If you are trying to get your company’s website to rank higher in searches, then you should consider using the free tools that Google provides. One of the most important is Google My Business (GMB).
Google My Business Account
GMB was formerly known as Google Places. Think of it as your business’s home on the Google platform. Your GMB account is where you will list your address, phone number, hours, website and the type of business. You can also add logos or photos of your products or services.
But having a GMB account is more important than just the average business listing on a publisher site. Consider these advantages.
If you have a GMB account and someone searches for your business on Google, you will see a box show up on the right side of the search results. This is known as the Knowledge Panel. It contains detailed information about your business and makes it easier for customers to understand what you do and contact you.
The Knowledge Panel also contains a link to your website, your hours, and ratings and reviews from customers. It is a summary of your GMB account in a box.
The Knowledge Panel takes up some prime real estate in the search results and from that standpoint, it is a very valuable asset.
If you are not familiar with the Knowledge Panel but want to see and example, do a Google search for “Social Flair Marketing.”
Ratings and Reviews
With a GMB account in place, customers can also leave star ratings and reviews. These opinions carry a lot of weight with other consumers. In fact, Invespcro.com reports that 90% of consumers read online reviews before they ever enter a business and 88% trust those reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation.
So having positive ratings and reviews show up in your Knowledge Panel legitimizes your business and speaks to your expertise.
Rank Higher in Searches
Ratings and Reviews can also help your website rank higher in the search results. Google’s search algorithm takes into account the number of positive reviews and ratings that a GMB account has. So make sure you are receiving positive reviews on Google.
You can also make posts from your GMB dashboard that then appear in your Knowledge Panel. These posts include a photo, a description and a link. But unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, these posts don’t appear in a feed. They can only be seen in your Knowledge Panel.
But by creating a post about a blog article on your website, for example, you have the opportunity to not only demonstrate your industry expertise, but also move traffic back to your website.
Setting Up a GMB Account
If your company does not yet have a Google My Business account, visit www.google.com/business and click the green “Start Now” button. Then follow the prompts and enter your business information.
At the end of the process, Google will let you know that a postcard with a verification code will be mailed to your company’s location. Be sure to look for this postcard.
Once you receive it, you can return to your GMB account and enter the code. When you do so, your account will be verified and you can begin using your dashboard. Your Knowledge Panel box will begin to show up on the search results page.
If being found in online searches is important to you, then having a Google My Business page is essential. Verified businesses on GMB perform better than those that do not.
Here’s another way to think of it: If you want to rank higher on Google, doesn’t it make sense to do the things that the Google platform wants you to do?
If you have questions about setting up a Google My Business account, call me at 513-237-5530.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.