Why Every Local Business Needs A Google My Business Listing To Get New Customers.
We all know that the move to online is inextricable, so any opportunity for your website to appear on page one in the search engines should be taken when it comes along. The same could be said for your brand and the opportunity to get greater visibility, especially if you are a company servicing your local town or city. An easy and simple way to achieve that currently is to claim your Google MY business listing.
As 96% of all Google local search results pages include a local “3 pack” listing at the top of the page, the opportunity it represents to reach your target audience is immense. What’s even better, is if you are already ranking on page one for those local queries, it increases the chance of your GMB listing to get the second spot on that same front page.
For those who are not already ranking on the first page, a listing will certainly help your cause. The benefit to your business ultimately will be to increase your coverage on prime internet real estate and the potential of appearing in front of more eyeballs.
Putting it simply, appearing in the “map pack” as it’s sometimes called, is effectively the same as appearing in the top 3 pages slots in a Google search page, which is never a bad thing.
So, What Exactly Is A GMB Listing Anyway?
Now that we have outlined the potential benefit, and before we get too excited, we need to give some explanation of what a Google My Business listing is.
Google is all about providing value and relevance to its users, and as 46% of all searches on Google have local intent, a “my business” listing is a way to fulfil the requirement of the searcher on a local level. Equally, if you are a company who is providing a product or service to a local community it’s a happy balance of supply meeting demand.
The listing is simply a local business page which is provided free of charge. As the business owner, you can claim your own page, include all your company details and then verify your physical business address. Your address forms the basis by which your business is found in a local search.
A Google my business listing gives your local business a much better chance of being seen in the local results
A Google my business listing gives your local business a much better chance of being seen in the local results when a relevant search is made. It also helps the search engine provide better geo-specific results for the searcher’s local intent. As a result, it has become one of the key factors in Local SEO success in the past number of years.
So, if you’re still a little confused, let’s show an example. Just imagine, there has been storm overnight in your area, one which has caused damage to your roof.
Naturally, you want it repaired, so you go to google, and, if you are like the majority of people, type in something like “roofer + Location” or “roofer near me” in the search bar.
The results page which is returned is full of potential candidates you could contact to do the job, some are local companies, others national. However, at the top of the page, you see a block of 3 results with a map above it (sometimes referred to as the map pack). It displays three local businesses all in your locale. What’s even more helpful is that some of the entries have golden “review” stars next to them, presumably from customers who have rated them based on their own experience of using them, these are Google My Business listings.
No doubt if you have browsed a local service before, and you may have seen many pages with the same types of local results similar to those shown above. You can see how easy Google has made it for you to find businesses quickly and in your immediate vicinity and with reviews to help you make a decision about who to contact.
As A Local Business, How Important Is It To Have A Listing?
Well, we hope that in the last example, we have answered your question. But it’s not hard to imagine that if you appeared in one of the top listings, you could easily get more enquiries for your company.
In fact, Moz.com listed Google my business page as being the biggest driver of local SEO Success in 2017. You can read more here. That in itself is a huge incentive for any business to claim their listing. It is plainly driving traffic and customer enquiries to websites from people who have a need for your products or service. After all, Isn’t this the reason why you have a website… to be found on the internet?
If there were no other reason to take action, the above is perhaps the greatest, but looking longer term, getting one of these pages up as early as possible is important as much for its age and maturity than anything else. It will give your business listing an advantage over newer businesses who may claim their pages at a later date. The earlier you create your page, the more trust it can build through things like the reviews and by posting updates, and obviously more chances to appear in local search.
This is even better as you can even measure a whole list of statistics in your admin panel. It reports how many clicks, impressions, searches and calls your page has generated over a given period of time.
For many proactive businesses, this still represents an opportunity. The latest statistics show 56% of local companies have yet to claim their GMB listing. While this is a fluid statistic, it does mean the real opportunity to get one over on your competition remains. this may be a short window though as Google naturally want to have as many businesses to have a listing as possible and will promote it heavily.
OK, I’m Convinced, How Do I Claim My Google Listing?
Claiming your listing is actually the easy part. First, visit http://www.google.com/business/ and check to see your listing hasn’t been claimed, if it hasn’t you can then just claim it and you will be invited to open your account. This would normally be through an existing Gmail account if you have one. If it has been claimed already, ask other members of staff who may have claimed it on your behalf.
Once logged in you will be invited to complete detail about your company, including phone No. Addresses and opening hours etc. Our advice would be to complete your listing thoroughly. It doesn’t pay to be lazy here. Be as comprehensive as you can and provide as many details about your business as you’re able, including images and videos if possible.
Always keep in mind that Google is all about providing the best value result for any given query typed into its search bar. Unfortunately, we find that most business owners will only fill in the basics, and then just forget about it. But this again opens up an opportunity for you to a local business, as if your competition is only adding the basics, you should, in contrast, provide a feature-rich experience to help the user.
Always keep in mind that Google is all about providing the best value result for any given query typed into its search bar
The One thing you will have to do before all the details are published publically is to verify that it is your business or you’re a representative of the business. This is done through the post – yes, good old “snail mail”. Therefore, once you are happy that you have included all the necessary detail about your company, you will see a “verify” button at the top of the screen. Once you click it you will be prompted to confirm the address the verification card should be set to, this should be the same address as you have included in your earlier steps.
A card including a PIN code will be sent to your nominated business address. Once you receive the card some days later, you’re able to enter the provided PIN into a corresponding field in the GMB admin page. This will confirm the verification upon which your page will go live.
If you are a home-based business or an enterprise which only uses your address as an administrative, manufacturing or distribution base, that’s covered too. You have the option to hide your address and instead use your general location as the centre of a service radius.
So if you are business based on the outskirts of a city for example, you can opt to include a service radius of however many miles you feel covers your existing distribution coverage. Instead of your address been used in your listing, your service area listing will be shown instead without publishing your physical address.
Google want these listings to be an ever-growing chronicle of your business, almost like a mini website. So when it comes to serving a listing up in the local search, they will choose the one which provides the searcher with the most value in terms of the information it offers. Naturally, if you have put the effort in, it’s more likely to be your listing and not your competitors.
As a small business who serves a local community, you might be thinking that the competition is greater than it ever has been. Whilst that might be true, it is not to say there is a lack opportunity.
Google my business is one of those opportunities where one can level the playing field ahead of those larger organisations who you may fear and consider as competitors. They may have fancy online e-comm stores or provide a similar service to yours but not located in your area. Google MY Business is your opportunity to appear above them in the local search rankings.
Even better is that you don’t have to have any special skills or knowledge to get you GMB page up. You don’t need any coding knowledge or to be an SEO Expert or anything complicated, Google has made that it as simple as possible for you, just follow their instructions.
They have even made it fraud-proof through asking the business to verify the account via your postal address, so your account is unique to you.
Your GMB account can even cater for your business regardless if you’re a retailer with premises or a service provider service clients at their location, as long as you have an address you use as your business based, even a home-based business. If you don’t want to show your address, you have the option to hide that too.
So all in all, Google My Business is a no-brainer if you want to get some greater exposure for your local business and get more customers.