Google My Business is a free service offered by Google to enable companies with a “physical” business activity to improve their referencing, their notoriety and their reputation.
Google My Business (or GMB) is a social media that is much more than an online directory, this service has quickly become an essential tool to optimize the local SEO of a company in its catchment area.
In this article, we will present the advantages of this service and give you some tips on how to use it effectively.
The vast majority of companies can have a Google My Business account even if they do not have a website. The only condition to be met is to have a physical business address to which Google will send by post a code that will be requested to validate the account. On the other hand, if the establishment carries out an activity only online, its registration will be refused.
If, unlike the so-called “traditional” professions: traders, professionals, restaurants, hairdressing salons, garages, craftsmen … you do not have premises open to the public but you carry on your business at home, you can appear there, however in this case your address will not be indicated on your GMB ad.
Companies with several establishments and large groups with numerous branches (such as banks and insurance companies) also have access to this service, and have one advertisement per location.
With GMB Google clearly shows its willingness to highlight in its results the sites of local businesses with the best “authority” in their field of activity. Its objective is to offer the best possible answers to Internet users who want Google to provide them with local results, as the following statistic shows:
30% of searches are local requests and 85% of mobile users carry out this type of search (Source: AntheDesign).
GMB is considered as an integral part of the SEO strategy by all SEO experts who consider it the best tool to improve the visibility of a sign or brand looking for local exposure.
In fact, a Google My Business page improves the visibility of a brand in response to local queries such as:
The information published on a GMB page is a summary of what an Internet user needs for :
With a Google My Business page, you are twice as likely to be considered reliable as if you didn’t have one (Source Google)
Like a website or a page on social networks, a Google My Business page tends to reassure Internet users. However, this page must be up to date and the information it contains must be professional and motivating. An abandoned or inaccurate GMB page will act as a deterrent to some Internet users.
88% of Internet users read the opinions and comments on a company before contacting it. (Source BrightLocal)
Opinions posted on a My Business page (as long as they are mostly positive) serve to reassure Internet users and are a guarantee of confidence for your prospects.
While opinions and comments are an important part of the customer purchasing process, they also provide an opportunity to interact with customers. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback: if well managed, it can also show that you care about the quality of your services and products. Responding to reviews, good or bad, is a good way to retain existing customers and acquire new ones.
Google My Business allows you to create posts to keep your customers informed of special events, news, promotions… It is possible to add call to action buttons to these posts to direct them to your website or e-commerce, to make appointments or to contact you directly.
76% of people who perform a local mobile search visit the business location within 24 hours.
A Google study shows that local searches are done by people who are advanced in their search and ready to make a purchase. Using incentive terms in your Call to Action such as: Book, Sign Up, Buy Now, I’m in… will increase the effectiveness of your publication.
78% of local mobile searches result in a purchase in-store or online.
GMB’s services allow you to appear in two places in Google results and in Google map.
The Local Pack corresponds to the first three results that Google displays in response to a local query – let’s be clear; it’s the place to be.
If your establishment does not appear in the first three but your site includes in its pages the keywords corresponding to the query, there is a good chance that it will appear when you click on “More businesses” or in the links displayed below the Local Pack.
It should also be noted in passing that the local pack included 7 addresses until 2015. The fact of having reduced this pack to three addresses has on the one hand greatly increased the competition to appear in it, and on the other hand allowed the paid ad service Google Ads to become a credible alternative for brands wanting to appear on a results page.
The criteria that seem to condition the presence in the Local Pack are:
When the search is centered on the name of your brand, your Google My Business page will be displayed to the right of the results. This can also sometimes be the case if the search is focused on a service, business or product that only you offer in your catchment area.
Your Google My Business listing is also displayed in Google maps. Simply click on one of the three results of the local pack or on the link “Other addresses or more companies” at the bottom of the pack. The listing will then appear on the right side of the map and if you move it, the results will update automatically.
To open your GMB account, go to https://google.com/intl/en/business/ .
Then simply sign in with your Gmail account (or create one if you don’t already have one) to edit your establishments listing, which Google may already have pre-filled.
There’s no need to explain here in detail how to edit and update your information, as the interface is intuitive and easy to use. In addition, you can use the online support https://support.google.com/business to optimize your listing and answer the most frequently asked questions.
Your GMB account will also give you access to a dashboard that compiles information collected on Internet users: number of visits, location of people who have consulted your file, queries used to find you, contacts generated, etc., which will be useful for you to better understand their behavior and expectations.
A (free) GMB application is also at your disposal to allow you to easily update and edit your information from your phone.
Keep in mind that prospects ask for information, often in view of a purchase, they will quickly turn back if they are faced with a half-empty or abandoned form.
Google My Business being the most powerful tool to boost your local SEO we advise you to spend the time necessary to choose relevant photos and write an engaging description of your establishment and the products or services you offer.
The choice of the business is a very important SEO criterion because it is the one that allows your listing to be placed in the right place in Google’s results. Be relevant in the choice of this category, prefer “women’s shoe shop” to “boutique” and don’t hesitate to observe what your competitors and the professionals who appear in the local pack are doing.
Include a keyword or a group of keywords in your company name: XXX Hairdressing Salon, YYYY Law Firm, ZZZ Car Garage, even if they are not part of your company name.
Make sure that the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) indicated in your listing is the one of your establishment and that other sites such as local directories and social networks all have the same NAP.
Update your information and photos as often as possible. Indicate new schedules, promotions or a special event are attentions that your customers will always appreciate.
New products or services, a new collection, promotions or private sales; don’t hesitate to make a Google Post that will improve your visibility in the search engine on the one hand and on the other hand give fresh and direct information to your customers. This publication will only be visible for 7 days, so you will have to edit it regularly to maintain the attractiveness of your listing.
You can enrich your content by offering a 360° virtual tour of your establishment.
Use the Call to action: “Buy”, “Find out more” or “Register”. to facilitate interactions with Internet users.
Customer reviews are one of the most influential factors in your local ranking, and they appear below your name if you are lucky enough to be in the local pack.
Several elements must be optimized:
But the task is not easy, only 1% of customers leave reviews if they are not solicited, and more often than not it is those who have not retained a good experience of your establishment.
Microsoft offers a service equivalent to GMB on its search engine: Bing Place for Business. This service is also free of charge and even has a function to import data directly from GMB.
We strongly encourage you to use your Google My Business listing and exploit it in its entirety. The benefit in terms of visibility that you will get from it will quickly make you forget the time you have to spend to update it and make it attractive.
But don’t forget that this service, even if it is the most effective in terms of local SEO, is part of a global approach. You will always need to ensure that your site performs well and make good use of other local SEO resources such as directories or social networks.
All of these tasks can quickly become time-consuming, and if you don’t have the right working methodology, you risk creating inconsistencies between the information you disseminate on these different channels. These inconsistencies can be confusing for users and can lead to your GMB listing being downgraded by Google. So in order to avoid these risks and to devote yourself fully to your business, don’t hesitate to entrust the administration of your GMB listing and your local SEO to experts.