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In the last 20 years, search traffic has grown by 2,000%, to the point where there are now more than 2 trillion Google searches each year. This rise in online activity has meant that conversations around where to find products and services have largely moved online.
In 2014, Google recognised that more and more people were turning to its platform for business recommendations by launching Google My Business — an online directory that allows you to create a dedicated profile for your brand. Google My Business is essentially a free online tool that businesses can utilise to share important information and attract customers.
Here's how it's going to help you grow your business.
By simply verifying your Google My Business listing, your business’s location will show up in relevant Google Maps searches. This is important because the second most important factor for consumers when searching for and selecting a local business is proximity. (The first is online reviews.)
People are 70% more likely to visit businesses with a Google My Business listing.
Whether searching for a local key cutter or place to grab a sandwich, Google Maps will quickly populate an area with dozens of red markers — each of which represent a local business that meets the search criteria.
By simply creating a Google My Business listing, people can instantly see how close they are to your location. For brick and mortar businesses, that means having a strong Google My Business listing typically leads to a substantial increase in foot traffic.
Your listing will also serve to benefit your business online by playing a big part in your overall SEO performance.
As a local business, your goal is to get in Google’s Local 3-Pack. This puts your online presence at the top of relevant search results, where the person searching Google is within close proximity, driving more foot traffic to your business. Claiming your Google My Business listing is the first step to being in this coveted position.
Don’t leave your customers guessing whether you’re open for business on a public holiday, or whether your location has moved. Misinformation can create negative customer experiences and cause missed opportunities. Luckily, a Google My Business listing allows you to keep the public informed about your business.
Your Google My Business listing includes business hours, contact details, and other important information such as a menu or services list. You can update your listing as and when you need — for example, to advise you’re offering click and collect through lockdown.
Suffice to say, regardless of your industry, your brand stands to gain a lot from a strong Google My Business profile.
In short, no — Google My Business isn’t something you have to do. However, your business can still appear as an ‘unclaimed business’ on Google.
The risk of not claiming your business is that this orphaned listing could have incorrect or outdated information that, as a result, sees you miss out on potential sales, enquiries and visits to your business. Therefore, the best thing you can do is learn how to use Google My Business to your advantage.
The good news is setting up your listing is simple.
Visit the Google My Business homepage. Click ‘Manage Now’ and you’ll be prompted to log in or sign up.
Enter your business name. This is where you’ll have the chance to ‘claim a business’ or create a new one.
Set up your business profile. This includes selecting a business category, location, service area, phone number, and website.
Verify your business address. This will involve Google sending a postcard with a unique verification code to the business address provided. Until this verification code has been received and entered, a number of Google My Business functions (such as replying to reviews) will be restricted.
Outline your business details. This includes your services, hours of operation, business summary, and images. These can be product, team or premises photos — whatever serves to convey your business most effectively.
Claim your $100 Google ad credit! Google is currently offering all businesses who create a Google My Business listing an advertising voucher to use towards Google ads. These can be used to drive phone enquiries, email signups, or location visits.
Make any final tweaks in your dedicated Google My Business hub. This is where you can review your business information, track insights and reviews. You can also upload a logo, cover image, and additional business photos, as well as add team members, publish posts and respond to direct messages.
Once you’ve received your Google postcard and verified your profile, your listing will be there for all the world to see — but the work doesn’t stop there.
While it’s important to set up your Google My Business page, it’s equally important to ensure you invest time in maintaining it. According to Google, something as simple as uploading photos will see you receive 35% more clicks to your website and 42% higher requests for driving directions in Google Maps than businesses that don’t.
To ensure you’re making the most of your listing, set aside regular time to do the following:
Think of the last time you used Google to search for a local business, and how easy Google made the process. Now you’ve mastered the art of establishing a strong Google My Business listing, set aside an hour or two a month to keep it updated.
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