It’s the 21st century, technology and internet wavelengths not only rule personal lives but business lives as well.
In fact, a study by Pew Research Center states that 91% of adults use online search engines to find information and businesses on the web — 91%!
So, what does that mean?
That means if your business isn’t on the web in a virtual format, you’re missing a huge percentage of potential customers.
Although there are a number of different ways to introduce your business into the digital realm, one of the primary ways is having consumers find your business through a search engine.
There are several search engines available to consumers — Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, and Google. However, Google wins the title as the “most used search engine” by a long shot.
With that being said, your business should be doing everything in its power to be featured in the first few listings on Google.
One of the easiest ways to do that for local searches: create a Google My Business (GMB) Listing.
What Is a Google My Business Listing?
Google’s revamped mission allows them to make a number of different apps and products to organize information and make it collaborative.
Google My Business is one of Google’s apps where businesses can create a free profile to “connect with customers through Google’s search.”
Why Do I Need A Google My Business Listing?
Your business needs a Google My Business listing because this return on investment is so high.
Google is giving you a FREE (for now) foundation for your business to live virtually without the headaches of coding and knowledge of other complicated technology or jargon.
Also, Google will integrate your business into their search engine because you’re using their application. For example, you can list your business through Yahoo’s small business listing, but then Google wouldn’t rank your listing as high because you’re not using their product.
How Do I Create A Successful Google My Business Listing?
If only creating a viable Google My Business Listing meant simply inputting a few details and hitting “publish.”
Although that would be better than not having a listing at all, there are a few things to think about if you want to have a listing that connects with the most consumers possible.
CREATING A GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING PROFILE
First, you’ll need to create a Google My Business listing profile.
To verify that you’re a real business and you are where you say you are, Google sends an actual postcard to verify your listing—so it can take a little bit for it to go live.
You can start creating your profile by visiting google.com/business, clicking sign up, and inputting details into the information prompts — location, phone number, hours, photographs, etc.
Although you don’t have a lot of room to be creative about your profile information (your address, phone number, and business name are what they are), there are a ton of other areas where being mindful about the information you input is crucial — target audience, keywords, area, etc.
INPUT KEYWORDS AND LOCAL SEO ELEMENTS EVERYWHERE
Google provides users with information based on the information they input into Google.
For example, a Google user is trying to find the best flower shop in their area — they “google” just that, “best flower shops in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Google will then pull up search results that connect with the user’s search. In this case, all of the businesses (that have a virtual space on the internet) that use the keywords and local SEO terms in their listing — in this case, the keyword would be flower shop businesses and the local SEO would be Atlanta, Georgia versus showing results for flower shops not in the users area.
The more information and keywords you place in your listing, the easier Google will show your business to local users.
Your Google My Business Listing will give you the option to include photos. You can also add photos after your listing is live, so you can provide users with updated photos from your social media pages as your business progresses.
Images are crucial for your business’ virtual success. In fact, 60% of consumers are more likely to do business with a business they find online if the business’ listing includes images.
Your Google My Business listing will give you an option to add a “profile and cover” photo, general photos and videos. To maximize your listing, make sure your profile and cover photos are consistent with your business, so people recognize your virtual and physical business to be the same.
Also, you can maximize your listing by giving your photos thoughtful captions that the Googlebots can use to help users find your listing.
MONITOR AND CONSTANTLY UPDATE YOUR LISTING
Your Google My Business listing is similar to other social media pages. Customers can interact with your listing by leaving a review, asking questions, and contacting your business outside of the listing (getting directions, scrolling through your website, and/or calling your business).
Since people are able to interact with your listing, it is important to understand people can leave reviews based on their opinion or experience with your business. If these reviews and information are outdated, unprofessional, and unproductive, your business could experience negative repercussions. In fact, 67% of consumers base their decision to do business with a company based on reviews.
Although coming back from negative reviews is challenging, responding and attempting to resolve the negative review has been proven to increase a business’ online reputation and increase sales.
So, what we’re saying is, monitor, update, and interact with your listing to establish a successful virtual business face.
Google My Business Listing Final Thoughts
Adding a virtual storefront to your business’ business plan can seem a bit daunting, but Google makes the set up less of a headache for tech novices and budget personnel alike.
As long as you interact with your listing, input valuable information (keywords and local SEO terms,) and keep up with your profile your efforts won’t go unnoticed.
Need help with your local SEO or small business presence online? Carolyn is an expert at helping drive more traffic online and off. Let’s chat to learn more about how Search Hermit can help you grow your business.