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‘Google My Business’ (GMB) is a useful and *free* tool for attracting sales leads to your website. Why aren’t you using it?

Sadly, folks often dismiss GMB as frivolous and fail the take advantage of it in their online marketing efforts ;(

From my perspective, this important Google element is a golden opportunity to entice searchers to engage with your business through a phone call or visit to your website.

GMB contains data about your business which Google can potentially display in the Knowledge Panel (see more below). It contains links to your phone number, a link to your website and even shows your Google reviews.

Why wouldn’t you want this important info about your business prominent in search results?!

How do I get my business into Google’s Knowledge Panel &/or Knowledge Graph

Its important to understand that the Knowledge Panel content is controlled by Google and not by you. However there are some things you can do to influence its appearance, so lets look at how to get that process started.

The GMB result contributes to information that appears in Google’s ‘Knowledge panel’ on the right hand side of search results. The Knowledge Panel appears “when you search for entities (people, places, organizations, things) that are in the Knowledge Graph.” says Google.

Google My Business is particularly relevant for businesses who want to attract and service Customers in their immediate vicinity.

Register your Google My Business Account

This is a bit of process, which involves an online registration, then unlocking the new account using the PIN on a Postcard sent to you via Snail Mail.

Firstly you’ll need to create or sign into your existing Google ID then:

1. Follow this excellent article from Odd.Dog that steps you through the GMB Account creation process.

2. Now sit tight and wait for the registration postcard to arrive. Be prepared to wait anywhere between 2 to 10+ weeks for the card to arrive.

3. When the PostCard arrives, enter the PIN into your new GMB account

Managing your GMB Account for an outcome

Now that your Google My Business account is active, you can start encouraging it to be something more than just default by doing this:

Add Info About Your business

Add as much information as possible into the various fields. Notably, add any additional business categories that relate to your business.  Ardent Growth has a convenient list of all Google’s business categories. I encourage you to select all Google categories that your business might fall into.

Google Knowledge panel

Here’s the Website Concierge Knowledge Panel

GMB Business Categories

‘Google Reviews are Gold.

Testimonials/Reviews are key for a prospect considering your services. They help build trust in your business. Referral leads typically convert to sales very well, and its the same online.

An online review is effectively a referral lead. Strong positive and genuine reviews will convince even the most skeptical prospect.

Spam and False Reviews

Sadly reviews have been abused. A bad review can be costly in terms of lost business. As Google has been protective of reviewer’s identification, there was little that could be done to counteract false or spam negative reviews.

I routinely receive requests to address spam or negative reviews that my client can’t identify.  Google does provide an appeal mechanism, but in my experience, this doesn’t seem effective. I’ve found more success in responding in a balanced manner to the reviewer.

More recently companies have resorted to legal channels to try to identify and have the false negative reviews taken down.

Google Monitors Reviews Closely

It’s for this reason that Google closely monitors reviews, and if its system detects something unusual it responds by holding the review. I’m aware of extreme cases where the entire GMB account is suspended.

My associate, Karen Zaskolny of Copy with Cream had a similar experience recently. Recognising the value of Google reviews to her business, Karen reached out to her network of Agencies and Clients to source well-deserved Google reviews.
It was all going swimmingly with a series of new reviews popping up in her Knowledge Graph. Suddenly Karen couldn’t see some newer reviews that she knew had been submitted.
My conspiracy theory is that the unusually high number of reviews over a short period tripped a threshold at Google, and her reviews ceased being published.
I’ve recommended that Karen stop seeking reviews and concentrate on adding posts and images to GMB for a while, then come back to requesting more reviews after a ‘rest period’.
We’ll report back here to see how it goes forward.

 

 

OK I’ve done that. What now?

You start your regular posting and updates in your GMB account.

Create interesting, on-topic posts every 2 weeks. These should include an image and some text. I like to use my blog posts, and link the article back to the website.

Mix it up with photo uploads, and other post types like an offer every now and then etc.

This is a non-stop activity because if you cease posting, your GMB ‘authority’ drops and you’ll loose exposure in your immediate vicinity.   

Here’s 2 examples:

Google My Business post example

Google My Business Post example 

An example of an ‘Offer’ post.

This post-type allows you to offer a product or service and can optionally have a promotional duration.

How do I know my GMB posting has been effective?

I use SEMRush to monitor website rankings. This tool can also show which of your rankings are as a result GMB placement or a ‘native’ rank. 

Rank Result sample

The SEMRush rank result below tells a powerful story about the value of a strong GMB presence. Keywords are blurred to protect the Client’s anonymity, but the rank results (Pos column) tell the story. 

SEMRush ranking with GMB Influence

Note most keywords are ranking in the top 2-3 positions in Google. A fine result I’m sure you’d agree! Contact me if you’d like a similar result for your business website as well 😉

The blue location ICONs tell us that all these search result rankings are due to the Google ‘3 Pack’ Maps results – ie as a result of a strong GMB account.

Note also that the second to last keyword increased by 35 positions from last week. This is because last week the GMB account didn’t underpin that keyword’s ranking, but this week it does. There can be some GMB rank churn.

The GMB account has propelled that keyword from the obscurity of rank position #38, up 35 positions to now be sitting at #3.

Over time you’ll see your GMB results drop in and out, but if you persevere with regular Posts they will eventually stabilise and hold the rank.

The Wrapup

So if your business is interested in getting sales leads from folks in its vicinity, don’t pay squillions for Google or Facebook Ad Clicks, simply re-purpose your Facebook posts into GMB and sit back and enjoy the benefits of ‘Local SEO’

Peter Cornish
Peter Cornish

An online marketer with deep experience in Sales & Marketing as well as technical skills accumulated over the many years of working in this industry. He has been knee-deep in websites and online marketing since the mid 80’s.
Peter is a lateral thinker who sees solutions where many don’t.

Website Concierge is a reincarnate of Succinct Ideas, providing quality website support and online marketing for small businesses.

If you found something in my site useful, I’d really appreciate if you could link to the page and maybe Google will help other people who need the same info find the page as well 😉