Google My Business
A Quick Start Guide
By Goldie Rutherford, Gamma Lane Media
As an owner of a small business, you understand the importance of creating an online presence. Without a well-built website and a presence on at least one, if not multiple social media channels, your potential customers are likely to be driven to your competitors. But how can you ensure that you are reaching a local audience? That’s where Google My Business comes into its own.
So What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business, colloquially known as GMB, is possibly the most important online tool for small business owners. All of Google’s tools are located in one, easy to use location. Even better, its a free service. This means that you now have a way to control your business in the virtual world at absolutely no cost to you. Here’s a few of the things you can do with Google My Business:
- Reviews – You can manage your page ranking and reviews from one main page.
- Maps – Take control of your business’s location and contact information as it appears to your customers on Google Maps.
- Posts – updates on what your business is up to.
- Link to website and phone number – perhaps the most important aspect of your GMB is the ability to have people call you directly, or link through to your website
These are just a handful of the things that you can do with your GMB. But more than what you can do, what is important is how it helps you.
What It Does For You
The most important thing a well optimised GMB page will do for your local business is to get your business appearing right at the top of local searches for businesses like yours, in the famous ‘maps 3 pack’. You will have seen that in searches for local businesses, there is a group of (usually) three business right at the top of the page, with website, phonje, map links. This is the GMB 3 pack, the holy grail of local searches. 40% of people who search for local businesses visit at least 1 of these 3 businesses.
With Google My Business, you can also respond to reviews about your company, which can help build your reputation. You can provide customer service and resolve issues. You can even see whether these reviews have any impact on web traffic.
You can combine your social media marketing campaigns, reviews, information, and maps on one platform. This simplifies the process of keeping up with many aspects of your virtual presence.
The nice thing about Google My Business is that its simple to use. This means that there is very little learning curve. You can get started with the platform quickly and easily. As a small business owner, you will find the platform to be not only beneficial to your business, but you will find it to be a huge time saver.
To sign up with Google My Business, simply navigate to the platform and you will be taken through the registration process. Follow the prompts, enter the requested information. You’ll then need to request a verification. This involves Google sending a postcard to the address listed, which has a registration key on it theat needs to be entered into the verification page. This can take up to 3 weeks, and on occasion does not arrive, and needs to be requested again. While this sounds like a painful process, the idea here is to ensure that your business is legitimate, and you are not a scammer, of which there are plenty.
If you want to increase your company’s presence online, signing up with Google My Business is an absolute no brainer. Get started today for free. It will be the best money you’ve never spent!
Using Google My Business
As I mentioned, Google My Business is a simple platform to use. So, what are the top four things can you do right now, right from the comfort of your own home?
1. Set Up Your GMB Profile
Take the time right now, while its on your mind, to set up your small business profile. Claim your GMB by simply clicking on the “Get On Google” tab on the business.google.com site
2. Add Images
Add images to your profile. The images you choose should showcase your business. Be sure to include filenames that relate to your business and location,to boost search results. Not sure what to include? Try any of these images: the inside or outside of your store, you and your team, before-and-after photos of your product/service, or your team on the job.
3. Manage Reviews
Monitoring and managing your reviews right from your Google My Business dashboard. You can see how many reviews you have, and you can respond to any that you choose. It’s a good idea to ask your customers to give you (hopefully 5 star) reviews.
4. Leverage Insights
Take a look at the insights section of you GMB. You will learn how people are finding you on the internet and how often they are clicking on your link from a Google search. You will also see the amount of activity on your page and even the demographic details of your audience.
What Local Search Experts Say
As with everything, everyone has an opinion. Now that Google My Business has had time to settle in, local search experts are offering their opinions. Here’s how some of them are weighing in:
According to Street Fight, GMB is a great step forward, but more simplificaation is necessary.
SIM Partners say that Google has shown that it is committed to local business space. A bulk upload process would be helpful, but at least Google has shown its interest in serving the needs of the small business owner.
Mike Blumenthal says that while Google My Business is a strong step forward in the service of the SMB, many users may be left wishing for specific upgrades.
The Overall Benefits of Google My Business Are Too Good to Ignore
Think that you can’t find 10 minutes a day to keep your GMB account up to date? Think again. The benefits of usingthe platform are too far good to ignore:
- Search Engine Recognition
- Brand Recognition
There are more than 500 million users registered with Google My Business pages. If you choose to ignore Google My Business, consider how many potential customers are heading to your competition that has chosen to utilise the platform. With its ease of use and amazing flexibility, Google My Business is a platform that every small business owner needs to be making the most of.