A Quick Guide to Google My Business for Startups and SMEs

Mar 7, 2019 | Digital Marketing, OPM, SEO, Social Media

by Angharad Miller

Are you an SME or start-up business looking to find out more about Google My Business? You’re in the right place.

Google My Business

Google My Business: A Great Opportunity for Your Small Business or Startup

If you’re a small business or start-up looking to improve your online presence, Google My Business is a brilliant place to start.

With the decline of Google Plus, Google My Business is set to take centre-stage and become one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there. For small businesses in particular, My Business offers a great opportunity to take advantage of the huge volume of searches for nearby businesses. Think about it: if you’re out on a day trip with some friends and what to find somewhere for coffee, what’s the first thing you do? You pull out your phone and type it into Google Maps.

With a Google My Business listing, your business can pop up in these local searches, leading people straight to you. People use Google Maps for everything – for research before they visit somewhere, as a way to find a particular service closest to them, or even on the go. Make sure you take full advantage of that.

So far, however, Google My Business seems to have avoided the limelight – for those a little confused by what Google My Business is and what it can offer your business, we’ve compiled a quick guide to the platform as a whole.

Google My Business Local Panel

Standing out on Google through a My Business listing is easy and free – make sure your business takes advantage of all its options! 

What is Google My Business (GMB)?

Put simply, Google My Business is an indispensable tool for small- to medium-sized businesses. GMB listings differ from organic Google listings because they’re influenced by the user’s location. Local rankings are therefore prioritised and sorted to the top, offering a vital opportunity for small businesses. If you’re not on Google My Business and people are looking for a business like yours locally, you simply won’t show up. The amount of business you could miss out on is staggering.

GMB results are sorted by relevance, prominence and distance, and the first two are factors that you and your business can positively effect with a strong online presence. Without a GMB profile, your business won’t show up in the local panel of any Google searches and as of 2018, Google My Business makes up 25% of the top local ranking factors on Google.

GMB is therefore a very useful tool because it gives your business the chance to feature prominently on Google Search and Maps for free. With Google Plus being shut down, the rise of GMB is granting small businesses the rare opportunity to greatly enhance their online presence and boost their conversion rates. Although growing your business’s local rankings is a continual process that can take some time the Business Profile is an excellent way to start climbing the ladder.

If you’re still a little bit daunted, get in touch with Twenti to see how we can help optimise your Google My Business profile.

 

Google My Business SME

What does Google My Business offer?

Google My Business allows you to create a Business Profile which will show up in the search results of both Google Search and Maps. Your Business Profile will include vital information such as your location, reviews, contact details and photos of yours business. This ‘Knowledge Panel’ is a set of information unique to your business, presented in an easily digestible format. In order to keep ranking highly, your business information needs to be clearly presented and accurately updated. More than half of the negative factors behind local rankings are caused by unreliable information on a Google Business profile.

Alongside this, GMB gives you access to the analytics of the Insights tab, allowing you to see how you’re performing on Google Maps and other search pages. It has three available options: engagement, audience and visibility. This means that you can see how many people saw your page, who they are and how they engaged with it. GMB therefore offers a great tool for the overall management and optimisation of your online presence on Google. Although it can seem a confusing process, a successful My Business account can have a potent effect on your search engine rankings.

It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that any Google user can submit changes to the listing, so regular check-ups on your GMB profile and listing ownership is a must!

 

Online presence management
Google My Business OPM

What features does Google My Business have?

The most important features that Google My Business offers your business can be broken down into a simple list:

1. Business Description

GMB lets small business owners include a business description on their listing so that customers can easily see just what your business offers. The business description can be up to 750 characters long, but only 250 characters show up in the results snippet before being cut of by the rest of your ‘Knowledge Panel’, so keep this in mind when writing yours!

You also want to ensure that your business description is carefully loaded with the most important information and keywords at the start of your description. Google also reviews your business description to make sure people aren’t misleading customers, so look over these guidelines if you’re unsure.

2. Reviews

Reviews form the basis of a brand’s credibility and authority, so they definitely influence local rankings. Positive reviews increase a good reputation whilst negative reviews offer your business the opportunity to reach out to the customer and improve upon their experience. When customers review you business featuring your keyword, this will also contribute to your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) ranking.

In Google Search and Maps, reviews also let you show up on the Map Pack, a list of local businesses on the Google Maps result page. In 2018, customers read an average of 10 online reviews before trusting a local business, with 86% of consumers reading reviews in total; positive reviews can be vital to helping your business stand out from the crowd, so don’t underestimate their power!

3. Posts

With GMB, your business can use posts to share events, updates and offers directly to the local panel. This is a brilliant way to attract potential customers without them needing to find your social media or web page. Posts offer a one time call-to-action which is completely customisable, and your business can have up to ten posts live at once.

Google My Business Reviews Comments

4. The Booking Button

GMB also offers a Booking Button feature to help your business stand out from its competition – if you have a business which relies on customers making appointements or booking tables, they can now organise them directly through your GMB listing. This makes the process of converting new customers even simpler – if you have already set up an account with one of Google’s supported schedule providers, the booking button is automatically added to your Business profile.

5. Messaging

Through GMB, current customers – as well as potential customers – can send you direct text messages. This allows your business to connect with the people interested in what your business offers directly and in real-time, making sure that you are available whenever you are needed.

GMB messages are also a great way of engaging with people viewing your listing, and you can easily create an automated message for people to receive so that they aren’t left waiting for too long in the meantime. If you don’t feel comfortable with text messages being sent to your personal number, we would recommend downloading Google’s Allo app. Although it’s currently only available to mobile web users, the Allo app is a great way to separate your personal and business messages.

6. Questions and Answers

GMB also offers the very helpful Questions and Answers section, allowing people to ask questions about your business so that you can answer them quickly and efficiently. The Q&A section is a great opportunity to hear directly from your customers and find out what might be confusing or misleading about your listing. However, it should be noted that notifications for a new question won’t show up on your My Business dashboard – instead, you’ll receive an email notification each time a question is asked. To make sure you stay on top of the Q&As, we’d recommend proactively checking your business email account on a regular basis.

7. Photos

Although textual information is very important to any GMB profile, the visual appeal of images cannot be underestimated in this day and age. Photos are probably the most important factor when it comes to choosing between different local places to visit – one of the first things customers will look for is the visual appeal, professionality and reliability of your business, all of which are conveyed primarily through the images uploaded to your GMB profile.

Many small business owners still believe that to start building up a gallery of business-related images means they have to hire a professional. This couldn’t be further from the truth – some of the best and most authentic photos are taken on an everyday smartphone! Adding photos to your business profile is a great way to humanize your brand and My Business also lets customers post photos themselves, doubling as another great way of increasing brand engagement.

Google My Business Photo
Online Presence Management
Google My Business Reviews Comments

Where does Twenti come in?

Google My Business is a brilliant place to start optimising your search ranking but establishing your presence and increasing your brand awareness online involves many more factors. Starting and maintaining your business’s online presence can be a confusing and lengthy task, so Twenti makes the whole process simple: by bringing together all the tools and expertise your business needs, you can save time and fuel real business growth.

Twenti can help you manage your GMB listing alongside your digital strategy and social media needs. In order for your business to compete with all the other brands online, Twenti helps cover all the bases of digital marketing through an all-in-one approach.

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