Keep your GMB Up-to-Date!
How do you increase your online business presence when just about every customer begins their search online? Of course, the first thing you need to do is ensure you have a great website. Having a solid online presence (your website, social platforms, etc.) is an essential piece of your company’s sales and marketing ecosystem.
But beyond that, you want people to be able to find you, and one of the most important things you can do right away is make sure your Google My Business (GMB) profile is up to date. It’s often the first contact a customer will have with your business. Make sure it’s not your last! (Don’t have a GMB profile? Set one up immediately…it’s easy and free to do.)
The Power of Customer Research Some studies show that eight out of every 10 people start online when conducting research before making a purchase or a product or service. Given those numbers, a savvy entrepreneur knows how important it is to be picked up by search engines.
When customers search for a product or service, GMB is often the first thing that shows up near the top of a search, both in mobile or desktop. Customers often use this info to check what your hours are or to find a phone number to inquire about COVID safety protocols at your business. No matter the reason, you need to make sure they have that information immediately…or they may go elsewhere.
Setting a Strong First Impression with GMB
Given those statistics, an updated and relevant GMB is vital to your online success. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made GMB more relevant, says Forbes magazine. Most online searchers will see your GMB profile before they even go to your website—if they go there at all. Your GMB immediately establishes a first impression for searchers who can then easily see all your business’s essential information listed on the right-hand side of the interface on a desktop (or near the top of the results on your mobile phone.) Customers who find you via GMB can even send messages directly to your company phone or email via the GMB interface.
Google SEO 101
There are a number of reasons that your GMB profile can and should be part of your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts for your online business presence:
- Improved visibility. GMB is a perfect tool for small business owners to list hours, type of business and directions to your place of business. According to Forbes, a completed GMB listing can single-handedly improve a business’s local SEO ranking.
It also sets an immediate first impression for searchers who see your business’s essential info listed near the top of the search interface. Google lets you write a 750-character description (one or two paragraphs) about your business.
- Built-in mapping. GMB has Google Maps integration, which makes it easier to find your business on the world’s most widely used mobile map and directions app. If someone wants directions to your business, a Google map also is included in the GMB. And be aware that most people will use this before even looking at your actual website, so if you have moved recently, make sure you update your GMB address and map.
- Integrated marketing tools. Adding photos to your GMB attracts potential customers to your listing.
Simplified contact and listing tools. Making sure it’s easy to contact your business is critical…especially with the pandemic still affecting us, a Google survey found recently that 60 percent of smartphone users contacted a business directly from the GMB search results.
GMB Reviews… More Important Than Ever
Customer reviews are powerful, and yet they are so often ignored by small-business owners. Studies show that when people do their online research before committing to a product or service, 88 percent of those online users rely on reviews to help them make a decision.
Customer reviews are displayed under your GMB profile, giving your business social credibility that rivals other review sources, like Yelp. Whether or not you are in contact with your customers on a regular basis to get feedback, a review on your GMB page means that all customers —and potential customers—will be able to see their comments.
As discussed in an earlier post, getting feedback is a powerful tool for measuring business progress. Because, if you aren’t measuring your progress, how will you know how well you are doing in your business strategy?
Each Google review you receive should give you an idea of whether or not your business offered a great customer experience. And, along with that, you’ll find just how great a job your business did (or did not) do in offering that experience. The information you receive from the reviews should be viewed as highly valuable information, whether it was positive or negative.
One last suggestion on GMB reviews… don’t wait for your happy customers to offer a review, ask them!
Solidifying Your Online Business Presence
Having a great online presence is one of the keys to your marketing foundation, so it’s vital that you approach your website development with the same level of strategy you put into the other aspects of your business.
You can get an idea of how strong your marketing foundation is by downloading our Marketing Foundation Worksheet and taking our free 10-question quiz…. you’ll receive immediate results. If you have any questions about your results (or where to go next), contact us and we’d be happy to talk!
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.