We all are well aware that Google is the number one search engine, the hub for most internet searches. The amount of traffic that goes through Google on a daily basis alone makes it an important (if not the most important) online tool to leverage searches into customers for eCommerce and small businesses. Google boasts five billion searches done for restaurants and 3 billion searches for hotels as insurance of its accolades. The company claims that “The world searches on Google. Turn those searches into customers.”
One of the elements of building up a presence on Google is setting up the ‘Google My Business’. But what is Google My Business and why is it so important, especially for local businesses? Using the tools that are presented, setting up Google my business is both free and easy- but here’s what it is and why it’s needed.
Where Does It Show Up?
When searching for a business by name a small profile appears with information and details regarding the establishment. Doing this search on a computer, a user will see a small box to the right of the screen. When searching on a smartphone, the mobile optimized display shows the Google My Business profile in a large box above all of the natural search results. The data in this box for both web and mobile includes a profile photo for the business, a map pin showing the location of the business, and direct links for the company’s official website and mapping directions to the establishment. In addition, other features that can be in this include: the business’ hours of operation, contact information (email, phone numbers), and the Google reviews posted for that business.
How Is This Useful?
The most important role that Google My Business plays for a company is for capturing the attention of individuals looking for local businesses through Google. Doing a relevant search such as “Barber Shops near me” uses Google’s GPS software on the user’s location and pulls up the results that are most relevant. This information is shown on an interactive map that details the individual locations of the different relevant options. This map allows users to compare travel locations, distances, and times.
While doing this search, consumers can select the business’ Google My Business profile and view the relevant information, posts, photos and reviews that were left by Google users or the respective business owner.
Google has been noted by a plethora of sources to be getting progressively more greedy with ad space. Because of this, especially on mobile, the natural searches appear further down. Depending on the search being done, the ad space can be massive. Some searches have even resulted in the natural search showing up after 3 full scrolls on a mobile device, making it more difficult to be found, but even more crucial to be found right.
When a company is not using Google Ads, it is important to at least make what does show up to be packed with data and optimized for consumer interaction. Many business owners have even reported that they care more about their Google My Business profile than their own websites. Since Google is instinctively the first place most people go when doing a search, setting up Google my Business will not only ensure that customers can find a local business more quickly, but that they find the correct information regarding it making them more likely to take an additional step to come in or get in touch.
What Can You Do With Google My Business?
Adding Photos: Google My Business is an excellent tool that can easily be controlled from a smartphone or a computer, there is even a free mobile application that can be downloaded. With control of the backend of the account, a business owner can upload pictures at any time (profile photo included). This is important to an establishment because adding relevant content and photos not only drives more business but allows for higher appearances in search results. The consumer can now be updated with any changes or specials being run by the business and make an informed decision to come in.
Reviews: Google My Business is directly linked to the Google review software. Once consumers search for a business, the reviews for the establishment that were left on the Google reviews platform also come up. These reviews allow for a company to build their brand. The review process also has been shown to create a deeper interest and loyalty to the business by allowing consumers to interact with and leave their own two cents behind. Businesses with positive reviews being shown will also benefit from a higher click through and conversion rate.
Posting: With their Google My Business set up, business owners have the option to post onto their Google page regarding company updates, specials, sales, etc. These updates can be posted in the form of text, photo, or video and they work to bring in a higher conversion of browsing potential customers.
Insights: On the backend of the Google My Business account, a data analysis report regarding activity of the profile can be found. These analytics include tracking calls, clicks to the website from Google, and maps and directions to the establishment. Tracking and monitoring the success of a business on any platform is crucial in order to gain an understanding of what can be done to further grow.
The internet is growing at full speed and Google seems to be in the center of it all. Getting on to Google My Business is both a free and easy way to get started in the journey of optimizing a business for growth on the internet. Utilizing the tools to add photos, posts, information and in turn tracking success, businesses (especially local business) can gain brand recognition, conversions, and relationships with consumers through Google My Business.