You are invited! Your Google My Business Listing and Your Small Business Website are getting married!
One of the most effective ways for a local business like yours to get found at just the right time is to have a fully optimized Google My Business listing, paired with a high-quality small business website. Keep reading to learn how to make this combo work for you and how to get an edge on the local competition.
If you are a small, local business owner, you know just how important it is to consistently attract new customers. You probably also know that you need a strong online presence to reach these prospective customers where they are looking for what you have to offer.
But did you know that up to 46% of all searches on Google are looking for local information? Or that 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to find local information? Achieving and then maintaining visibility on Google is more important than it’s ever been because if you aren’t there to greet your prospective customers, one of your competitors will be.
So, you are invited to the wedding of your fully optimized Google My Business listing and your high-quality small business website!
Google My Business Basics
You may already have a verified Google My Business listing, but just in case you don’t, here is some basic information.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform that allows you to promote your local business and be visible on the “local pack” near the top of the page of search results for services/products in your area. When you have a GMB account, you can show your business profile, connect with customers, post updates and see how people in the community are interacting with your business.
Some of the reasons it makes good business sense for you to have a Google My Business listing include:
- It shows searchers that you are a legitimate business
- It lets prospective customers know you sell the products and/or services they are looking for
- It shows people how to get in touch with you, your business hours and where you are located
- It provides prospects with social proof in the form of customer reviews
- It is easier for you to appear near the top of search results
It’s important to note that there is a difference between verifying and optimizing your GMB listing. When you claim or verify your listing, it doesn’t mean that it is optimized for success. This is a free tool you can use to get found by the very people you want to bring into your business, and if it’s optimized correctly it can be like a silent sales partner that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
An optimized Google My Business listing will:
- Result in more views of your business information
- Attract more people to your website and social media pages
- Lead to more phone calls to your business
- Lead to more in-store visits
- Boost engagement with your business
- Improve your ranking in the local pack
- Ultimately convert more prospects to paying customers
When your listing is properly optimized, you’ll also gain business insights that you may not be able to get otherwise. These include:
- The specific search queries people used to find your business
- The number of views you get on your profile, posts and photos
- The amount of engagement that takes place
- A cross-section of your audience demographic
- The number of phone calls, direction queries and visits to your small business website from the listing
Optimized vs. Unoptimized
Basically, a Google My Business listing that is verified but not optimized will only have some basic information about your business and a map but won’t have any of the information or activity that make it an effective marketing tool. When fully optimized, your listing almost looks like a mini-website of its own. An optimized listing will have:
- A button taking visitors to your website
- Ratings and reviews
- The business category
- Brief description of the business
- Physical address
- Phone number
- Hours of operation
- Questions with answers from you
Google My Business Optimization Tips
If you take full advantage of all of the impressive features of the Google My Business platform, you will start to separate yourself from your competition. Most small business owners are unaware of this powerful free tool they have at their disposal. After you claim your GMB listing, follow these optimization tips to make the most of it.
Complete All of the Sections in Your Account – This will create depth, engage visitors, let people get to know you better and let Google know more about your business.
Select Primary and Secondary Categories – The more coverage you have, the better as long as it’s relevant.
Be Very Exact with Your Contact Information – One wrong keystroke and no one will be able to get in touch.
Write a Complete and Thorough Business Description – The more people know, like and trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you. Also, more info for Google is always a good thing.
Publish New Posts Regularly – Aim for at least weekly and post things like events, updates, specials, offers, deals, new products or services, introductions to new team members, etc. If you have a business that lends itself to daily specials, you can post even more frequently.
Upload New Photos Regularly – Showing everyone new photos of your business, team members and products will help bring your business to life and increase the engagement level.
Answer All Questions – Great customer service is a must online just like in person, so it’s important to answer all of the questions that come in from customers and prospects.
Collect and Respond to Reviews – Many people use reviews as the deciding factor for visiting a business or not, so take the time to gather them up and respond. And remember, negative reviews are a great opportunity to create a memorable customer service experience.
Set Up Messaging – This way, people can message you directly through your GMB listing for a more efficient process.
How Your GMB and Website are Tied Together
While your Google My Business listing can go a long way toward getting found online and bringing in new customers, your small business website also plays a huge role, and the two should work together for the best results. In many cases, consumers trust the details and information they find on local business websites more than directories or platforms like Google My Business. That’s one reason it’s so important to provide direct access to your website from your GMB listing.
Some telling stats from Bright Local show just how crucial it is to keep your small business website in tip-top shape:
- 64% of consumers have used GMB to find contact details for local businesses, but only 8% of consumers never visit the website when deciding which local business to use.
- 50% of consumers claimed they wouldn’t want to use a local business if the contact information on their website was out of date.
Must-Have Components of an Effective Small Business Website
Since your Google My Business listing and website must work together and the quality of your website matters, here are some elements that must be included:
Clear & Up-to-Date Contact Information – As mentioned above, it’s important that the contact information on your website is up to date.
Easy-to-Navigate – Making it as easy as possible for people to find what they are looking for will reduce your bounce rate and increase your leads and conversions.
Sensible Web Design – A great website isn’t all about looking pretty, but the web design should be easy on the eyes and consistent with your branding.
Customer Testimonials – Just like your GMB listing, people love social proof on your website, so take the time to collect and then display testimonials from satisfied customers. With the website, you have the advantage of only showing positive reviews and experiences.
Fresh, Relevant, Quality Content – Search engines and real people love when you update your content regularly, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with a blog that you post to weekly or bi-weekly.
Proper Titles, Tags and Descriptions – H-tags, meta titles and meta descriptions all work to help let search engines know what your site is all about, and it’s important for each page to include the necessary tags and titles.
Optimized for Local Search – As a local business, your website needs to be optimized for local search. Your Google My Business listing will help generate traffic, but you can’t rely ion it exclusively. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile, that it includes relevant local search terms in the content and that your name, address and phone number match other places they are displayed online.
If you’d like to learn more about how your Google My Business listing and website can help take your local business to the next level, grab your free Action Plan for Visibility and Find-ability here.