Google My Business (GMB), formerly known as Google Places, is an important platform for local businesses. We know that nearly 80% of people research a company online before visiting or making a purchase with a company. In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about Google My Business, why it’s important, and what its capabilities are.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free business profile helping companies engage with local customers across Google Search and Google Maps. Having a GMB listing allows people searching for your business, or businesses like yours, to find you easily online. Claiming your business, updating your company information and sharing news and offers helps people find you more easily online and also shares more information about the products or services your company offers.
Is Google My Business Free?
Yes. Google My Business is a free platform for businesses. It is free to sign up. Free to claim and verify your listing. And it is free to maintain your account.
Google and its users (people like you) benefit from accurate information, so Google encourages listing maintenance and for companies to verify its listing(s). If you’re new to GMB, you can sign up here.
Google My Business Capabilities
Google My Business has several capabilities for business listings. Like many Google products, there are frequent updates and new capabilities being added. With your listing, you can add your logo, a cover photo, team photos, videos, manage reviews and more. Some newer capabilities added are:
- Welcome offers: allowing businesses to share offers for customers to claim.
- Business description: giving businesses up to 750 characters to describe who they are, what they do, and how they help.
- Q & A: potential customers can ask questions and businesses can respond.
- Booking an appointment: if your business sells through appointments or reservations, you can set up your profile for customers to request appointments.
- Analytics: (one of our favorites as marketers!) GMB provides a wealth of information and data based on customer actions and insights. This data includes the amount of phone calls, driving directions requested, visits to your website, search queries, visibility on Search and Maps, and more.
- Posts: GMB allows you to make announcements, offers, events, and even list products. You can upload an image or video to make your post more eye catching along with content and a call to action. It’s really amazing. And of course, you can preview how your post will look before you publish it.
Zero Click Searches on the Rise
According to a recent study by SparkToro, less than half of Google searches result in a click. This means no web property receives a visit from the search. What!?
Google has gotten more aggressive with how ads, featured snippets and instant answers appear in search results, which in return has made organic search shrink.
Let us be clear that this does not mean Organic SEO is dead. Or that your website is less important.
What it does mean, is that you have to stay abreast of these search trends and make sure you’re investing in quality content and other methods to assist in visibility.
One of our clients has seen a HUGE increase in Google My Business search visibility, and a very slight decline in organic search traffic. This is due to us highly optimizing their GMB listings, being featured in more featured snippets, along with other marketing techniques.
You can see year-over-year increases and how important Google My Business is, especially for this client with a local business. Comparing September 2018 to September 2019 stats, we see large increases across the board with visibility and customer actions.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Google My Business. So, we invite you to leave a comment or contact us with any questions you have. If you’re a local business and want to improve your online presence with local SEO, GMB may be a great way to start!