Is Google My Business (GMB) overlooked? Is it underutilized? Hell, is GMB under-appreciated?! It just might be, which is why I’m here to tell you all about it. Sure, when we talk search engines we talk about SEO, we talk about SEM, but where’s the love for Google My Business? Because honestly, it deserves your love and attention, or at least, just your attention. If you’ve been neglecting your GMB listing, then I’ve got news for you.
What Even is a Google My Business (GMB) Listing?
Well to start, listing on Google My Business is…wait for it…completely free! (I knew that was going to be your first question.) It’s a free, super easy tool that helps you manage your business’s information as it appears on the almighty Google. You are able to claim and verify your listing, provide updates, and edit the information that Google is provided. By using GMB, you’re able to confirm that your business’s basic yet vital information is accurate in both Google Maps and search.
It’s like listings in a phonebook (remember those?), but enhanced with more information: hours, website, address, phone number, photos, services, reviews, smells, you name it. (Okay not smells, at least not yet).
If you’ve ever searched for restaurants in your city, then you’ve seen these, or in my case, breweries:
Now let’s talk about the benefits.
Show Up in Map Searches
Just like the breweries’ search example above, showing up in Google Maps searches is critical, especially for businesses whose location is a huge factor in generating sales. People who search for your service are showing intent so showing your proximity to the user, or in their desired location, can be the deciding factor in their decision.
GMB just the beginning of your troubles? We’ve got your back!
Show Up Higher in Google Search
This one might seem obvious, but Google My Business is an extension of, you know, Google. So the more you play ball with their systems, the more Google will like you, and the more Google likes you, the more it will reward you. And in this case, the reward is search traffic and higher SERP (search engine results pages) positions. So for all you SEO-ers just starting out out there, optimizing your GMB listing is now at the top of your to-dos.
Just like having a nice website, or a crisp professional business card, having a well-optimized GMB listing lets your customers know that you’re legit and not some scrub. Nothing will lose you a prospective client more quickly than a business that doesn’t list hours, or phone numbers, on their listing. Being mysterious, when it comes to your GMB listing, is in fact, not sexy. When it comes to marketing it’s all about the path of least resistance. Don’t make your prospects take unnecessary steps to find what they’re looking for.
Speaking of being legit, what’s the best way to get people to seriously consider your products or services? A recommendation from their peers. Now, accumulating reviews is certainly a double-edged sword, after all, people are far more likely to submit a negative review than a positive one, so it is extremely important for you to encourage your happy customers to share their experience. But just like your location, seeing those little gold stars goes a long way in getting the attention, and initial trust, of your future customers.
Just like Google Analytics gives your data into your website’s performance, GMB has its own data dashboard called “Insights.” This information will give you all kinds of details into your audience. Here’s some of the best data Insights will give you:
Where Users Found You: Maps or Search
Number of Listing Views
Visits from GMB to Your Site
Number of Requests for Directions
Number of Clicks to Call
Technology Used: Mobile vs. Desktop
If you’re anything like me, then you love data and your mom. The more data you have, the more you can confidently identify your audience. This then allows you to make smarter, more informed marketing decisions, and who’s not all about making good decisions!? Especially when those good decisions are profitable.
So, there you have it. You’re welcome, GMB! You might as well start doing couples’ pottery and listen to The Righteous Brothers, because you’re about to get all the love.
Dan Seitz is the Director of Strategy at Hawthorn Creative and has helped execute marketing strategies for clients from all over the hospitality industry. He would rather have referenced Point Break, but any Swayze reference is a good reference.