For every local business, having a Google My Business (GMB) listing is really important.   If you don’t have a listing or the one you have hasn’t been updated in a really long time, you’re losing out on attracting potential customers.  It’s been said that a Google My Business listing is the new home page of your website.

Before we get to what the benefits of Google My Business are, we need to explain what it is.

What is Google My Business?

For a quick recap for those who aren’t familiar with this, Google My Business is a free listing on Google to help promote local businesses online. It’s a tool that enables business owners to manage how they appear across Google and make their business stand out.

The key points here are that it helps you stand out and it’s free.   You might be thinking that a listing isn’t worth the time and effort, but it most certainly is and here are some great reasons why.

Benefits of Google My Business

1.  Gets your business in maps and map pack listings

Type in a product or service you’re looking for into Google and it will return a map section with three listings. This is called the map-pack.

In this example of local plumbers,  you’d probably pick the first listing because it has the most reviews.   By being in the map pack, you get in front of the searcher right away. When it comes to products, research shows that  72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location.

plumbers in Stanmore

 

 

2. Develops trust

Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.  People buy from people and businesses they trust, so having a listing is just another way to reinforce the know-like-trust cycle that keeps customers coming back.  However, your listing must be complete and updated regularly, ideally with lots of reviews.   A listing that only has a couple of pictures and a few reviews from way-back-when doesn’t give a good impression.

Take this listing for a dentist for example.   They’ve got 204 reviews, nearly all 5-star.  They’ve included good quality pictures too.   Searchers are more likely to click on a listing like this than one that has barely any reviews and only one picture of their premises. Remember, a GMB listing is like a mini-website for your business, so use it and avail yourself of all the features it has to offer.

Google my business listing

Read More: 10 Easy GMB Optimisation Tips

3. You can interact with customers

With a GMB listing, you can read and respond to reviews from your customers.  What a great way to engage with people who have already bought from you.  Too many businesses are faceless and do not appreciate their customers nearly enough. A simple ‘thank you’ or addressing a concern they had right away, and publically, can really help that trust factor.

This hairdresser has responded to a glowing review after a visit.   Responding to your reviews is an important way to show your customers that you care about them and their feedback.

Reviews are vital for your business. 63.6% of consumers say they’re likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business — more than any other review site.

Google my business review

 

Related: How to handle a negative Google review

4.  Show off

The fourth benefit of Google My Business is that it’s possible to post photos that showcase what you do and where you are located.

So, if you have a bricks-and-mortar location, you could post pictures of the interior and exterior of your shop. If you have a service, then post pictures of you “doing your job”.  Remember, people are buying you, so put a face to the business, perhaps with your clients too – even if it’s the four-legged kind.

For those of you who want hard numbers to believe that this is really all worthwhile, here are some stats.

According to Google’s own Google My Business Help page, businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps.

They also receive 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.   

Ok, now I have your attention.

5. Understand your customers

Wouldn’t you like to know where your customers are coming from and who they are?  You will be able to find out how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in search and maps.  While the ‘insights’ data isn’t very reliable, setting up a UTM code that’s linked to your Google Analytics will help you glean more information about how much traffic to your website is coming from your GMB listing.

 

Source medium in Google Analytics

 

And finally…

Ok, are you convinced that your Google My Business must be updated and optimised so you can attract more traffic?  If so, get cracking.  Set aside 20 minutes a week to update your listing and you’ll start seeing a difference.