Holiday shopping season is about to begin, and if you are a local business you are likely starting to think about how you’ll reach your market. Online advertising might be the obvious choice, along with an organic social media strategy. However, there is also one powerful little online gem that not a lot of local businesses are utilizing. It not only increases the chance your business will be found online, but could also generate more foot traffic for your store. That online powerhouse is Google MyBusiness.
This free tool has been available to businesses for quite a few years, but it is often underrated in terms of its power. Since it is a Google tool, by using it to its full potential you will leverage Google’s search algorithm and increase your chances (along with the rest of your online strategy) of generating increased online and offline traffic.
What Is Google MyBusiness?
Google MyBusiness (GMB) is a free online tool that allows you to control how your business appears on Google Maps and search results. Through this tool, you can claim your business’ location and name*, giving you control over what your potential customers see, and how they contact you, when they search for your business.
Your full profile will display on the right-hand side of the Google search results page, displaying valuable information about your business. There are many benefits to setting up a full profile, listed below.
*You will need to verify your location once you claim your business and location. Google does this by mailing you a postcard with a special code you’ll need to enter into your GMB profile. This ensures that only the true owner of the business can claim it, rather than anyone from the public.
Businesses ‘Near Me’ Searches
One of the great benefits of having a complete GMB profile is that your business is more likely to show up in Google searches when visitors use the ‘near me’ search functionality. As an example, if you are a clothing store and your potential customers search “ladies wear” and use the ‘near me’ functionality, your business will pop up as an option.
Hours of Operation
Empower your customers to maximize their shopping time by enabling your store hours through your profile. When they Google your business, they’ll immediately be shown a list of your shop’s hours and whether you are currently open or closed.
Set up a designated appointment booking link which can be shown on your GMB profile. When customers search for your business, they can book an appointment directly from their Google search result. Providing them the ultimate convenience in booking appointments can increase the number of appointments you receive.
Answer FAQs Right Away
Many businesses will experience their customers asking some common questions, and your GMB profile is a great way to address those immediately. When potential customers search your business, these questions and answers will appear within your GMB profile that is displayed on Google’s search results page. This provides your potential clients with the information they may be looking for in an effortless manner.
See How They’re Finding You
Within the administrative dashboard of your GMB profile under Insights, you can see the search queries visitors used to land on your profile. This information is valuable to you as a business owner to see what matters to your clients, if your profile is set up to attract the right kind of customers, and to give you basic information on how you might optimize your social media and your website to attract more followers.
Send to Your Phone
If a visitor has landed on your GMB profile and is interested in visiting your business, or checking you out again later, a quick and easy “Send to Your Phone” button can be pushed and the visitor receives a text message with your profile link. They can then easily revisit your listing at their convenience, and receive instant directions to your business through Google Maps.
Manage Your Reviews
Your business from time to time may receive Google Reviews. GMB allows you to manage these reviews directly from your dashboard in a quick and easy manner.
Assists with Voice Searches
More and more smartphone users are now activating searches via their voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home. As a result, your GMB profile gives you a leg up in search results. In order to show up in voice searches, you must have a GMB profile and it must be complete.
How to Set Up Your Google MyBusiness Profile
Simply visit google.com/business to get started. Follow the prompts to fill in your business information, and then select your verification method. You can still fill in the remainder of your profile while awaiting verification.
Be sure to fill in as much of the information section as possible. Use photos of your business that are enticing and clearly display what your business offers. Be sure to include all of your business’ locations if you have more than one.