Are You on Google My Business Yet?
Over 78% of the world uses Google as their chosen desktop search engine. [Sorry, Bing. Yahoo, are you ok?] Anyway, that being said, Google is everywhere, and you can’t ignore it. Furthermore, Google accounts for 89% of the world’s mobile search traffic. With stats like this, local business who aren’t on Google My Business (GMB) are definitely missing out on the benefits that this fun feature has to offer. Call us today to find out how a GMB listing fits into your overall digital marketing strategy!
What is Google My Business Anyway?
Google My Business is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to claim ownership of your business and the online management properties of the business listing on Google. Once you have claimed and verified your business, your GMB listing can be an effective local SEO tool. It allows you to share all kinds of relevant information about your business, including your location directly in Google Maps. You can also share important information like your business hours, contact details, and a link to your website, as well as photo and links to blog posts much like on social media platforms. Sounds like a handy little tool, doesn’t it?
Improve Your Local Visibility
You have likely done a “near me” search. Even if you don’t add the words “near me,” Google’s algorithms are getting sophisticated enough that they will assume that the search intent is local and will try to find the closest product or service you are searching for to your approximate location. If you Google Starbucks, for example, your search will return the top 3 closest Starbucks to your current location, whether you added the search terms “near me” or not. (Fun fact! “Google” became a real verb on June 15, 2006. You can look it up in the dictionary!)
Now, this is not just because Starbucks is a multibillion-dollar corporation. Those results nearest to you are returned thanks to their Google My Business listing! This works just the same for small business that take the time to claim and verify their GMB listing. Instead of a large chain, a searcher could enter “coffee shop,” and your local shop could pop up instead, with directions, and be on their way!
Optimize Your Listing
To get the most out of your Google My Business listing, make sure it is optimized. This mostly means to keep your information as current as possible. If there are any changes to your business offerings or hours, be sure to update your listing to reflect that as soon as possible.
Your description should also be very clear and relevant to your audience. You’re optimizing for a local audience, and you have 750 characters to do so. It’s a GMB best practice to include 2 or 3 of your keywords that best describe your business in the first few sentences of your description. 750 characters is plenty for an accurate description but can actually seem long to some.
While GMB isn’t exactly a social media property in the way that Instagram or Facebook is, it does offer some social capabilities, such as the ability to publish posts. You can share links to blogs, invitations to events, promotions, and other content on Google My Business. You can add up to 10 photos to you posts, and they even give you an option to add a call-to-action button. These posts will run for 7 days before they expire. Many of the scheduling tools you are already using for your other social properties like Facebook and Instagram will also tie into Google My Business. You can also enable direct messaging over GMB and answer customer inquiries directly in the platform.
Collect & Respond to Reviews
Another great feature of Google My Business is that it has a built-in review platform. This goes a long way how your business ranks in a local search. People want social proof that the business they choose is a good one! These days, people trust an online review as much as a recommendation from a personal friend. Maintaining a positive ranking comes from not only getting reviews but responding to every single one of them – both good and bad, but especially the bad. It gives you an opportunity to right the wrongs, so to speak, a customer feels your business has done to them. It shows potential customers that your company is run by good, trustworthy people who want to do their best for their customers. It shows a willingness to grow and improve as a business, and a commitment to customer service.
Have You Claimed Your Listing Yet?
Our benevolent internet overlords have provided us with this free tool jam packed with SEO it-factors, and all you have to do is set up an account and get it verified. It’s astounding how many businesses miss out on this incredible application because they don’t know it exists, think it’s complicated, or previously didn’t understand the value in it. To learn more about how Google My Business can boost your SEO game plan, or to discuss your overall digital marketing strategy, call Smart WSI Marketing today.
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