“What the heck is Google My Business?” Yep, I asked the same thing.
Sure, I knew about Yelp, MapQuest, gohorse.com, golocal.com, and others. But by chance, I stumbled onto Google My Business. And it appears to be something that can seriously help your equine business jump up in search rankings and get more customers!
At first, I wasn’t sure if my little equine-business writing service needed a Google My Business (GMB) account, and you may be wondering the same thing. But as I learned more about SEO (search engine optimization), GMB became much more important.
In short, GMB is a considerable component of something called “local SEO.” If overall SEO is about being found and ranked on Google, local SEO enables your business to be found by local searchers (customers and prospects).
See, I live and work in the Heart of Horse Country USA. There are hundreds of horse-related businesses here from trainers to retail stores, veterinarians, saddle makers, to arenas and equipment manufacturers within a 200 square mile area of me.
Knowing that over 90% of people search for a product or service online first, if one of those hundreds of businesses were to search for an equine business copywriter, GMB may help me show up near the top of the list.
Try this experiment. Open Google and start typing in the search bar. For example:
Google tries so hard to please every searcher that it even offers to finish your search for you! That list you see as you’re typing makes it easy for a searcher to quickly narrow down his/her query. Since Google generally knows where I’m located and tries to finish my thoughts for me, the “near me” completer is at the very top of the list
Here’s another example. In this search, I only had to type one word:
Yep - It’s a little freaky how much Google knows about us.
Another Marketing Channel
Just like you use your website, social media accounts, Twitter, billboards, etc. to tell people about your business, GMB is one more channel for you to use.
Not only will it tell people how to find you, but you can also include photos and videos of your business, products, and services.
You can tell customers and prospects more about your business, specializations, and how uber-qualified your team is to help them.
Here’s what distinguishes GMB from all those other local directories - you can post (blogs, articles, special offers, events, etc.) to your GMB account. We know the Google Bots LOVE new, fresh content, so posting frequently (weekly) really helps boost your local SEO.
Get Reviews, Build Trust and Reputation
According to a recent article by Hootsuite, a GMB profile lends credibility to your business. They say, “Customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing.”
As you know, people have to get to know, like, and trust you before they’ll do much business with you. And they need that even more before they’ll refer a friend to you.
Research by Think With Google found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
While you can’t turn off the reviews you get on Google My Business, you can manage them. Responding quickly, professionally, and empathetically, especially to a negative review can do as much or more to build credibility than a positive review. Hey, no one’s perfect. Showcase your ability to work professionally to resolve the situation (and maybe gain a few customers in the process!)
It’s Easy and Free
Google My Business is a free tool, so why not use it! Setting up your GMB account and profile is somewhat well documented and straightforward, although I did have to search for how to do some things (which I’ll try to capture here.)
Step 1: Sign Up or Sign In at www.google.com/business
You can read more about the service, or click one of the “Manage” buttons to get started.
Step 2: Type Your Business’s Name
If you haven’t set up your profile yet, type the name then click enter or “Add your business to Google.” I recommend you click enter. Then you won’t have to type your business name again on the next screen.
Step 3: Review Terms and Click Next
Next, you'll review Google's service terms, etc. etc. and click Next again.
Step 4: Choose a Category
GMB provides a healthy, but limited list of predefined categories for you to choose from. Frankly, making this choice may be the hardest part of setting up your profile! But don’t worry – you can always change things down the road.
Just start typing until you find the best fit for your business. Then click Next.
The wizard walks you through entering your location, website, and contact information.
Step 5: Verification
You might think you’re done when you click “Finish,” but not quite.
You’ll be asked for your mailing address (no PO boxes) because Google will send you (via snail-mail) a postcard with your verification code. This takes about a week, but watch your mailbox – it closely resembles junk mail!
Step 6: Enter the Code then Start Building Your Profile
This is the fun part! Get creative and promote a friendly atmosphere to your visitors.
Show them around with pictures, videos, and project samples. If you have specials or promotions – advertise them here! New customer discounts are always welcome!
Once you’ve set up your profile, it generally takes 3-4 days for your new listing to appear. Find it by entering your company name in the search field:
You’re never “done” with your GMB account. You should routinely make updates and posts. Google has support articles for this, and almost everything else you need to set up and manage your account. And be sure to ask customers to provide reviews on Goggle My Business! Reviews provide social proof that boosts your business’s credibility.
According to a recent article in Search Engine Journal, Google bases local search results (local SEO, or Search Engine Optimization) on:
Relevance: How well a listing matches the intent of the searcher
Distance: Google pairs searchers with verified businesses in close proximity
Prominence: How well-known your business is
Remember – SEO is all about helping your business be more visible and get found on the web. So keep your GMB profile updated and engaging – just like your website! Routinely post news, events, different pictures, and even blogs on GMB.
Not sure what SEO is all about? Take a look at my free SEO checklist.
Need help with your website, or setting up your Google My Business profile? Let’s chat! Feel free to comment, download my free checklist, or send me a message either via chat or the contact form.
As always, if you found this valuable, please like and share it with your social peeps! I appreciate every single one.
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