Google has changed the digital landscape as we know it yet again. And barely anyone has noticed.
At this point, every business owner knows Google’s domination in the organic search ranking game.
The savvy ones even know about AdWords and how important it is to have at least a minimal budget for these ads in order to protect their brand name, if not extensive campaigns to grow their business.
But in order to really get ahead of the competition you need to dominate the space between the strictly organic and the paid ads. In order to truly grow you need to rank highly on google my business.
Most people will just think of these profiles as automatically generated map locations, but in all actuality, these are Google My Business profiles that any business owner can take ownership of and use as a free marketing tool for their business. While it’s likely that Google has already created one of these profiles for your business, unless you take control of your profile it most likely has outdated or flat-out wrong information.
If we were talking about the yellow pages, maybe it wouldn’t be that big a deal. But this is 2022 and most users aren’t familiar with the differences between regular Google Rankings or Google My Business. If you have old or wrong information on your platform, this means you’re losing business.
How Users Are Changing With GMB
The other day I asked my wife to pull up a local restaurant’s website (shoutout to Casita Taqueria) and she Googled their name, and immediately ended up on Google My Business looking at their hours, with no differentiation between that and their actual website. That experience is becoming more and more common for a few different reasons.
With where it is placed on the page, users see the Maps and Google My Business Platform of Google before even search results. If there aren’t any ads running for those particular keywords, it’s the first thing they see, and that above-the-fold placement is gold for any website.
If users are searching for specific business names or business types, this means that they already have in mind what they to purchase, and the information that they are searching for are specifics about the business in general. Google My Business allows users to see information like hours, addresses, phone numbers, and services that set them apart with few taps without having to leave the Google platform (which means less waiting).
For the past 15 years, users have been more and more reliant on real customer reviews to help them feel confident about their decisions. You see it all the time on Facebook, Yelp and even Angie’s list and Google My Business has taken that and ran with it. Not only are customers asking for these reviews, Google themselves prioritizes accounts that have more and higher ratings than the competition.
How You Can Use This To Your Advantage
Google’s AI is expanding, and as it does it makes more and more connections than anyone realizes (or is comfortable with). Take my example earlier of my wife ending up on Casita Taqueria’s Google My Business Profile. Even with her typing in the business’s name, several other local restaurants that are similar to them popped up. Given Adwords’ average costs increasing and the amount of time it takes to develop a robust SEO strategy, optimizing your Google My Business profile can be your answer to getting affordable and efficient results, quickly.
With Google My Business still being a relatively new platform, a lot of businesses haven’t taken full advantage of what GMB is capable of. Suppose you are able to verify your main location (or better yet utilize virtual mailboxes and local office spaces to create multiple locations) before your competitors. In that case, Google will have you above them for most keywords, and right next to them for their own brand names.
Part of leapfrogging your competition is making sure that your business is more trustworthy than theirs, both in the eyes of Google and your customers. The beauty of Google My Business is the ability to highlight recent posts on your blog (which can help with Organic Rankings), showcase specials and events, or even just give the most up-to-date hours and holiday information. This sets the expectations for your potential customers to reach out to you when they’re ready.
We’ve all done it. Seeing 2 side by side products or businesses, that look almost identical, and then we gravitate towards the one with more reviews, or a better rating in general. The same goes for your business. Getting your existing customers to leave a review or a photo of your product or service can optimize your Google My Business profile beyond your wildest dreams. Those reviews and photos can be the cherry on top of a fleshed-out profile and without them you might seem like a shell business that’s about to close down.
This has been an important development over the past few years by Google and the way users are interacting with it all is changing as a result. If you haven’t already optimized your Google My Business Profile you could be losing business as a result. If you look into your GMB and don’t know what to do, don’t hesitate to reach out and pick our brains! We’re always down for a quick cup of coffee with someone new!