When you’re a small business owner, you just can’t afford to overlook Google My Business. Getting listed on Google My Business is one of the biggest drivers
of local SEO success. It guarantees you more visibility on both Google Search and Google Maps.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is an online platform that lets businesses of any size manage their online presence across the ecosystem of Google, including Google
Maps, Google Plus, Knowledge Graph, and Google Search. By verifying and editing your business information, you can help customers find you, as well
as, tell them the story of your business.
The benefits of using Google My Business
MANAGE YOUR PUBLIC INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION Manage what information that internet users see when they search for your business, or the products and services that you offer, including information
like your hours, website, and street address.
INTERACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS View and respond to reviews received from your customers, and post photos that show off what you do.
GAIN INSIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS Learn how customers have searched for your business, and where those customers originated. You can also see information like the number of people
whom called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results of search and maps.
Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites
than businesses that don’t.
ANATOMY OF THE KNOWLEDGE PANEL (PROFILE) In the following figure we show a screenshot of a business profile that has not been claimed and verified by the business. The information provided
is consumer generated and/or gathered by other sources through Google's algorithms.
The Knowledge Panel (Profile)
Let's take a look at the sections within the knowledge ‘profile’ panel that a business edits. (Refer to Figure 1)
REVIEWS Interacting with customers by responding to their reviews illustrates that your business values its customers and the feedback that they leave
regarding it. Positive reviews are going to have a positive effect on potential customers when researching your business, but they also increase
your business’s visibility in search results. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews for
BUSINESS WEBSITE OR LANDING PAGE As the owner of a verified business, you can specify the exact URL (web address) that is used. In most cases, it is recommended that this URL
be your home page of your website; however, some institutions will create a unique landing page that is different from the site home page.
When a profile is not claimed and verified, Google determines this address through user suggestions and/or information it’s algorithms gather
from other referring links, social media sites, directory and review sites and more.
DIRECTIONS TO BUSINESS LOCATION(S) As the owner of a verified business, you can specify the exact address that should be provided a search user. In the case where there are multiple
locations, the business owner should enter all the locations that are relevant to consumers. When a profile is not claimed and verified, Google
determines this address through user suggestions and/or information it’s algorithms gather from other referring links, social media sites,
directory and review sites and more.
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION After a multi-year disappearance, you can once again add a description to your Google My Business listing. The description is a chance to tell
prospective customers your story and what makes your business unique. Do be sure to include keywords you have placed importance on in your
SEO practices. Do not include URLs or HTML code, or exceed 750 characters in the description field. For a full list of guidelines, read Google’s
‘Business Description Guidelines’.
LOCATED IN If your business is located in a shopping center for example, you can have the shopping center identified; and, users will be taken to the
centers knowledge panel (profile) if clicked.
ADDRESS The business address accuracy and consistency are essential to a successful SEO strategy and the NAP. Your address should be exactly the same
on every social site, directory site, review site, and obviously your website. This includes the placement of ‘commas’, ‘periods’ and ‘spaces’.
HOURS OF OPERATION The figure above is a great example of what can happen when you don’t claim, verify and manage your Google My Business listing. Since the business
hasn’t taken the opportunity, an online user has provided their suggestion of what they believe the business’ hours to be. Unfortunately, they
are wrong (this location is in a surrounding neighborhood and I know for a fact that they are open 24/7). Who knows how much business has been
lost because users, searching for a Mexican restaurant on Sundays, are left with the impression that this business is not open on that day.
ORDERS & MENUS If your business uses third-party services like GrubHub, you can provide those links in this section. Additionally, if you have a menu web
page on your site, you can enter that URL as well, and “Menu” will appear in the panel.
BUSINESS PHONE When a phone number is supplied, a user can click on the phone number from call enabled device and they will automatically initiate a call
to the business. Tip – you are able to see the analytics around how users interact with that number, providing you insights in to your consumer
CLAIM YOUR BUSINESS, VERIFIED, & USERS SUGGESTIONS As you can see in Figure 1, the owners of this business have not claimed their ‘My Business’ profile. If they had, this section would indicate
‘Verified’ instead of asking if you are the business owner. Additionally, users may suggest edits at any time; thus, the more complete, accurate
and informative that your profile is, the less likely that users will feel the need to provide suggestions.
PHOTOS Photos help business listings’ performance more than most business owners and marketers probably expect. Businesses with photos on their listings
receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35 percent more click-throughs to their websites than businesses
that without photos, according to Google.
TIP - Just like traditional website SEO, Google uses a variety of signals to serve search results, and including important keywords
and search phrases to your business listing will be incredibly helpful, especially since your business website is listed directly within your
Blog post written by
BRETT SALISBURY Brett has Serving small businesses, driving growth and profits for his clients, for nearly 20 years.