The other day I was asked to contribute to a blog post by answering the following question: What is the most common thing you see missed or not utilized by business owners on Google My Business?
My answer, which they chose not to use, is as follows:
I think that it is important to not miss the sales conversion forest for the minutiae of the GMB trees. The thing I see missed the most about Google My Business is an understanding that it’s a tool that exists within a search result that helps a business tell their brand story.
Certainly, it is important to provide details for most of the features in GMB including products, services, Q&A answers, and Posts as well as a raft of others. But it is most important to view the output of the GMB in the context of your brand reputation and brand image as presented in the search results.
Build Brand Impact Via Google My Business
The brand result at Google (your business name + city) summarizes all the important aspects of your business, from both GMB and the web at large in a single, emphatic search result page.
While a good GMB profile is 50% of the page and is a huge visual draw, it is the full page with its story of reputation and meta information, that tells the whole story. And it is important that this Brand Story is consistent and compelling across all elements of the page.
When Google released their Reviews from the Web feature that will show up to three additional, non-Google review sites in your Google My Business Profile (aka the Knowledge Panel) they also “bumped” up any website in the search results that included reputation information.
An example of reputation information in search results includes pages that display rich snippet stars and a rating as seen below. This can be accomplished if you post your own 1st-party reviews to your site marked up with schema.
Reputation information can also come from rich snippet stars from the likes of Yelp, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau and the many industry-specific sites that capture reviews.
So not only do consumers need to see a stellar GMB business profile including great photos (from a range of topical areas), answers to their questions via menu tabs and Q&A, and news via Posts, they need to “see” this brand story extend across the many sites that Google displays in your branded search results.
The specific results that searchers see on your branded search are a summary of the most important results that consumers will see across the web wherever they may search for you. And the content Google finds there will intimately inform the results that users see within all of Google’s many Local and Map results.
Extend Your Brand Story Across Google Search
So, what are the things that can help your business stand out in search beyond the basics of the GMB? Here’s your checklist:
- Optimize your website’s title and meta description tags so that they are compelling.
- Get your own reviews and mark them up on your website.
- Get reviews at not just Google but at a range of major AND minor third party sites so that you get three additional review mentions in the Business Profile via Reviews from the web feature.
- Be sure that you have great images for these various third party sites to be able to show as thumbnails on mobile.
- In the new results, even being sure that your favicon looks great should not escape your attention.
Your GMB listing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It resides within both local and branded Google search results and it is often where consumers ultimately decide between you and your competitors. In fact, many business conversions are occurring while the user is still within the search result and they may never even visit your business.
Businesses need to take every opportunity to highlight their excellence. To help assist you in benchmarking your brand search results the folks at Local U have built a tool to score your Google brand page.
Google truly has become your new home page and you should treat every aspect of it with the same great attention and care that you do the home page of your website.