Like most people, I’ve done many thousands of Google searches in my time, in particular for places to go, directions to businesses and tourist hot spots.
I’m currently planning a holiday to France and I would be completely lost without Google Maps and Google Search in order to organise where to go. Well, strictly speaking, I wouldn’t. I’d buy a book and a map, but the convenience of being able to search on a computer whilst eating a sandwich, saving a location on Google Maps, and then picking up my phone to navigate to that place far outweighs any benefits that other methods may have.
When it comes to finding a specific item to buy, or directions to a retail outlet, I use Google. 64% of all searches online are through Google. So why are businesses ignoring Google My Business?
If you aren’t familiar….when searching for a business, on the right-hand side of a desktop search is a small image of a map, opening times, website link, images and other information. On mobile devices, it can appear bold as brass at the top of the search results. This is a vital component of a successful web presence. Many people’s first contact with your business, before they click through to your website, is the visual cue of a Google My Business listing.
But this information is not populated automatically. It is up to you, the business owner or marketing officer, to make sure everything is accurate.
The first step is to “claim your business” which is a method of verification, officially tying your business with the online listing. The best method is to take a phone call on the company landline, whereby you input a code. However, you can also wait a couple of weeks and receive a code by post.
Once your listing is verified, you input vital information. This information appears in Google searches and Google Map results. Many people only partially fill this in, leaving the website link out or uploading poor quality images, for example. Remember, the first time a potential customer may actually see your business is in the pre-loaded images. Make sure they portray your business in a professional manner.
You can then look into detailed statistics of how your page is performing. Google will even send info on how many times visitors have used Google Maps to navigate to your location.
Reviews are also situated here, and this little star rating is an increasingly important factor. It goes without saying that the more favourable reviews, the better – but if you ever experience the misfortune of receiving some negative feedback, be sure to respond publically – as your business.
This is the most common misstep with Google My Business. Leaving the one-star reviews dormant can lead to derision. Even if the review is bad, at the very least, publically apologise and explain how you will be improving. If you aren’t careful, the negative feedback can be interminable, damaging your carefully created reputation.
Another common error is to only sort out the listing of a head office, but ignore other locations that the organisation may have.
Overall, the service is easy to use and only takes a significant amount of time if you have many locations. However, the number of businesses that ignore the key information, or fail to see the value of the maintenance is still too high. Avoid Google My Business at your peril. In a world where you can find out anything that you could possibly desire in an instant, you need to go above and beyond to stand out.
Find out how Fox Agency can improve your online presence.