Google My Business, How Does it Work?
If you are searching for ways to improve your business’s online presence, there’s no better place to start than a Google My Business profile.
Also called GMB, Google My Business is a tool that allows you to create and manage a listing on the Google platform. You can reach potential customers searching for products or services your business offers across the Google platform, including Google search results and Google Maps.
Although there are several different search engines online, Google holds 92.7% of the search engine market, which has been going on for many years. If you don’t have one yet, you need to start building your GMB page to make the most out of the benefits that come with it.
Most business types that have an address or make in-person contact with their clients or customers are qualified for a business profile on Google with some exemptions such as virtual kitchens, maid services, and more.
Google My Business is a tool launched by Google in June 2014. As long as you have a Google account, you can create a Google My Business profile for your business.
Previously, Google listed businesses on Google Places for Business, Google Listings, and Google+. If you had any of these in the past, Google would have already automatically upgraded your profile to a Google My Business profile. Note that if you have linked your former Google+ profile on your website, you may have to change the link address to your GMB profile.
Simply put, your GMB profile acts as your business listing on the Google platform. Customers can potentially find your business on Google’s search results or Google Maps. Google My Business profiles appear both on desktop and mobile devices.
Whether or not your business already has a website, you can still create a Google My Business account. In the past, search results would show websites that rank for a particular keyword or phrase that a user searches online. These websites may include business websites or lead generation websites.
Thanks to Google My Business, it is easier for the search engine’s users with local intent to find the service they are looking for. For example, if you search “electricians in Los Angeles”, aside from the websites that may come out in the results, there will be a list of GMB profiles.
Why Google My Business is Important
Getting listed in online directories is essential for most businesses. It is the best way to reach potential customers who do not know about your business yet. Gone are the days when people would take time to flip through the pages of a directory book. Many would instead go online to search for the product or service they need.
As earlier mentioned, Google owns the largest market share when it comes to search engines. As a business owner, you wouldn’t want your company to be the only one that misses out on the potential customers Google can bring you.
Your Google My Business profile includes essential information about your business that may include the following:
- Business Name
- Business Address
- Contact Details
- Operating Hours
- Directions and Map, when applicable
- Questions and Answers
- User Reviews
Google even added the option to include a button that a user can click to call your business quickly.
Google My Business plays a crucial role in boosting your business’s online presence. We couldn’t stress enough its importance, and we highly recommend you create one as soon as possible if you don’t have one yet.
Is Google My Business Free?
Google My Business is 100% free. You need a Google account to create your business profile. And as you probably know by now, you can quickly create a free Google account if you don’t have one yet.
You might be wondering what happens when you have plenty of competing businesses in your area – what happens to your business profile then? It is excellent to know that as long as you optimize your business listing, which we will discuss in detail in a bit, your listing can appear on the top search results.
How to Setup a Google My Business Account
Setting up a Google My Business profile is very simple. If you do not have a Google account yet, create one directly on Google.
Go to http://www.google.com/business, then click on sign in. You will then have the option to create a business profile on Google. Add all relevant details, including your company name, address, operating hours, contact number, website, business description, and other essential information. Include some images too that can help attract more customers.
You are allowed to have multiple business profiles while using one Google account. However, you are only allowed to have one listing or profile per business location. For example, if you own a flower shop in two different addresses, you may list both of them using the same Google account.
Just make sure you’re clicking on the correct business profile whenever you enter your Google My Business dashboard.
How Google My Business Works
After setting up your Google My Business profile, you have to verify your business so it may begin showing up on search results.
The default option for verification is Postcard by Mail. Google will send it to the address you used on your profile. The postcard includes a digital verification code that you will have to enter on the Google My Business dashboard.
Some businesses are eligible for other verification methods such as email or phone.
Your listing will appear on Google a few weeks after successful verification.
There might be instances when you discover that someone else has already created a business profile on Google for you. If you know who has access to the profile, request ownership from the profile owner. Alternatively, you can visit this link to request ownership of a business profile.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
After successfully verifying your Google My Business profile, you can already start managing your account. You can add more images, posts, respond to messages and reviews, add or remove products and services, and many more.
You will also have access to an insight tool that lets you see how many people interact with your business, the keywords these users have used to search your business, and where they found your listing. You can use these insights to
optimize your listing.
Other vital tips you need to keep in mind when optimizing your Google My Business listing are:
- Include relevant keywords related to your business.
- Use the correct category for your business.
- Add and remove services or products listed in your profile as needed.
- Keep your contact information, location, and operating hours accurate and updated.
- Update your service area as needed, especially if you are a local business.
- Allow customers to message you and when they do, make sure to respond promptly.
- Manage and respond to reviews left by customers.
- Add high-quality and genuine images.
- Publish posts with relevant content on your Google My Business profile regularly.
- Monitor and answer questions on your Google My Business profile Q&A section.
Optimizing your listing can result in getting ranked higher on search results. Most users would contact the first few businesses that they would find on Google. You must exert some effort in making sure that your profile is optimized correctly.
If your marketing budget permits, you may try Google Ads too. This isn’t free, but it can make your business listing appear on top of results when users search for information related to your products or services.
Where Do Google My Business Posts Appear?
Google My Business posts are social media feed-like posts. You can write relevant content about your business or post updates, events, images, and more. Share about your recent projects or real-time happenings in your business. Add photos, links, or videos like how you would do on Facebook or Twitter.
You will see the option to add a new post on your Google My Business dashboard. If you do not see this option, likely, your business category is not qualified to have this feature. You may check directly with Google support if you believe you don’t have the feature by mistake.
There are three primary options to choose from when adding new posts on Google My Business – Offer, What’s New, and Events. Some business categories have more options, such as Add Product. You may also post COVID-19 updates related to your business as of writing time.
As mentioned above, you may include an image, video, text, and link to your post. You may or may not have a button that users can easily click – Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More, Sign Up, and Call Now.
When a user searches for your business name specifically on Google, your Google My Business posts appear along with your profile. The text from these posts also appears on the local finder – the section where GMB listings from related businesses appear on search results.
Google notes explicitly that your Google My Business Posts appear on Google services across the web include Maps and Search. They also mentioned third-party sites, which might be when you are paying for Google Ads.
Google My Business and SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of increasing your website’s visibility on search engines. When a user searches for a product or service on Google or other search engines, many results come up. It would be best to have SEO to get your website on top of those results.
Just imagine being on the tenth page of search results – you likely won’t get as many calls as the businesses appearing on the first page!
So, how does Google My Business affect your website’s SEO? GMB can contribute significantly to your SEO if you are a local business.
Remember, you can add a link to your website and your Google My Business posts. In a way, it helps you get more traffic to your site.
Google decides the ranking of search results based on a business’s “relevance, distance, and prominence.” They use the searcher’s location along with search intent and the online reputation of your business when they provide search results. Having a GMB profile greatly helps build all three of these.
Truth be told, some websites do not have good SEO at all. Many even have great content and high-quality web design, but only a few can be listed on top of search engines. When you have a Google My Business listing, aside from your website potentially appearing on the search results, your Google listing will appear on another section of the same search results.
Products and services searched on Google have different outcomes on the search results and GMB results. If you have optimized your website and business profile well, your listing can appear twice. That’s a winning combination for you.
What is a Google My Business Manager?
Generally speaking, a Google My Business manager is a person who has administrator access to your business profile. There are four different roles or access levels available that you can choose to assign to other people working with you.
- Primary Owner: The primary owner of a Google My Business account is the person who created the business profile. Ideally, this should be you, the business owner. The primary owner cannot be erased from the registry unless the ownership is transferred to another person.
- Owner: There can be multiple owners of a GMB account. An owner has full access and control over the profile. He can add, edit, and remove details and data. He can also add or remove users and add or remove accounts.
- Manager: If a person other than the owner will be managing the business profile, such as when you hired a digital marketing manager, you can assign him to your GMB account manager. He has the owner’s access and editing permissions, but he cannot add or remove users and change roles.
- Relations Advisor: Users not necessarily employed by your business can add images, suggest edits, or react to feedback on your profile.
Although Google My Business is easy to set up and maintain, if you want to keep it optimized and active, you might want to consider hiring a person who can get the job done for you. If this is the case, you can give this person the Google My Business manager role.
Google My Business Vs. HomeAdvisor
Google My Business and HomeAdvisor are two entirely different tools and entities. Aside from the fact that HomeAdvisor is a paid service while GMB is free, HomeAdvisor is a lead generation platform where you will be given leads to contact. On the other hand, customers who will find you on Google My Business can contact you directly.
While Google shows your business information and contact details directly to potential customers, this is not the case with HomeAdvisor.
The potential customer will have to fill in their details and requirements on a form, which HomeAdvisor will then match to businesses offering the service in a specific area. If your company reaches a customer’s needs, HomeAdvisor will give you that customer’s details, and you will have to call them up.
It is also important to note that HomeAdvisor would only list home service contractors such as plumbers, electricians, landscape contractors, builders, and more. If your business doesn’t fall under any HomeAdvisor category, you won’t add your listing there.
Google My Business Vs Yelp
Yelp has been around way longer than Google My Business. It was established in 2004 and has since become one of the most trusted platforms for consumer reviews. As of December 2020, there have been 224 million reviews on Yelp.
What’s excellent about Yelp is that they cater to practically all kinds of local businesses with home and local services, restaurants, and shopping topping their business categories. It is also a free service that’s easy and quick to set up.
Some people search for businesses directly on Yelp through their website or mobile app. Google My Business listings, however, appear only on the Google platform.
Google My Business Vs. Thumbtack
Thumbtack is very similar to HomeAdvisor. Therefore, its difference with Google My Business is the same as mentioned above. Creating a listing on Thumbtack is free, but you will have to pay for leads.
The process is also almost the same with HomeAdvisor. You would have to call your potential customers directly. Although leads are paid, there are no guarantees that they would eventually become sales.
Just the same, Thumbtack is for home improvement and other home services only. You can’t list your business with them if it falls under a different category.
Perhaps the best thing about Google My Business is free. You do not have to pay a single dollar to get listed. As long as you create your profile with factual and accurate information and verify your business afterward, your listing will be shown on Google.
It is up to you to optimize your listing and keep it updated so your business will show up when someone searches for your product or service.
However, there are times when the market is already saturated, and getting your business to show up on the top search results can get challenging. In some cases, your competition might be doing very well with their GMB optimization and SEO, so they have taken over the top results.
When these things happen, you can consider paid advertising. Google can help you out with that too.
There are many ways to advertise online. PPC, social media boosters, in-stream advertising, and display ads are only some of the several options you have. Then there’s Google Ads, which can get all these done and more.
We have already established that Google is the most significant and most potent online search engine globally. With most people on the Internet using Google, you can’t go wrong with Google ads.
It will cost you money, but it can result in better online visibility and successful sales.
Google My Business is different from Google Ads. As mentioned, GMB is free. It is your business profile – a free listing from Google. Whether or not it shows up on search results depends on the keywords used by the searcher and their identified location. It will also depend on how well your competition has optimized their listing.
However, when you use Google Ads, your listing will show up on relevant searches. You can choose from 5 different campaign types:
- Search Campaign
- Display Campaign
- Shopping Campaign
- Video Campaign
- App Campaign
Google Ads uses the PPC (pay-per-click) model in digital advertising. You will still have to bid on keywords, so you must wisely choose your keywords, campaign type, and Google Ads option.
Your option for Google Ads are as follows:
- CPC or cost-per-click
- CPM or cost-per-mille
- CPE or cost-per engagement
CPC is the amount you will pay each time a user clicks on your Google Ad. CPM is the amount you will pay per 1,000 impressions on your ad. When a user chooses to subscribe, watch a video, leave their information, or fulfill other specific actions on your ad, that’s where the amount for CPE comes in.
Setting up Google Ads must be done with caution. You can quickly get thousands of dollars worth of marketing bills when you do not set a budget. The good news is that you can set a maximum daily budget for your Google Ads.
Google My Business works. Many businesses from all over the world have been using this free tool and have grown their business eventually.
Setting it up is free, quick, and easy, but optimizing it may take a bit of time and effort. Is it worth it? Definitely.
As the largest search engine platform with over 3.5 billion searches per day, business owners must take advantage of every opportunity that Google has to offer – especially if it’s free!