Designed for business owners, Google My Business is an effective way to engage with customers and boost your SEO rankings. Originally launched in 2014, the service has been modified and upgraded regularly to ensure users receive the best experience. When used effectively, Google My Business allows business owners to have more control over what appears in searches related to a business or company name.
Using Google My Business to Improve Search Results
Google My Business enables business owners to manage their online presence across various parts of Google. When a user searches for your business, they are usually shown company information via Google. If you fail to modify the contents, your company information will remain blank. Clearly, this is a missed opportunity to foster engagement.
If a user has taken the time to search for your company specifically, rather than related products or services, it’s likely that they will engage with you in the near future. In order to make the most of this opportunity, you want to make it easy for users to contact you, and adding your details to Google My Business is one of the easiest ways of doing this. Even before visiting your website or blog, users will be shown your key company information, such as your address, phone number and opening hours, with hyperlinks making it even easier for them to get in touch.
In addition to this, entering your company information on Google My Business benefits ensure your business is visible on Google Maps, so users will be able to access directions straight to your premises in a matter of seconds. Particularly beneficial for companies which rely on local custom or physical trade, Google My Business is an effective way to ensure prospects can reach you.
Studies have shown that companies who enter their details via Google My Business are twice as likely to be viewed as reputable by consumers, and this can lead to increased engagement, sales and turnover. With consumers placing such emphasis on the content displayed via Google My Business, companies simply cannot afford to waste the opportunity to engage with these prospects.
Managing Potentially Damaging Content
Of course, when someone searches for your business name, you want them to be able to access your website and related content. Having your contact details easily available is a great way to lead customers into further engagement, for example. Similarly, when a prospect searches for your company, you need to ensure they’re able to access relevant content, such as your product options or services.
However, what happens if negative information also appears? Or, worse still, if negative information supersedes your company website and ranks more highly in search results? The consequences for your business could be disastrous, particularly if users are exposed to negative content before they’re able to view your own company-produced content or other positive content from the net.
For businesses, a good reputation is vital to commercial success. Word of mouth still plays a significant role in the acquisition and retention of customers, so you’ll need to ensure your existing customers are satisfied in order to ensure they spread the word.
However, ensuring every customer is 100% satisfied at all times can be a difficult task, particularly if you believe they’re behaving unreasonably. The rise of online review sites has been a fantastic way for consumers to provide feedback to companies, but there have been pitfalls associated with these websites.
Unfortunately, there is very little regulation when it comes to posting company reviews. As a result, a customer could post a completely misguided account of what happened when they engaged with your company, and you have limited ways to deal with it. Furthermore, negative reviews seem to have an expedited way of going viral, which can cause further reputational harm to your business.
As well as unfair negative content potentially causing damage to your company, you also need to consider the possibility of user error resulting in harmful online content. In some instances, users may identify the wrong company or post in the wrong place, meaning your business is subject to negative content when you’ve never even engaged with the user!
Although it should be easy for companies to take action and have the content removed in these situations, it isn’t always that simple. Review sites are reluctant to remove such content without express authorisation from the user, even when it’s clearly been posted in error. As a result, businesses can suffer considerable harm and have relatively little recourse to do anything about it.
Changing Opinions with Google My Business
As well as enabling you to display key company information, Google My Business benefits include giving you the opportunity to engage with users directly. If a user posts a review about your company, for example, you can thank them for taking the time to do so and respond with any additional information you might feel is relevant.
Often, this is a highly effective way of negating potentially harmful reviews which may appear online. Even in instances in which a customer may have a valid criticism, a swift and professional response can highlight your commitment to exceptional customer service, thus reassuring potential new customers and restoring your reputation.
With the ability to post photos, as well as text, companies can usual visual images to highlight certain aspects of their business, products of services, and this is extremely popular with users. According to the search engine, companies that post photos on Google My Business receive 35% more click-throughs to their website and 42% more requests for directions from Google Maps than business who don’t.
Gaining Customer Insight
Google My Business is also an effective way to learn more about your customers, which can only serve to improve your business operations. Data which details how customers search for your business, where these searches originate from and how consumers use the information displayed on Google My Business can help you to identify your target market, monitor existing marketing activities and develop future strategies for engagement.
Free to use and now available on mobile devices via the dedicated app, Google My Business is vital for companies who want to display their organisation’s details, increase engagement, understand customer behaviour, improve their reputation and enhance their online presence.