Google My Business - Top Statistics & Insights for 2020
One of the most important steps in your local SEO strategy is getting on Google My Business (GMB for short). This easy and cost-effective tool makes your business more discoverable – both online and in real life. If you’re wondering where to start, we have a comprehensive guide herein for you, including all the top stats and insights for 2020.
What Is Google My Business and How Does It Work?
First things first, Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool that lets you manage how you want your business to appear on Google’s Search, Maps, Local Finder, and Pack.
It’s designed for local businesses with retail stores. As an owner or manager, you can add your business name, location, hours of operation, photos, and so much more. These are basically things that potential customers are interested in finding out.
In return, GMB makes it possible to track various metrics. For example, you can learn how people search for you on Google and where most of the searches originate from.
More importantly, a Google My Business listing can improve your organic rankings more than the average SEO tool. That’s why it’s a very essential item in the search engine optimization strategy of any local business.
So, how does google my business work? It’s simple, really. You only need to sign up, verify your business and optimize your profile. More on each of those steps shortly, but first…
The Top 6 Google My Business Features
What is the use of Google My Business to a local business? That question is best answered with what you’ll get from GMB. And here are six of the most important features:
After getting on the Google My Business listing, you’ll get a dashboard that provides an invaluable look into customer activity. How did customers find your business? Where do most of your customers come from? How are they reacting to your photos?
GMB provides answers to those and more questions. You can use the information to know which strategies are working and which ones need revision or scraping.
GMB allows customers to book your service or make an appointment with just one click. There’s a built-in scheduling tool for easily organizing, tracking and managing your bookings in one place.
Besides giving customers an online place to review your business, GMB lets you respond to those reviews. This is critically important because you want to able to react to both positive and negative reviews.
That’s where you will win or lose customers. Why? Because up to 91% of consumers depend on online reviews to make purchase decisions. Another 84% say that online reviews are just as important as personal recommendations from friends.
Be sure to respond to as many reviews as you can. Customers tend to prefer local businesses that engage with them.
- Questions and answers
Speaking of engaging with customers, Q&A is another great way of attracting interest. Respond to questions so that customers can know more about your business, it’s products and services. One of the best things about Google My Business Q&A is that it allows you to pin frequently asked questions.
Posts provide an easy way to give customers updates on your Google My Business listing. It’s the perfect place to announce a new product, available offers, promotions etc.
When written correctly, posts can massively increase engagement and return customers. The good news is that you can publish them anytime from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
This page has a comprehensive guide on how to create and publish posts. Give it a read if you’re not sure where to start.
- Photos and videos
No matter the business you are in, strong visuals will create a good first impression. With GMB you can use both photos and videos. Always pick the best in order to entice customers.
Benefits of Google My Business: crunching the numbers that matter
- Google My Business is free
One question that many people keep wondering: is Google My Business free? Yes, it’s completely free. You can sign up, customize your profile and use GMB as much as you want. It won’t cost you a dime.
Having said that, Google did conduct a survey in 2019 to see if businesses would be willing to pay for Google My Business listings. It’s not clear yet whether the company was (and is) considering such a move. Anyway, for now, GMB is a freebie, which makes it a free yet effective SEO tool that you can use to grow your traffic and number of customers.
- 76% of mobile “near me” searchers visit a related store the same day
“Near me” queries usually help consumers find a local business that sells the product/service that they are interested in. For example, if someone searches for “hotel near me”, they are either looking for a meal or accommodation.
Now, 50% of the time, that person will visit the store within the same day. In the case above, they will visit a nearby hotel as suggested by Google. The number is even higher (76%) when the searches are done on smartphones. If you’re a local business, you can use this information to target potential customers who are nearby.
- GMB increases business discovery
There’s a distinct difference between a discovery search and a direct search. The latter refers to when a customer directly searches for your business name and/or address.
On the other hand, a discovery search refers to when a customer “stumbles” upon your business.In other words, they were searching for a product, service or category that you offer and then your business listing appeared. On average, potential customers will find your business 852 times from discovery searches and 157 times from direct searches. That’s 84% to 16%.
More often than not, discovery searches are made by potential new customers. On the contrary, direct searches often originate from existing customers or people who already know about your business.
You want to keep discovery searches as high as possible in order to increase your customer base. And Google My Business can help with that.
4. 64% of consumers use Google My Business to find contact details
Up to 64% of consumers rely on Google My Business to find contact details for local businesses. And if this Bright Local’s research is anything to go by, the figure will only grow.
In today’s digital world, there are some tech-related concepts that are pretty easy to understand. For example, if your business contacts are not on Google, potential customers will not be able to find you.
People want a simplified life where they Google a product, service, category or business and a list of local business contacts pops up. If you’re not on the Google My Business listing, your business will not be one of those that are recommended.
5. Google Search is your friend
They say “Google is your friend”. If you’re a business owner or manager, you may want to change that to “Google Search is your best friend”. That’s because up to 75% of your Google My Business listing views will come from Search. The remaining 25% originates from Google Maps for local business.
Google Search and SEO go hand in hand. If you optimize your business website, customers will find you effortlessly on Google Search. Add a GMB listing and your discoverability shoots up dramatically.
Better yet, the good ranking (after SEO) will see to it that your GMB profile shows up on Google’s first SERP (search engine results page). If you can get people to your profile, they’ll be able to use Google Maps for local business to locate your business.
That’s how you gain new customers. Keep in mind that top-ranking businesses (on Google) receive the highest conversation rates. That basically means that GMB, along with proper SEO, can transform discoverability into business income.
6. Most customers who view your Google My Business listing will check out your website
What do people who view your GMB listing do soon after? The most common action is visiting your website. 56% will check out your website, 24% will give your business a call and 20% will ask for directions.
Again, this emphasizes the importance of SEO. Only this time it’s not about ranking on Google but rather optimizing your website for pleasant user experience.
First off, you want your website to load as fast as possible. Secondly, the landing page from your Google My Business profile should have as much information as possible. This includes product specs, terms of service, other things that you sell, about your business and any other relevant info.
Thirdly, make sure that the website is easy to navigate. Slow loading speed and a poor website layout usually contribute to a high bounce rate. They literally send customers away, most likely to your competitors.
Finally, indicate on your website if you provide the option for customers to buy your products online. This also means that the site should have a cart, payment method and any ecommerce tools needed to trade successfully.
Alongside an optimized website, you could consider a bot to respond to customers who ask for directions. They constitute 20% of all actions after viewing your GMB listing.
Needless to say, your listing should always have accurate directions. That’s where Google Maps for local business comes in handy. Another no-brainer is that the phone number on your Google My Business Listing should be accurate and working.
7. Photos, photos, photos
Quality photos, not just any photos. They will draw customers to your business. According to Google, businesses that have photos on their GMB profile receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more clicks to their websites.
While the quality of photos is the obvious priority, their quantity is just as important. The average number of photos on a profile varies from one industry to another.
That should give you a rough idea of how many photos should appear on your GMB listing. That notwithstanding, the more the photos the higher the chances of customers taking some form of action.
It basically means that posting many photos is good for your business.
Is Your Business Eligible for Google My Business?
Virtually all businesses are eligible for GMB. According to Google’s official guidelines, your business is only ineligible if it’s a rental or for-sale property, or if it’s a class, meeting or service whose location you neither own nor represent. Of course, Google bans all illegal and fraudulent activities from its platforms.
If you’re not involved in any of the above, then you’re absolutely eligible. It’s time to create your account.
How to Create a Google My Business Account
If you’ve made it this far then you know the benefits of having a Google My Business listing. Now it’s time to get on there. Here’s a step-by-step guide for doing that:
Step 1: Sign in
Head over here and then click on “Sign in” at the top right part of the page. A new page will open prompting you to “Find and manage your business”. Since you’ve not registered yet, hit “Add your business to Google”. It’s located at the very end of the page.
Step 2: Enter business name
Simply type the name of your business and then click on “Next”.
Step 3: Add your location
This is the part where you tell customers where to find you. When asked if you want to add a location, accept by hitting “Yes” and then type in your business’ physical address.
Step 4: Use Google Maps for local business to pinpoint your address
Most customers like to zoom into Maps to find places. Make it easier for them to do that by dragging and dropping Google’s pin on your exact location.
Step 5: Do you deliver to your customers?
If you do, select “Yes, I also serve them outside my location”. In case you don’t deliver, select “No, I don’t”. Make sure to add the zip codes where you do deliveries.
Google My Business also lets you specify if your business is the freelance type. I.e. if you work out of your house or an address that you would want to display publicly. In that case, check the option that says “Hide my address (it’s not a store). Only show region”
Step 6: Choose your business category
Specify your type of business. Accuracy is very important here because Google will use that to make suggestions to customers. The good news is that you can change or add more categories later.
Step 7: Contact details
Enter your phone number and then your business URL (if you have one). if you do not have a website, you may want to get one. Remember that 56% of people who view your Google My Business listing will want to check your website for more info.
Step 8: Verify your business on Google My Business
You’ll have finished signing up to Google My Business by the time you reach step 7 above. Verification is an optional but necessary step.
As Google explains, verification ensures that all your information is accurate across Google platforms. Besides, verified businesses are twice as likely to be thought of as reputable by customers.
Google makes the entire process as simple and flexible as possible. You have three options for verifying your business: phone, email, and postcard. If you have multiple locations, you can verify all of them in bulk.
Check out this highly informative page for a complete guide on how to verify your business on Google My Business.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Like most other marketing tools, Google My Business can only do so much to make your business discoverable. Most of the effort should actually come from you.
You’ll be happy to know that just a few, simple steps here and there will gussy up your profile in ways that you can’t imagine. That’s what is known as optimizing your GMB profile. Here’s how to do it:
- The Google My Business App
GMB is essentially a social media platform for businesses and it works exceptionally well on mobile devices. Get the app for a chance to upload photos, make changes to your profile, respond to customers, analyze reviews etc. from anywhere.
Add as much information as you can to your Google My Business profile. Indicate the zip codes that you serve, if you deliver, operation hours, contact info, website address and attributes. The latter includes things like Wi-Fi availability and wheelchair accessibility. They help customers to make informed decisions and choose you over other businesses that have scanty information.
- Use crisp, communicative photos
One of the benefits of GMB is that photos on your profile entice customers to your business. Remember the stats? Businesses with photos get 42% more requests for directions and 35% more website visits.
You want to have an enticing profile and cover photo for your GMB profile and then some more in the gallery. Use photos that are not just clear, but also reflect the nature of your business. It won’t make a lot of sense to have photos that portray food if you’re an auto dealer. Also, remember to update your photo gallery as often as possible.
Google My Business allows users to add videos to their galleries. These are very important when you need to demonstrate something, give a digital mini-tour etc.
- Google My Business reviews
Another stat that you probably still remember relates to reviews. 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends. It will help to encourage your customers to review your business on Google. If you get a high number of positive reviews, Google will push your listing up in the rankings.
Does Google My Business matter for a local business? It does.
In fact, it was created for local businesses to take full advantage of “near me” queries. If you’re just getting started with search engine optimization, you’ll find it a lot easier to create and optimize your GMB profile first. Similarly, businesses that already have SEO strategies in place will find it equally easy to integrate Google My Business.
It’s one of the most effective tools for ranking in local searches. And Google are giving it out for free. Now is the perfect time to get on there, claim your listing and get verified.