Google My Business – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Launched in 2014, Google My Business became a business’s best friend for online searching. Google My Business is an online business directory that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. If you skip out on using Google My Business, you potentially will miss out on customers and sales. Why? Well let’s dive a little deeper into what is Google My Business and how it works.

What is Google My Business?

In simple terms, it is a business profile within Google. But it is not just your Business Profile, rather a tool by which you enhance your Business Profile to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google search. A listing on Google My Business can be an amazing marketing tool for search engine optimization (SEO). Obviously Google has some power on their search engine, but now it has allowed businesses to have their search space as well.

All that Google requires within the business profile is the business name, location, and category. Once it is confirmed that the business is not a duplicate, Google will create the business profile for that location. You can have multiple location profiles per business if you have separate addresses. For example, a doctor has two offices. The doctor can have two business profiles for the business with two separate locations.

Is Google My Business Free?

YES! And it isn’t a scam. Google doesn’t charge to create a Google My Business profile. Plus, Google My Business does not operate on a pay by service level, like free, super, premium, etc., business model. This means that your business has the same level of access as your competitors. However, this could all change and it could become a paid service and eventually upsell the account levels. But for now, June of 2021, it is free.

Why Should I Use It for My Business?

Google always favors Google My Business profiles with extra information and user engagement, especially recent engagement. If your profile is up to date with a business image, hours, location, and services/products, Google will know that it is relevant information and will know to show it to someone searching for something similar.

Additionally, your business profile is open to people to leave reviews, add their personal pictures, ask questions and even answer others questions. Google might also populate your profile for you from information that it finds online. Of course that can always be edited to make it fit to your business standards. You know your business best!

How Do I Set Up A Google My Business Profile?

Yay! Glad you’ve made it to this point of wanting to set up a Google business profile. It is the right thing for your business.

To get a Google My Business account, go to google.com/business and click “Manage now,” which will take you through the steps of creating an account. Enter all of your information. Google will then need to verify the business location is actually yours. You’ll be sent a postcard by mail that will have a code on it to confirm it is yours.

In the meantime, optimize and nurture your profile. Add your business hours, ask your best customers to add in some pictures and reviews, add your own pictures and make sure the other business information like location and contact information are correct.

Now What Do I Do with My Google My Business Profile?

Post to your Google My Business listing at least once a week. Think of it as an additional social media post. Make the Google My Business post something specific to your business and link to your website. Hashtags won’t matter for this post. If you have an image that you took, post that instead of one that you create and is just a general image. When you use a picture that you took at the business, it has location tags within the file that Google will recognize. We don’t have to get deep into how that works. Just think of it as picture magic!

Being active on your listing is always a good idea. Manage reviews, good and bad, add events that are happening for your business, add a new picture of a product or someone doing your service, or add in an offer that you want to share with your potential and current customers. If Google releases updated information grabs, a new item where it already shows the things mentioned previously, this should be posted about. At the time of this blog (June 2021) there is a Covid-19 update area where businesses can post Covid updates, like if they are closed or the rules have changed. There is a good chance that this particular information will be ranked better than others. Update your profile to match whatever Google is suggesting.

Good luck with your Google My Business profile! If you have any questions or would like help setting up or managing your profile, contact us.

Does Your Business Have a Solid Foundation?

With a solid digital foundation, the sky is the limit!

Without a good business foundation online, that perfect marketing strategy you’ve created will most likely result in free advertising for your competitors. What do we mean? To answer that, let’s briefly review the consumer buying process.

When we as consumers have a need or want, we do research. Most of that research is performed online. For example, after watching a commercial or seeing an ad, we head online, perform a keyword search or perhaps visit a few websites. We read online reviews, consult friends or family, or visit groups on social media and ask questions. Once we’ve gathered enough information, we make a purchase with a reputable company – either online or at a brick and mortar store.

As one of the businesses competing in this search, you want to make sure you’re showing up as much as
possible and providing a great user experience when consumers find you. A solid marketing plan is important. However, if potential customers can’t find you online when they’re searching for your products and/or services, chances are they’re finding your competitors.

Elements of the foundation

A strong business foundation has three elements to it. These elements include business listings, a responsive and secure website, and at least one social media business profile.

Business Listings

Business listings are public profiles that you set up within online search directories. They contain vital
information about your business such as name, address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and
more. They are a way for potential customers to find you online. 80% of customers use business directory
listings to research a product or company before visiting or buying. It’s critical that your listings be accurate and available.

By creating and claiming your listings online, you’ll be able to manage reviews, both good and bad, and show your customers that you value their feedback and customer service is important to your business. It also establishes credibility and opens the door to your online presence.

A responsive and secure website

A website is your number one marketing asset. In fact, 30% of consumers won’t even consider a business
without a website (Buzzboard.) That doesn’t sound like much but would you turn away 30% of your customers before they even have a chance to see what you offer?

A website doesn’t have to be a work of art but it does need to be informative and responsive. At a minimum, it should provide basic information to your potential customers. For instance, it should include:

Safe, and secure access
Most customers prefer mobile over desktop. Your website should be mobile friendly and responsive on devices your customers are using. Work with your website manager to apply SSL Certificate to your site. When applied, SSL Certificate encrypts user information and ensures their safety while browsing your site.

An informative homepage
Make sure your customers can learn what they need to about you and your business. With an informative
homepage, you can explain what your business is about and the products and services you provide. This
establishes a human connection and a sense of trust with your audience.

Accurate contact information
Lastly, your website should have clear and accurate contact information so customers can reach out with
questions or feedback. Be sure to also have links to all social platforms your business manages for an added layer of communication.

Social Media

You’ve got your business listings and your responsive website. Now let’s talk about social media.

A good social media presence allows your customers to connect and interact with your business on a more personal level. This goes beyond just posting updates. A solid social media plan also includes engaging with your audience and looking for ways to increase your reach and visibility. You don’t have to be on every social platform but be sure to manage those you are on well.

How do you do this? A good rule of thumb is to post a couple of times a week or at a minimum of 2-3 times per month. The content you post should be relevant and engaging for your audience and should generate conversation naturally. Don’t be afraid to look at social groups or businesses like yours to see how they’re posting.

It’s also important to encourage audience growth by inviting customers to like and follow your business page. Extend your reach to as many people as possible by boosting your posts and adding paid advertising to drive additional growth and brand awareness.

We’re here to help!

The team at Triple-Nine Digital is here to help you find your starting point and make sure your brand foundation is solid in support of your advertising efforts.

Our team will help you evaluate your online brand, what is going well, where you may need some help, and how other businesses like yours compare. From there, we’ll help you create a strategy for success and prioritize it to match your budget. We are with you every step of the way. Through fully transparent
communication and reporting, we show you exactly where your marketing dollars are going, the results your efforts are producing, and plan for continued growth. When you succeed, we succeed! Let us help you get started today!

What You Need to Know About Local Business Listings

Ever heard the term, just “Google” it? It almost seems like this sentence is part of everyday life. When we are looking for answers, places to go, things to do and items to buy, we search for them. Another way we get information is by posting and checking our feed on social media. We ask our friends and follow companies on Facebook so that we can keep an eye on what they have to offer. With this trend, it is extremely important for companies to make sure their business profile is correct when listed online.

The Importance of Facebook Check-Ins

People love the idea of checking in on Facebook. It allows them to share with friends where they are and sort of maps out the day, but these check ins are more important than you think. When a person checks in to your business, if a business page is not available, Facebook creates one. This can be a bad idea as more people will have access to make comments and say anything negative about the business. It is the responsibility of the business owner to create their business’s Facebook page first. Having your business Facebook page allows you to update customers as to what is going on. Advertising sales, promotions, and even contests for followers of the page is a great way to market locally.

Eliminating Duplicate Listings

From time to time, we come across duplicate Google listings for businesses. Although common, it is not good for business. Customers can easily get confused when searching for a business with multiple listings. The quickest way to alleviate the problem is through a process called duplicate suppression. Even if you are not Google savvy, there are many companies that will take care of the suppression for you, but it is not the best solution. When dealing with duplicate listings, it is best to utilize duplicate reduction. This completely removes the additional listing as opposed to hiding them. Hidden listings can resurface, but duplicate reduction eliminates the problem completely, but it will take longer.

Listings for Different Departments

Google generally only allows one listing for a business address, but as with most things, there are exceptions to this rule. Doctors, lawyers, dentists, financial planners, real estate agencies, and insurance agents can have various departments. Allowing for multiple listings at the same address enables customers to find the department necessary without having to resort to being transferred from one department to another. Hospitals, universities, and government agencies regularly maintain different listings for departments as it makes it much less confusing to customers.

Google Posts Matter

Google Posts have not always been a significant part of local listings, but today, things have drastically changed. Actively involving your business with Google Posts have a positive impact on your listing due to Google’s behavioral search recommendations. Google Posts improve click through rating and with the continual updating of Google systems, we are sure to see this entity become even more important to local businesses in the coming years. With Google Posts, employer posts stay live for a full 7 days requiring the company to continually provide up to date content. It is also a free service that utilizes content over advertising, so consumers value learning about something new while enjoying new content from their favorite local businesses. The call to action button on Google Posts also helps businesses track attribution and increase customers conversion ratings.

Truly Optimized Listings Require Both Listing Management Services and Individual Business Effort

Active listings enable customers to find, inquire, and acquire services from any business. It takes a sincere effort on the part of the business as well as the best listing management services available. Google algorithms are always being updated. Currently, they feature 8 signals that need to be accounted for to make a quality listing…

1.Link Signals
2.GMB Signals
3.On Page Signals
4.Behavioral Signals
5.Mobile Signals
6.Citation Signals
7.Social Signals
8.Personalization Signals

Keeping these signals in mind require a keen understanding of how Google works. Listing management services enable the company to have peace of mind in knowing that all 8 of these factors are accounted for and managed effectively.

Where to Turn?

If you are a business owner looking to increase local traffic through your local listing, trust Triple-Nine Digital. We have the experience in knowing what clients want and how to improve your local listing to work best for you. Targeted advertising, social media management, search engine marketing, email management, website design, and reputation management are just some of the marketing factors we help you with. Where it is possible to go it alone, with local listing management, it is much better to know you have an expert in your corner with your best interests in mind. Contact Triple-Nine Digital today and let us take you into tomorrow.