If you run a business in this day and age, you’re likely to have at least heard of Google My Business. If you haven’t, shame on you and well, you might as well close up shop now. I’m kidding. At least, I’m sort of kidding.
Google My Business is a 100% free to use feature that Google provides businesses to expand their reach locally. It’s especially useful for business with physical locations and shop fronts that customers visit. Google loves making money, it also loves making people happy because happy people make it more money. Which is why Google focuses its time, effort and money on providing the ultimate search experience. If people are searching for things on their search engine, they’re happy. But, if people are also finding what they’re looking for, it’s even better.
Google My Business is a great way to get your business found and shown to people in your local area. People who are looking for services just like yours.
So what does it do? More to the point, why do you need it?
1. It’s free
Number one on the list is that fact that it’s free. If Google offers you something for free, you take it. This is the largest search engine in the entire world. They’re offering you something entirely free of charge. There’s no catch here, let me be clear about that. No hidden way they make money from you, or hidden charges they charge you. Nothing. You literally sign up or claim your business and away you go. Just like that.
2. Prime Real Estate
Google My Business offers you a massive chunk of the page and not just any page, the first page! The page of all pages. The page we all compete to be the top of. Yes, that one! Google My Business takes up a large part of the user screen when set up properly. It’s instantly noticed by the person searching for you and your business information is displayed for them to see.
3. Vital to Getting Placed in Google’s “Local 3 Pack”
If you’re not familiar with Google’s local 3 pack or sometimes known as the “map pack” or “local pack” or even the “snack pack” it’s this chunk of rich information you see every time you perform a local search
Google’s Local 3 Pack used to actually be a 7 Pack, with 7 businesses listed, this changed in the Summer of 2015 to coincide with Google’s move to a more mobile centric approach to search results. This information is pulled in directly from Google My Business, so if you don’t have a Google My Business listing set up, you’re likely not going to be found here.
4. Your Information Is Up Front & Centre
Once upon a time, getting your phone number and your businesses information in front of a customer looking for your services was nigh on impossible without spending some serious money and time and investing into your SEO heavily stuffing keywords and doing what you can to show up where you wanted. Whilst it’s still a heavily coveted place to be, Google My Business makes it that little bit easier by showing all of your main business information to the person searching for your business and people who are searching for your services and find you in the local 3 pack.
Photos of your business,
Directions to your business
These are just some of the types of information packed into the Google My Business panel, allowing potential customers to reach you almost instantaneously and with minimal effort.
5. Google Insights
Google My Business isn’t just a pretty way to get your information in front of the people looking for your services. Used properly Google My Business is also a great tool for you to track analytics for people searching for your business and where those people are actually coming from.
You can see a pretty impressive range of analytics, allowing you to better serve your customers and prioritise ways of increasing your SEO. Some of the statistics you can see in your Google My Business Insights panel are:
Queries used to find your business
How customers are searching for your business
Where customers view your business
What actions have been taken
How many direction requests were made for your business
6. Easily Promote Your Services with Google Ads
Google Ads are easily created from your Google My Business dashboard. It actually sends you through to Google AdWords Express which is a simplified version of Google AdWords. Express ideal for someone who has no experience in Google AdWords, but in honesty we never recommend doing this. Express is a great way to launch ads but inevitably it would probably cost you more money than hiring an agency like us to do it, as you can’t optimise the ad properly to get the best ROI. However, it’s still a great addition to Google My Business that is often overlooked.
7. Easily Manage Reviews
The reviews you receive and that are displayed on your Google My Business page are aggregated from various sources. Alongside the review you receive directly on Google, reviews from other channels such as Facebook, Trustpilot and Booking.com for example, are also included as “reviews from the web”.
This provides you with a central hub to respond and engage with your customers reviews, whether good or bad.
Google My Business is an absolutely essential piece of kit for your SEO strategy, more so if you run a business that has a shop front that people visit. The benefits of this free service from Google outweigh any costs you’d pay to set it up. If you haven’t set it up for your business yet, head over to Google now to get started for free. Or if you’d prefer to have trained professionals set it up for you, take a look at our SEO packages for affordable monthly plans.