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What is Google My Business (GMB) and why is it important?

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Yoyo
March 1, 2021
Plus, 8 tips on how to optimise your Google My Business listing

Do you want people to find your business on Google while they’re searching for services or products like the ones you offer in the city you’re located?

I bet there’ve been many Saturday afternoons in your life when you were desperately searching for a new, cool restaurant to go for dinner later on. Do you open your phone book or the Yellow Pages to find a restaurant in your area? I guess not – you probably gave up this habit many years ago!

A Google search is all it takes for finding a restaurant in your city you haven’t visited before and also book a table with just a few ‘clicks’.

Having an online presence can skyrocket your business’s visibility, especially in your local area. Most customers are online using Google to search for local businesses. But having a website is not enough.

Google My Business is a powerful tool that can help increase your business’s online presence in your local area and bring you more customers. It’s absolutely free and easy to use!

In this article you’ll learn about:

  • What is Google My Business
  • Is Google My Business worth it?
  • Tips on how to optimise your Google My Business listing

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is an online marketing tool available to businesses that have a physical shop or they offer services by traveling to customers – for example, a nail artist who visits customers at their home to make their nails.

For such local businesses, you can create a listing on Google so that local customers can find you when they search for your business or for terms related to your services/products!

The benefits of having a Google My Business account include:

  • Update your business information on Google
  • Appear on Google Maps
  • Offer customers directions to your business’s physical location
  • Show customers your contact details, including phone numbers and email addresses
  • Include a link to your website
  • Inform about your opening and closing hours
  • Allow customers book services at your location
  • Add photos relevant to your business
  • Engage with prospect and existing customers through Google Reviews
  • Post a link to articles or upcoming events

GMB appears on the right of Google search results page when you search for a specific business in a particular area. In the below visual example, you can see that under the image and map pin there are some display buttons that lead users to the business’s website or let them make a direct call.

When you ‘google’ a specific search query, plus the name of the city you’re interested in finding this product or service at, Google will show you a list of three local businesses that offer what you’re searching for.

This list is called Local 3-Pack and is part of Google My Business tool. It’s displayed at the very top of the first page of search results. If there are any Google Ads, the Local 3-Pack appears below them.

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Is Google My Business worth it?

It doesn’t matter if your business is new or well-established. It also doesn’t matter whether you’re seeking to attract web traffic or foot traffic. Even if you own a brick-and-mortar shop, your prospects and customers are searching for you online – on Google!

With Google My Business, users who are searching for your services or products locally can find you on Google search results and Google Maps. Within a few seconds of typing a search query relevant to your business, Google users see your brand, address and contact details right in front of them!

Apart from being discoverable and boosting your business’s search visibility at a local level, there are more benefits of having a Google My Business account.

1. Improve your Local SEO

Google uses algorithms to rank websites and business profiles. One of the ranking factors that can make your business appear higher in local search results is adding relevant keywords into your GMB content.

The keywords tell Google what product or service you want to rank for. It’d be wise to use them in the following content pieces through your Google My Business dashboard:

  • Your business description
  • Your responses to customer reviews
  • In the posts you publish
  • Your answers to any customer questions

Make sure you add them in your copy naturally as Google appreciates quality content.

2. Inform & update your customers

When a user searches for your business, it’s important to find all the information they need straight from the source.

Your GMB listing includes your business hours, contact information, the address of your physical shop and many more useful information for your clients.

Have you expanded your business hours for this week? Do you need to be temporarily closed for the whole weekend due to vacations or any other reason? On Google My Business, you can update any information relevant to your business in real time.

Having outdated or wrong information in your GMB listing might lead to bad customer experiences and negative reviews. Imagine the disappointment a customer feels when they visit your shop and find out it’s closed.

I hope now it’s clear why you should keep customers updated and informed and how easy this can be with the help of a Google My Business profile.

3. Google My Business brings you leads

‘Near me’ searches on Google combined with the phrase ‘to buy’ have grown more than 500% in the last two years.

Users who search such queries show strong intent to visit your shop and buy. That’s why it’s critical for your business to be present and visible on Google local listings.

If you don’t have a Google My Business account, prospects will find, visit and buy from one of your local competitors.

But if you have a GMB profile and you keep it updated and optimised, these Google users might be your future customers.

And remember – it won’t cost you anything to create a Google My Business profile! It’s a tool accessible for free to any business regardless of its size.

How do you optimise your Google My Business listing?

Optimising your GMB listing and filling in all the important information can rank your business higher on local search results.

Although it’s relatively easy to improve your GMB listing, it can be time-consuming. This is the reason why many business owners choose a digital marketing or SEO agency to optimise their GMB profile and listing.

Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the best 8 tips on how to optimise your GMB listing.

1. Make sure your Google My Business listing is complete

The biggest mistake you can do at this point is to assume that some information isn’t important or doesn’t apply to your business.

Google wants to make sure that the information you provide to users is accurate and relevant. So, an incomplete listing is a sign for Google that you miss out noteworthy information for users. As a result, your business won’t rank in the Local 3-Pack results.

The only way for an incomplete GMB profile to show up in the Local 3-Pack is if there is no relevant competition in the local area.

2. Update your business hours

As mentioned before, wrong business hours can confuse potential customers, who might come to your shop just to find out it’s closed or not opened yet. In a case like this, customers might end up embarrassing your business in public, with negative mentions on social media or bad reviews on Google.

For holidays, bank holidays and other special occasions, you can customise your business hours in advance. For example, you can add specific days of the year that you know the business will be closed.

3. Use relevant keywords

Relevant, geo-targeted and niche-related keywords will match your business with search queries made by Google users based in your local area.

Matching keywords such as “nail artist in Maida Vale” is a signal for Google that your page will be useful to searchers looking for nail services in this particular area of London. The search engine understands the match and includes your GMB profile on the Local 3-Pack listing.

Put your matching keywords only where it makes sense and write copy that flows nicely. Otherwise, Google’s algorithm may demote your listing.

4. Add relevant photos or videos

Adding photos to your GMB posts elevates your listing and can make you stand out from the competition.

Images and videos help you tell your business’s story and capture the attention of Google users.

A GMB listing with good images – such as happy faces of people working for your business – can evoke emotions and increase the likelihood of searchers to visit your website or contact you. Feel confident to add images with your brand’s logo, as well as the exterior and interior of your store, so that people recognise it when they pass by or come to shop for the first time.

They also help Google algorithms’ validate your business and rank it higher into the Local 3-Pack listing.

5. Double-check all information is right

Take time to create an informative and well-written business description, no more than 750 characters, that would also include 2-3 relevant keywords.

Double-check that all the information you provided are correct, such as address and phone numbers. Choose a local phone number that makes your local listing more trustworthy and can also help you rank higher.

6. Add posts to your Google My Business listing

Adding a post to your GMB profile can help you attract more customers. A well-written post of no more than 300 words that includes relevant keywords and a call-to-action can make a difference to your ranking!

With the GMB posts you can promote your products or services, share important business information, inform Google searchers about events you might organise or highlight any special offers.

A GMB post lasts for 7 days and then Google sends you a reminder to replace them with a new post.

7. Collect reviews and reply to them

Here is your chance to engage with your existing customers, understand how your business is perceived and what are customers’ feelings and thoughts about it, as well as attract new customers.

As a business owner you should reply to all customer reviews, either they’re good or bad. A ‘thank you’ response to a client who got happy and satisfied with your products or services increases the chance to visit you again in the future.

In the case of a negative review, it’s even more important to reply to the dissatisfied customer. Apologise; show you take every clients’ comments seriously into consideration so that you improve your business; thank them for their feedback and try to reverse the negative perception they have for your business.

It’s absolutely normal even for the best businesses to get some negative reviews every now and then. But if the number of negative reviews is very small compared to the positive ones, they don’t really matter neither for customers nor for Google’s algorithms.

To understand how important reviews are for your business and local listing, have a look at these stats:

  • GMB profiles with the most reviews are 63% more likely to appear into the Local 3-Pack Listing
  • Businesses included in the Local 3-Pack Listings have about 472% more reviews than businesses found lower in Google’s search results

Extra tip – when responding to reviews, use relevant keywords and mention the location of your business. For example, “I am delighted that our nail artists in Maida Vale offered you an exceptional manicure. Should you need an experienced nail artist again, we’ll be happy to serve you.”

8. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

It’s a fact that the majority of searches on Google are done on mobile devices. That’s why Google has switched to a mobile-first index, meaning that it ranks your website higher if it has a responsive design – or else, it’s mobile-friendly!

Having a mobile-friendly website linked to your Google My Business listing might help your rank higher on Google search results and include you into the Local 3-Pack!

If you’d like to know more about Google My Business and Local SEO, speak to a member of YoYo’s team. We’ll be delighted to help you!