Google My Business
Google My Business is just a part of the Google family of products that can help your business gain exposure and build brand authority on Google. Today, Google’s search market share is just shy of 80% according to Search Engine Journal for July 2016. This continued market dominance simply means that businesses cannot ignore tools and utilities that Google makes available for free to help market your business and ensure that their users are finding you when they are looking.
Ultimately, Google is working to provide the best possible experience for anyone using their search engine. This concept makes sense, if they offer the best results and people find what they are looking for – then people will return again and again. This is the story of Google, build something that is great and build loyalty.
If you aren’t using Google My Business, you are missing out on an opportunity for your business. It is likely that your business is already listed and you simply need to claim it and take ownership. The lesson here is simple, don’t let free go to waste. When leveraged properly, Google My Business can generate traffic to your website and generate leads and customers.
We aren’t going to go into great detail withing each section, the “How To” claim, manage and build your Google My Business account are all over the internet. We will provide some links to help expedite the process, such as claiming your listing. You can get started immediately with the How It Works tutorial directly from Google.
Simply: You search for your business on Google. If your listing has not already been claimed, then you can claim your business through the Google website. They offer a couple of options to verify that you are in fact the business owner. One could be a phone call to your business based on the number they have listed. Another is letter with a custom validation code sent to your business address. Obviously the call is much faster – but they may have an incorrect number listed.
Bottom line, this is the first step in beginning the take control of your brand on Google and the fact is it is free. You can begin to connect with others that are looking for your brand or your business but are missing out on the opportunity because the listing isn’t updated or accurate.
Once you have claimed your business listing and associated it with a Google account, you can begin managing a number of elements that can help build your exposure. The obvious elements, like: address, phone and business hours are a great start and something that will inform possible customers about your business. However, Google provides more configuration opportunity that should not be ignored. Your website address is another obvious one, but also categories and labels. These small changes can mean the difference between your listing and your competitors listing showing up on Google when people are seeking your business offerings.
The management portal is easy to use and provides fairly quick updates to the search results. It is important to note that this is not real-time, so when you make changes give it some time to update.
One thing that we have seen happen a number of times are duplicate Google My Business listings. In some cases you may even control the duplicate listings or you need to. To solve the duplication issue, we recommend contacting Google directly through the portal using their support section. It is a bit hard to find, but often is available under the “To-do” section if you have duplicate listings.
The key like anything else is to stay on top of your business and the various listings that are available online. Our team has worked hard to help a number of our clients clean up their listings and then integrated software to help manage all of them in bulk as well keep an eye on potential conflicts.
Your business is reviewed online regardless of whether you have claimed your business. However, by claiming your business with Google My Business you have the opportunity to connect with your reviews to stay in touch. Look, bad review happen – every day. It is important to respond to them and how you respond. Google provides tools to communication with reviewers to help address their concerns or issues. We have all had a bad day and I think that the review model has created an open ended model that allows people to quickly complain.
If you are staying in front of your reviews and audience, people that are reading an unfavorable review will have a chance to understand that you are only human. By addressing people kindly and giving them a voice, you can often win others over by how you handle actual or perceived mistakes.
It is important however that reviews do matter, if you have something in your business that is constantly driving negative reviews – perhaps it is time to review and change. This connection can be something that helps build your business or allow it to be torn down.
Data matters so much to our company that we likely spend half of our day staring at reports and analytical trends for our clients. Working to dig into certain KPI (key point indicators) that can help us understand what is good and bad. This approach helps us adjust strategies and craft the story that we are working to help our clients tell.
Google My Business is a fantastic platform to watch how users are engaging your listing. You can see views, clicks, calls, directions and more. Like all things online, having a pulse on the various tools you have in market is important to build on the success of your brand authority and message online.
Our team can help you improve your Google business listing to maximize the exposure and how people are engaging with your listing, brand and website.
Exposure creates opportunity to generate traffic through non-branded search terms. The Google My Business platform is not necessarily connected to your SEO efforts, but like all things online – they can go hand in hand. We consider each tool or utility an opportunity to connect visitors with your website – whether through branded or unbranded terms – it will build relevance.
Google My Business provides a link to your website; which when optimized correctly can impact your organic search rankings on Google. Through My Business, Search Console and Webmaster tools – Google has provided a suite of tools to help you maximize your brand identity, exposure, connections, analytics and more.
Look, we understand that there are so many different tools and channels that can generate exposure nowadays. All of these options take time and ultimately resources to connect, build and manage. Our company can help manage all of this for you, or if you are considering what you should and shouldn’t do – please, make sure you put your Google My Business listing high on the TO DO list. The cost to value proposition is really obvious once you get everything setup and optimized.