An introduction to Google My Business (and why it’s crucial for your business)
Having a Google My Business account is critical for any local business in Melbourne.
But what is Google My Business? How does it work? And why is it an important piece of the local marketing puzzle?
Read on to find out.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is your business’s local listing in Google search results.
It shows key information about your business, such as your address, contact details and operating hours.
It also allows people to get directions to find your business, find you on Google Maps, go directly to your business’s website, view your photos, post reviews, and much more.
Where does it appear?
If a local business has a Google My Business listing, it will appear at the top of Google search results on your phone when you search for the business name.
On a desktop, you’ll see the Google My Business listing on the right-hand side of the screen.
Why does it take up so much real estate?
Well, essentially Google wants to be able to answer people’s basic queries about your business without them having to search through the details on your website.
Yes, this is a little bit scary – you own your business’s details, right?
Try to think of it as a directory listing, like the Yellow Pages of old.
If people want to dig a bit deeper, like read about some of your services, they can still click on the ‘Website’ button and be taken straight to your site.
Alternatively, if the user were to scroll down a little bit on their phone they will find your organic (unpaid) listing underneath.
So Google doesn’t quite have you over a barrel (yet).
Why Google My Business is important for your local business in Melbourne
As more than 90% of all online searches in Australia are done on Google, it’s imperative that your business has a Google My Business listing.
And, most importantly, that your listing is kept up to date at all times.
Google My Business is crucial to your business’s success.
Why does this matter?
Well, imagine you extend your operating hours because your business is growing. But you don’t update Google My Business.
When people search for your business online, your hours will be one of the first things they see.
So if someone sees that you’re open until 5pm (instead of 6pm), they probably won’t bother calling you at 5.30pm.
You’ve potentially missed out on a new customer right there.
How can I create a Google My Business listing?
Although the user interface isn’t the most user-friendly, you should be able to find your way around to enter all the essential information.
Your information will be flagged as ‘pending’ until Google can verify that your local business actually exists.
So, as part of the verification process, Google will send you a letter in the post with a verification code.
Yes, a physical letter – old school!
Once your business is verified, your listing will appear on Google when someone searches for your business name.
Already have a Google My Business listing?
If you’ve already set up your Google My Business account, you probably just want a few tips, right?
Well, here’s a few cool things you can do today:
- Start encouraging customer reviews
The general public can review your business by leaving a comment and giving it a star rating.
As people can leave all sorts of comments it’s important to keep on top of your reviews.
Always respond to each review, even the positive ones.
Having Google customer reviews can help with SEO and getting your site seen by more people.
- Include some questions and answers
People can ask questions about your business, as well as answer them.
The answers could be right on the money, or totally off.
That’s why it makes sense to write some of your own Q&As (yes, Google allows that).
Write questions and answers for your business.
It also makes sense to monitor the Q&As so that if and when a question is asked by the general public, you can jump in and answer it (as the business owner).
This might be better than relying on someone else.
- Google posts
Google recently introduced a feature whereby you can publish a post that lasts for seven days. It could be a special offer, an event, or just some news about your business.
When it’s about to expire, Google will send you an email. That gives you a little bit of time to get your next post ready.
It should only take a few minutes to do your Google posts.
You can link to something already on your website, or enter some new information. It’s up to you.
Having an active Google My Business account can help with SEO and keep your site high up in the rankings.
That’s why it’s imperative you keep on top of your Google My Business activity.
My last top tip
Make sure the business information you enter on Google My Business matches exactly with what’s on your website.
This rule applies for any directory or listing site your business might appear on.
If Google can easily identify your business, then that’s good for your business.
It isn’t hard but requires TLC
Opening a Google My Business account isn’t hard.
Where you might need help though is keeping it up to date. And that’s where I come in.
I’m totally across Google My Business and optimising it for the best results.
Google often introduces new features, and occasionally tweaks or removes features it doesn’t deem useful.
You’re busy enough with running your business to worry about what Google’s up to.
I can also manage your customer reviews and Q&As, taking the time pressure off your business.
If there is only one thing you take away from this blog, it’s this: if you’re a local Melbourne business and don’t have an up-to-date Google My Business listing, you’re up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
If you have any questions or would like my help, please contact me today.
Stay tuned for future blogs about Google My Business!