Google My Business: Benefits and Best Practices to Attract New Customers
We live in a world where information is not only a necessity and easily accessible but also expected. Consumers expect to find what they are looking for online. Whether it is about business operation hours, the contact number of a restaurant for a reservation, or the price list of a certain hair salon, it has become so simple to look up all these pieces of information.
When people need to find business, product, or service information, they can turn to Google search. For this reason, local and small businesses should take full advantage of the situation as well as Google’s directory tool known as Google My Business (GMB).
Why Use Google My Business
Let us say that you are a TV mechanic. If you have listed your business in a local business directory, such as GMB, but your competitors have not, you gain a huge advantage over everyone else. You will get more service requests or calls to inquire about your business than your rivals in the business.
That is not all. Take a look at these numbers…
- In 2015, almost 70% of online searches were made via Google.
- This year, the percentage grew to 80%.
- One out of five searches is about a place or a business.
Customers demand updated information about a company or product and 38% of them would not make transactions unless the local result for the business is correct and accurate.
Google recently revealed that one out three searches is for looking up a local business.
The search engine giant also confirmed that 50% of smartphone owners who search for local businesses end up visiting the company on the same day.
18% of the visiting customers end up buying a product.
If your company depends on local consumer traffic, the stats above clearly shows that it is crucial to make your business visible online in the search results.
Attracting local customers has become more straightforward, and it is all thanks to technology. You can now market your business in your city, town, or even at distinct postcode levels. When you market within a specific geographical area, you get much better results compared to blanket-style marketing. This is especially true if your ultimate goal is to appeal to more local customers in your area.
With Google owning a total search engine market share between 70% to 90% globally – which will not decline anytime soon – getting noticed is much easier when you sign up for GMB. If you are still unconvinced, here are even more reasons why listing your business online is a must.
It is cost-effective.
Google My Business is completely free, which gives startups that have a limited budget a chance to market their business. As the top search engine for several years now, you are putting your company in front of numerous potential customers.
It helps boost your visibility on both Google search results and maps.
The prime real estate that your profile can occupy in the results page is one of the biggest benefits you can get from Google My Business. Profiles of those that signed up for GMB appear in the three-pack area, as well as in Google Maps.
For instance, if you search for something, you will notice that the first three listings are generally for Google AdWords ads or the paid search. The second part is you will see a map where there are often three results (three-pack) highlighted in a certain local area. The third part involves the organic results.
The three-pack section used to be made of seven to 10 search results. They were soon changed to three to accommodate mobile users with relatively small screens. Now, if you list your business with Google, it will appear in the three-pack. This space is valuable for your business as it can add potential revenue when your business appears prominent in the search results.
Potential customers can use different platforms.
Because Google has optimized the search results for mobile users, your prospects can readily access information about your company whether they are using a desktop computer, a smartphone, or a tablet.
You are free to add (or even remove) pertinent information about your business.
Google lets you add or delete all the kinds of information you want when you create your GMB profile. As much as possible, add lots of details, which can contribute to your ranking. Plus, the more information you provide, the more convenient it is for your potential customers since they do not have to go elsewhere to find specific details such as…
- The whole name of your business
- The physical address
- Your location on Google Maps
- Your email address
- Your website URL
- A pin marker
- Open hours
- Business category
- A summary of your business
- Driving and parking information
- Special promotions
- Your phone number
- Neighborhood keywords
It also helps if you include well-lit and clear photos of your business. Informative and pleasing videos also bump up your search ranking as well as the chance to land new customers.
Updating is so easy.
One of the best qualities of GMB is that its dashboard is quite simple to manage. You can update your business information as well as review, read, and respond to various activities on your profile without going to another page. You can even share your updates, new products or services, and other specials in your Google+ account.
You can track your rankings on Google.
There are a few ways to make sure you are visible online and setting up a GMB account is among the most effective methods. You can get the most out of the powerful feature by checking your ranking in the search results as well as in Google Maps.
For example, if your SEO keyword phrase is “hair salons open on Saturdays,” you can keep an eye on that exact phrase using every zip code combination that you want to reach. You can also track by the neighborhood where you have your business, and other geographic locations that you are interested in following.
Doing so can help you understand what your customers are looking for. It also enables you to make strategic plans for your course of action to help increase traffic to your business, both online and offline.
Examples of How Google My Business Benefit Local Brands
Many local brands have experienced some, if not all, of the benefits above. Here are some of the businesses that used – and still use – GMB to promote their brand and attract more customers:
A local dentist in Miami
A Miami dentist has joined Google My Business. He was initially ranked at the 200th spot, particularly for the key phrase “teeth whitening Miami” before he created his GMB profile. After a month of using GMB, his ranking for the same key phrase increased to 186.
The competition was high for the phrase, so he turned to other phrases while still keeping the original one. After three months, his ranking skyrocketed to the 14th spot on the Google search results page. In just a year, the local dentist saw a 3333% increase in his rankings (where he climbed to the 6th spot) just because of his GMB page, which he made sure to keep updated regularly.
With the tough competition these days, if you do not have your business listed on the first page or the top 10 of the search results, most consumers will look for another company. For this local dentist in Miami, he realized that Google gets approximately 2/3 of all the traffic on the Internet and about 90% of that traffic is limited to the first page results.
When the dentist’s local ranking increased, so did his customers.
Optometrist in Chicago
Just like the dentist above, this optometrist from Chicago ranked at the 200th spot for all four of his targeted keywords in the local scene. Samples of his keywords were Chicago Lasik and Lasik Chicago. The optometrist was unhappy with the results, which was why he turned to Google My Business. The competition was high on all his four keywords. When he used GMB, he immediately saw a great increase in rankings in the first month when he landed at the 63rd spot for his keyword Chicago Lasik.
After three months, the optometrist was enjoying the 23rd spot for the same keyword. After 12 months of using GMB, his ranking climbed to the first spot, giving him 20,000% increase in ranking. Of course, it did not just involve him creating a Google My Business profile. It entailed hard work as well.
The keyword “Chicago Lasik” has an average of 170 searches per month, but the competition was still very tough. The optometrist managed to crack the second page of the search results in month 6 of using GMB, and this progressed even further as the business climbed to the top spot in month 9 and maintained the ranking until month 12.
The secret is to make sure all the pieces of information provided are up-to-date. The optometrist also included keywords to help his customers find him in the local area.
The owner named Paul set up a Google My Business page for his barbershop. It took him more than three weeks to get the code from Google, which allowed him to verify his account. After the verification process, he gained at least four new customers in just the first week of creating the profile.
The number may seem small, especially for those who wish to target more new customers. However, four new people helped his business, especially with the fact that guys get a haircut every five weeks. That is equivalent to 10 visits per year from the same guy. The barbershop did not generate huge income, but after the boost, they started to get more customers, which is equivalent to more money.
Paul added his personal mobile number for the business page. It was his way of measuring whether or not GMB was helpful for his business. The first few weeks were a success because he got more calls than he used to and those people who talked to him visited his barbershop the same day.
Buffalo Wild Wings
The company already had a TV advertisement, but they were not getting many calls from people. They later found out that their business could not be found online. They were listed on many online directories, but the information was inconsistent and inaccurate.
It is important to know that there are some people who would list your business in GMB. What Buffalo Wild Wings did is that they claimed a listing and corrected the information found there. They also fixed some relevant keywords and placed their business in the right category. They immediately saw an increase in both local and organic search, which boosted their revenue to 333%.
Best Practices for Google My Business Profiles
There have been some changes in 2017 for GMB, and you can keep up with these modifications with the following techniques…
- Use UTM codes when you use the Posts feature since it does not work well with Google Analytics.
- You can use up to 300 characters in the description of your Post, but keep in mind that only the first 100 will appear as a snippet. Make sure every character counts.
- Always fill out your listing accurately and truthfully; otherwise, Google will have your business blacklisted.
- Although Google will not penalize you for choosing not to have reviews for your listing, they can help boost your brand. Ask your customers to rate their experience in your GMB profile and reap the rewards in the future.
- You can also learn how to Analyze Your Customers with Google My Business Insights.
When you are ready, go to google.com/mybusiness to get started. Agree to the terms and conditions and fill out the form that asks for information about your business, including its name, category, and phone number. Remember that every piece of information you provide will not appear unless you have verified that your business really exists.
For more tips about Google My Business, check out the follow-up article -> Expert Tips on How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
- Getting your business online can help people find you, and keeping your information up-to-date can encourage them to become customers.
- Google My Business is a free service that lets you create or claim a business listing that can appear in Google Search and on Google Maps.
- To get started, sign into google.com/business, enter your legal business information, choose a business category, and verify your listing.