Google is a profound product development company with a vast set of products and services that most folks cannot keep track of.  Google constantly tests, innovates, evolves, and levels up technology.  To that end, they also end of life products and services that did not provide enough impact to continue supporting – anyone recall Google+?  Google My Business is a product that has evolved over the years out of a few different end of life products (including Google+) to deliver a robust tool that is currently used for local SEO.

Google My Business has more usability than most digital marketers understand. There are the basics like your business name, phone number, address, operating hours, special operating hours, COVID policy, products sold, and services offered.  Then there are the tools that help provide more information and engage users than you may know about.  Google has made Google My Business the local hub for your business.

Google Reviews are housed in Google My Business with the 5-star rating system and written reviews that your clients have provided. Your clients can also upload photos with their review which adds engagement.  You may incent your clients to upload reviews and images with Google as they do not have draconian policies on asking for reviews or incenting users for their time it takes to give a review, so go on and ask away in exchange for a cup of coffee or something of value within your brand – this may even be a promo piece that is valuable to the client, like a tape measure for designers.  And Google also recommends responding to every review as it shows clients you are a good business and engage with your online reviews, which is important to the prospects reading your reviews.  Your reviews will show directly on the page with the number of reviews and star rating which the prospect can click on and read all the reviews.

Google My Business also features Google Posts where you can write blog content and it will show directly in your GMB listing in Google. You may feature something that is unusual or attention getting just to get the prospect to engage with you.  Google also reviews the amount of features you are using within GMB and rewards accordingly, so you can guess, you should use everything made available to you, just as you had to eat all your veggies as a kid.

Another tool on GMB is the inquiry feature that lets your prospects submit questions to you directly from the search engine results page.  You can respond to these inquiries from your Google My Business portal.  As you can imagine, responses should be prompt, so be sure to turn on your alerts for your GMB account.

Google My Business also allows customers and prospects to direct message you – you can turn this feature off, but of course Google would like you  to use it.  You will be alerted and can respond directly from your GMB app.  You can download the app for your phone as well, making responses timely that much easier.

Another feature that is often under-utilized is the Google Images feature.  You can upload images directly to Google My Business with a description – and as you can imagine, these also support your local search.  Organizations with visual work really thrive using this feature; art galleries, crafters, designers, construction firms, architecture, and even happy clients make the grade for Google My Business images.

You can enable bookings – but be prepared as you want to ensure technical efficiency here. Bookings let users reserve your time on a calendar based on a schedule you provide Google.  Take care of technology before you dive in head first on this one – you don’t want a prospect scheduling a time when you are booked up. You will want to use your calendar API to synch these so that your service is as flawless as your local SEO.

The most exciting part of Google My Business is the analytics. Once you create your GMB page, you will want to document your baseline so you can get excited when the updates come and you see how much you can convert non-branded traffic into visitors.  Below you will see some insights that really provide opportunity for you to optimize your site.

GMB Insights

You can see this example shows that 59.5% of prospects are finding this business through non-branded search terms and this is exactly what you want with local SEO.  You can also tell that this business has loyal clientele that come direct to his site almost as often.  The goal is to always increase Discovery and the rest will trickle down to branding once you get the broader terms associated with your website.

GMB SERP detail

The above insights show where you are ranking better, organic search or local SEO.  You can see here that this client is ranking very well for local SEO and is using all that GMB has to offer.  You want to rank in the maps listing, often referred to as the Map Pack as this listing shows higher in SERPs than Search Listings.  The Map Pack also has the image of the map with the pin icon which now is a connotative icon for close proximity and typically generates engagement as users zoom on the map to find you and your competition.  Your reviews show here and are often how users determine which business to click on, so be sure and get your reviews rolling.

Local SEO with GMB Insights

From the above chart, you can see that 13% of the folks that searched took action.  Of this group, 64% went directly to the website which is where users look for professionalism, differentiation, and accessibility to information.  Now with this being the biggest group, you will note that you lose visibility to what happens next – if they call, you need to track this from your website by segmenting referrals and looking at GMB – then and only then will you know how many calls were from GMB.  As you can see 22% decided to get directions and go.  And 14% called straight from GMB without checking out further information.  And finally, two folks messaged the business.  You will notice that personality and business type will impact these numbers greatly.

When you’re ready to pour some gasoline on your local SEO, check into Google My Business, and we’re confident you will find gold.

Spread the love: