Google My Business is NOT a Secret
One of the first, simplest things you can do to boost your LOCAL search presence is by claiming and working on your Google Business profile.
The company has been putting quite a bit of focus on Google Business [formerly Google My Business] in recent years. Aand it’s having an impact on both small and large companies alike.
Even if you don’t recognize the name or the service, you DO know it. And probably see it every day.
It’s what most commonly comes up when you search for a business “near me” or select a business from Google maps.
But is an important part of what Google offers for FREE
And like everything in Search – Google rewards businesses that make it easy for them. Or maybe better put, Google serves its customers best (that’s us) by matching what they’re looking for with the results offered.
They do that by taking the information that business owners (or their marketing people) enter into the system.
Well, Google Business listings have quickly become the hub for that information for local businesses.
One of the BEST things about this, my small business owner friends, is that it’s VERY easy to use and can have great results if you put the time in.
Google Business Examples and Usefulness for Small Business
Here’s an example of how a Business listing shows up in Google Search:
If you’ll notice, even though the School of Woodwork comes up first in search results it’s the Business listing on the right that grabs your attention.
Google Business as Marketing Hub
So not only can you increase your local presence online, but you CAN use your Google business listing as the central hub of your marketing and tracking efforts. It’s kind of perfect for a small business owner doing their own marketing because it wraps in the ability to:
- Post like a blog, to add Specials,
- Manage and respond to Reviews
- Include searchable product listings… like with Google Shopping
- List out your Services if you’re a service business, so they’re easier to find online
- See you Insights – which is like Google Analytics for your Business profile
The last TWO things that are offered here is Messaging and Websites.
One of the things I love about Google Business for small business clients is that… don’t tell anyone because maybe this IS a secret… you might be able to get by WITHOUT a website.
Full disclosure – I do not have any clients that are website-free, nor do I recommend it. But GB is providing you the opportunity to start getting found RIGHT NOW. Without any particular expertise.
You even have Messaging, which is the equivalent of having Chat on your website.
Imagine you’re a local T-Shirt business, Gift shop or Hair salon and someone asks their phone to find them a “Gift Shop near me”.
Your listing shows up on Google Maps as being close by so they touch the map pin and your Business listing pops up. Now they can message you for appointment availability, special services you offer, etc.
It’s another way you can interact with your customers.
And so far 100% of what’s described here is FREE. No Money, No charge, no credit needed, nada, nothing, nil. All provided so Google can provide the best information for THEIR customers – the ones actually looking for you.
I mention that here because you can actually buy your domain from Google right in this interface AND you use their simple website builder to put a few pages up to get started.
Of course, the website builder is not what I use for clients (I’m a WordPress fan for reasons I’m sure I’ll write about here at some point). But for a business owner just trying to get something done it’s a great tool.
One strategy you might employ if you’re a little more advanced is to create a landing page with the Goog’s builder and test performance against your bigger website.
What turns this into more of an alternative marketing hub than just a Maps listing – and one I think is VERY useful for small businesses, is the Insights that are provided in the back end.
Insights is that easy-to-use, plain English alternative to analytics that helps you answer all the basic questions [charts are not from the example business above]:
How many people found my business online last month?
Here is the answering chart. Along with how many found you through Search, how many looking directly for you, and how many related to a Branded search.
How and where were they looking?
What did they do when they found you?
What NOT to Use Google Business for
There’s this tempting box on the Business home screen where you can choose to Post something (like a blog) or add a Photo (like Insta) OR you can Create an Ad.
If you can’t tell by the image above – don’t do the latter.
It’s not that you shouldn’t do Pay Per Click Advertising with Google. This just is not the place to get started.
PPC requires forethought, strategy and testing. While Google Business is a great place to get started marketing your business, it’s not where you want to implement a paid advertising strategy.
There’s more about Google Business coming. The more I work with it for all the businesses I’m associated with the more I see the value… and the results!
2 Things You can Do Next
Using Google My Business isn’t hard. But it does require some thought before you get started and some dedication to keep it fresh once you do.
So you can get started yourself just by visiting that link above.
Or if you want to make Google a part of your ongoing digital marketing strategy, you would start by completing the contact form here so we can talk about your goals, your dreams and your options.