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No Storefront? Here’s Why You Still Need a Google My Business Account
Halfway between a local Wikipedia and a digital storefront, your Google My Business (GMB) account is a big deal.
A mini knowledge-base, it provides potential customers with visual cues (photos and video), information (contact info, website, live messaging), and reliability (reviews) all without leaving Google’s search console.
Even if your business goes without an office or store, a Google My Business account and listing will provide a tangible uptick in customers. The average GMB listing yields over 1000 search views per month and 84% of those searches are discovery searches, which means if not for Google My Business, those people could’ve never discovered the business.
Want to know if you’re eligible for a listing and discover Google My Business’s secret features that can make your business leap out of the page?
Read on or jump right in:
- Why should I get a Google My Business account?
- Who’s eligible for a Google My Business account and who’s not
- What do you need to set up a GMB account?
- How to improve Google My Business ranking?
Why should I get a Google My Business account?
The key feature of your Google My Business account is the spotlight in local listings. With multiple research backing the unbelievable conversion stats of local searches, it’s no wonder that business owners are focusing on local SEO magic.
Google algorithms have a soft spot for local searches. Whenever a user searches for things like “pet supplies” or “moving services”, even if they don’t enter a specific location into the search field, Google will display local providers on top by default. This info is based on the user’s location which Google determines “based on your past activity”. (A user can see their location and tweak it by scrolling to the bottom of Google’s search results.)
For a business, this is fantastic news. Even if you don’t have a business website, a Google My Business account guarantees that your service will come up in Google’s local search results. If you do have a business website, it’s an effortless boost to your SEO and a sure way for a business to drive traffic to its website without ads.
Who’s eligible for a Google My Business account (and who’s not)
Google My Business is good for everyone. But not everyone knows how to benefit from it. Many businesses think that if they have no physical storefront or office, they can’t get listed on Google My Business. This is far from true.
In fact, anyone who provides local services — whether the customer comes to you or you come to them, should get a Google Business listing. If you don’t have a physical location like a store or office but manage your business remotely such as from your home or garage, Google My Business is necessary to show customers the kind of services you provide.
Who is eligible for a Google My Business (GMB) account
Anyone who provides person-to-person or local services in a certain area, even if they don’t have a storefront, is eligible for a Google my Business listing. Here’s a sample list of services that should have Google My Business.
- Car dealerships
- Home improvement services
- Home & gardening services
- Real estate agents
- Local cafes, bakeries, and restaurants
- Hospitality industry
- Tour operators
- Insurance agents
- Cleaning services
- Healthcare providers
- Private practices
- Educational services
- Video rental kiosks
- Express mail dropboxes
- Seasonal businesses
- Virtual kitchens
Who is not eligible for a Google My Business (GMB) account
- E-commerce stores without a local presence
- Digital businesses with 100% online presence
- Rental and vacation properties
- Services or classes housed at locations without owner’s permission
- Sales associates and lead generation agents/companies
What do you need to set up a Google my Business account?
Setting up a Google My Business account takes just a few minutes and it’s absolutely free. Here’s the info you’ll need to grab when you fill in the forms.
General information for your Google My Business account
- Address (even if you don’t have one) –While Google my Business asks for your business address, it’s only necessary to complete registration. Businesses that offer services door-to-door and don’t have an official office or storefront should just state their home address and hide it from public view in the next step.
- Operation hours — List your working hours regardless of your physical store presence so clients know when you’re open for business communication. (Even if you don’t have a storefront or office).
- Categories — Choose only the most relevant categories for your business. Don’t overtag in order to increase ranking, since this strategy will backfire. Google needs to know exactly where you stand.
- Menu of services — Any business that provides local services can and should add a list of services with pricing (or a menu for a cafe/restaurant) to their Google My Business listing. Not only does Google like detailed information in your profile to increase ranking, but this will drive more dedicated customers to your phone lines and website.
- Photos and Videos — Both a business and its clients can add photos to the Google My Business listing. But now, you can also add a 30-sec video about your business. Be sure to use the opportunity, since videos convert leads into customers like nothing else.
Digital tools for setting up a Google my Business account
- Phone number — A must-have part of your Google my Business listing is your separate business number. For a local service or business, local and vanity numbers work best. A vanity phone number is the branded, easy to remember number (like 1-800 FLOWERS). It can be either toll-free or local. Here’s how to get a low-cost local or toll-free vanity phone number for your Google my Business account.
- Website — If you have a business website, be sure to list it. Having a Google My Business will boost your SEO and drive a considerable amount of monthly traffic to your website. If you don’t yet have a website, be sure to get one. Check out this DIY guide to website builders based on your industry and needs.
- Messaging — Google My Business now offers live SMS messaging so clients can contact you with a touch of a finger on your GMB listing. To set up this feature, open your Google My Business account as an “Owner” and click on Messaging. Enter the business phone number you’d like to receive texts to or find out how to get one.
How to improve Google My Business ranking
Your Google My Business ranking directly influences your outreach to clients, helps gain new leads, and drives organic traffic to your website.
To benefit from being displayed in the featured results in Google Maps, you can improve several factors.
Fill in as many details about your business as possible. Profiles with more details filled in rank in search results better and allow Google to provide users with the most relevant results. Don’t forget about photos and video. The average number of photos for a GMB listing is 11, so be sure to visualize your business or service for Google users. Adding a 30-sec video about your business will be the cherry on the cake.
Google My Business allows people who come in contact with your business to leave reviews. This allows Google to display more trusted businesses with positive reviews on top.
Knowing the power reviews hold over potential customers, many businesses specifically ask past customers to leave Google Business reviews to improve their SEO. However, entrepreneurs warn against sending out automated requests for Google My Business reviews. Read why here.
Any business that has a blog, events, or sales going on can use Posts to share that information right in their Google My Business listing. It’s pretty neat since posts are a great way to engage your audience and to stand out from another listing that has just the generic location/hours/website.
You can even include photos in your posts for more eye-grabbing attention. Moz suggests experimenting with adding emojis to your posts since Google is beginning to index emoji search results! So yep, go for that local 🍕 delivery!
If your business is eligible for a Google My Business account, think no further — get one today! And be sure to personalize your page with all the above features that will convert visitors into customers, help drive organic traffic to your website, and increase business visibility in your locale.
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