Three Ways To Maximize Your Google My Business Profile
As Google continues to evolve, there is one aspect that is beginning to have a large and permanent effect on how local businesses are found through organic search. Although being found organically is still vital to the overall health of your digital marketing, we are beginning to see Google My Business (GMB) profiles being much more prominent in search results. The listings not only display pertinent business information, but also reviews from popular peer review sites in your industry. For example, an auto body shop may have reviews from GarageFly shown while a restaurant may have reviews from Yelp or Facebook displayed in addition to that business’ Google reviews.
This is a major shift in Google’s algorithm, as it continues to adjust to the most important factors determining where your business will appear in search results. In this article, we will discuss some of these factors including tips to help your business have better visibility.
First, let’s look at the evolution of Google local listings.
The Evolution of Google My Business
Google Maps initially expanded to Google Places, which began displaying individual profiles for a business within the Maps section of Google. Eventually, Google gave business owners the ability to manage the information within these listings, as well as utilize Google+ to connect you to places your friends had visited or recommended.
In 2014, after various versions of Google+, GMB launched—giving business owners a centralized location to manage all areas of their local profile. Since its launch, GMB has become increasingly refined in what information is presented to users and how it highlights insights provided to business owners.
Why Google My Business
GMB is important for a number of reasons, both for business owners and users performing searches. With the vast data Google provides to both parties, it is easy to see why GMB is at the forefront of local advertising. With GMB listings appearing in 15 percent of all searches, it is imperative for business owners to take advantage of this program.
As a user, when you are looking for a business or service within Google Maps and you land on a GMB profile, you are presented with a lot of information to help you make your buying decision. For example, you are able to see standard things like website link, hours of operation, phone number, address, etc. But in addition to this, Google has begun showcasing things like ‘Popular Times’ when a business is most busy, links to order directly from third-party services like Amazon Prime Now, DoorDash, and more. You can also see reviews from other sites like Facebook and Yelp, and Google reviews based on your user profile and search terms. This is all pointing to a Google ecosystem that is based more on user experience and less on how well the business can manipulate algorithms.
Business owners are now presented with additional insights and analytics on their profile and how potential customers are interacting with them. This allows you to determine how many people are finding you through ‘Discover’ (non-branded terms) and ‘Direct’ (branded terms). You can also see how often people click on “Request Directions,” “Visit Website” and “Call You,” as well as on what days and when. You can also see how people find you (your referral sources), how many photo views you have, and then compare those metrics to those of your competitors.
How To Maximize Your GMB Profile
Google has always attempted to secure its place as the number one search engine by providing the best, fastest and most accurate information to a user who performs a search.
This incredible search engine answers questions to your needs in lightning speed. It does this by measuring a variety of factors about a business, including its branding, website and how users have interacted with the site. With the release of Google Places and GMB, it now provides additional insight on how people view specific businesses in the form of reviews.
Which leads us into the first facet of a successful GMB profile: How do you best take advantage of this essential tool?
Here are three important ways how:
Good customer reviews are key to achieving a high ranking position with the Map Pack and are vital if a person is searching for “best sandwiches,” “top hotels,” “good soup,” or other variations in certain industries. Google views these words and automatically returns results filtered by 4+ star businesses. We anticipate this feature rolling out to more industries in the coming weeks and months.
Formulate a strategy for how you will engage with customers to request reviews on your business. It is also important to look at your reviews and respond with comments to engage with your customers. This is also a great way to identify opportunities for improvement.
#2. Accurate Information
Make sure your GMB profile contains the most accurate and up-to-date information about your business. Ensure you have the best category selected and that your contact information and hours (including special holiday hours) are all up-to-date. As users add information about your business, make sure to log in regularly to resolve any issues.
One of the biggest drivers in “Click Through Rate” for GMB profiles are photos. Add as many high-quality photos as possible. Also add a logo image, a cover photo and profile picture. Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35 percent more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t. Since we are evolving into a much more visual culture, photos may make or break someone’s decision to use your services.
By staying up-to-date with Google’s latest trends and GMB, you will be able to maximize how people find you. Be sure to also take advantage of the important analytics this new tool provides. This way, you will increase your potential for growth and customer loyalty.