Most people understand the power of Google. The name has become synonymous with search engines worldwide (not surprising, considering the company claims 86.02% of the search engine market share,) and “to Google” is now widely recognised as a verb.
If you’ve had your website or blog for a while, you’ve probably been working on your SEO to bring more traffic to your site. You might even have experimented with pay-per-click Google advertising. But if you own a small business and haven’t claimed your Google My Business page yet, you’re missing out on potential web traffic, footfall, and revenue.
What is Google My Business?
Any business owner can claim a free Business Profile on Google. Google My Business is a free tool to help you promote your Business Profile (and therefore your business website) in search results and Google Maps. It also allows you to keep your business details – such as opening times and contact information – up to date, share product pictures and special offers, and respond to customer reviews.
You can use Google My Business on your desktop or through the app (also free, and available on Android or iOS.)
Why should I use Google My Business?
According to Hubspot, 46% of Google searches have a local intention. In other words, nearly half of all the searches are from people looking for something in their local area. This means that making sure your business high in the search results for relevant local searches should be a top priority.
This local angle is particularly true if you have a physical store-front, but don’t discount it if your business (like mine) is remote and run entirely online. People still like to shop close to home and work with local businesses when possible.
Google My Business gives you control over how your business appears in search results. It allows you to ensure your information is accurate and up to date. It also helps you to look professional! More and more people base their trust in a business on its digital presence. According to Grasshopper, businesses that are verified via Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable.
Google My Business also allows you to interact directly with customers through responding to reviews, both positive and negative. Since over 90% of people read reviews before making a purchase, the power of a strong review profile cannot be underestimated. Responding shows that you are engaged with your customer base and care what they have to say. A professional response to a negative review can neutralise the damage a bad review can do, and even just saying thank you for a five-start review humanises your brand and makes you look more trustworthy.
Having an active Google My Business presence is one of the best ways to get a spot in the coveted “3 pack” – the boxed top 3 business results relevant to the searcher’s location.
Finally, updating your Google My Business information allows you to show up on Maps. This is pretty much vital for any business with a physical store or location. People need to be able to find you, and Google Maps held a 70% share of the online mapping market as of last year. If you’re not easy to find, they won’t try for very long – they’ll move on and go to one of your competitors instead.
How to Get Started
Now I’ve hopefully convinced you, let’s have a look at how to get started with Google My Business.
First thing’s first – you need to get your account get up. Start here and click the “Manage Now” button to get set up.