Google My Business: The Best Free Tool You Can’t Ignore

     

Published: January 20, 2020

 Photo credit: dzianominator - stock.adobe.com

Chances are, you’ve interacted with companies using Google My Business from the consumer side. Whenever you’ve turned to Google to search for a product or service near you, especially if you’re searching Google Maps, it’s very likely that the search results presented you with a list of options that pointed to the profile setup by that company using Google My Business. If you’re starting to wonder whether this is a service that’s right for you, or how to get your details listed, you’re in the right place.

What is Google My Business
Google My Business is a tool that’s free for companies to use to manage how their details appear in a Google search and on Google maps. Your profile will include things such as your business name, location, and hours. There is also a section for customer reviews, areas to manage and respond to reviews, add photos, and find out how people are searching for you. If you want your company to show up whenever people search using “near me,” Google My Business is where you start when you need a local SEO boost.

Yes, It’s Right for You
If you are the owner (or an authorized representative) of a business that makes in-person contact with customers, Google My Business is right for you. There are very few exclusions that Google has for using this service, including rental properties and vacation homes (but not their sales or leasing offices) and ongoing classes or meetings at a location you do not own. That’s it. Everyone else who makes in-person contact with customers is eligible.

Benefits of Using Google My Business
First, a free, relatively low-effort tool that helps you get more customers in the door is good for business. This tool will also help you promote your company, build your brand, and manage customer relationships, even if you don’t know a whole lot about marketing or digital technology. The signup process is a big Q&A session about your company and there’s nobody better than you to answer those questions. There are ways you can optimize your profile for better results, but getting started is easy.

Second, managing the information that customers see is not only easy, but much of the information can be updated almost instantaneously. Forget worrying whether people will know that you have special holiday hours or that you’ve added a menu item. These types of updates are often reflected on your profile right away. Keep in mind that some information changes may take several weeks to reflect, especially items that require verification such as your physical address.

Another major benefit of Google My Business is to monitor and respond to reviews that customers leave about your business. Every company knows the power of good reviews to help bring in new customers, and managing negative reviews and complaints will demonstrate your ability to handle difficult situations. There are other ways to engage with your customers, too, including posts and messaging, so you can start building relationships in your community.

How Google My Business Makes Life Easier
Aside from the main benefits of this tool, there are many ways that Google My Business will make your life easier. For example, you’ll be provided with insights into how customers are finding you both in search and on Maps, and what people are doing once they find your profile. This information will help you build a stronger profile and improve your chances of getting leads and customers. You’ll also receive key insights into behaviors such as finding out from where people are searching for you, how zoomed into the map they are, and other geographical information that will inform your local SEO strategies.

Connecting with your business is incredibly easy for customers who find your profile. Along with the one-touch call, website, and messaging options, you can also add a button for booking an appointment and you can manage your appointments with a user-friendly interface. Plus, if you’d like to make a special offer to entice new customers, you can easily (and at no cost!) create an Offer Post to let people know about your coupons and discounts.

Another way that Google My Business will make your life easier is by providing you access to a community of fellow business owners and experts who can help you use the tool, use the different features, and optimize your listing to improve its performance. You’ll be able to ask questions, search for answers, and read up on hundreds of topics.

Lastly, all the tools, insights, information, and resources are all easily found in your dashboard. From customer photos and reviews to updating your profile, everything you need to make the most of Google My Business is all in once place.

What if You Don’t Use It?
If you’re still not convinced that this free and easy tool is right for you, there’s one last thing to consider. If you don’t claim your listing, Google will do its best to fill in the blanks for you, and you might not like the results. In other words, a listing may still appear in a list of search results and on Google Maps, but the information was collected by a Google crawler and automatically populated into the profile. Yikes.

If a potential customer should happen upon this computer-created listing, they may get inaccurate information about your hours and show up when you’re closed. Or arrive hoping to buy new clothes only to discover you’re a nail salon. Or, worse, think your company is some sort of scam because you’ve done nothing to make your listing look legitimate or trustworthy. Even if you’re not interested in all the tools and features, every business should, at the very least, claim their listing and update all the basic information such as location, website address, phone number, and hours of operation.

Stand Out in a Crowded Map
Claiming your business and providing basic information is the least everyone should do, but if you’re ready to get more people walking through your door, then it’s time to optimize your Google My Business listing. If you’re not sure how to make the most of this free and powerful tool, we can help! Call for a free consultation and we’ll make sure your profile is dressed to impress.

Categories: Search Engine Optimization
Tags: Free Small Business Online Tools, Google My Business, Google Apps