Sometimes it can feel like you can’t control how your brand is presented online. That feeling is especially strong if you own a brick-and-mortar store. People can and will say whatever they want about your business, and you have no control over what comes out of their keyboards. Google My Business helps you take back some of that control. It’s designed to help brick-and-mortar business owners better engage with online shoppers and convert them to physical shoppers.
Google My Business allows potential customers to see all your information, like location, hours, phone number, website, and reviews, right from the search engine results page (SERP). Potential customers will have quick access to the information they want, so they won’t give up and go with another company. It works a lot like a Yelp or the Yellow Pages, but because customers can see the relevant information right from their SERPs, they’ll be able to find what they’re looking for faster.
After you’ve created your Google My Business account, you’ll have to be verified by Google. Their most common verification method is to send you a postcard, but they do occasionally call business owners.
Once you’ve been verified, log in and look for “Your business is live on Google”. Under that, you’ll see “view on search,” “view on maps,” and “view on Google+”. You can see exactly what information shows up when someone searches for your business. You can edit your information directly from these SERPs, so you’ll know exactly what your changes will look like.
Google My Business Resources
Google My Business gives you access to a wide range of resources to fully control your information. These resources include Google Posts, Q&A, chat, and even websites and analytics.
Google Posts allows users to include the exact type of information they want in their SERP’s sidebar. You’ll be able to include more in your sidebar than just your location and hours. Customers will see exactly what you want them to see, like current sales or pictures of your menu items.
Google Post information is displayed at the top of the SERPs on mobile devices, so it will be the first thing potential customers see. You can easily and quickly grab the attention of mobile users.
With the Q&A feature, you can address FAQs before customers ever visit your store or pick up the phone to call you. You can use the Q&A section to say anything from what credit cards you accept to the best places to park.
The Q&A feature is the best of both worlds because it’s crowdsourced, but you can curate it. Users can vote on helpful questions and answers to push them higher on the list, but you can add your own responses. You’ll know that the information customers are seeing is accurate.
Unfortunately, the Q&A feature is currently only available on Android devices.
The chat function began testing in December 2016, so it’s still being rolled out to customers.
If you have the chat function, you’ll see a section on the left side of your Google My Business Account called “Messaging” and an option in the center of your screen called “Message with Customers.”
The chat function currently works with Allo, so you’ll have to enter the phone number connected to your Allo account. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to set up autoreplies to customers.
When customers search for your company, they’ll see a “Chat” button on their SERP’s sidebar and will be able to connect with you immediately. The chats will be sent to your cell phone, so you’ll be able to answer them anywhere.
Through Google My Business, you can now create a simple website in under 10 minutes. This is a great option if you’ve been considering creating a website, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money or time on it.
The information for your website is generated based on the information you’ve provided in Google My Business. Your website will then automatically update anytime you change your information. You can then customize your website by choosing a theme and adding your own text and pictures.
Google’s websites are mobile ready and will let you update your website from your phone. The website also works with Google AdWords to help drive your sales.
Through Google’s analytics, you can see how customers are interacting with your listing. You can see if they’re visiting your website, asking for directions, or clicking the button to call you.
You can also see where your potential customers are coming from. You’ll be able to better able to target those locations because you already know that people are looking for your store.
You’ll also be able to track which pictures are getting the most attention so you can continue to share similar photos.