(commonly known as ‘GMB’) is one of the most valuable digital marketing assets available to businesses. Every day, millions of consumers use Google to research businesses, products and services. Most recent studies have shown that more than half of the searches conducted on mobile devices have local intent – that means people are looking for local businesses. Your GMB profile is what shows up first for customers, and it’s packed with the top level information that most users are looking for. It includes your business name, address, phone number, website, details about your business, customer reviews, and photos. Helpful to consumers? Certainly. But it’s also empowering for businesses. Previously, we’ve discussed the role of search signals in making a business visible to the all-seeing eye of Google. Your GMB profile (or lack thereof) plays a big part in how you show up – and in converting online prospects into satisfied customers. It’s quite literally the first impression that your business makes. For years, business owners and marketers have been told that their website is where first impressions are made. But times change, and that’s no longer the case. It’s not that your website isn’t important. A well-branded, easily navigable website full of rich, unique content is a cornerstone of any successful business. It helps Google to recognize your value. But with the way search works today, customers don’t have to click through to your website to get the top level info they’re looking for. At a glance, it provides them with key information they need to make quick decisions, such as:
Gone are the days of white pages and yellow pages. If someone is looking for you, they’re doing it online. So, it’s important to make certain that your GMB profile is set up with all the correct contact information. Business name, physical address, phone number, and website; they’re the bare minimum expected if you want people to find you.
GMB verification requires confirmation of your business’ physical location. Why is this important? Two words: Google Maps. It’s how prospective customers will find your business, so it’s important that Google knows you’re really at that location.
In a recent study by Google, it was determined that businesses who took the time to upload photos to their GMB received up to 35% more clicks to their websites and prompted up to 42% more requests for driving instructions. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so be sure to make it count. Upload awesome, high resolution images.
An estimated 91% of consumers regularly check online reviews, and 84% of users trust online reviews more than reviews from friends or family members. GMB prominently displays reviews, so it’s important for any business to be conscious of all reviews (both good and bad). Make sure you’re asking for customer reviews, and make sure you’re honestly responding to ever review you receive.
Questions and Answers
Google’s new Questions & Answers section can be a valuable resource, but did you know that the ‘answers’ can come from anyone? It’s true. While most users assumed that it’s a messaging feature, it’s actually a community discussion feature. That means anyone can jump in and answer questions being posed by your customers. Misinformation can spread fast, so stay on top of your Google Q&A. Answer any and all questions, then upvote those answers to make sure your answers show as the primary answers to questions. You can also ask your own questions, so upload the most common customer questions and set up a pre-site FAQ section. As we said, your GMB is one of the most valuable assets available to local businesses. As we continue this series, we’ll be exploring many avenues of Search Engine Optimization to help you lay the groundwork for a successful SEO strategy. If you aren’t already optimizing your GMB Profile, the time is now.