Does your business have a verified Google My Business page?
If not, you’re missing out on a key piece of the digital marketing puzzle that can connect you to a world of potential new customers. A Google My Business page allows customers to easily find your business, see various business details and help you show stronger in search engine results. Get ready to take notes because you’re about to learn exactly why Google My Business is an absolutely critical digital marketing component for every Black business.
A Google My Business (GMB) page is an official business page hosted by the Internet’s largest search company, Google. With a GMB page you can share vital business information such as hours of operation, contact info, photos, videos, blog posts, products, links and more in a well-organized concise, one-page format. The results appear on the right-hand side of relevant product or service Google search result or as a direct search of the page itself.
How Does a Small Business Get a GMB page?
A Google My Business page is a free and easy way to get your business boosted in Google Search and listed Google Maps, two major factors in promoting your digital profile. To create and manage your GMB page you’ll need to begin by creating a Google account. We recommend using a Google account designated for business use only.
You’ll then have to locate, claim and verify your business listing from google.com. If your business doesn’t already exist on Google you’ll have to manually create the listing yourself. Once you’ve completed the process of verifying yourself as the rightful owner, you’ll now have the ability to edit its information, link it to other accounts and start receiving the benefits we’re about to tell you about.
The Benefits of Having A GMB Page for Your Business.
There are MANY benefits of maintaining a healthy GMB page and we’ve listed our top 8 for you to take advantage of.
1. Improved Visibility in Local Search Results
The main reason your business should create a GMB page is to enhance your business’ online profile. When visitors perform a search query (search for something) on google.com Google looks at the searcher’s geographical location and search intent (what are they trying to do) to decide what things to list in the search results. All the information on your GMB page contributes to whether your business is going to be included in those search results.
For instance, if you searched “Best places to have cocktails near me” Google would probably believe you were looking for restaurants or cocktail bars with the best cocktails closest to where you were standing. Google’s algorithm would select and display places that were closest and sold great the best cocktails (probably determined by reviews). Of course proximity is key as well as cocktails being on the menu, but how would Google know where your restaurant was and what items you serve? You tell Google using your GMB page.
All nearby restaurants that served cocktails that had a Google My Business page would receive the highest priority in search results. Not only might your restaurant be listed as an option, it might get the opportunity to further entice potential customers with photos, videos and reviews. Maybe even show photos of happy patrons sipping cocktails right in the search results!
This isn’t reserved to brick-and-mortar businesses either. GMB is great for carry-outs, professional services, construction, education, design… any business that could benefit from being found through search!
With GMB, you can immediately share your “heads-up” business information including address, contact information, and hours of operation. It’s also possible to share changing info such COVID polices, holiday hours, seasonal specials and more.
A healthy GMB page keeps your potential customers fully informed about every aspect of your business operations but it’s critical your GMB profile is kept up to date.
3. “Question and Answer” section to give high-quality customer service
The GMB “Questions and Answers” section provides the opportunity to receive and respond to your prospective customers’ concerns in real-time. Perhaps the standard GMB sections like hours of operation, services or contact info isn’t enough to answer a visitor’s specific question. GMB gives your visitor the ability to ask anything with a simple click of the “Ask a question” button. After you publicly answer, both question and answer remain available for everyone to see, further displaying your customer appreciation. BTW, responding quickly makes a good impression.
4. Boost your brand appeal through Reviews
Customers’ purchasing decisions are influenced heavily by opinions of their fellow consumers. Statistics show that 88% of customers treat reviews as important as they would personal recommendations. Your business can gain credibility GOLD and create customer confidence by receiving positive reviews. Make sure to always ASK for a review after you complete a job.
Of course there is always the possibility of negative feedback too, but quick considerate responses that acknowledge the concern and move toward fixing the problem can turn a negative into a positive! Everyone knows that nobody is perfect but a considerate response and a remedy shows a caring business working for the customer and not just for the profit. Negative feedback is an opportunity for resilience!
Reviews can also provide valuable insight into areas in need of improvement. You can respond to the review, make the necessary adjustments and emerge a better business. Remember, it’s HOW you respond that makes all the difference.
Customer reviews contribute to higher rankings in Google’s Search Engine results. Google definitely calculates customer reviews in its algorithm. When a business receives several reviews (5 stars are best) and is consistently responding to customer feedback, Google rewards the business with better search ranking.
5. Increase website traffic and sales
Businesses stand a better chance of attracting non-local website visits through a healthy Google My Business listing. Google’s multiple verification systems help establish customer trust and encourages click-throughs. Websites that are optimized for faster loading times take the biggest advantage of this traffic. Google rewards speedy sites that have easy buying and checkout process with better rankings.
Linking your GMB listing to your optimized website can be the key to high-quality traffic, leads and more sales.
6. Cheaper than Google Ads and faster than SEO
Google Ads campaigns are paid promotions that can almost immediately get your website traffic but requires a strategy and a continual budget. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is free promotion but can take months for Google to recognize.
A GMB listing takes the best from each of these two options. Its fast like Google Ads and cheap like SEO (your digital marketing strategy should include all three however) making it a great option to get you more visibility. It’s your best digital marketing bet to reach more customers fast and cheaply.
7. Product sales
If you sell products you can add some or all of your product catalog on your GMB page. GMB doesn’t exactly act as a merchant but it will allow you to add your product, price, category, description and the ability for the customer to click through to your website to complete a purchase.
What if you sell a service and not a product? This works for services too! You can sell practically anything your business can “package”, which includes products, services, and bundled combinations of the two.
You can also share special product offerings to entice more sales. This is great for holidays, special occasions or any campaign your business runs. Your GMB page can stay in-tune with your business functions.
8. Designate your business as Black owned
Google now allows you to declare your business as “Black-owned” in an effort to support Black owned businesses. You can go to your GMB profile and select the Black owned attribute as indicated by the heart symbol.
People can then search for “Black-owned restaurants near me” or “Black-owned digital marketers near me” to support local Black-owned businesses. You’ll stand out to anyone looking to patronize a Black owned business in your category.
Be sure to check out our post “Google has Made it Easier to Find and Support Black Businesses with the BOB attribute” for more details and how you can take advantage.
What’s the Bottom Line?!?
Google My Business is vital for every business that wishes to maintain a significant presence online, rank higher in search and retain productive relationships with their customers. Your Google My Business page allows customers to find your business easily online, and it also helps your business show up higher in search engine results. Bottom line.