With the days of phone books coming to an end, businesses are moving their local marketing efforts online—which is a good thing! Not only does it make your business easier to find, but, with online directories such as Google My Business, you can reach potential customers that would otherwise have to drive by or look you up in the prehistoric Yellow Pages. This article is going to cover just ten of the many benefits you can reap from having an optimized Google My Business listing.
Why You Need a Google My Business Listing
Google has reported that a staggering 46% of all searches have local intent (Source: Search Engine RoundTable). Yet, despite knowing this information, so many businesses fail to take advantage of the free-to-use Google My Business platform. There are several perks of getting set up on Google My business, so whether you’re considering creating a listing for your business or looking for the best ways to boost your local presence, this article is well worth your time.
Benefit #1: Show Up in Google Maps Searches
Next to online reviews, the second most important factor that consumers take into consideration when searching for a local business is proximity to their location. While a quick Google search is certainly effective for narrowing the down the options—especially those on a smartphone—most consumers use Google Maps to locate businesses nearby.
Whether searching for local mechanics or a popular spot to get some ramen noodles, Google Maps will quickly populate with dozens of red markers, each indicating a local business that meets your search criteria. By simply creating a Google My Business listing and completing the verification steps, your store location will start to pop up for local searches as well. This is a great benefit that allows users to instantly see how close you are to their location, increasing the likelihood that they’ll pay you a visit.
If, for example, you’re a pest control business, having a Google My Business will allow your business to show up for searches like the one below:
Benefit #2: Show Up In Google’s Local 3-Pack
If you’ve been following Google’s local search results for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that the once inclusive 7-pack has now become the limited 3-pack. In order to get into this special club, businesses around the world have been trying a number of different SEO tricks to boost their local rankings and odds of being included in Google’s local 3-pack.
What most brands don’t know is, by simply creating a free Google My Business listing, you can greatly increase your odds of making it onto this highly sought after list. The best part about being in the local 3-pack, you ask? Not only do these listings show users where your business is located on Google Maps, but they also show up BEFORE organic results—offering a major benefit to your visibility. To better demonstrate just how important this is from a business perspective, brands that show up on Google’s local 3-pack get a whopping 700% boost in clicks over brands that don’t.
Benefit #3: Earn Trust From Customers
For modern customers, one of the biggest hurdles they have to face is that of building enough trust to confidently make a purchase. As a business owner, your job is to help them make that jump as easily as possible. To do this, one of the simplest steps you can take is that of helping potential customers see that your business has an actual location.
Due to the inherent trust and confidence most users place in Google, your business benefits whenever it pops up in a local search, as prospects will automatically be more likely to trust your brand. In fact, brands that show up on Google are 2.7 times more likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
This is due largely in part to the thorough process businesses must go through before being listed on Google My Business. Thanks to the multiple verification steps every brand must complete before appearing in local searches, Google creates a trustworthy environment that users can rely on.
Benefit #4: Star Ratings Boost Your Appeal
Few factors can influence a potential customer’s purchase decision as much as online reviews. As a consumer, think about the last time you were buying something online. Did you go with the product that had the highest reviews, or the lowest?
With a Google My Business listing, customers will be able to review your business and leave feedback for others to see. In doing this, not only will you get honest evaluations about what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better, but you’ll also get that nifty star rating system next to your business on Google. As long as you’re delivering quality products and a quality experience, over time, you’ll start to collect more reviews and a higher overall rating (responding to reviews helps with this as well). This is especially helpful when there are competing businesses nearby and you need to gain a competitive edge.
Benefit #5: Increase Traffic and Sales
Another challenge local businesses face is that of maintaining an increase in quality website traffic and keeping a steady supply of foot traffic filtering through their doors. While there’s no way to completely avoid the ups and downs throughout the year, having a Google My Business listing can greatly help boost your numbers across the board.
Just by having a listing and showing up in local searches, Google has found that businesses are as much as 70% more likely to attract location visits from browsing potentials. An even more impressive figure revealed that customers who find a brand through their Google My Business listing are up to 50% more likely to make a purchase.
Benefit #6: Learn More About Your Business
No matter what kind of product or service you sell, the more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to appeal to them. From your Google My Business page, navigating to the “Insights” section will give you a wealth of valuable analytics that breaks down how visible your brand is, who your target customers are, and how they’re engaging with your business.
This is a powerful way to gauge how your business is performing throughout the year so you can better zero in on what’s working and what’s not. By learning more about the kinds of customers your business is attracting, you’ll also be able to modify and improve marketing strategy performance.
Benefit #7: Rank Higher in Results
The more Google likes your business, the higher it will rank you in its Search and Maps results. How do you get Google to like your business more? By supplying quality, consistent, and accurate information. The more Google can tell consumers about your business, the more it will like you. Your Google My Business profile is the best way to feed Google this information.
Benefit #8: Increase Engagement
Google My Business profiles provide ample opportunities for engagement. Potential customers can access your website or call you in one tap or click. Even more beneficial is the ability to reserve a table or book an appointment directly through your listing.
Benefit #9: Free Google Advertising
Running a Google Ads campaign is a great way to get to the top of Google, but you do need to know what you’re doing so you can maximize your budget. You also need to have a budget for running ads in the first place. The other way to get to the first page of Google is by improving your SEO, which is primarily content-driven. This method is more sustainable but it does take time to build up your authority and ranking.
A Google My Business listing, on the other hand, offers a form of fast and free advertising on Google. With it you get targeted exposure on the world’s most trusted search engine, It costs nothing to create, claim, and verify your listing. It takes less time to optimize your profile than to get a solid paid search campaign up and running. You will also see results more quickly than with building up your organic search results through website pages over time.
This is not to say that you should not run Google ads or build your SEO through your website—these are marketing strategies that are well worth your time and money. The point is that Google My Business is an additional marketing strategy that is cheaper than paid search advertising and faster than SEO—not to mention simpler than both.
Benefit #10: Stand Out from Competitors
Your Google My Business profile displays the essential information potential customers need in order to engage with your business. In addition, it also displays a brief description to help users quickly identify if your business is what they’re looking for. An effective Google My Business description offers a snapshot of your business, includes relevant keywords, and depicts something unique or authentic to help you show your value. Through a small snippet of content, your Google business description gives you an opportunity to stand out from your competitors in a consumer’s initial scan through search results—don’t pass up this benefit!
Google’s search results are becoming more and more robust, with answer boxes, related questions, and even results appearing in the search suggest drop down menu. The benefits Google My Business affords local businesses are only growing. Get your profile set up today to start reaping them in!