Branding

What is Google My Business?

By Mark Fairlie

“Google My Business” is an increasingly important feature deployed by Google which allows businesses to be seen by people local to them searching for the types of products or services they offer. It’s very effective and doing it successfully leads to significant jumps in the levels of enquiries for businesses.

It’s something we’re being asked for more and more here at Maxweb so our search engine optimisation specialists have put together this article describing what “Google My Business” is, what it does, and how to make it work for you. Don’t forget that, if you want us to do this for you, our details are at the end of this piece.

What is local SEO?

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Whenever you search on Google, you actually see two sets of listings – “organic” and “sponsored”.

Sponsored listings, or paid listings, are adverts that are paid for by individual companies and organisations. They always appear with an “Ad” sign right next to their listing – this lets searchers know that the link has been sponsored. The Google system used for advert placements like this is called “Google AdWords.”

Organic listings are those results which are not paid for. Rather, the position they appear in on Google searches is governed by the content and authority of their website. You may also see them referred to as “natural” results.

Organic listings are highly prized. They attract the most clicks – 70-95% of searchers choose organic listing first, 20 times the level achieved by AdWords listings (source: Conductor).

It takes a lot of work, thought, and time to appear on the first page of a Google search result query. Big companies often pay SEO technicians £10,000s a month to help them position their site at the top of a search engine. They pay this because what they pay an SEO technician for their services generates their company more leads and costs a lot less than sponsored listings.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a specialist type of search engine optimisation. Google has reported that 46% of the searches they perform for their visitors has a “local intent” – this means that people are looking for companies providing goods and services who are based near to where they live and work.

When a searcher is looking for “boiler repairs in Newcastle” or “boiler repairs near me”, Google knows that their visitor is expecting them to show them results of companies local to them and adjusts what it displays accordingly.

Have you ever performed a search like that and seen three to five listings at the top of the page accompanied by a map of your local area? That’s called the “local pack” and the results shown often display information like opening times and online reviews.

Companies appearing in the local pack benefit greatly from it but you need a specific set of SEO tactics to be included. One of those tactics is to use “Google My Business” correctly.

Despite its proven marketing benefits, the Local Marketing Institute reports that a surprising 56% of businesses still have not done anything with the tool to date.

Searchengineland reports that nearly two-thirds of local people use search engines to find suppliers and nearly four fifths of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase.

Google My Business – how it works

What can visitors see?

When a visitor finds your Google My Business Listing, they’ll see:

  • your company name
  • your business address
  • your telephone number
  • hours of opening
  • link to your website
  • photos
  • reviews of your business (together with a five star rating). Sometimes, those reviews are left with Google and other times, they’ll be drawn from sites like Trustpilot.

Create a listing

You’ll need to create a Google account for your business if you don’t have one. With your log-in details to hand, visit google.com/business. You’ll see in the top right corner of your screen a “Start Now” button.

Enter your business details in as much detail as you possibly can to give Google the information it needs to understand where you are. If you deliver to people’s homes or workplaces, you can also let Google know the exact areas.

Verify your business

Once you’ve filled in your details, Google wants to verify your business and your connection to it.

You can ask Google to contact you by postcard, phone, or email to provide you with the next verification step. If you choose “phone”, you’ll receive a text message with the code you need to proceed.

Optimise your listing

Once you’ve verified your listing, it’s time to tell Google and, by extension, their searchers as much about your company as possible. Google is in the business of providing people with the results they need to answer the question they have and they’ll always favour listings which receive good feedback from users because of the quality and quantity of detail given.

Adding photographs and videos

Google recently published figures showing that businesses which use photos on their Google My Business profile receive 35% more click throughs to their website and 42% more driving directions request. You can also add videos of 30 seconds or less to your profile although no statistics have been provided yet on their effectiveness.

Customer reviews

Many business owners live in understandable fear of negative reviews on the internet. After all, you might serve 1,000 customers a week but, if you make a mistake with one, it will be that person who tells their story online and not the 999 other customers.

It’s always worth addressing both positive and negative comments online so that your side of the story is told in equal prominence to that of the complainant. Plus, the extra activity on your Google My Business profile is positive from Google’s point of view when it’s deciding how prominently your site features on search results.

Coming soon? Taking bookings and receiving text messages

Currently in the US and rumoured to be coming to the UK are “Reserve with Google” which allows you to book appointments with local businesses (and even make payment) via the Google My Business panel. There’s also a feature enabling SMS text message communication between you and your clients. Watch the Maxweb blog for news on when and if they hit Britain.

Maxweb are Google My Business Experts

We’ve seen the power of a well-executed Google My Business campaign for ourselves and for our clients so we strongly encourage you to get in touch to find out more. Please call Maxweb on 0151 652 4777 or email us at info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.

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