As a local business, you are always on the hunt for the best ways to increase your online visibility and reach out to your target audience. Enter Google My Business (GMB), an incredibly potent tool for businesses looking to enhance their online presence – and it won’t cost you a penny!
The Significance of Local SEO and Google My Business
In the digital age, optimising your business for local search, or local SEO, has become critical. In fact, according to BrightLocal, 97% of consumers search online to find local services, and 86% of consumers rely on the internet to find local businesses. This is where Google My Business comes into play. By leveraging GMB, you can effectively reach this vast audience searching for local services.
Google My Business, an unparalleled platform provided by Google, enables your business to appear prominently on the search results page. Particularly noticeable when users conduct a local keyword search, say for instance, “plumber in London”, Google showcases a map of the location along with a few listed businesses. This highly visible area on the search results page is dominated by Google My Business listings.
Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing
So, how can your business claim a spot on this coveted listing? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Initiate the Setup: Visit Google My Business and click on the ‘Manage Now’ button.
- Enter Your Business Details: Fill in all the essential details, including your business name, address, telephone number, and the services you offer. Remember, the more information you provide, the easier it is for potential customers to find and contact you.
- Make it Visual: Add visuals such as your logo and photos of your premises. An appealing visual display can enhance user engagement. According to MDG Advertising, 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings.
Verifying Your Business with Google
After setting up your profile, you’ll need to verify your business details with Google. This process legitimises your business and ensures that only you can update your business’s information on Google.
Google offers several methods for verification, but the most common method is by mail. Google will send a postcard with a verification code to the business address provided. Once you receive this postcard, you need to enter the verification code into your Google My Business account. Google usually sends the postcard within 14 days.
The verification process is a critical
step, assuring Google that your business operates where it says it does. Google takes this verification process seriously to maintain the quality and reliability of its local search results.
Advantages of Google My Business
Google My Business offers numerous advantages to businesses. Here are a few standout benefits:
- Boosts Local Visibility: GMB allows your business to appear in local search results and Google Maps. By appearing in these local listings, your business gets more exposure to potential customers in your area.
- Cost-Effective: GMB is a free service offered by Google. Despite the zero-cost, the platform’s benefits can be comparable to paid advertising in terms of exposure and lead generation.
- Enhances Engagement: GMB listings provide essential business information and visual content that help engage users. Additionally, it offers features like Google Reviews and Q&A, fostering interaction between businesses and their audience.
Optimising Your Google My Business Listing
Simply creating a GMB profile isn’t enough. You need to optimise it for the best results. Here’s how:
- Encourage Reviews: User reviews significantly influence your business’s online reputation. According to a Local Consumer Review Survey, 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. The same survey reveals that a typical consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave positive reviews to boost your reputation and ranking.
- Regularly Update Your Profile: An active profile is more likely to rank higher on Google. Regularly updating your business hours, adding posts or offers, and promptly responding to reviews and questions can enhance your visibility.
- Leverage Photos: Photos not only make your listing more visually appealing, but they also provide additional location information to Google through metadata.
Case Study: A GMB Success Story
Let’s look at a successful example of Google My Business in action. Joe’s Plumbing, a local business in Manchester, decided to leverage GMB to increase their online visibility. They diligently filled in all their business details, added photos of their services, and encouraged their customers to leave reviews.
Over time, they updated their profile with posts about special offers and news. Within six months, they saw a dramatic increase in their local online visibility. Their business began to appear for local search terms such as “plumbers in Manchester,” resulting in a significant increase in calls and website visits from potential customers.
Common Mistakes to Avoid with Google My Business
While Google My Business can be a potent tool, some common mistakes can hinder your success:
- Inaccurate Information: Make sure all your business information is accurate and up-to-date. Inconsistencies can confuse potential customers and negatively impact your ranking.
- Ignoring Reviews: Reviews, whether positive or negative, require attention. Ignoring reviews can hurt your reputation and discourage potential customers.
- Rarely Updating Your Profile: An inactive profile can lead Google to believe that your business isn’t operating anymore, negatively affecting your ranking.
Embrace the Future with Google My Business
As we move towards an increasingly digital future, platforms like Google My Business will play a significant role in local business visibility. By correctly setting up, verifying, and optimising your GMB profile, you’re preparing your business to harness the potential of local SEO fully.
Need Support with Google My Business or Google Ads?
Need help getting started with Google My Business or want a free audit of your Google Ads? Feel free to reach out to us or call us directly on 07866 555 555. We’re here to help your business thrive in the online landscape. 🚀 Let’s work together to take your business to unprecedented heights!