Google Places, Google Local, Google My Business…what is it really called?
Google My Business has been many names over the last few years. Google Places, Google Local, Google My Business… every time there have been updates and changes the name seems to have changed! It started off showing a block of seven local companies within a Google search, where you could see who was in your area for the services you were looking for. So if you were searching for a restaurant or a taxi firm in the town you wanted, here is where you would see the Google Local information. The information was originally set up and taken by Google, from various large directories such as Yell.com and put together to show businesses in the local area. This meant Google would be seen as offering a better service for local searches.
Then it was published that you could verify your own business, adding updated information, such as hours of opening, photos, other services you offer etc. This is great for the savvy marketer, as many businesses did not know about this service. Those who did, managed to get their businesses seen for their local market in a really advantageous way. To start with all businesses were just listed with an alphabetical number against them. Then a map appeared to the right of the screen, showing where they were in the local area, with a clickable marker showing where each business was. The map is now above the searches.
Then in 2015 the seven pack dropped down to only showing three businesses – and some of these still don’t even have a website! Totally frustrating for those who work hard to get their website found online but are relatively new businesses and not much website strength to start with, which takes time to build up. Typically the ones who still do well are the original companies who were there to start with, or businesses who are in a really central position to the search. However there is a shift here and those old businesses with no marketing presence are in fact starting to drop down, making way for the well marketed listings.
Mistakes with Your Business Information
Sometimes when you realise you have made a mistake with your business information, you will be able to log in and just update it. Sometimes, Google won’t let you! This can be very frustrating and there is no logical reason why. Google are, however, accepting this and there is a really good help function now where you can email them about any problems. This is obviously very active as our experience shows they will respond within around 24 hours – and that’s Google!!
Linking to your website
Obviously you cannot select categories for your business that aren’t relevant. Google will pick up on this, based on the pages of your website. So make sure your website is current, active and includes the right marketing information in it. This is where we can help you, if you get stuck. We have proved time and time again, how good we are at Local marketing!
Reviews on Google
There was and is still a review option within Google My Business. If genuine businesses and people review your services, then once the magic 5 reviews have been made then there will be a star rating pop up – a fantastic way to improve the visibility of your company. Terrific!
There is very little way of scamming this either, as it seems that Google only shows reviews from different addresses, meaning that you can’t post them all yourself! The one drawback of this though is that you need to have a Gmail or Google account. Not everyone has one of these, but to be able to review, you must be logged onto your account. Even though it only takes a few moments to set one up, this can be a drawback in asking people to review you.
However as a business this is imperative that you get as many reviews for your business as you can – it will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. Who would you pick? A business with no reviews or one with 15 reviews and a gold star rating?
Google My Business can be editted as part of the Google+ page and this can be used as a blog of sorts, where you can add images, write articles, link to other pages and find similar people within your “circles”, who you can connect with. Even though Google say it doesn’t rate anyone higher than others, (it has a very complicated algorithm it sticks to!) we have definitely seen improvement in the businesses we have worked with where their Google+ page is really active. You Tube videos can also be seen here and will be added automatically once the connections are made.
If you have a localised business that you want your customers to find, then you MUST claim it online with Google. Then once you have, you can add all sorts of information giving your customers details about you that can help them find out a bit more about you. With Google this is such an important and very easy way of getting your customers to find you. This is just a quick overview. If you find all this a bit of a minefield and want to ask us questions, then please either email us or give us a call on 01435 817226! We look forward to hearing from you, even if it’s to tell us our blogs suck!!