Women In Business

Infographic: How to use ‘Google My Business’ to beat competition

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Google My Business landed in June 2014, but many small businesses have overlooked its potential until now. With Google+ shutting down and everyone waiting for the next ‘can’t-miss’ social media revolution, entrepreneurs have begun setting up their search results profiles to give their companies a boost when customers go shopping in their area.

The concept is an effort to make search results more meaningful and for Google to provide more information on their results page than the traditional snippet text. If your business matches the search terms and the locality of a potential customer, there’s a good chance your business profile will show up in the ‘knowledge panel’ that Google now regularly displays in search listings, and this is how you can choose what it looks like.

If you’ve seen these profiles around already (let’s be honest, you probably use them every day without a second thought) then you may have assumed that Google compiles this information themselves. In fact, it’s up to businesses to claim and verify their panel, ensure the data is correct, update it regularly, and respond to reviews and queries – just like a regular social network profile.

Unlike those social network profiles, Google My Business is a community information source which means that anybody can change elements of the information that you enter. It also means that potential customers can see reviews before they’ve even clicked through. So it’s important to tend to your profile regularly and keep it ship-shape, and to know about Google’s posting guidelines so you can deal with trolls (and competitors) should they darken your profile with unfair reviews.

Setting up a profile

To get started, first choose your weapon of choice: desktop or mobile. You can establish your Google My Business profile using either tool, although it’s worth checking how your final profile looks on both platforms. If you’re using your phone, do it through the Google My Business App and simply follow the instructions. Here, we’ll look at doing it on a computer.

In this case, go to google.com/business, read Google’s spin on what their tool is all about, and then click Start Now. You’ll be given the chance to enter your business name into an auto-complete form, so if your business name pops up while you’re doing so then select it and proceed. If not, complete your name and then proceed through to fill in your address details. If you work from home and don’t welcome visits, it’s probably best not to be too precise, but include your area of coverage – including delivery details – to make your business more relevant for Google.

If you don’t yet have a logo for your business, now’s the time to get one as it will make your business look far more reliable in search results. If you have money and your business is going places fast, you might hold a design contest and pay professional rates for a unique logo. If you’re starting out and have a reasonable eye of your own, use a free online tool like freelogodesign or logomakr and get creative.

In fact, art like this is one of the big plusses of using Google My Business, since regular results show up alongside your profile as relatively uninspiring text-only listings. Google reports that businesses with photographs can expect 35% more clicks than those without. So in addition to your logo, be sure to get a mix of professional photos of your products or your service in operation and perhaps a few less-formal snapshots that catch the character of your business (and staff, if you have one). For those businesses that have public premises, a storefront image can help potential customers to identify you quickly when in your area.

In addition to your images, you’ll want to add as much information as possible. Search users get frustrated very quickly when they can’t find the information they need and will soon look elsewhere. Information helps them to make a decision quickly, which is better for you. Also, Google values better quality information so you’re more likely to be featured if your business details are thorough.

Making the most of Google My Business

With your details, text, and information in place, you’re ready to launch. Be sure to check in regularly to vet those reviews, attend the public queries of customers, and to make your business seem active through the use of status updates and new photos. Four out of five customers use search engines to find local information, and 70% visit a store or buy online after searching – so showing that your business is ready and active is a great way to inspire trust.

Setting up your profile is easy, and to give you a bit of a push through it the people at Headway Capital have created this step-by-step visual guide that covers all the basics and a little bit more. Now is the moment to capitalize on the potential that Google My Business offers.

http://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/


About Taylor Tomita

taylort@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

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