Google My Business is a tool Google provides to help businesses and organizations manage their online presence. Benefitting customers and companies alike, it helps customers find your business, allows interaction between company and consumer, and allows businesses to verify, edit, and update their information. It’s essential for companies, especially local businesses, to focus on their Google My Business listings—customers pay attention to these listings and turn to them for crucial information about a business.
When you run a local business, it’s vital to put time and effort into your Google My Business listing. It’s how many customers make their first interaction with your company, and it’s how people find out your address, phone number, and operation hours. Here you can discover the answer to the common question, “How important is Google My Business for local business?”. More importantly, you’ll get the "why" behind the answer.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a listing in which Google aggregates information about a company and puts it into an attractive, easy-to-use format for consumers. A Google My Business listing shows these various elements in an engaging, easy-to-spot box in the righthand corner of search results pages on desktop platforms. It appears at the top or near the top of search results pages on mobile platforms. Below are the different elements a listing contains and their unique benefits or importance.
Photos: It’s important to have photos on your Google My Business listing. Photos help customers identify your location, know what to expect upon arrival, and have an easier time finding your location.
Website link: A link to the company website is essential for helping customers find your actual site with ease, without having to memorize the URL.
Reviews and ratings: Ratings and reviews are excellent for letting people know what to expect from your business. It also tells them what the community thinks of your company and how well your company handles complaints or criticism. It sets the tone for the responsiveness of your business.
Description of the business: Business descriptions give customers a concise idea of what a company does or provides. An example would be a local accounting business listing that briefly describes the company’s services and service area.
Category: Categories tell customers what type of business you have. Categories are beneficial for optimization purposes.
Address: Putting the address of the business on a listing makes it very easy for customers to obtain directions and find a location.
Hours: It’s essential for people to have quick and easy access to your hours of operation. If a customer wants to visit your location, they must know when they can go.
Phone number: Providing a business phone number allows customers to call with questions and inquiries. It helps you connect to people as well as increases convenience for customers.
Questions and answers: On a listing, there’s a space for customers to ask questions, and then the business owner can respond. It’s an excellent opportunity to interact with customers and provide helpful information to anyone searching for your business.
What Are the Main Benefits?
Quickly communicating information to potential customers from a trustworthy and legitimate source (Google) is the main benefit of Google My Business listings for local businesses. However, local companies can take advantage of many smaller benefits with this handy feature.
One other benefit is that local businesses can bring more people into their stores when they provide accurate addresses and contact information. People are much more likely to visit a store to which they have access to easy directions than one they fear they won’t be able to find quickly and easily.
Another benefit is the ability to interact with customers. Any interaction with a customer is a chance at not only building your brand recognition and loyalty with them, but also an opportunity to create a future conversion. You can interact with your customers through the question-and-answer feature, through reviews and ratings, and by posting news and updates for them to read and comment on.
Google is a source that most people trust to provide accurate and updated information. Since the information provided in Google My Business about your business is from Google, it adds a sense of credibility in many consumers’ eyes. This extra credibility isn’t completely built-in, though. This little boost only works if your information is accurate. If you update your listing regularly and stay active, your information will appear more trustworthy to customers and potential customers.
These are just some of the countless benefits of an updated Google My Business listing for local businesses.
Is There a Reliable Way to Measure Success?
When you’re looking to measure success, there’s more than just one thing to take note of. The trackable way to prove success with a Google My Business listing is by looking at how many people are following it. You can also consider how many reviews and ratings people post and how often people interact with the listing overall.
The more reviews a business has, the better. Not every review will be glowing, but that’s okay. The more important thing is how a company handles the complaints and negative reviews. Customers who leave negative reviews can often become optimistic, loyal customers once again with the right response to their concerns. Fixing issues through the review platform is another success that can come of a listing.
How many questions customers ask is another way to measure how many people you’re reaching through the listing. Answering questions allows customers to feel heard and obtain pertinent information about your business.
Simply having the ability to help customers find information about your company is a big success of a listing for your local business.
How Can a Company Use It To Interact with Customers?
Business use local listings in many ways to connect and interact with customers. They even give customers and potential customers a platform to start discussions, interact, and learn. Listings also give customers the opportunity to leave ratings of your business with a star system. Five stars are the most desirable rating. One star means you have some serious work to do, as that customer likely had a negative experience. With ratings, the business owner can respond to the rating.
The process works the same way for reviews. Customers who provide ratings for a business are encouraged to write a review describing their experience. It helps others know what to expect and often informs potential customers’ decisions about whether to become a customer of your business.
A feature allows a business to post updates and information it wants its customer base to know. Comments and interactions are quite common in this feature. It has proven to be a great way to interact with customers.
Can Companies Learn More About Their Customers With It?
Yes! Companies can learn much more about their customers by using Google My Business. One of the best ways to learn more about customers is by reading the reviews they leave. Customers have the unique experience of doing business with your company. It’s a valuable perspective you can’t get anywhere else. Listening to their concerns and noting what prompts praise is extremely helpful when you’re trying to learn more about your customer base.
A business can learn a lot through customer reviews. A listing is where people detail their experiences, likes, and dislikes, all of which is valuable for businesses and potential customers alike to know. Compiling this information can give you a better idea of who your customer is and what they’re looking for in general.
You can also gather information about your customers by looking at your data to see how people access the Google My Business listing for your business. You can identify how many customers are using desktops and how many are relying on mobile devices. Knowing this also paints a clearer picture of who your customers are and how they find and prefer to do business with you.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
Many businessowners wonder if putting pertinent information on a local listing that doesn’t require a click into their company website may hurt their organic website rankings. Google My Business listings don’t hurt the rankings of a website. Site rankings are tied to the website’s overall optimization and keywords, among other things.
One way a listing may harm a business is if there are multiple bad reviews or low ratings. Bad reviews and ratings can signal to potential customers deep flaws in your business that need addressing. They can also deter people from doing business with you. However, you can help this situation by productively responding to reviews to solve the issue. If bad reviews keep pouring in after you try this, you may need to take more action. Consider an internal look at how the business runs to discover how to avoid future complaints.
How Can a Business Keep It Updated?
First, businesses need to claim their listings. Owners can then add and update any information in the listing. They have the ability to post updates, respond to reviews and ratings, and update open hours. It’s crucial to keep your listing up to date and active. An active, accurate business listing is much more trustworthy, and it will get more results than an outdated or rarely updated one. Hiring a professional local search engine optimization company is another reliable way to ensure your listing is up to date and optimized.
Can a Business Optimize It?
Yes! You can and should optimize Google My Business listings. Staying active, responding to reviews, and posting articles and updates are the most important things to do when you’re managing a listing.
For the best optimizing experience, fill out every section and ensure all the information is. Swiftly answer any questions that people ask through the platform, and respond to reviews as they appear. You can thank customers for good reviews to give a personal touch. Addressing negative reviews should come from a place of desire to solve a problem.
It’s also crucial to write an accurate business description. Google may ignore your writing and compile its own idea of your business, but writing one can provide an authentic and positive description.
A trustworthy search engine optimization company can help you optimize your listing even further. They typically do this by incorporating keywords and search terms to raise your organic rankings while increasing engagement with your Google My Business listing.
The main answer to the question, "How important is Google My Business for local business?" is extremely important. Listings are how people interact with your business and learn more about it. Most of the time, people aren’t going to type in your URL and comb your website for your address, hours of operation, and contact info. This is where Google My Business comes in. It directs people to your brick-and-mortar location, inform them of changes in your company, and helps them learn more about it in general. You can easily list holiday closings, new operations hours, and even sales and promotions on Google My Business so that your customers don’t have to dig for information. Convenience is key for consumers.
It’s crucial to keep your Google My Business updated in order for the listing to be useful to customers. Outdated listings are simply misinformation that can confuse and frustrate people. It’s also important to respond to and interact with reviews and customer posts on your listing. It shows that your company is active and that it cares about what their community members have to say—even the negative reviews.
Hiring a local SEO agency is a crucial step to ensure your Google My Business listing remains updated and accurate for your customers. Logical Position offers Search Engine Optimization packages designed for local businesses. We have a range of affordable local SEO services that follow ethical guidelines from search engines with which we partner. We are committed to providing excellent local search management and ensuring customer satisfaction. We can help you reach your local community by creating a plan specific to your business. We’ll help you claim your Google My Business listing and optimize it. Google My Business is by far the most important online directory for local businesses. Contact Logical Position today to discover what an active and optimized Google My Business listing can do for your customers and company.