The internet is connecting more and more businesses with their customers every day. Finding these loyal customers can be complicated and time-consuming, but with the knowledge of the right tools, you can now create and manage your online presence. Google My Business (GMB) is a free business listing that helps you build a robust online presence for your business. It allows all your potential and current customers to easily find you in SERP’s, contact you, get directions, know that you are open and stay connected through an array of its features. Before we dive in, let’s take a quick peek at what we are going to cover in this article.
1. What is Google My Business (GMB)?
Google My Business (commonly known as GMB, and formerly known as Google Local and Google Places) is a business listing within Google officially released and lodged into our search results in June 2014. It is an interface by which consumers can search for local businesses and services near them via Google Search, Google Map, and other services. Unlike other online business directories like Bing Local, Apple Maps, Facebook Local and Yelp, Google My Business improves your business’s local ranking better than any other listing with Google having a 94.74% and 69.27% search engine market share of all mobile and desktop searches respectively as of June 2020.
2. Who is it particularly beneficial for?
GMB is notably rewarding to local businesses offering products or services that rely on their location (e.g. a physical store or a company that caters to one specific city/region). It includes but is not limited to retail, e-commerce, automotive, utility, restaurants & cafés’, and health & beauty centres. Not only that, but it is also incredibly serviceable for all the potential and current customers by making it easier for them to find and follow your business whether they are looking to book a reservation or find your business location.
3. What are some of its features and benefits?
Since launching Google My Business five years ago, Google is continually rolling out more and more features to not only make searchers experience worthwhile but also to help businesses emerge by making business profiles more unique and detailed. Over the years, GMB has evolved tremendously to better meet these goals with a redesigned, mobile-friendly app to help manage your business listing. Now let’s understand some of these features and their benefits.
Standard Business Information
Google is frequently updating and improving the GMB interface by including more and more information, but amongst other things currently only contains the standard business information: company name, contact info, address, service area, opening date, hours of operation, attributes (e.g. free Wi-Fi), social media handles, website and business description.
Businesses can now also claim short names and URL for their business profiles. In the coming months, Google will also be implementing these in Google Maps.
You can add offers, announcements, events, and even create a product post putting the focus on one of your new or popular products by letting customers know about its features, benefits, price, and other details. You can now also entice new followers with welcome offers to keep them coming back for more updates.
Photos & Videos
Apart from adding a logo and a cover photo to your listing, GMB allows your business to entice customers to visit you by posting photos and videos of your storefront, products, services and any additional images highlighting the features of your business. You can also engage customers by allowing them to post pictures of your business. This peculiarity gives real assurance to draw any potential customers. Companies that add photos to their business profiles on GMB receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than companies that don’t. Google recently announced that businesses will now be able to tell stories behind the pictures with Photo Captions coming soon.
GMB also encourages businesses to showcase what products or services their business offers, along with their prices, and other details. You can also organise your articles by grouping them into sections. In the products tab, you’ll find a promo code for Pointy. It connects to your point of sale system and automatically uploads your in-store inventory to your business profile and a pointy page for your store. To see if you’re eligible and meet the technical requirements, go to Pointy.com.
Google launched a website where businesses with verified, accurate and complete GMB profiles gets access to a personalised downloadable suite including printable posters, social posts, signs, and stickers to help promote bookings on the business profile, adding reviews and customer following.
Customer reviews and ratings are crucial for leaving good first impressions of your business with prospective customers searching online. Did you know that 90% of consumers seek out and read customer reviews prior to visiting a company, and 84% of them trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?Source: Moz/Data Reveals on Online Reviews
You can have customers’ inquiries about your business answered with crowdsourced Q&A’s or by adding a custom FAQ to your listing on GMB to disseminate consistent and accurate information about your business. You can also pin the most frequent inquiries for easy viewing.
Google introduced Click-to-Message in 2016, bringing a new and easy way for customers to reach out to businesses and start a conversation with them. 65% of consumers say that they would consider using messaging to connect with a company to get information about a product or service, or to schedule an inperson appointment. When the user taps on the text button after you have configured the message extension, it launches the user’s SMS app with an automated message suggestion tailored to the product or service that interests them. For instance, if you are a Hotel and a customer messages you after searching for your nearby location,
Google has almost evolved into a transaction platform with more ways for your customers to reach you. It empowers your business to easily connect with your customers by allowing them to find and follow you on your Google My Business listing for any updates.
Earlier last month, Google announced that they would be creating digital and physical badges of honours for the top 5% of businesses in a particular category as Local Favourite to recognise those that consistently deliver an excellent experience for people.
Bookings & Appointments
If your company offers booking services or takes appointments, GMB allows your customers to schedule an appointment with a simple click without ever leaving the SERP’s. You can easily organise, track, and manage your bookings with integrated scheduling providers.
You can tweak your business listing on GMB and improve your visibility over time with insights highlighting customer activity and interaction. These insights allow you to learn how did the customers find your business, where did they come from, and how well are your posts and products performing on your business listing on GMB.Source: agencyanalytics/google-my-business-insights
4. What GMB means for your business?
When a potential customer is looking for a product or service similar to what your business sells, chances are they are going to plunge into the search engine to go online and find it. As reported in last year’s Google local search statistics, 88% of consumers that searches for local businesses either call or visit the company within 24 hours. A fully optimised GMB listing of your business with strong local SEO will help rank your business well in the search algorithm and consequently drive more traffic to your website.
“Google My Business has been an invaluable outreach tool, with a remarkable range of easy-to-use analytical and feedback tools at our fingertips, all for free!” – Andrew Salmond, Gosh! Comics
Gosh! Comics is one of the million local businesses that saw success with Google My Business. Their main goal was to attract more customers from the surrounding area or target travellers who may be looking for something specific that they have on offer. Gosh! Comics’ extra exposure with GMB earned 787 audience reviews on their site with a 4.7-star rating, as well as a 94% larger and more diverse website search-based volume of traffic with 93% search-based purchasing coming from Google sources alone. Google My Business assists both B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Customers) organisations to grow. Read on to learn more about what does GMB listing offers to your business.
Amplified Online Presence
Although Google does not share its search volume data, it is estimated that it processes approximately70,000 searches per second in a day. According to studies, the ‘near me’ searches have doubled with time too. Therefore, it’s imperative to build a robust online presence so that your business iseasy to access and has all the necessary information displayed right up there for the visitors. GMB allows your business to be visible in online searches and stand out from the crowd.
Increased Brand Awareness
Do you know, 90% of the people who are in search of something online, don’t have a particular brand in their minds? Hence, it’s a golden chance to represent your business by utilising GMB in the best possible way. This can help to create brand awareness among the visitors and play an essential role in developing loyalty towards your brand too.
Improved Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is the most powerful tool online for making your business more prominent in the eyes of the customers. It helps structure your business’s online presence to bring in more traffic through organic search engine results. GMB plays a pivotal role in SEO as it allows customers to find your business online and improve your google rankings.
Improved Local Visibility
Let’s suppose you have a fast-food chain. Do you want people to discover your fast-food chain when they search for the best food places near them? You can do this through GMB by providing accurate and complete information of your business to get recognised.
GMB considers all businesses worthy of exposure and equal opportunity to flourish. It aims to assist small and local businesses since big ones are already taking over everyone by storm.
Free Marketing If Done Correctly
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps promote small businesses. You can instantly sign-up on GMB by scrolling down to the section on ‘How To Set Up & Manage GMB?’ and follow the relatively simple steps to claim your business listing. After verifying your business listing on GMB, you can start showing up in searches from local customers, establish customer relationships and build your brand image – all-important goals, without dishing out tons of your hard-earned money.
Increased Website Traffic For Business
A GMB profile of your business adds a digital-savvy touch to your brand along with improving visibility in the SERP’s. When local customers search for a service that is similar to what your business offers, there’s a higher chance that they’ll click on your website to learn more about your brand. This will not only increase the website traffic for your business but also play an essential role in your customer’s purchasing decision.
Increased Customer Trust
GMB allows customers to leave their feedback, holds a FAQ section to help customers and takes bookings as well as direct calls to maintain effective communication with people. All of this helps to develop customer trust and expand sales.
Accurate & Verified Business Information For Customers
GMB authenticates your business by allowing you to enlighten your customers with accurate and verified information, such as your contact info, address and other standard details and for bringing customers to reach out to your business. It helps makes your brand even more visible through customer reviews. This genuine feedback helps to increase transparency and attract more and more customers to your website.
Simple Location Based Search Engine Marketing
GMB integrates well with the voice search feature for finding local and nearby areas. It allows you to appear in maps and Local Pack listing to give customers a clear idea of the physical location/service area of your business, the time required to reach there and other important information that they might be looking for. With the customer’s local GPS, anyone can easily track your location and find you. So what are you waiting for? Start getting directions to your business with just a touch of a button.
With its utility in mind, it is integral for local businesses to sign up for a Google My Business listing, for each of its locations as 46% of all Google searches are local as per a survey by Go Gulf.
GMB: One Of The Highest Performing & Power Tool In Local SEO
GMB is a core element for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in your local area. It lays down who you are, what you offer, and how to get in touch with you, anytime people nearby search for local services. Instead of having to enter webpages to get search queries answered, with GMB its more accessible than ever to find whatever the consumer is looking for right on the first page of search engine. Compiled below are some statistics and trends of local mobile searches by Go Gulf.
Google My Business listing is crucial to rank well in local organic search and maps results. It allows businesses to show up in geo-targeted SERP’s with their NAP (name, address, and phone number) information, website link, Google reviews and much more. By setting up, verifying, and optimising your GMB listing, your business can be featured in Google’s local 3-pack search result. This accreditation will significantly influence local visibility and traffic while making first-page listing even more competitive as more and more searchers are finding businesses with fast, local queries using keywords like “near me” and near [location]. On the report of HubSpot, 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page of search engines. Concurrently Moz claimed that the first page of Google secures 71.33% of search traffic clicks which has reported to be as high as 92% in recent years. In comparison, the first five results alone account for 67.60% of all these clicks.
Here’s Google’s 3-pack result for my search of “automotive near Portsmouth, UK”. Notice that United Car Centre scores the top spot in the 3-pack of local search results for this query.
5.How to setup & Manage GMB? Getting Started
Setting up (or claiming) your business listing on GMB is relatively simple. Now that you know all about Google My Business, you can easily set up (or claim) your business listing, if you haven’t already. Let’s walk you through this guide of setting up your GMB listing for the first time.
Log in to your Google account that is associated with your business.
Enter the name of your business and click on Next to continue
Choose the category that fits your business so customers can easily find you when they are looking for the products or services that your company offers.
Depending on your business category, you may see special features available for your listing, and you can also assign a place label to your business with it.
If your company has a physical location (e.g. a store or an office), you are required to enter the address of your business for your customers to visit or else select the service area.
You will see a list of places to select from if your business already has a listing on Google Search and Google Maps or has a duplicate location. If not, select “None of these” and continue.
Drag & zoom the map, then position the marker on the exact location of your business and start getting directions to your business with a touch of a button.
Enter your company’s contact information and let your customers get in touch with you.
In case your business does not have a website yet, Google builds a free mobile-friendly website with just a few simple steps. It is automatically built and updated based on your Google My Business listing.
According to the survey about SMB value of websites among consumers by IPSOS in 2018, nearly 70% of consumers agree that they are more likely to buy from a business that has a website over one that does not.
Stay in the know with constant updates and recommendations for your business on Google.
Click Finish and manage your listing.
After setting up and filling in the requisite information, within just a few minutes, you can have your business listing on GMB verified and start showing up in searches from local customers trying to find a business like yours.
6. How To Optimise Your Google My Business Listing?
Like its predecessors, Google My Business is primarily based on relevance, distance and prominence combined to match what the consumer is searching for. Mobile searches are short and at the moment driven by an immediate need for information and, therefore, the most common route in the battle for consumer attention. It is essential to optimise the consumer journey through the business listing provided on GMB. The high stake ranking of your business through the right knowledge panel on Google helps forge a relationship with the potential customers looking for products or services similar to what your business offers. So, let’s walk through ways you can optimise your GMB listing into a more accurately represented, visible, and visited business.
Complete Your Business Listing Profile
Try not to skip any data relevant to your business. The more accurate and complete the information on your GMB listing is, the more you will to be able to build trust with your potential leads.
The GMB listing with constant activity will again pull your business from under the radar and reward you with better ranking and more customer engagement. Therefore, your business content strategy must have GMB posts integrated.
Post Visually Appealing Content
Get better customer engagement by posting visually appealing images and videos on your business listing on GMB, allowing Google to reward you accordingly.
Manage & Respond To Review
Understanding how the customers perceive your company is an excellent assist to all sorts of businesses. Google seeks a balance between quality reviews and the right quantity. The higher the average of these review metrics is, the better Google will place your business listing in the search algorithm.
GMB is a free advertising platform for you to promote your business to your potential customers and earn their trust by posting valuable content. You can easily edit your profile to bring forth your evolving, transforming and growing business.
Earlier last year, Google surveyed some of the small businesses about paying monthly subscription fees for Google My Business services to gauge customer reaction. Some of the suggested offerings included getting leads from competitors’ profiles, automated responses for questions and reviews, verified license, Google guarantee and much more. The packages offered ranged between $25 to $60. However, just being listed in the search results is not typical of Google to monetise. But if paid placements still make a way through to the ecosystem, even SMB’s who will initially reject to pay will have to abide by this to stay competitive when push comes to shove.
Ultimately GMB is likely to see more direct communication tools and additional commerce capabilities in the future. The challenge for Google is adding extensive features without creating further confusion and complexity for local businesses.
If you have any more queries or need our expert advice on how to set up or optimise your business listing on Google My Business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at or call us anytime for a free consultation. We will be more than happy to assist you.