Your local business has a website. Now you’re told you need Google My Business too! WHY you may ask. Local people search for LOCAL business 90% of the time. And where do the local businesses show up FIRST? Yep, in the Google My Business listings that show up at the top of the Google search results a majority of the time. There are some keywords that don’t trigger what is known in the trade as the “3 pack”, but a significant amount do.
Google My Business allows local consumers to find your business on Google Search and Maps. It’s what you could call a “one stop shop” for all your business information. Users love it because it’s at the top of the page, it provides local relevance to their search, and it’s relevant to a map that shows up in the middle of the search results page.
Why on 3 businesses in the three pack? Simply put, The best optimised and most relevant businesses for your search show up in the 3 pack.
You can click more results and then you’ll see all of the Google My Business profiles for that search result, but it’s those that have most relevance and are best optimized that show in the top 3 on page 1 of the search results. Sometimes you may see the top 3 plus an ad but being in the top 3 is where your business needs to be.
Let’s take a look at some GMB searches and who pops up:
Let’s look at the old chestnut of Dog Training. I live in South Wales, UK so we will look at dog training Cardiff:
As you can see, there are 3 businesses showing up under the Map. The map also shows pins of where each business is. When you click on the business name, a new tab opens with more information about the business. First, let’s look at the main 3 pack and what info is offered:
The business name is obviously the first thing you see with the phone number and the closing time. There are links to the business website on the right and a link to show the directions map to that business so you will be able to take your dog along for the training. The service may actually come to you, which needs to be in their information if relevant. As with anything Google search, relevance and information is key to your business showing up. If you have more relevance and information for the searcher than your competition, it stands to reason that you will be above them in the search results. There are other factors that may change this, which we will look at now.
I clicked through to the top listing and will show you some reasons why that is the top listing.
As you can see at the top of the listing, the website and directions are available again, but also an opportunity to save for future reference.
There is a little down arrow next to the Hours: Open Closes 8pm that when clicked will open a drop down showing the opening hours of the business. The other 2 businesses in the 3 pack also take advantage of this feature. The phone number is again shown, the business address and a little further down a feature for Questions and Answers. This is a great way to interact with your potential clients by personally answering questions for them when asked.
Another good place for interaction is the reviews. It’s always good to reply to reviews no matter what. This feature offers you the possibility of helping someone who is not so happy with your service and dealing with their grievance.
You may then get a good review from that person because you show you care about them and your reputation for good service. Reviews are important because people like to check them to see if your business is a good “fit” for them.
A little further down, below the reviews, is where you can see a little more about the business.
The description in this listing provides some information about the person and their experience. It also includes the keywords for dog training, which is important for a well optimised listing. If this was a more competitive niche I would suggest that the description could be longer if possible. The most important thing is the inclusion of keywords and the personal touch. The other 2 businesses in the top 3 don’t have a description that is relevant to their business that provides information that Google can use to position them better.
This listing also uses the posts feature, which is a great way to tell Google your business is active and looking for work. This feature was brought forward from the days of Google Plus. It was incorporated into GMB to help business have more contact with their audience. The other businesses in the top 3 list do not make use of these and therefore they don’t show in the listing.
By just optimising the listing better and using the features Google gives you, you can rank higher than competitors who may have more reviews and a better overall “score”. If you look at the business at position 2, they have the best review results, but they don’t appear to be using the features and haven’t fully optimised their listing. Had they done those things; I believe they would be at the top instead of position 2.
Having checked further, the businesses in position 1 and 3 make use of the free site that Google gives you. This is where the posts I speak about above actually reside. When well optimised, the website will boost the listing and can rank in its own right. Using Google properties is good because of the power Google has. The business in position 2 is there on merit and the review score, not because they are better optimised. Having a well optimised listing with good reviews and full use of everything Google gives you to promote your business will see you getting more success in the search results.
The nice thing about Google My Business, in particular the maps feature, you can see where a business is in relation to where you live. That way you can choose the business best positioned for you. With this in mind, your business needs to have the Name, Address and Phone number (commonly called the NAP) present on all of your other listings and be sure they directly match the information in your GMB listing. This is where duplication is vital. Put your NAP on your website, your directory listings, your social media profiles. Google sees these things and will know that they are relevant to your business.
Google gives you the opportunity to claim a listing if you haven’t set up one. Your business may actually show up on Google if there is a record of it anywhere on the internet. If there is no information except for perhaps a postcode, Google shows a button to claim the business (I couldn’t find an example when researching for this post, but it does show from time to time). If it is your business, you click this button and then fill in the information based on the tips we discuss in this post.
The business will need to be verified and this is usually done by receipt of a postcard from Google with a code on it that you enter into a box so Google knows the business is real and working from the address the card was delivered to. In some cases you may be able to verify using a mobile phone. This is usually more relevant when adding a new branch address and your business is trusted and has a good standing with Google.
That is basically it with Google My Business and why your business needs it. I hope you have found this useful.
If you feel it’s too much for you to cope with to do all this extra work and feel a little overwhelmed, please feel free to book a consultation and find out how we can help you to have a strong online presence for your business.