Is it important for a business to have a Google My Business account?
Maybe you should Google it.
Which, of course, is exactly what we do when we have a question, and it’s what your customers do when they’re looking for you. Thanks to My Business, you have some control over what they see. And with more than five billion searches every day on Google’s search engine, it’s well worth spending some time with your listing.
WHAT IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?
My Business is the latest iteration in Google’s local places directory. (If you’ve looked at your business’s search engine listing in the past, you may have seen it branded as Google Places or Google Local. The service has gone through a few name changes over the past decade.) When someone searches for your business name - or, sometimes, just the general category - your My Business listing will appear on the right side of the results page. It’s a very simple layout that gives potential customers a quick look at your:
Hours of operation, including any special holiday hours, and which times of the day are your busiest
Location on a map
And it’s super powerful.
WHY IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS IMPORTANT?
For starters, it’s a way to get your critical business details in front of your customers’ faces. It appears at the top of the search results, giving that information priority over ads and organic listings.
More importantly, you can claim your listing and start customizing the information there. Put another way: Google My Business is the only way you can directly control how your brand appears in organic search results. That’s some incredible power, and you absolutely need to use it. You can tailor the images your potential customers will see, along with more utilitarian details like the hours you’re open, the phone number you want people to call, and your physical location. Google fills in as much of that information as it can based on data it’s already collected, but hey, even search engine giants can make mistakes.
It’s also the only way you can monitor and respond to customer reviews. And people *are* reviewing your business on Google, whether you’ve claimed your listing or not. Ignore what your customers are saying about you at your own peril.
Lastly: it won’t cost you a dime.
HOW CAN YOU USE GOOGLE MY BUSINESS?
You have to start by claiming your listing - or, if you’re starting a brand new business, by creating one from scratch. Simply go to Google My Business, click the ‘Start Now’ button, and follow the on-screen prompts. Be sure you’ve got a good idea of the kind of information you want to post. It’s also best to have a really strong portfolio of images to post: pics of the outside of your business, interior spaces that customers will use, and product shots (and if you’re not retail, post pics of your rooms if you’re a hotel, signature dishes if you’re a restaurant, and important activities if you’re a destination).
Once you’ve got the basics, you’ll have the opportunity to add some extra pieces of content, including video, 360-degree virtual tours of the inside of your business, short-term promotional messages, and text message communication with customers.
It’s an intuitive system, but if you need a little help getting started, you can call one of our outdoor marketing specialists here at tdg at 605-722-7111. We’re always happy to talk shop.