Using Google My Business to optimize your website traffic
If you aren’t using Google My Business (or haven’t updated your profile in a while), you are likely missing out on an important marketing opportunity. As always, Google continues to dominate the search engine market. With over 8.5 billion Google searches every day, potential customers are only a few clicks away from your website. By adding (or optimizing) a Google My Business listing, you improve your ability to grow brand awareness, gain web traffic and increase leads.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free Google platform that allows you to showcase your business beyond just your website. It helps users on search engines find your business easier by pulling up your profile’s address, photos, and contact info and even visit your site.
So how do you start?
Set up your profile
Begin by setting up your business profile. The process is very simple.
- Go to Google My Business and click the blue “Manage Now” button on the top right.
- Type your company name in the search box and choose your business from the list
- Click on “Claim this business” followed by “I own or manage this business”
- Select a verification method and follow the directions sent to you.
Once claimed, you can then add all the relevant information about your business. This includes operating hours, phone number and address. Even if you aren’t a physical store or operate remotely, you should include business hours. It’s important to include as much information as you can since Google rewards profiles that are complete.
Next, create a 250-750 word description of your business. Keep in mind that only the first 250 will show up when your profile pops up on Google. Select your business category, the more specific you can get, the better. In addition, you can add secondary services that you offer.
You can also highlight aspects that distinguish you from the competition. If you are a woman-owned business (like TorchLight!) say so!
As you may know, reviews are critical to your business. According to Inc., 84% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends. You can share your review form URL with customers (in a post-purchase email for example) and invite them to review your business. This will hopefully increase your ratings.
Google My Business provides insights so you can measure how effective your listing is. Under “Insights” you will see what type of searches are driving traffic to your profile. The three types of searches include:
- Direct search → is when the user typed in your business name directly. Usually, they have heard of your business or know that they are looking for your site.
- Discovery search → the user was looking for a product or service in your category and your listing showed up
- Branded search → when the user looks for a brand that is related to your business
An important statistic to note: A 2019 study by Bright Local found that on average, 84% of searches are discovery while 16% are direct. A more complete profile will help these searches know more about your business–which will make them more likely to click to your website and find out more about you.
The insights do not provide accurate measurement of the the amount of traffic from Google My Business so you will need to create a create a custom URL in Google Analytics for these statistics. This will help you differentiate the traffic coming from clicks on your Google My Business profile listing vs. links in organic search results.
You can post images and text to your Google My Business profile; however, it doesn’t work like social media. For starters, Google My Business doesn’t show likes or comments, so you don’t have to be worried about not getting enough likes or shares. The posts are live on your Google My Business profile for one week and then they are taken off automatically.
Ideally, you can add pictures of your product, satisfied customers, or your physical store. You can even add pictures of your team, behind-the-scenes happenings or other relevant visuals. You can schedule these posts using third-party platforms such as Hootsuite. Ideally, you should post once a week to alert Google that you are active. Google rewards active users and complete profiles.
Google My Business also has an FAQ section to clarify common doubts and inquiries about your products or services. Anyone can submit a question, including people from your team. If there’s a question that you get often and want to make clear on your profile, you can submit it yourself and answer it.