verify your location, Google will send you a letter in the mail with a specific code to activate your account. This step is what will publish your GMB listing, so don’t skip it!
Once you’ve received your letter with your five-digit code, make sure to enter the code to verify your business.
Add up-to-date images of your businesses’ location
Give your customers a taste of your in-store experience with professional, hi-res imagery of your store. By showing both the exterior and interior of your store on your GMB listing, you can help shoppers feel more confident to visit you in-person.
Make sure to keep these photos current and updated, and make sure they are well-lit, high-resolution and show your business at its best.
Leverage keywords throughout your profile
Google is a search engine, which means your GMB listing needs to be optimized for keywords relevant to your business.
Throughout your business listing, make sure to strategically include high-volume search terms related to your products, services or industry.
This will boost your chances of appearing in the Google search results when high-value searchers are on the lookout for what you do best.
Encourage positive reviews from your customers
As we mentioned, reviews are a powerful way to build trust with potential customers. One way to set your business out from other competitors in your local area is to encourage your happy customers and clients to leave a Google review.
You can easily share a review form with your past customers via email to boost the number of positive reviews your brand has on Google.
This is a simple yet effective way to increase the chance of a new customer choosing you ahead of your competitiors.
And that’s a wrap! When it comes to creating a Google My Business listing, there are stacks of benefits your brand can be tapping into. Ultimately, this business profile helps you boost your organic search visibility, ensures local searchers find your business and makes it easy for potential customers to visit or contact your business.
The best bit? Setting this Google profile up is completely free and can help you tap into the power of SEO (and skip the need for expensive Google ads, too).