Do you remember that thick book that would show up on the doorstep once a year or so? Remember searching through that tiny print for the number of the pizza place down the road, or an address for a mechanic nearby? Well, long gone are the days of the phone book. With all the information we could ever need on our smartphones, finding information on a business is easier than ever before.
When we want to search the Internet, 93% of us in the U.S. turn to Google over all other search engines, so it’s critical that your business be visible. In past searches, you may have noticed company information populate on the right side of the screen (desktop) or at the top of the results page on mobile. This is a Google My Business listing.
If you’re not familiar with it, Google My Business is a free tool that Google provides to verified business owners. This listing will appear when customers are searching for your business, products or services while in Google Search and Maps. Customers can click to call, visit your website, or receive directions to your brick and mortar location.
It’s important to monitor Google My Business and keep it up to date with things like changes to business hours, special offers, and new photos of your space or products. Think of it as a one-stop-shop for quick info on your company. While this shouldn’t be your only online presence, it can complement your existing website, making it more visible to people who are looking for services like yours.
Users can also rate and review your company here, so you’ll want to keep an eye out and respond to these quickly – but that’s a whole different blog post. Consumers find businesses that respond to reviews more trustworthy than those that don’t.
Outside of contact info and reviews, new Google My Business features have been introduced to create a more visually enjoyable experience for customers. Company logos and cover photos will stand out more, and photos that you upload will be displayed prominently. These updates provide a prime opportunity to display your products or services with high-quality images. Imagine someone searching for “Italian food near me” and the listing of a nearby restaurant appears with mouth-watering pictures of their famous pasta dishes. I think that restaurant just won a new customer!
Businesses also now have the option to offer special “new-customer” deals to those users who follow their listing on Google for the first time. Who doesn’t love a deal? These offers can be something like $5 off or a 15% discount, but users won’t know until they follow.
One feature that we’re itching for more details on is the “Local Favorite” designation. Google will soon highlight the top 5 percent of businesses in a local category as Local Favorites, complete with a digital badge. That’s even more incentive to stay active on your Google My Business listing, update photos and information, and respond to those reviews – good and bad!
If you haven’t spruced up your listing in a while, or don’t even have one, now is the time to log in!