It may not be a profitable time for your offline business, but in the online world, Google My Business is one service that can help your business stay afloat during COVID-19 and allows to take advantage of the benefits of local listings. Below, let's review the top 10 Google My Business Benefits, which show why it's one of the most effective Local SEO tactics.
Leverage the rise of Local SEO with 10 Google My Business Benefits during COVID-19
1. GMB Enhances your customer support
Creating a GMB account is free, so if you don’t have one, it’s time to go and create it right away. With COVID-19 affecting everyday life and the way a business is conducted, people will use Google to search for latest news about what’s happening to their favorite brand.
You can update your GMB profile with the latest information such as:
- Your adjusted hours of operation, for instance, if you close early.
- Add “More hours” that describe other business operations such as delivery, takeout, and drive-through.
- Select an attribute to show you offer online services such as classes, appointments, or estimates.
- Delays on specific business services.
- Extra services you are providing for the community.
- If your business is "Temporarily closed".
This always helps you have more visibility, encourage communication and engagement and your customers to know what to expect from you.
2. Boosts your local ranking in Google
Having a local business during the pandemic can be challenging, so optimizing your GMB listing is critically important. As said above, people have the tendency to search information via Google, especially during this time, so this could be an opportunity to focus on how to boost your local rankings with Google my Business.
It is not enough to just create a profile, so here are some important tips on how to set up Google My Business for local SEO:
- Claim your business profile
- Complete every section of your Google My Business account
- Be meticulous with contact information
- Select primary and secondary categories
- Mark off applicable attributes
- Write a complete “from the business” description
- Publish Google posts weekly
- Upload new photos weekly
- Answer questions
- Collect and respond to reviews
- Add your products and/or services
- Set up messaging
- Maintain your Business Profile
By creating and optimizing your GMB profile, you have higher chances to reach the first top 3 results in Google, Google Maps and local finder.
3. Increases the number of leads for your website
Thanks to the popularity of the platform, Google My Business is a powerful instrument when it comes to increasing the number of leads for your business.
Here are a few ways on how to use Google My Business to generate more leads:
- Connect GMB accounts with Google Analytics– urchin tracking module codes accurately track how much traffic comes from a GMB listing to the main domain on a business website. Analyzing the traffic, leads, and conversions referred to a brand’s site through its GMB listing provides a rich vein of marketing data that can help optimize a business.
- GMB insights offer a better understanding of customer actions and trends that show how potential customers interact with a listing. Local marketers should look at the number of people who are getting directions to their locations each month and its overall trend.
- Not only data gathering can contribute to generating more leads, but you can also optimize your listing so that it appears in more search results. Elements like reviews from customers, description or categories and attributes provide useful information for users who can easily become potential customers.
4. Attracts more customers
As we know, Google My Business helps your business appear in the first Google search results and this can greatly improve your company’s online visibility. Google often puts local business listings at the top of search results when people look for a specific type of business. And those online searchers often turn into customers. One study found that people who search for a local business on a mobile device end up visiting that business or a similar one within the next day.
Given the fact that during the pandemic the access to a physical store is limited, make sure that your listing is updated with accurate information regarding your operation hours, temporary closures and any other COVID-19 updates.
It’s imperative to incorporate local business listings updates to your digital marketing plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the fastest and easiest way to connect with your customers, returning and new.
5. Boosts sales and traffic volume
Many companies don’t really use Google My Business platform at its full potential and don’t provide consistent information to attract potential customers and increase their sales. And there are some sales-specific features Google has created you can utilize to generate more engagement and interest from a search query of your business.
These features can lead to more sales opportunities for your team.
- Direct messaging or live chat have shifted from optional to mandatory features, especially during this pandemic. The major benefit of using messaging tools is allowing customers to get an instant response to the questions they need answered before deciding whether to engage in a sales conversation.
- Google also offers you the possibility to set up a Book an appointment directly into your listing. This allows customers to schedule a time for you to visit their home, or for them to come inside your business, without ever leaving Google to book the appointment.
- You can also increase the number of sales by asking for reviews from customers. Google really encourages companies to do that because it has turned into the most trusted source for customer reviews, saying they first go to Google before any other online source.
- Don’t neglect questions and answers from prospects – this is an underrated feature that delivers the largest boost for local SEO. This is a great pipeline for hearing directly from people asking about your business and services, and allows your team or your customers to respond to those questions. The more information users have, the most likely is for them to engage with your products or services.
6. Increases the number of customer phone calls
Most local searches take place on smartphones, so it’s not a surprising fact that consumers searching for local businesses often convert by calling. To take advantage of this, companies have to get the right marketing attribution and analytics on those phone calls from GMB and the resulting conversations with the business locations. Insights from those calls provide the foundation for many of the marketing actions you can take to convert more callers to customers and revenue.
Based on the data you get, you can easily build audiences which can help you improve Digital Advertising. When consumers call your business from GMB (or other sources), those phone conversations are a rich source of insights into that caller’s intent, urgency, product/service interest, value, and more. You can convert more Google My Business callers into customers and revenue by using data from those conversations to put callers into your most relevant audience segments for digital advertising, such as retargeting, upsales, cross-sales, lookalikes and exclusions.
7. Better position on “long trend” searches
New attributes have been added to Google My Business profiles since 9th of March 2020. These attributes allow points of sale to indicate the COVID-19 prevention measures implemented locally. For each attribute, local points of sale or service establishments can indicate whether they have implemented the measure in question or not. Note that by default, the attribute is not completed.
The list of attributes available on the subject in the “Health and Safety” section of your GMB sheets:
- Staff gets temperature checks
- Staff wear masks
- Mask required
- Temperature check required
- Appointment required
You will only get advantages by updating this kind of information such as: you give Google enough information about the characteristics of your point of sale and so, it will see that you are updating your information and that the data of your store is reliable. On the other hand, the information you provide to Google via the attributes allows you to better position yourself on “long trend” searches, i.e. more precise and longer searches.
8. Keeps consumers engaged with GMB posts
Google My Business posts that appear in your listing under the Knowledge Panel and on your Google Maps listing, too. They serve different purposes like announce different events and lead the user to a registration page, or you can use them to promote a new product or service, with visuals and call to action buttons which lead the users back to your website for more details and pricing, and the list of examples can continue.
Overall, GMB posts ensure that customers are informed on the status of the business as well as reassuring customers that the information they are receiving is contemporary and relevant.
Google my Business posts do’s & don’ts during COVID-19:
- Use posts to increase awareness and draw user’s attention to important business updates
- Add a call-to-action button e.g. “Learn more” that can link to helpful resources
- Put the most important information at the beginning of the post
- Don’t exceed 1500 characters. The ideal length is 150-300 characters as only the first 100 characters will show on-screen without clicking on the post
- Don’t offer any medical advice related to COVID-19.
9. Gain GMB customer insights
Having a GMB account for your business helps the users to get directions, ask questions, and make a reservation. These actions are recorded by Google and provided to GMB in the Insights section of the dashboard.
The Insights feature provides you a better understanding of trends that show how potential customers interact with a listing. Insights can tell GMB users what a customer does after they view a listing. A graph chart – which views data over a week, month, or quarter – will show how many users perform actions like visiting the business website, getting directions, calling the business, or sending a message.
When customers ask for directions that point them to your business, Google starts tracking their starting point and the information is then available for Google my Business users on Insights. More specifically, Google gathers the starting locations zip codes for the leads. This is helpful for local marketers because it shows where to refine marketing and product efforts in order to target potential customers in prominent areas.
On Insights, business owners can also see information about phone calls. Basically, you will find out how many times people call a business and when they call during the day.
10. Allows you to add high-quality images and video content
It may not seem an important aspect to take into consideration, but providing your customers with high-quality images and videos gives them an idea of what your business offers or what they can expect to see.
Regularly adding images to your business profile can help improve visibility of your business listing. High-quality images can make a big difference in the attractiveness of your business and have an influence over customers’ decision-making. According to Google, consumers are twice as likely to visit a location in-person if they see good images in their business listing. “Taking a couple of minutes each month to add 4-5 new photos will result in a 10-30% lift in exposures for your business.”
Adding videos allows you to tell the customers even more about your business. For example, the videos can present a new product or services, they can show product demos to better highlight the features of the product or you can simply have videos that illustrate footage or infographics of your business.
With changes to the current situation being made on a daily basis, it’s important to have a Google My Business account and to be on top of updating your business information so that your customers always know what to expect from you. In order to be successful, you have to encourage communication and engagement with your customers. It’s critical that they know whether you are still open and how your business is prioritizing their safety and well-being.
GMB is an invaluable tool that will keep you in constant contact with your customers.