News Segment

On the news front, Facebook is back at it again with more information on its Business Page updates. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s worth taking a closer look so you aren’t surprise: Facebook is planning on getting rid of many of the “information” sections on Business Pages like Biography, Mission, Company Overview, and more. Businesses can put all this information into the generation description section of their Pages – which people are more likely to read anyway.

And, on a more complex note, we’re seeing a rise in pushback against “cause marketing” or businesses getting involved with various causes (anything from nonprofit activities to politics, and beyond) on social media as a way to get brand recognition. People are, in a word, critical. They are especially sensitive to hypocrisy, and signs that a business is jumping on a bandwagon it hasn’t cared about before just to get more clicks. Suffice it to say, if you’re going to stick up for a cause, make sure it’s either a cause you’ve already invested in, or one that you’re launching a long-term project for.

But now it’s time for the team to tackle the main topic: Google My Business! What is this tool? Why is it so important? How do people use it? Let’s discuss.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to verify your business and address, and then customize the information people see when they look up your company. It applies especially to the top results in Google Search and what people see when looking at Google Maps.

When you fill out Google My Business forms, you can specify your street address, add your website, list your hours or business, add photos, and respond to reviews.

Why Google My Business is Important

There are a lot of reasons you should take time to use Google My Business. It’s free and very easy to do: With the right photos, you can update it in a slow afternoon and reap the benefits for years into the future.

It’s also excellent for local SEO: All the important local information about your business that you feed into Google make it much more likely that Google will bring up your company when people search for related local businesses. Adding your website link also helps drive a lot more traffic to your site that you might otherwise not pick up on (yes, many people do look for businesses on Google Maps, especially when they are on mobile devices). According to Google itself, simply adding some photos leads to 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to the website – so don’t forget those images!

Finally, when you fill out all the fields in Google My Business you get access to a lot more analytics to help study organic traffic to your site. You can see how many people called your company directly from your My Business profile, and even create and track campaigns to raise local awareness about your company.

Digging Deeper: The “3-Pack” and Building Trust

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s take a closer look at how Google My Business affects SERPs and customer trust. First, when making local, business-oriented searches, people will encounter a map on their SERP, imported from Google Maps, and the top three business listings that match the search. This used to be a group of up to seven businesses, but now it’s down to three, and those three are typically chosen based on how well companies have filled out their Google My Business profiles. Getting into the 3-Pack can lead to a 700% boost in clicks, so….it’s definitely something you can strive for.

But even if you don’t get into the coveted position, filling out your profile can lead to an increase in customer trust. There’s a certain amount of authority granted just by seeing that Google has verified your business, and that it pops up on maps and searches with real photos and a real address: People are much more likely to think you are reputable by that alone.

Let’s not forget about the reviews, either! Google’s star review system allows customers to review your business profile and leave comments. Collect strong reviews, and your profile is likely to see a lot more attention from leads looking for the business they need (this is especially important if you have a lot of competitors in the area).

The Latest Google My Business Changes

Google isn’t sitting on Google My Business: It continues to get updates that make it even more important to brands. Most recently, Google gave businesses the ability to set a primary “cover photo” for their business that will show up more easily in their profile, even on SERPs. Around the same time, logos also got a boost so that they’re easier to notice.

Google is also experimenting with “short” names or shortened versions of your business name that longer-named businesses can use so it fits easier inside profile pop-ups (especially on mobile devices).

There’s even a site up that allows businesses to engage with customers online or offline with readymade content options like stickers, posts, and posters that can easily work in the real world to promote your Google My Business profile.

We really hope that you are taking advantage of Google’s business profile options. What has your experience been with using these Google services? Do you have any particular reason you like or don’t like them? Let us know! Contact us @21handshake and let us know what you think!

If you really enjoyed this episode, please take a moment to rate us and recommend our podcast to a friend who may need to learn a little more about Google My Business.