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Archive for October, 2021

Why Google My Business is Important for Small Businesses in 2021

October 22nd, 2021 by Isaac Nelapana

You may have seen the information box that often appears when you type in a business name into a search in Google. It will comprise the Name, Address, Phone, Website link, Google Reviews and an interactive Google map for the business.

But how do you claim this for your business so that you can keep your information correct, post updates, and respond to your reviews? The answer is via a Google My Business account.

take control of your Google My Business listing

Why Is Google My Business important?

Aside from providing details to searchers when they know the name of your business, Google My Business listings also appear prominently in the results of location-based searching.
Imagine that you run a local eatery in Melbourne’s CBD. Every day, you are competing with a dozen other similar food chains in the city. As a small business owner, you might feel that the chances of getting noticed by potential customers and increasing your store traffic are becoming less. However, there’s still a way for you to stay competitive.
Many people no longer step out of their houses (or offices) and dine at the first restaurant they see. They have become much savvier than that, due to becoming accustomed to searching for information online.

In fact, “restaurants open now near me” is a phrase that is searched for about 135,000 times per month in Australia. Another example search: “Italian food near me” had an average search volume of 368,000 per month!

If you were a local restaurant owner, Italian or otherwise, wouldn’t you want to be listed in those searches? That’s why you need to claim and maintain your Google My Business listing.
A Google My Business listing enables your business to show up at the exact moment people are searching for businesses like yours! As searchers on Google are close to making a purchase decision, an optimised Google My Business listing is a sure-fire way to capture those searchers and help convert them into paying customers.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (which used to be known as Google Local and Google Places) provides you an amazing opportunity to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results. It is a separate record about businesses which was initially collated by Google bots, and is made available to the business to claim and link to their Google account.

Google My Business is completely free to use, and doesn’t cost anything to set up a business on the platform.

Anyone can add a place into Google Maps, which would then appear as results to local searches on Google, at no cost. However, not everyone can add and edit details such as hours, offerings, and service or product categories. To gain control over a Google My Business listing, you need to claim your business.

Once you have claimed your Google My Business listing, or added a new business listing, you can then control all the information about your business, respond to reviews, and optimise it to improve the chance of your business being shown to searchers.

You can do all this yourself, but we assist our clients to get the most out of Google My Business as part of our search engine optimisation services.

One of the ways to optimise your Google My Business listing is to include posts. These provide useful information to searchers, and therefore are important signals to Google about which business to include in the search results.

Where do Google My Business Posts appear?
Text, photo, or video posts appear to viewers in three core Google My Business locations:

  1. The mobile view of “Updates” or “Overview” sections of your profile in Google Search and Maps.
  2. The “From the Owner” section of your profile in the desktop view of Google Search and Maps.
  3. Google My Business websites.

Below is an example of posts appearing in the bottom of the desktop view of a Google My Business listing:
example of google my business posts to promote your business online

Google My Business Benefits for Small Businesses

56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their free Google My Business account.

This is surprising given all the benefits of a Google My Business listing, with localisation providing relevant results for searchers. There are lots of benefits to be gained by creating a Google My Business profile, including:

Improve your local SEO

An optimised Google My Business listing can significantly bolster your business’s local SEO ranking.

Searches including ‘near me’ or ‘open now’ are more likely to show Google My Business results which makes your business more discoverable.

A Google study from 2014 found that “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.”

Keep your customers informed

Your Google My Business Listing includes your Name, Address and Phone Number as well as your website and business hours. With the changing government regulations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become vital to post updates when you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened.

Misinformation can upset customers, lead to negative word-of-mouth and missed opportunities. Having access to your Google My Business account gives you control to keep your customers, and potential customers, informed as part of search results.

Boost customer confidence

A Google My Business listing boosts the trust and credibility in a local business. According to Google, customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses and 29% more likely to purchase something from a business with a complete Google My Business listing.

Collect Customer Reviews and respond to negative reviews

Reviews collected on a 3rd party website, such as Google Reviews, are an important way to improve customer trust and provide social peer proof.

Annual marketing research conducted in the UK shows that 79% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as much as they trust traditional recommendations from family and friends. Online reviews have become the main method of influence in 2021.

However, you can’t stop at collecting reviews. 96% of consumers who read online reviews also read those businesses’ responses to their online reviews. In fact, how a business responds to a negative review can influence the searcher as much as a positive review. It’s vital that you have access to respond to reviews to respond the customers criticisms in a way that makes other potential customers comfortable that you handle conflict with class.

Your Google My Business account becomes your online reputation management tool, while demonstrating the quality of your products or services to potential customers.

Gain Insights into Your Business

Google My Business Insights provide you with information about how customers searched for your business and where they’re coming from – valuable insights for future business improvements, expansion, or marketing activities.

The data available includes:

  • The number of views your profile, photos, and posts receive.
  • The number of photos owned by your business vs uploaded by customers.
  • The popular times and visit duration.
  • The search queries people use to find your business.
  • The number of Google My Business chats and overall engagement.
  • A profile of your audience: age groups, gender, and countries.
  • The number of website clicks, phone calls, and direction queries.

This valuable information can only be obtained by claiming your Google My Business listing.

Want help with Google My Business? Contact the SEO Experts at Contactpoint.

If you’re a local business that needs help with creating a Google My Business listing, or simply boosting your business’ online presence on Google and other search engines, we can help.

At Contactpoint, we offer SEO audits, consulting, and monthly local SEO services. We optimize Google My Business listings to help you get the most from this amazing free tool.

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send us an email at info@contactpoint.com.au and we’ll be pleased to help.

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