A local customer has his or her phone out and is searching for “coffee shops”. The results come up and show the viewer coffee shops in the local area, how to contact them and how to get there. Now change “coffee shops” with your products or services.
How do you make your business appear on Google Local Search and how do you ensure internet users can easily locate your business?
The answer is simple. Google offers a free tool that makes it easy for people to discover your business when they browse the web. It is called Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) works with Google Maps. to give business owners a central business platform. From this one dashboard you can control several aspects of how your business appears on Google and local search.s
In this post, we’ll take a look at what Google My Business entails and why you need to use it effectively for your business today.
The GMB platform is divided into sections and we have included these different sections below and how you can use it.
Home: GMB includes a home section where you can include an overview of the latest happenings in your business. The home features your customer photos, reviews and your posts. This is basically a snapshot overview of all GMB sections.
Posts: In the posts section allows you to create posts for your listing and engage with potential customers. Examples of such content include upcoming events, offers, featured products and exciting deals. If you know how to use the post section, it can serve as an effective tool for converting your prospects into customers.
One of the best ways of optimizing posts is to include an image. You can even use these post to drive traffic back to your website. It is important to stick to a schedule to enable you change your post frequently.
Information: There is an information panel on the GMB which allows you to update your business information if the need arises. From the info panel, you can change phone number, website URL, and other business attributes. Additionally, the panel allows you to edit your business description.
Often times, potential customers want to know if your business is open during the weekend and holidays so it is important you include your schedule and working hours in the info panel.
You can also include your products and services in this section. This will boost your visibility on desktop searches. But it also allows your listing to appear in Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Insights: When using GMB, it is important to evaluate the system in order to understand what is working and what isn’t. This is important because knowing what is working is how you get customers through the door. With the insights you can see how your business is performing in terms of searches and viewers. This panel provides you with the important keywords, photo views and customers’ responses to your brand.
Reviews: One of the most powerful ways of attracting customers is through reviews. Most consumers check online reviews before buying a product or using a service. This is why it is important to check your review sections often. A bad review can damage your reputation and drive your customers away. While a great review can attract new customers to your business.
The GMB organizes your business based on the most recent reviews followed by the reviews you have responded to and those you haven’t. Usually, when you respond to a review, the reviewer is notified.
Messaging: GMB allows you to communicate directly with consumers. From the messaging section, you can answer questions and respond to messages from potential customers. You can also use the messaging platform on the GMB app which is free to download on mobile devices.
Photos: You can also upload images and videos on your GMB listing to boost your visibility. Additionally, your customers can also upload photos to your GMB. The platform allows you to see all the content uploaded by customers and you can also view how many times the photo or video was seen.
Website: If your business doesn’t have a website, you can create and optimize a Google-built site in the website panel. However, it is generally recommended that you create a full, professional site to display your products and services then you can include the website URL on GMB.
Apart from these options, there are other features that you can use on your GMB. Some of these include controlling who has access to your listing and what kind of access they have. There is also the option to add other locations if you run a multi-location business. With this option, you can view all your locations’ listings. If you have a location that is opening soon, GMB also allows you to announce the opening of your business right in Google Maps. This is an excellent way of creating awareness and advertising your business to potential customers.
Do I Need It? Absolutely
In this era of the internet and social media a single comment can damage the online reputation of any brand. And if a customer can’t find you then obviously they can’t buy from you. It’s imperative that business owners become proactive about local search visibility and reputation management. This is why even a basic Google My Business listing is CRITICAL to every business owner. If you want even more customers calling, visiting your business and asking for directions click here.