05 Jul Google My Business: Beats Facebook’s Digital “Locations”
“Playing hard to get: Good for dating, Bad for business” – Google
Google is constantly evolving and refining its user experience in order to keep up with their users’ needs and provide a user-friendly experience that is simple and reliable. After Google + ‘didn’t quite work out’ they sneakily launched a tool that combined their unbeatable search functionality with social media advantages, all based around Locations and Brand Pages. Most companies and people didn’t even notice the transition, until statistics became available.
In 2014 Google launched Google My Business and thus, the online world transformed. For users and business owners alike. Suddenly, little cafe’s hidden within unknown buildings and the quaint boutique stores, in somewhat ‘abandoned’ buildings, were being found.
Consumers would search for “restaurants near me” and Google would show them the closest options to their current location – providing them with an easy way to locate exactly what they were searching for. Information was at their fingertips. Thus, local businesses began to thrive!
Here’s how… simply put, Google My Business is like an online “Yellow Pages” – only 100 million times better. It gives business owners (with a physical location) the advantage of managing their own online presence on Google’s search engines and maps.
By uploading and updating their information such as: the business’s name, location(s), trading hours and images – and keeping this information current – their information became more accessible to the ‘searching’ consumer. Then layer in reviews (in other words: customer recommendations), messaging direct to the owner and even posting content.
“Today 3 out of 4 shoppers search online when they want to find a business, and 7 out of 10 made a purchase from a business they found using a search engine”. (Economic Times)
A key component of any SEO strategy
Google: “clothing shops near me”. Go on.
You will notice google search results on the first page; possibly a few ads and some organic listings that have ‘made it’ onto the first page. Above these, you will see a map panel showing local clothing shops near you – making these clothing shops discoverable and extremely relevant. It may also bring up a specific listing if Googles defines it as the correct result (eg JAM Clothing). Or, the ultimate; being found for a “discovery” search, like “cheap clothing” and Google shows a Google My Business listing that it defines as the best result for the search.
“…half the people who conduct a local search (think “watch repair near me”) visit a store that day.” (ThriveHive)
Up until recently Google did not offer the correct API (Application Programming Interface) to provide business owners with the data required to understand their customers ‘behaviour’. However, business owners can now effectively and accurately monitor, analyse and measure, the number of listings, website clicks, reviews and phone calls; giving them the necessary information about where people are looking for them and how they are finding them.
The No Nonsense Group has found that 78% of Google searches, that show a JAM listing, don’t go to the website. Why? They don’t need to.
TNNG.Reports aggregates all digital channels to see where the most interaction comes from (website, social and search). Notice how Google My Business search dwarfs Facebook.
TNNG.Reports images above: Total Views vs Website Clicks. All Digital Channels overlayed to compare interaction from web, social and search.
When searching for ‘clothing shops’, Google automatically recognised that JAM Clothing – The Crescent was nearby. It also ranked JAM in the Top 3 on the panel and first in search results out of 18 million results.
Therefore ‘searchers’ have direct access to all the most relevant and important information. They can click to call from the contact number listed. They can email addresses, They can see the physical address and get directions on Google Maps as quick as a click, trading hours (and even how busy it is right now), parking facilities, reviews and more.
So why would they need to go to the website?
How to use Google My Business to rank higher in search results?
- First get listed by claiming or creating your location
- Get verified
- Use it like a Social channel, and post content regularly (posts only last for 7 days… a clever twist in Social posting to make sure you are proactive)
- Encourage customers to review your business
- Post images regularly, and ask visitors to post images
- Ensure your information is always current
- Turn on Messaging and keep your response time low
- Add as much relevant information as possible, including : Parking options and available facilities.
This will secure a higher rank, which not only increases your online presence, but foot traffic too; resulting in a higher ROI.
TNNG.Reports images above: Increase in listings (maps and search) when Google My Business was implemented over a period of 1 year. Added 106 JAM Clothing stores to Google My Business in September 2018.
Google My Business (GMB) Case Study Summary
78% of people finding JAM Clothing’s 106x GMB locations on Google don’t go to the website.
80% of people finding uShaka Marine World’s 1x GMB location on Google don’t go to the website.
Google My Business has basically kicked Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the butt – without them feeling a thing – looking at the stats, they’ve outsmarted the competition after losing the social war with Google+.
Like most Google products, it is easy and free… and necessary to make your business more discoverable (and indirectly profitable). However, it needs to be done correctly and continuously to ensure that your information is always current.
If you need help setting up, or managing your Google My Business listing, we’re only a click away.