Imagine a potential customer doing a local search on Google for ramen shops near him. As a ramen shop owner, your business could have easily shown in the search result because you’re just around the neighborhood. Approximately 50% of all local searches on a mobile device results in a shop visit.
But if you did not appear on the search result. That’s one lost opportunity for your business, right?
Your customers will be looking for local businesses online. Hence, it’s important to establish your presence on the web—and one way to do this is to create your Google My Business (GMB) listing. The good thing about a GMB listing is that it works hand in hand with your business website.
According to Google, one in three searches has local intent. Out of the millions who search for restaurants, salons, repair shops, and other nearby places, 50% visit within the day while 18% end up making a purchase.
This is good news for companies relying on local consumer traffic. But how do you make your business visible in the local search results?
An obvious place to start is Google My Business (GMB).
This is a free tool that allows you to manage how your business appears on Google. It complements your website and gives your business a public identity and presence on Google.
If you have a GMB listing, searchers can discover your business name, location, operating hours, business description, and other information about your brand.
The info you provide appears in Google Search, Google Maps, Local Finder, and Google+.
You can also create posts like in mini-ads and social media posts, use the booking button, answer questions thru the Q&A feature, add photos and videos, monitor and reply to customer reviews, and gain valuable insights about how people are searching for you.
The best thing about GMB is that it is free to use. However, you need to have some face-to-face interaction with your customers to be able to use it. This means that you either sell a product/s or service that require interactions with your customers.
Google My Business offers plenty of benefits for small businesses just like yours. However, many business owners have yet to discover the perks of being listed on GMB, which is why this is the best time to be on the platform. This is a great opportunity to learn about it now and take your business game to a whole new level. Here are some benefits of using GMB that you should take advantage of:
- Helps customers find your physical location
Gone are the days when consumers use a phone book to locate and contact businesses. Now, Google Maps help them find the shop they are looking for. Using GMB gets your exact address and location on Google Maps.
With a quick Google search, your business will pop up on a customer’s smartphone when they do a local search. This increases the chance of them finding your business and paying it a visit.
The great news is, Google found that customers are 70% more likely to visit your store when you get listed on GMB and show up in local searches.
- Appearance on Google’s Local 3-Packs
Enjoy better search visibility when you get listed on GMB. By using the said Google tool, your business can show up in Google’s Local 3-Packs.
Local 3-Packs is a SERP feature that displays three different businesses on the first-page result. It appears below the paid ads and above the organic results. Getting on this special list can give you higher visibility in the search results.
In fact, businesses who appear on the list get a 700% boost in clicks.
- Builds credibility among customers
Having a physical address boosts confidence among consumers. According to statistics, 85% of consumers prefer to shop at physical stores vs. online.
By simply listing a physical store on GMB, consumers are more likely to trust your business. Complement this with customer reviews, you get to build your credibility as a brand.
With positive online reviews, consumers are more likely to make a purchase from your shop. Good thing GMB allows customer reviews on your listing.
- Learn more about your searchers
With GMB’s Insights feature, you can gain valuable analytics that you can use to improve your business. The Insights tab displays relevant stats and charts including your listing’s visibility, engagement, and audience.
With this information, you can gauge how well your business is performing in local searches. You can use it as you think of ways to drive engagement and sales.
With a GMB listing, you can enjoy these perks and get ahead of the competition. It’s a great way to get found online, learn about your customers, build your reputation, and improve your sales. But the greatest thing about GMB is that you can get all these benefits for free.
Now that you know how GMB can help your business, it’s time to set up your own account and get started with a listing.
Before you create an account, conduct a Google search first to see if your business already has a GMB listing. Businesses who have been operating for several years are likely to have a GMB listing. Now, all you need to do is claim it.
How to claim an existing listing:
- Search your business name on Google.
If you already have a GMB listing, it should appear on the right side of the search result.
- If the listing is unclaimed, you will see an “Own this business?” link.
- Click on the link. This will take you to the verification page.
- You will go through a number of questions to confirm details of your business (more on this below).
- After filling out the details, verify your account. There are several ways to verify your account including by postcard, by phone, by email, instant verification, and bulk verification.
Once you claimed the GMB listing, you can now polish up your profile. You can add more information to your listing to make it more effective. You can add reviews, photos, videos, posts and more.
If you don’t have an existing GMB listing, follow these steps to create a new account:
- Create or log into the Google account you want to use for your listing.
- Go to google.com/business.
- Click “Start now”.
- Enter your business name and your business address.
- Tick the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” box if you go to your customers’ locations instead of them coming to you.
- If you work in an address you don’t want publicly shown, tick the “Hide my address (it’s not a store) Only show region” box. Then, select your delivery area.
- Choose your business category.
- Enter your business phone number and website.
- Choose a verification option.
Once verified, add more information to your GMB listing to optimise it.
With your GMB listing now published, it’s time to completely optimize it. It’s important to use all features of GMB to get the most out of your listing.
Here are some tips to optimise your listing:
- Provide all available information
The more information can be found on your listing, the more it shows up on search results. Make sure to fill out every information you can provide because local search results favor the most detailed listings.
- Optimise with keywords
The platform you’re on is Google, and just like traditional website SEO, keywords still play a vital part in displaying your GMB listing on the search results. Find the most relevant keywords and search phrases to your business and incorporate them in your listing.
- Post regularly
Just like in social media marketing, posting consistently can signal that your business is active. Doing so also grabs customer attention. Post about events, sales, product launches, holiday greetings, and more to hype your GMB listing.
- Use the booking button
If your business thrives on appointments and bookings, this feature is for you. The booking button can be fully automated thanks to Google’s software partners.
- Add images
According to Google, businesses with images on their listing get 35% more click-throughs and 42% more driving directions requests on Google Maps than businesses without images. Don’t forget to include images on your posts, including a profile photo and a cover photo.
- Add videos
Videos present a great opportunity for businesses now more than ever. Take advantage of this by posting short videos on your GMB listing. GMB allows videos that are up to 30 seconds long at sizes of 100 MB or smaller. The resolution should be at least 720p.
- Manage and reply to customer reviews
Customer reviews are crucial to customers’ decision making. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and feedback as this also helps increase your visibility in search results.
For help creating your Google My Business Listing, contact the experts at Smarter Web Solutions
GMB is a great platform for small businesses like yours. This free tool lets you manage your business presence on Google, Google Maps, and Google+, which is important to get your business found online.
Claiming a GMB listing is proven beneficial in plenty of ways, from helping customers find your physical location to building your reputation. There’s also the chance to learn about those searching for your brand.
Creating a GMB listing is easy, and there are various ways to optimize it so you can appear more on search results. On top of it all, being on GMB is completely free.
All in all, if you’re running a local business and you want to get the upper hand, getting on GMB is definitely a must.