According to a study performed by Hootsuite and We Are Social earlier this year, Australian’s are spending an average of 100 minutes per day on Social Media. So it’s probably not surprising to you that having an online presence for your business is extremely important in ensuring your ongoing relevance in the online market.
Building your online presence isn’t always easy, and can involve significant investments of time and money into other businesses such as web developers and marketing agencies. But there are still plenty of ways your business can “get online” quickly and easily, for little to no monetary investment!
One of the easiest and most effective ways to quickly get your business on the net is to sign up to the popular business portal Google My Business (GMB).
Formerly known as Google Places, Google My Business offers a simple “hub” for businesses to list their services, contact information, location and accept reviews from customers.
Below are five reasons why you should sign up to Google My Business today!
1. Gain Visibility
Once you have completed and validated your registration to GMB, your business will be added to the Google Maps Platform.
This means that an icon will appear in Google Maps, showing your business’ location and contact information. You will also show up in related Google Maps Searches (eg. Coffee Shops Near Me).
As well as showing up in Google Maps, you will get a special business listing in normal Google Search results!
For example, if you search “Bottlenose Creative” in google, our GMB listing shows up along side other search results, allowing users to quickly and easily contact, find out opening hours and visit our website.
You will also show up for related searches, however if there are other competitors with similar listings, you will show up in a list of related businesses.
2. Gain Trust
When you sign up to GMB, you will be required to complete a small list of tasks to prove your identity and ownership of the business, before they show your listing publicly. Because of this, it’s very unlikely that a business listing shown in GMB will be fake.
Another great feature within GMB, is the ability for your clients to review your business publicly. All they need is a google or gmail account, and they will be able to leave a review. Google also has an algorithm to detect matching Facebook pages, and will show the review score from that Facebook page.
Having public reviews is a great way to gain trust with potential clients, especially when they can’t be easily fabricated/tampered like on a website.
If you’ve ever worked on growing a blog or website, you probably know that SEO can be an absolute nightmare to deal with, and requires knowledge of meta keywords, site traffic, page speed insights, mobile responsiveness and many other tedious topics.
The advantage of signing up to GMB, is you won’t have to worry as much about this aspect of having an online presence. As long as you sign up correctly and validate ownership of your business, you will be indexed within a few days.
Having a GMB listing can also help in increasing the search engine presence of your other online services, such as a website, as you are able to link out to these services directly from your listing!
You will still need to have a small understanding in keywords, especially if your business has a lot of local competition, if you want your GMB listing to rank higher. But in our experience this has more to do with reviews than keywords.
Google My Business has a built in analytics platform, allowing you to see how many views and hits (clicks) your listing is getting.
You get details as to whether you are being found through search results or through the Google Maps platform, as well as how many people visited your website, how many people pressed the “call” button and how many people requested directions to your business.
They will also give you monthly comparisons, so you can track how your SEO has improved or deteriorated (hopefully not!) so you know whether or not you need to make any changes to your listing.
5. IT’S FREE!
That’s right, listing your business on GMB is 100% free. No hidden payments, fees or paywalls. All it takes is 10-15 minutes to sign up, then 1-2 weeks for Google to send your ownership validation code in the mail and you’re done!
When tied into other free business listing services / social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, you could have a fairly solid online presence, without having to spend thousands of dollars, and it’s easy to do yourself!
Of course, there is only so much you can do with these free services, but if you’re just looking to get your name out there on the net, they are a great place to start!
By signing up to GMB, you will also receive access to a simplified version of Google Adwords called Adwords Express, which is a pay as you go platform for advertising your business through Google. When you sign up, Google will offer you a $75 credit towards your first advertising campaign; however, be aware you will have to spend money to receive this bonus credit. Be sure to do your research before creating any campaigns!
You may notice your business already has a GMB listing without you registering, don’t panic this is normal. To “take control” of the listing click the “Own this business?” link on the listing, and follow the steps to prove ownership of the business. Claiming ownership may take some time as Google will need to authenticate you are the valid owner of the listing.
– Michael, First Reef