Aloha! Welcome to part 1 in a 2 part series about Google My Business (GMB) where we delve into the who, what, where and how do I of this great product put out by the search giant.
What is Google My Business?
This free service, which launched back in June of 2014, has changed a lot over the years from a basic business information listing to a robust interface that makes it easier for businesses and brands to be found in both Google Maps and Search. It offers a slew of tools that are great for both you and the people trying to find your products or services.
The only requirement? You must have some face-to-face interaction with your customers whether it’s and office, storefront or you deliver goods and services directly to your customers in person. To be specific, you can’t operate 100% online.
Having a local GMB listing outputs what has been termed the “knowledge panel”. When someone searches for your type of business or service, a card may appear to the right of search results, in the local section in the search results (image above), or to the left on Maps; with all the pertinent details of your company or brand as seen in the image below. It helps customers discover, contact and interact with you in several different ways.
Business Listing Features
- Business Info – List out everything from category, address, business hours, phone number, website, services, and a description for your company. All which helps your customers find and connect with you… but that’s not all!
- Posts – Posting through GMB allows you to publish products, specials, services, events and more directly to Search and Maps. The post can include text, a link and photo or video. These posts last up to a week and you can have multiple posts at a time. To the right you can see our post on “How to Design”.
- Reviews – Clients can publicly post a review in Google about their experience with your services or products which is integrated into your listing on Search and Maps.
- Messaging – For mobile only, this gives people another way to communicate with you through SMS text messaging.
- Photos & Video – Show images that best represent the business. As stated by Google, businesses that have photos see 35% more clicks to their website and 42% more requests for driving directions in Google Maps. Give your listing some eye-candy or further entice people with a great video!
- Google My Business Website – Don’t have the money to invest in your own website? Build a free and simple single page about your business in under 10 minutes. The basic site is auto generated with info from your GMB listing. If you need more than a single page of basic contact info, consider our Hawaii Web Design services (we do free consultations)!
- Questions & Answers – The Q&A section of your listing is a place where people can, you got it, ask questions. Not directly found in the GMB management console, this one is a little harder to manage. Where before you had to check the section on your Knowledge Panel, more recently, we’ve been receiving an email when someone asks a question.
- Either way, it is well worth checking on now and then. Your customers are prompted to respond to questions people ask about your business, and the prompts go to everyone (even those who didn’t have a great experience). So be sure they hear from you as well — plus it just looks more professional.
Once you have your Google My Business listing up and running, it will also provide you Insights which are basic statistics on how customers are interacting with your business: from how many calls were made and the number of people asking directions, to where they found you (Maps or Search) and even some of the queries they used to find your business.
Now you know why it is so important to get listing in GMB to have better visibility in Google Maps and Google local business listings for Search. Next week, we will be covering How to Add Your Business To Google Maps & Local Search where we give you step-by-step instructions on how to get your business listed so you can start taking advantage of these free features.