Google My Business (commonly referred to as GMB) is a powerful tool for small business owners. It’s completely free, incredibly easy to set up, and gives your business AND your website massive credibility. Not only will people trust your business more, but so will Google - with better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes better listings in search results and placements on Google Maps
From Google themselves: “Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google” (Google).
Have you ever seen this when you Google search for a business?
This is called a Google My Business listing. If your business has a physical location, or provides a service to a specific area, then your business is eligible for a Google My Business Profile.
To create your free Google My Business account, head to https://www.google.com/business/.
It is likely your business may already have a listing and you simply need to claim it.
Unless of course you are a newer business that Google has not found yet, then you may have to set it up.
Not only does having a solid GMB profile give your business credibility, but it will actually result in many more clicks - whether it’s to your website, your phone number, or your booking widget. GMB allows you to directly list your phone number, photos of your business/services/products, your address, website, hours and more. Think of GMB as a customer fast-track to accessing the vital details of your business.
- The average business is found in 1,009 searches per month, with 84% of these coming from discovery searches
- Listings with photos are 2x as likely to be considered reputable and get 35% more clicks
- 49% of businesses receive more than 1,000 Views on Search per month
- Around 90% of the whole world population only look at the first-page result
- Factors customer care most about: rating (84%), legitimacy (81%), recency (80%), sentiment (79%), quantity (79%), responding to reviews (78%), photos (64%).
- 90% of people read reviews before purchasing
- 84% of searches are discovery, while 16% are direct
- Canada receives the highest number of average direct and discovery searches (1,229), at a rate of 13% direct to 87% discovery
- When writing a review, 20% of consumers expect to receive a response within one day
- There was a 61% increase in calls from Google My Business from January 2020 to July 2020
- A typical business gets 59 actions from their GMB listing every month. And this translates to 5% of GMB listing views resulting in some sort of action
- Local businesses receive 94% of calls from GMB between Monday and Friday
- The most likely time to receive calls from GMB is 10 am to 12 pm
- Our research into consumers’ use of Google My Business and local business websites found that 64% have used GMB to find contact details for a local business – and this figure is likely to grow
- Hotels have the highest number of views on both Search and Maps each month
- There are over 3.5 billion searches per day
- In comparison, businesses in the USA receive 26% of their views from Maps results
- On average, 56% of actions on GMB listings are website visits
- 16% of businesses receive more than 100 calls each month from GMB
- Google My Business listings have an average of 11 photos
With numbers like these, it is easy to see why it is worth a few minutes of your time to set up a GMB for your business.
This needs to be 100% accurate. While this may seem like a given, many businesses type their address differently in different listings. For example: “Street” is not the same as “ST” or including “Inc.” in one listing and not another is two different addresses. Including your business in many business directories provides additional exposure and is recommended by SEO experts however your listings need to be completely identical. The first place to start is to ensure your business name and address are the same on your website and GMB listing.
The vast majority of searches are conducted on a mobile phone. Not only should you include your phone, but it should be clickable so that consumers can call you with one click.
List your hours of operation. Consumers want to know when to visit you - if your hours of operation are not stated the consumer may just move on to the next listing.
Declaring a category is incredibly important, as it dictates which searches your business will be served up in. You can set both primary and secondary categories for your Google My Business listing. You are allowed up to 10 categories. Check your competitors and peers to see what categories they are listed under. Be as specific as possible, Google does not like spam.
Want your Google My Business profile to stand out? Make sure you have good photos! The photos of your business is the first thing Google users see when they view your GMB profile. Photos can be uploaded by both customers and staff. Uploading your own images will ensure that your business is showcased to the best of its ability. “ 60% of consumers say local search results with good images capture their attention and push them towards a decision.” (BrightLocal)
From Google: There are several types of photos you can add to your Business Profile:
Help your customers recognize your business on Google. For businesses that have their basic information, such as a phone number or hours of operation, the Business Profile highlights the logo.
Set a cover photo at the top of your profile that best represents your business. In some instances, this action doesn’t guarantee the cover photo will show up as the first image for your business.
State what your business is and what product and/or services you provide. Be very clear and concise. Describe what makes your business unique, what differentiates you from everyone else, and keep it short and simple. For some businesses, how long you have been in business may be important. Make sure to carefully choose your high value keywords in your description. Do not overuse or be spammy with your keywords - this is called “stuffing”. Stuffing makes for bad reading, does not look professional, and Google may penalize you.
Not only does a robust and well-configured GMB profile provide a higher amount of calls, website visits, storefront visits and bookings, but it also provides a direct communication channel to your customers via Google reviews.
When a Google user is trying to decide where to eat, shop, or experience, they will almost always consider a Google review. Managing your Google reviews is easy to do, and can be the deciding factor for many Google users.
It’s important to respond to ALL of your Google reviews - both the good and the bad ones. If someone is taking the time and energy to leave a review, chances are they had an impactful experience at/with your business. Responding to a positive review can help affirm a customer's good feelings towards your business, while responding to a negative review allows you to mitigate damage from a potential bad experience with your business. We get it - oftentimes a customer review can be totally bogus, or borderline fabricated. Responding to these reviews may not do so much to the off-their-rocker reviewer, but it can have an astronomical impact on potential customers reading reviews that haven’t visited your business before.