Since pulling the plug on Google +, Google has been putting more effort and focus into providing businesses with more options to maximize their exposure through its platform.
Google has created Google My Business and in the past year they have been adding more options to improve the ability for businesses to be discovered online. Google My Business is particularly effective for small, local businesses.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your Business Profile and business website on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google. (Google)
Why Should Small Businesses Use Google My Business?
Google My Business provides more ways for your business to attract and engage with customers searching for your business or your services/products.
Google My Business is particularly useful to small businesses because:
4 out of 5 customers use search engines to find local information/businesses/services.
70% of customers visit a store to make a purchase after an online search.
85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
What Tools are Provided to Help My Business Succeed?
Business Website – Even though you may have a business website of your own, a Google My Business website complements your website by providing more visibility with Google Search and Google Maps. The free website builder pulls the information from your Business Profile to auto-generate a website. You can then choose a specific template design, add photos, and create updates to customize your website.
Accessible Dashboard – The Google My Business allows you to view useful information for your business, including your online performance, customer photos, customer reviews, company updates, and a variety of helpful insights for you to determine if your marketing strategy is creating results, allowing you enough information to update your strategy or continue with what is working.
Insights – Google My Business insights provides information on how customers are using Search and Maps to find your listing or businesses providing your services/products. Insights provides information on how people are searching for your business, how they are searching for the services/products you provide, how many clicked through to your website, where they are located, whether they called your business, and more. (For more on Insights see Google’s About Insights)
Google My Business Posts – While these updates are called “posts” they are not actually Social Media updates. These posts are visible on your Google My Business listing during a search and on the Google My Business website. The posts are a great way to showcase your business at the exact time someone is searching for your business online.
Customer Communication – Google My Business now provides a great way for customers to connect with your business. Customers viewing your listing now can call, message, or leave a review. Providing more ways for people to find you and reach you so you can do more business.
Keep an Eye on Your Competitors – You can also see what your competitors are posting and see who is in direct competition for searches in your area. Allowing you to re-strategize your campaign to put your business ahead of your opponents. (This means YOUR posts are showing up on their listing too.)
What is the Difference Between Google My Business, Google Places, Google Listings, etc.?
Google My Business now incorporates Google Places, Google Listings, and Google + Business Pages. IT is the main place to manage and update your business information and Business Profile. This is now what you need in order to update your information on Google and optimize your business for search rank.
Still Not Convinced?
Case studies have shown that businesses in a highly competitive industry should be using Google My Business to optimize their business online in order to get a jump on their competition.
You need to be where customers are looking, if you aren’t, they won’t find you, they will find your competition.