Yes, You Really Need a Google My Business Listing and Here's Why:
Given the current economic climate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and extended shelter-in-place orders, there has never been more people online. As a small business owner, it's never been more important to update and manage your digital marketing assets such as your website and online directory listings. It's truly is mission critical that your business can be found online via search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
Of these directory listings and search engines, your Google My Business (GMB) listing is the most important one to set up and maintain. Why? As Search Engine Land reports, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to a website via a click on an organic or paid search result.
Zero-Click Search Results Example 1: Search Query for "marketing services morgan hill"
In this first example, Google Map directory listings are pulled from your Google My Business profile, These local search results appear below paid ads but above organic search results. Users are more likely to engage with the map listing than scroll past to organic results. In this specific instance, a user may take the action to call my businesses instead of clicking through to the website.
The takeaway here for small business owners is: Set up your GMB listing and take the added step to verify your business address. If you have not yet set up your GMB listing and completed the added step of verifying your business address with Google, you will not appear in Google Map results.
Zero-Click Search Results Example 2: Branded Search Query for "julee klein marketing"
In this example the user is just as likely to get all of the info they need about our business via the GMB listing at right than to click through on any of the organic search results at left.
The important takeaway here for small business owners is: users specifically looking for your business online are primed to make a purchase or otherwise engage with your business - NOW. If you do not have a GMB listing here, you may be missing out on a phone call or sale.
Need more convincing that you need a Google My Business Listing for your small business?
Take a look at this collection of stats on Google My Business Listings and zero-click local search results.
A text version of the infographic follows:
7 Reasons Why You Need a Google My Business Listing
How to Add a Google My Business Listing
Getting started with adding a free Google My Business account and setting up your free GMB listing is pretty easy. It's worth the effort to add as much detail and information about your business as you can in your GMB profile. Look at it as a way of training Google and other search engines about your business so that your business information will appear in relevant search results.
Look to Google's resource page Google My Business Overview for more information and instructions on how to set up your business profile and GMB listing.
Verify Your Business Address with Google
With a Google My Business account, you'll get more than just a business listing. Your free Business Profile will allow you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps BUT only if you take the added step to verify your business address. Verifying your business address will allow you to appear in the results for location-based searches like what is shown in the first example above.
To verify your business address you'll be asked to enter a physical business address for your business. Verification may include waiting to receive a postcard mailer from Google with a code on it to then enter in your account. Keep in mind that the business address cannot be a post office box. Don't try and game the system. Google has spent a lot of time and attention to ensure that location-based search results only contain businesses with legitimate business addresses in the area. Virtual work-share and co-working spaces are also a no-no unless you have your business staff there on-site during normal business hours.
Keep Your GMB Listing Up-To-Date
With your GMB listing, you'll be able to post photos and offers to your GMB business profile to show what makes your small business unique, and give customers reasons to choose you. For example, at the moment Google is also offering a COVID-19 update to help small businesses communicate out important operational and service changes as a result of the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders.
Once you have your GMB listing set-up, verified, and published. Be sure to prioritize updating your GMB listing with your important business information and details such as hours, products, an services.
Important: Do Not Delegate Primary Ownership of Your GMB Listing
We have seen this horror story play out all too often. DO NOT have an employee set up your GMB Business Profile and list themselves as the Primary Owner. Why? You run the risk of struggling to get back control of your most important digital marketing asset once they leave!
Avoid this nightmare by setting up the GMB account yourself thereby becoming the Primary Owner from the get go. You can then invite your employee to also manage the GMB listing as an owner or manager, but you will be able to maintain primary ownership and assign and remove users as needed.
For information and step-by-step instructions on how to add users to Your Google My Business account review our JKM article How to Add Users to Your Google My Business Listing.