In our last post in this series, we discussed the Google Knowledge Panel and how it can positively affect a small business’s SEO. Now that you know a little more about the current architecture of Google Search results and how Google uses Knowledge Panels to optimize the user search experience, let’s discuss a tool that plays a part in generating the Knowledge Panel: Google My Business. In this guide, we’ll provide Google My Business tips to help you improve the visibility of your business online.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a tool created to allow businesses and brands to organize their online presence across Google Search and Maps. Using Google My Business is a simple step that a business or brand can take in order to gain credibility with Google and, in turn, increase the effectiveness of its local SEO strategy.

Why would I use Google My Business?

We live in a world where instant gratification reigns supreme. These days, if something requires too much work or too many clicks, a user will often just find another alternative that’s easier. So why not put all of your commonly searched information in one place? With its user-friendly dashboard navigation, Google My Business allows you to easily update photos, hours of operation, phone numbers, and even respond directly to reviews. An extra feature if you want to get fancy? You can add a virtual tour of your business space. With all of the local search marketing benefits this tool provides, a better question might be—why wouldn’t you use it?

Another attractive quality about Google My Business is the Insights feature. This feature shows the analytics on the traffic to your Google My Business page. Insights allows you to see who is searching for your business and the specific things they are clicking on. You can use this tool, for example, to find out if a user is requesting directions, calling, or checking out your website. It also shows you if people are searching your business directly or stumbling upon you by searching a category related to your business.

Oh, and did we mention it’s free?

Who can use Google My Business?

We like this part! Most businesses can use Google My Business, no matter how big or small. Google only has a few restrictions on users. These restrictions are put into place so that Google can keep its user experience in top condition.

Examples of users who are not eligible are:

  • Businesses that are not yet open
  • Rental properties or properties for sale (the companies who lease or sell them, however, are eligible)
  • Users who are not authorized to manage or represent a company’s Google My Business

Why should I verify my company location with Google?

This one is simple. If you verify your location, your business will begin to appear on Google Maps and in Local Search results (P.S. – this is necessary for Google to generate a Knowledge Panel for you).

Have more than one location for your business? That’s okay. The Google My Business dashboard allows you to manage and verify multiple locations. Just make sure to keep the structure of information consistent across each location.

Do I Need a G+ Page to Use Google My Business?

When creating a Google My Business account, Google will generate a G+ profile for that business and attach said G+ profile automatically. This can occasionally get tricky if your company already has an active G+ page. Not to worry, you can re-attach your original G+ profile to your business in the “Profile” section of Google My Business (just be sure to double check this from the beginning if you are an active G+ user creating a new account). Having and utilizing a G+ page can be especially helpful if your company is creating new and unique content. G+ has millions of active users. Keeping your profile fresh and active is a simple way to enhance your local business SEO strategy, driving users to your Google My Business page and, potentially, to your site.

Our hope is that these simple Google My Business tips encourage small business owners who may have been previously intimidated by the idea of creating a Google My Business profile to go ahead and take this important step.

Get Help From a Local SEO Marketing Company

Still a little confused about how this may or may not help your business?

Contact ClickGiant, and let us show you how Google My Business and other SEO tools can help you increase your visibility online, draw traffic and drive sales.