Google My Business is a free service offered by Google that allows you to create an online presence for your business so you can be found more easily in search results. How does this service work, what's important for you to know and how can it help improve your online business? We will answer these questions in this article.
Google My Business: Why You Should Use It
Even if you already have a website, Google My Business complements your existing website because it gives your business a public identity and a presence with your own dedicated listing on Google. What is the main reason for having a profile on Google My Business? It gives you a professional and verified listing on the most popular search engine in the world. This can increase your organic visibility and make it easier to attract new customers. A good organic ranking in the search engine is, in fact, an excellent way to increase search traffic and reach a greater number of potential customers. The information you provide about your business will be displayed not only in the results of the organic Google search, but also on Google Maps. Finally, by creating a profile on Google My Business you will be able to access additional promotional services, like Google Ads (Google's tool where you pay to set up a sponsored advertising campaign).
How to create a Google My Business profile
To register on Google My Business and activate your account, simply go to business.google.com and click on “Start now”. The steps for creating your profile are very simple and intuitive: you will be asked to enter your business name along with other important information, like the type of business and your locations. What if you are not a company, but a self-employed freelancer or professional? No worries: Google My Business is for everyone. You can register your business even if you are self-employed, this gives you the opportunity to have a professional listing on Google. Also, if you wish, Google My Business will allow you to create a simple website, with by all the information that you enter on the portal. Using this website feature, you can complement your professional profile! Once you have completed the registration process, Google My Business will ask you to verify your business listing: within 12 days you will receive a verification postcard by mail at your business address. Once this step is completed, your business will be live and your presence will be enhanced on the search engine!
Now that you have Google My Business, how can you get the most from this tool?
When you open the profile, the dashboard will display various sections that we will explain here:
Here, you can update your followers by sharing useful information, offers, news, products and all the updates you want.
From this section you can access all the information you need to increase your customer base. The data and analyses provided here will help you to discover how many people are searching for your business and how they are interacting with your listing. You can also compare your business with others and monitor your competition.
It is now common knowledge that reviews are one of the ranking factors that Google uses (for about 10% of the total) to determine where your business should be placed on search results. According to statistics, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Therefore, the more reviews you have, the better idea new customers will have about your business.
The importance of this section depends on your type of activity. However, no matter what your business, you should add at least a couple of photos that identify your category, your company or the services that you offer. Google My Business has already included several categories to help you organize the material: videos, interior photos, exterior photos, team photos, and more. You should take full advantage of these labels to optimize your images.
Google My Business for local SEO
Local Search Engine Optimization is an essential part of Google My Business: in fact, a critical first step is to claim and verify your business listing. This is for one simple reason. When someone searches for your business on Google, the information used in the setup of your GMB profile (telephone number, address, reviews, etc.) is pulled from your Google My Business page and populated into the search results. To learn more about SEO, you can read the article
But how do you optimize a business page for local SEO?
- Business name: use your real-world name and ensure that it accurately reflects your business;
- Contact information: make sure it corresponds with the information on your website or your social channels. Consistency is a ranking factor: the more coordinated and uniform your information, the greater the chance that Google will authorize your listing.
- Categories: within Google My Business, you can create categories of the products/services you offer. Enter all the necessary information to ensure that this section is as clear as possible. It will be used not only by potential customers to view your offering, but also by Google to match your business listing to relevant searches;
- Photos: use at least 4 or 5 high-quality images. Photos are an effective way to showcase your products or services, therefore they must be original and should accurately reflect your business. In this way, they can also be used in Google Maps;
- Reviews: they are extremely useful, not only for potential customers, but also for the search engine. Pages that have reviews are ranked higher than those without them.
What is better, Google My Business or Facebook?
Social networks are a valuable complement to a good marketing strategy, but they do not put you at the top of the search result rankings because they are not relevant for SEO. However, as we have just seen, Google My Business allows you to boost your rankings and more easily position yourself at the top of the Search Engine Results Page. Facebook, and social networks in general, allow you to improve your online presence by triggering a communication process that, depending on the social medium, can consist of images (like in the case of Instagram) or text (LinkedIn articles, for example). It's positive for your business, but unfortunately it does not contribute to increasing your search results. However, for the reasons previously mentioned, Google My Business can improve your business ranking and even your SEO. Therefore, the answer to whether it's better to have Google My Business or social profiles is, "It's better to have both".
Now that you understand all the aspects of Google My Business, all you have to do is create your profile and optimize your listing to enhance your online presence and soar to the top of search rankings! Whether you are a commercial business or a self-employed freelancer or professional, you are sure to benefit from this free tool.