Are You Using Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) has been available for companies to use FREE of charge for over five years but nearly 40% of SME’s (small medium sized enterprises) still don’t use it and many of those that do are not making full use of it.
Gareth Waters, co-director of Newport based Alliance Marketing and board member of Torfaen Business Voice explains why in his opinion this is an oversight by local businesses, and what you can do to make the most of this fantastic tool to help visitors find your company information when they are searching online for local businesses like yours.
To throw in another statistic that will hopefully attract your attention and encourage you to read on, Google recently announced that Google My Business was used for over three billion direct connections (globally) between customers and businesses per month as well as three million bookings!
Do You Know What Google My Business is?
In short, it’s a FREE service provided by the most popular search engine in the world that helps local businesses showcase who they are and what they do on Google.
Google uses location to provide users with the best possible experience. It makes searching and discovering the information they desire very fast and efficient.
Google My Business (GMB) is very relevant for local searches so that, this is the important part, when someone in your locality is looking for the products and services you provide, they will see your company information on both Google and Google maps.
Your company listing will either appear when they search for you directly or when generally searching for the products or services you provide.
Are Your Posting on Your GMB Profile Regularly?
Just under your business name on your GMB profile you will see a feature where posts you have uploaded to your account will appear. They are a bit like mini blog posts and can be used to promote special offers, events, products. It’s very easy to post here and Google will even show you examples from your competitors. Add photos or a video to your post – this will help it to stand out and capture visitors attention.
Is Your GMB listing up to date?
This might appear obvious but is all the information contained in your GMB listing up to date? Check that information including business name, contact details, opening hours, business categories and product/services is accurate and relevant.
Are you using a local telephone number – we recommend you do this.
Are the categories you are using the most appropriate for your business. Have you prioritised them in order of importance? Are they specific to what you do? Don’t try to list too many as this can cause confusion.
Be Specific and Add Detailed Information About Your Products and Services
GMB has a really useful function that allows you to add individual products and services to your GMB profile.
This listing includes the ability to upload individual photos and descriptions for each product you sell.
Restaurants can even add individual dishes from their menu. The options available to you are comprehensive and we thoroughly recommend you make the most of them.
This also helps you make your business more visible and if you update these on a regular basis it will again help improve the prominence of your listing.
Pictures Will Help Your Profile Stand Out
Most of us will naturally look at a picture before we read any content. By using pictures you can make an immediate impact with visitors to your GMB profile and there is lots of research that tells us that businesses with photos can expect to receive approximately 35% more click throughs than those without.
60% of consumers say that local search results with good images capture their attention.
Upload photos of your office (interior and exterior), of your team, products, events etc.
Wear Your Local Favourite Badge with Honour
It was recently announced by Google that the top 5% of local businesses will be awarded with a ‘Local Favourite’ badge. To make sure you maximise your chances of achieving this and gaining the increased visibility, you should invest time your time and efforts into ensuring your GMB profile is complete, kept up to date and you are using as many of its functions as possible.
Please don’t be afraid to ask your customers to leave reviews about your business on your GMB profile. Reviews are not only a fantastic way to gain the confidence of prospects who are in the market or looking for the products and services you provide but they will also help where you appear in local search results. Remember to reply to every review you receive be it good or bad as it demonstrates to others that you care about your customers.
The more 5 star reviews you gain the more click throughs you will receive as they are prominently displayed on your profile.
Just in case you are still questioning the importance of reviews, bear in mind that 80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and a third of customers said they judged a business based on how they responded to a review.
Keep Ahead of Your Competition By Keeping Up to Date With New GMB Functions
GMB is always evolving and Google are always adding new features for you to take advantage of. Don’t be afraid to try the new features and you can also do your own research to find out what is planned for the future.
Google Questions and Answers
As the name suggests, this is a question and answer feature on your listing that provides visitors with a chance to ask questions.
This is also a great opportunity for additional exposure, and you can add your own questions and answers thereby enabling you to add more relevant content to assist your prominence in local searches!
Not many companies check the Q&A section on their GMB listing which is a mistake because anyone can answer questions and provide all sorts of information which might not be accurate or what you want to communicate to potential customers!!!
Check your Q&A section regularly and try to provide prompt and accurate replies to questions.
So there we have it. We hope that this post has convinced you of the value GMB could have for your business. The only investment you need to make is time and the benefits could be significant.