Google My Business: Misconceptions You Need to Know
By Melissa Bellas
Visibility on search engines is more important than ever in today’s competitive business environment with 97% of people searching online to find local companies.
When a homeowner is looking to purchase a new water heater or for a contractor to add an addition to their existing home, or someone looking to move is seeking a real estate agent, you want to be the business that gets the call. So how can you stand out among other local home services companies in the area?
Google My Business is proving to be the answer. With the majority of today’s traffic coming from mobile devices, an optimized Google presence can capture leads on the go for your company. As a free interactive tool, Google My Business gives companies the power to manage the search information users see when they are looking for their products and services. More and more local heating oil, propane and HVAC companies are leveraging Google My Business to attract customers and new business in their service areas, as a result.
Some commonly spread misconceptions come with the growing popularity and widespread use of Google My Business.
Misconception #1: My Google My Business listing will always display when someone searches “contractor services” in my service area.
In all likelihood, you’re not the only contracting or construction business in your area. Chances are, there are several others, which also have Google My Business listings. When someone searches “contractor services,” Google will not display every single listing that meets the search criteria; it will display one. So how can you improve your local ranking and land this coveted top spot?
While Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing and is kept confidential, local rankings are based on three factors: relevance, distance and prominence.
Distance: Google tends to favor businesses that are closest to the search location when loading results. Make sure your listing is set to your service area and that your radius is adjusted to attract those who may be searching nearby.
Prominence: Similar to relevance, prominence accounts for how well known your business is. Give your recognition a boost by engaging with your customers and generating online reviews. It’s all about spreading the word and creating awareness of your business.
Relevance: Will your business display if someone searches for your services or search terms? Relevance is based on how well a local listing matches with the entered search criteria. To improve your relevance, its important to provide the most accurate information you can, including your business’ address and hours (including holidays!)
Misconception #2: A Google My Business listing setup is a one-time job.
Your business listing is created and verified, but it doesn’t stop there. Ensure your listing has accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date information starting with your core business information such as your address, phone number, business description and website. Take this a step further by personalizing the visual aspect of your listing. In fact, listings with photos are twice as likely to be considered reputable and generate 35% more clicks1. Adding photos of your business is a great way to humanize your brand and share a behind-the-scenes look of your company. Your customers can join in, too, posting photos of their own experiences with your business, which can be the best part.
As the Google My Business platform continues to introduce new features, there are more ways than ever to engage with those searching for your business.
Direct Messaging: A recently introduced Google messaging feature allows users to send a text message directly to a business via their Google My Business listing. With 60% of searches now taking place on mobile devices2, this is a great way to connect with customers directly who have already expressed interested in what your business has to offer. Take advantage of Messaging by answering questions, fielding comments and of course, delivering excellent customer service.
Posts: Google Posts, similar to mini-ads or social media posts, allow your business to share content in a variety of ways, such as using text, photos, gifs and even call-to-action buttons. Unlike other platforms, Google Posts stay live for only up to a week. Be sure to have a plan of content your business can post about to truly take advantage of this space. Whether it’s an upcoming event your business is participating in, a special limited-time discount, new service offering or even the qualities that differentiate your company from competitors—the possibilities are endless!
Misconception #3: Information can be updated only by my listing’s owner.
The more information the better, when it comes to your Google My Business listing—and the information doesn’t need to come from one person. In addition to owners, listing managers can edit information as needed, share Google Posts and respond to messages and reviews.
You don’t need to manage your company’s Google My Business listing by yourself. Every month, the SEO experts at RedBrick Digital review thousands of data points to determine how searches are conducted and then optimize listings accordingly. As a result, these optimized listings consistently appear on the first page of Google for the most important search terms, driving more traffic to websites.
Google My Business is a must if lead generation is a priority for your business. By optimizing your listing, you position your company in a prime spot to capture leads in your local service area.