Over the years, Google has revolutionized the way online businesses work, and it is continuing to do so with every passing day. From acquiring YouTube and giving video marketing a new shape to competing with Facebook via Google Plus, Google’s journey has certainly benefited small to medium sized businesses the most. Such businesses have found online marketing techniques a lot more economical and effective. And, it keeps getting better every day!
Google has offered yet another effective platform to connect with customers, improve your search engine rankings and eventually get more customers for your business online. If you haven’t guessed it yet then yes we are talking about Google Business. From digital agencies to ecommerce and wedding planning businesses, all have benefited from being listed on Google My Business, and so can you!
In this article, we will be going through the following, to give you a complete understanding of the benefits and functions of Google My Business:
- What is Google My Business?
- The Importance of Google My Business
- The Benefits of Google My Business
- How to Your Business Listed on Google My Business
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a major component of Google’s power suite for online marketing. As of now, Google+, Adwords, Google Maps, Google Search and Google Insights are connected with Google My Business.
With that said, do keep in mind that while Google My Business is a key component, it is not the only thing you should be focusing on.
Google My Business is the replacement of Google Places, which means it provides a platform for your business to be displayed in search results, reviews, maps and Google+ profiles.
The Importance of Google My Business:
Believe it or not, Google My Business is part of Google’s big plan to integrate all its mechanics into one suite, to provide users an easier way out to reach out to their potential customers. When you sign up for Google My Business, your business not only shows up in search results but also on maps, locations and reviews. We all know that local businesses are given preference by detecting a searcher’s location. Google My Business plays an important role here. It brings up your business on the map and has the review snippet against it. In other words, it is an effective technique of bringing your website in the localized search results.
The Benefits of Google My Business:
Google My Business has revolutionized localized search results, alongside a lot of other benefits. Let’s go through them in detail:
Great for Local SEO – Higher Regional Visibility:
Google My Business is highly beneficial for Local SEO purposes. Local SEO is the process of ensuring that your business is displayed on top in search engine results for local searches. This type of search engine optimizing can do a great deal of good to businesses that function physically more than digitally, such as restaurants, coffee shops and the like. Previously, businesses had to compete with other businesses that weren’t in the locality. In order to set this right, Google initially started off with localized search results, where local businesses were given importance over businesses outside the region of the searcher, provided the searcher specified the region in the search.
If your business is listed in Google My Business, it will be displayed above the standard search results with maps and other snippets. This means that if you are targeting your local audience, you won’t to worry about international competitors anymore. Searchers will see a list of local businesses with maps, reviews, descriptions and directions above and on the right side of standard search results.
Your NAP, Description and Reviews Displayed Right Away!
With Google My Business, it has become easier than ever to give your customers the most important information of your business; NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number), business description and reviews. Why does this matter? It’s simple – your potential users won’t have to go through the many pages of your website to make calls or find your address. They can now see the NAP right away in search engine results. In addition, a well-crafted, eye-catching description can really convert potential leads into customers without the searcher even visiting your website. If you have bagged good reviews from your customers, it becomes another convincing factor for your audience to do business with you. You can even display your hours of operation, operational days and other similar information.
You Get on the Map – Makes You Easier to Find…
Google Maps is currently the most popular mapping application. It’s comes built-in with most android phones, which means it is almost used by half of the android users worldwide. Not just the mobile application, even the web version is a widely used mapping platform. Google My Business gives you the power to be included in the maps being accessed by users worldwide. And, not just your location, users will now be able to see your business information, reviews, NAP and ratings.
Increases Mobile and Tablet Outreach:
Google has been working hard to ensure mobile optimization of search results is at its best, and it has done wonders till now. Unlike the standard search results, Google My Business shows the same search results on mobile and tablets, which means your search appearance is consistent regardless of the device being used by your audience.
An Important Platform for Communication and Outreach:
Much like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, Google My Business stands as an important platform for your business to be listed on. It not only increases your outreach but also gives your potential customers a chance to interact with you through messages, discussions, reviews and much more!
Access to Google+ Users:
For sure, Google+ has not been able to defeat or even come close to the success of Facebook – the social media titan – it still is a worthy opponent. According to a survey at the end of 2014, 38% users of internet in the USA are using Google+. In addition, Google+ gives you 100% reach as opposed to Facebook that only gives you 1% reach. By reach, what we mean is that when you post an update on your page, it goes to a certain number of people and this is known as your social media ‘reach’.
In addition, another survey showed that 13% of the small businesses in the USA are using Google+. Of course, this is nothing compared to the 41% on Facebook, yet it is a considerable amount of businesses, which you can connect with.
How to Set Up Your Google My Business Profile:
As with any other Google+, the set up is almost self-explanatory. However, there are certain areas where you might a bit of expert advice to do it right. Let’s get to it right away:
Sign Up with Google:
We believe you are already using a Google account. If you are not then you need to sign up for an account first in order to set up your My Business profile.
Select Your Business Type:
Once you sign up, the very next thing to do is to select the type of business you have. This gets a bit confusing for some people. Let’s clear the confusions here. You have three options and here’s what each option is for:
- Storefront: As the name implies, this is mostly for businesses that have physical presences such as restaurants, hotels and the like. Pretty simple, eh?
- Service Area: This is an important option for digital business providers or home-based businesses. If you don’t have a physical location yet you are focusing your business on a certain locale, then you can add your service area here.
- Brand: This one is mainly for products, music bands, etc. In other words, products that are not limited to a certain locale or region can select this option.
Add Business Listing:
Regardless of what option you choose from the aforementioned options, you will have to create a business listing first. Here, you will be adding all the important information about your business that will help Google verify it.
Note that if you don’t want your location to be made public, you can enter the regions where you deliver the goods and services. You can enter zip codes, custom radius or areas where your business is delivering goods or services.
Once you have completed the aforementioned steps, next you will have to verify your business listings. Google does this by sending a mail to your physical location with a verification code.
Promoting with Adwords:
While you are waiting for Google’s mail, you can set up your business profile and start promoting your business via Adwords Express. What’s that you may ask? Adwords Express is a pay per click service that can ensure your listing can appear in more places. However, do note that this is not a mandatory step.
Google’s Insights Tool:
This is probably one of the best things about Google. Once your business is verified, you can actually use the Insights tool to see how many times your listing has been viewed.
Get Your Brand Page Up:
You can also have your very own brand page. You can create a brand page and verify it through SMS or call to your phone. Once you have brand page, yo can populate it with information about your business and the like.
Start Managing Your Google My Business Listing:
Now that you have your brand page, business listing and My Business profile, you can start managing it through the online dashboard, which is probably the best thing about. It’s quite user-friendly, and you can even use the mobile applications for Android or iOS to manage your business profile.
What can you do?
- You can respond to reviews
- Update business information
- Reply to queries
- Reply to feedback
Plugins for WordPress:
Another great thing about Google My Business is that it offers loads of WordPress plugins. If you have a WordPress website and you want plugins, then you wouldn’t have to look around hard. One of the best is the Google Places Reviews plugin, which you can use to manage reviews on your page by placing them on your website as well through the widgets. It also allows you to add these reviews in your pages, posts and other content by using shortcodes.
I would say Google My Business is an essential component for your online marketing strategy. Since Google is bringing together all its products to create one powerful suite of marketing tools, it makes sense to be on My Business. In addition, with the numerous benefits we just discussed and the fact that it is quite easy to manage, I believe it is a must for every business to have. If you have a tool that gives you free opportunity to interact with your customers and boast your reviews then why not use it for your benefit?