Why Google for Business is Important and Why You Should Use It
People turn to Google for business to discover solutions to their pressing questions and problems. This is particularly relevant for users of mobile devices.
You don’t want to lose any potential of getting found, especially considering the fact that approximately one-third of all mobile searches are related to location.
One of the most important factors in being noticed locally on search is having a Google My Business account.
Google My Business is an effective search engine optimization tool that can help your company keep one step ahead of the competition. Maintaining correct information on your website, attracting new consumers, and engaging with those who have already purchased from you are all possible with a Google Business listing.
Imagine Google My Business as a digital sign that welcomes consumers into your establishment with the message “I’m Open for Business.”
Customers are provided with a forceful delivery of crucial information, such as an address, phone number, reviews, and offers, among other things.
So how exactly does Google figure out when to display your company’s information? Or, to put it another way, how does Google decide to prioritize your listing over those of your rivals and vice versa?
The success of a local search on Google is dependent on three factors: proximity, prominence, and relevancy.
How Google Gives Priority to Certain Local Businesses in Search Results
Imagine for a moment that you own a pizza shop in Kansas City. If a person residing in Kansas City were to use Google to search for “pizza near me,” you would hope that your establishment would come up in the search results, right? In principle, this is true; however, Kansas City is a large city, and so is Google.
Instead, Google provides search results to users based on a combination of three criteria.
The following is a breakdown of those contributing factors:
The degree to which an online business listing corresponds to a user’s inquiries is referred to as its level of relevance. If you were looking for a dentist in the area, for instance, Google would not show results for other types of businesses, such as auto mechanics, bakers, and so on.
Advice: If you want Google to understand your business listing better, make sure that it has comprehensive and accurate information about what your company does and the specifics of how it operates.
Distance: The distance between each competitor’s business and the location term that was used in a search (for example, “around me” or “in Olathe, KS”) is what is used to calculate the score for distance. It’s possible that other businesses will rank higher than you in local search results depending on how far away they are.
A helpful hint is that Google’s algorithms will calculate the distance based on what is known about the user’s location even if the user does not specify a location when conducting a search.
The prominence of a company is measured by how well-known it is. When something is more well-known, there is a greater chance that it will appear prominently in the search results for its location.
A helpful hint is that prominence is also determined by the information that Google has collected about a company from across the web.
While these 3 local ranking factors on Google are important, businesses must also consider other Search Engine Optimization best practices such as a website’s overall health, on-page content, high-quality backlinks, and more.
Now that you understand how Google ranks your listing, it’s time to create, claim, and verify your Google My Business listing.
Need More Reviews on Google?
Let customer’s know you’re a 5-star business with more reviews on Google. Here’s how.
How to Get Your Business on Google
Before you start, set up a Google account.
Once you’re logged in, visit www.google.com/business and enter your business name and address.
Tell Me More
Google My Business Name Address
If your business appears, click the listing and hit “next”
If your business doesn’t appear, select “add your business.”
Google Local Business Account Set Up
Adding your business is easy. Simply fill out the necessary information including, business name, country, address city, state, zip code, etc.
If you are a service area business, then select “I serve customers at their location.” Then select your service radius.
Google My Business Location Info Tip: When adding your business information accuracy is key, and details matter. Street vs St, Suite vs. #, these can mean different things to Google. Consistency helps Google recognize your business and build confidence in your listing.
Now that you’ve claimed your business listing, it’s time to verify it.
How to Verify Google My Business Listing
For your Google listing to show up in local search results, you’ll need to verify it.
The verification process helps Google make sure your business information is accurate and only you, the business owner or manager, has access to it.
Google’s verification methods include by:
Postcard: Enter your business address in Google My Business to verify your business listing by mail. You’ll receive a postcard with a verification code to be entered in Google My Business.
Phone: If eligible, you’ll see the Verify by Phone option. If you don’t see it, you will need to verify your listing by mail instead.
Email: Only offered to some businesses. Before trying to verify your listing by email, make sure you have access to the email address shown on the verification screen.
Instant verification: You may be able to verify your listing instantly if your business website is already verified in the Google Search Console.
Bulk verification: Business listings may be eligible for bulk verification if you manage 10 or more locations of the same business.
Tip: While your Google listing is in the verification process, do not edit your business name, address, or category, until you’ve completed the process.
What if Someone Already Verified My Account?
If you’re account has been verified by someone else, here’s what you can do:
Check if the listing was verified through an older email ID and see if you access with that
Contact the page owner and request access
Request access from Google
After you’ve setup and verified your new Google My Business account, you’ll have access to powerful features under Google Business Dashboard.
Google Business Dashboard
Google My Business Dashboard provides an easy way to manage your business’s information – all from one place.
Google My Business Dashboard
The navigation panel on the left side makes it easy to update features of your business.
Let’s take a closer look at the different sections to maximize your Google listing.
Google My Business Insights
Gain valuable insights about your business with Google My Business Insights Report. Learn how customers are interacting with your business, how they find you, and more.
Google My Business Insights
How Customers Search for Your Business
There are 2 ways customers find your listing – direct or discovery. You can filter the results to get weekly, monthly, and quarterly results. The results look like this:
Google My Business Customer Search Where Customers View Your Business on Google
A Google listing isn’t only exclusive to Search. Your business can show up on maps, too.
Google My Business Customer Search View Customer Actions
How do customers engage with your listing once they find it? With Google My Business Insights you can see if they visit your website, call your business, or request directions.
Google My Business Customer Actions
Other Google My Business Insights Include:
Day of the week customers call
These valuable insights allow you to learn about your business visibility on Google and areas of improvement.
But wait! There’s more!
Google My Business Insights is just one of the many free features you get with your listing. Let’s explore the others.
Google My Business Highlights
GMB offers businesses the ability to optimize their listing online and increase their brand’s visibility through a variety of customizable features. See below.
Don’t have a website yet? Don’t worry.
With Google My Business, you can build a free website. It’s easy to create and edit the site from your computer and phone. The feature is mostly free, although there is a cost to get a custom domain.
Google My Business Build Free Website Reviews
85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Which is why online reviews are essential for customer acquisition and satisfaction.
To deliver the most relevant and beneficial results for local searches, Google Reviews not only want to know what your business does, but how your business is perceived.
Reviews offers an opportunity to get immediate customer feedback while building confidence in your business and increasing visibility on local results.
Google My Business Reviews Q & A
With Q&A, customers can ask a question right on your Google business listing easily. To save customers time, you can pin frequently asked questions and highlight the top answers.
Google My Business Faq
Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps. These posts place content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.
Types of Posts you can create include updates, offers, events and products. Here’s an example:
Did you know your customers — and potential customers — can send you text messages? This is a great way to connect directly with people interested in your offerings, and a great way to engage with people looking at your GMB listing (and you know Google is always watching engagement.)
Messaging is an optional feature using your cell phone number and is essentially a chat feature for current and potential customers to reach you by SMS/text.
Google My Business Messaging Booking
When people find your business on Google, they can also book your services right from your business listing. Then, you can easily track all the bookings that come from your Google local listing.
To enable the booking button, sign in to your Google My Business account and choose one of the scheduling partners.
Google My Business Booking
After you finish building your Google My Business listing, it’s time to optimize it for local search results.
The Services list provides categorization and listing of your services (or food items) and prices. Potential customers easily see what you offer when they find your listing.
Photos & Videos
Photos and videos are a great way to stand out in search results. This feature allows both business owners and customers to add photos on your Google listing.
Take advantage of this feature by showcasing your products and services. Also, customize your profile image, cover photo, and more to stand out.
Feeling the power of Google My Business yet? Once you get your listing set up, consider these optimization tips to take visibility even further.
How to Optimize Your Google Business Listing
Now that you understand the features and importance of Google My Business in the local search results, don’t forget to optimize it for maximum performance. Here’s a short checklist to help:
Verify your location: This ensures you have access to your business information and Google will show it in the search results.
Ask and respond to reviews: Remember – this is what potential and current customers notice. And how you handle customer service can easily take you from a 3-star rating to a 5 star rating.
Post frequently: Posting from your Google My Business listing with updates, events, and/or offers helps catch the eye of visitors the moment they’re searching on Google. Try to post at least once a week.
Watch your competitors: What are they doing and how can you do it better?
But Wait – There IS a Downfall to Google My Business
By now you’re probably thinking, “Google My Business…is this too good to be true?”
Of course, there is one pitfall.
Your competitors can edit your listing. Doesn’t sound fair, right?
Our clients have experienced this time and time again.
Recently, an orthodontist contacted us because they noticed their business hours had been updated from 8:00AM–5:00PM to 2:00AM–6:00AM.
Any incorrect information impacts how others perceive and trust your brand. Whether it’s an incorrect phone number or website, the accuracy of this information matters and affects how customers connect with you.
Google loves getting data from other sources and relies on all users to keep the information up to date. There’s nothing to prevent others from editing your listing to incorrect information.
So, what can you do instead? Be proactive.
Google sometimes notifies you when this occurs:
Via your Google email Edits show up in the Google My Business dashboard as “Updates from Google.”
Many people think if they don’t “accept” these edits in the Google My Business dashboard, the listing won’t be updated. But this is not the case.
If you don’t accept the edits made, you actually need to edit the listing again to revert it back to the correct information.
The only way to ensure your listing stays up to date is with a proactive maintenance strategy. Which, let’s face it, can take you away from managing your business and focusing on other priorities.
Don’t Wait While Your Competitors Get Ahead on Google for business
Is Google My Business worth it? Absolutely! It’s one of the many SEO tactics that helps establish your business online.
Ready to take charge of your business’s online presence? Let’s get to work.