Google My Business (GMB) is a must-have tool for Australian business owners. Launching in 2014, GMB took the business industry by storm, instantly making businesses more discoverable by local consumers. The free-to-use tool allows businesses to select how and if they’d like to appear on Google Maps, Google Local Pack and Google search results.
The platform was designed with small business in mind. Allowing businesses to take control over how they are seen online, with the ability to change phone numbers, websites, locations and more from one place.
Discover how to optimise your GMB in 2021 with our top tips. You’ll find out how to set up a GMB, how to use it and more.
Photo by henry perks on Unsplash
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a popular and free tool for Australian businesses. It allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Google Maps and local Google search results. It’s a great way to help potential customers find your business, both online and offline.
The platform allows you to add your business address, contact information, website, reviews and even updates. This information can then appear in three different places online:
- Google Knowledge Panel.
- Google Maps.
- Google Local Pack.
What is a Google Knowledge Panel?
In short, the Google Knowledge Panel is the rectangle box that pops up on the right-hand side of your search results when searching for a specific business. You can display business information to the user including the businesses physical address, images, updates, opening hours, contact details and reviews.
What is Google Maps?
We’ve all heard of Google Maps; it’s how most of us navigate the world. But, what you probably didn’t know is it’s beneficial for businesses to be on Google Maps.
Having your business on Google Maps means it’s seen by the thousands of people navigating the area. It’s the perfect way to capture tourists in the area who may simply be relying on Google Maps to get around.
What is Google Local Pack?
Google Local Pack is simply the list of businesses which appear in a box under the map when a localised search is made. Local Pack is heavily based on location, pulling the best-rated and geographically closest businesses to the user where the nearest type of product or service they need is. For example, if they Google, ‘cafés near me’.
Many users will rely on Google Local Pack to make purchasing decisions, emphasising again the importance of not only having a Google My Business, but also keeping it up-to-date.
Why do you need a Google My Business?
Everyone says Google My Business is a pivotal component of any small business, but why is it so important?
The primary reason for creating a Google My Business Page is to gain control over your online presence on Google. It gives you another opportunity to reach your customers. Google has also reported at least 46% of all searches have a local intent, which for your business to show in these search results, you need a Google My Business page.
1. The ability to display reviews.
There is no doubt reviews are a great form of passive marketing. However, many businesses underestimate their power. A study conducted by Bright Local found 91% of 18-34 year olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A further 93% of consumers admit online reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
With a GMB profile, your business’s online reviews, along with overall star rating, are displayed on Google Local Pack and Google Knowledge Panel. You can, and should, also reply to reviews left on your GMB profile.
2. Gain Insights.
GMB also gives businesses a large variety of insights, which business can not get anywhere else. These insights can help businesses in their future marketing efforts, providing information on everything from regions to target and mediums to use.
What insights does GMB show businesses?
- How customers find your business.
- Where customers can view your business on Google.
- Actions customers have taken on your profile.
- Direction request statistics.
- Phone call statistics.
3. Help your local SEO.
One of the greatest challenges facing small businesses in 2021 is the ability to not only grow, but maintain both their online and in-person presence. Google My Business is a great tool to help with this.
Google pulls results for local searches (‘near me’ searches) from GMB accounts. Local searches grew by more than 900% over 24 months. So, if your business doesn’t have a GMB profile, you’re missing out on hundreds of potential customers.
4. Increased engagement.
Optimised Google My Business profiles provide businesses with plenty of opportunities to increase their customer engagement. With just one click, potential customers can contact your business, visit your website, reserve a table, book an appointment and get immediate directions. To get the most out of your Google My Business profile, speak to one of Localsearch’s Digital Marketing Specialists.
Frequently Asked Questions About GMB
How much does Google My Business cost?
Google My Business is a free tool available to business owners across Australia. Whilst setting up and running your own GMB is free, optimising it can prove to be tricky. For this reason, Localsearch has developed a Google My Business Help service to aid small businesses in optimising their GMBs.
Optimising your Google My Business profile can help your website rank higher in local search results. Ranking higher in local search results will help increase brand visibility, pushing website traffic upward and increasing your sales.
How do you set up a Google My Business Profile?
Setting up your Google My Business profile can be a daunting task. Which is why we’ve broken it down into 6 steps to help you get your business online sooner.
Step 1: Set up a new account.
The initial step to launching your GMB is to create an account. Head to Google.com/business, then select ‘Manage Now.’
Step 2: Enter your business name.
You’ll next be prompted to enter your business name. Whilst filing in the information you’ll likely see a drop down menu with suggested pre-existing businesses. This function allows you to see if you already have an unclaimed profile, or an active profile which may have been lost.
Step 3: Enter your business address.
Now you’ll be required to enter your business’s physical address. Some may also be prompted to place a marker on the business address on a map — don’t worry this is for Google Maps. What if your business doesn’t have a physical location? Don’t worry, simply enter the service area such as Cairns or Toowoomba City.
Once you’ve checked over your details, select next.
Those businesses who selected “I deliver goods or services to my customers” will now be promoted to provide more details. You’ll be required to provide service areas either via distance from a physical address or specific locations.
Step 4: Select a business category.
You’ll now be prompted to select a business category. Once confirmed, click next.
Step 5: Provide your contact information.
The next page will ask you to provide further information about your business. This includes, website and phone number. Remember this information will be displayed publicly so ensure the phone number provided is correct.
During this step, Google will give you the option to create your own ‘Google Website.’ However, while this may seem like a great idea, there are lots of reasons a small business needs its own website. Check out why you need a website in 2021 for more information.
Step 6: Verify your Google My Business.
The final step is to verify your business. You’ll be presented with three options, postcard verification, phone verification or email verification. It is important to note that not all businesses will have multiple options available to them, some may only be able to complete verification via postcard.
The 3 types of Google My Business verification:
1. Postcard verification.
Postcard verification is the most common form of verification used as it is the only verification system available to all businesses. This process works by posting a postcard to the business address listed on the un-verified GMB profile. On this postcard is your verification code to verify your business.
2. Phone verification.
Some businesses will have the option to verify over the phone. This process works by sending a message containing the code to your phone. The code is then easily entered on the businesses GMB profile.
3. Email verification.
The third verification option is email verification. This option is only available to a few businesses. The process is quick and easy, you’ll receive an email containing the required code which is then entered on the un-verified account.
As a Google My Business Partner, Localsearch can look after the whole process for you! Get in contact with one of our digital marketing specialist today for personalised Google My Business Help.