Small local businesses have access today to one of the most powerful forms of advertising, absolutely free of charge – Google My Business. And yet so many companies are missing out on this number one, essential marketing tool that could have a major positive impact on sales.
Climbing the ranking in Google search engines has always been perceived as a complex affair, conducted by a small minority of uber analytical specialists who have studied the search engine’s various whims, and created ways to navigate it.
While there is a science behind climbing the pages towards that favoured first page, Google has actually made it much easier for business owners – particularly those with a strong local element to their trade – to establish their Google presence in a much simpler process.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (or GMB for brevity’s sake) is, in its simplest form, a local business directory. By registering and creating a business profile on Google, that business will be verified by Google as genuine and will be favoured when it comes to rankings for certain keywords that you include.
The actual registration process is quite simple. Once you have registered your business, GMB will send you a postcard (via snail mail – yes we know, but it shows how important the physical world still is!) which contains a verification code. Enter this code into you GMB profile and you’re good to go.
In its simplest form your profile will contain all your essential information – location, opening times, products and services. However, simply having this won’t get you up the rankings. This is your starting point. From this point, the more proactive and consistent you are with populating your profile, the more you will climb the rankings and (hopefully) leapfrog your competitors.
Why is GMB so important for local businesses?
If you’re a homeowner in Maidstone looking for artificial grass, what are your search terms going to be? Maidstone + artificial + grass is the most obvious answer. And if you are the artificial grass supplier you want to make sure that you come high up in the search results, preferably over and above your competitors.
Research has highlighted how crucial Google is to local listings. In fact, a whopping 93 per cent of local searches feature businesses that have a Google business profile.
So what can you do to boost your own rankings?
- POSTS: treat your profile as another social media platform, and post on it regularly. Your profile page has sections specifically for adding posts and photos giving up to date information on your products and services, recent installations, happy customers, new product developments, changes in opening times, donations to charities, basically anything and everything that is going to raise your profile as a proactive business operating within the local community. Not only does it help to raise your local profile to those who are searching for your products, but it also tells Google that you are proactive and busy, which it likes.
- REVIEWS: what’s one of the most powerful forms of advertising? Word of mouth. On an internet search engine that word of mouth is presented in the form of customer reviews. Make sure you are proactive in gathering those reviews, and build it into part of your CRM process so that you don’t miss out on any. Through your GBP you can access a dedicated link that you can send to customers asking for a testimonial, which is then reloaded onto your profile page under your customer’s personal name. The beauty of these is that they are immediately verifiable and genuine.