If you’re one of the many local business owners who is frustrated or confused about what’s going on with your Google My Business page (which used to be your Google+ page, which used to be Google places, which is kinda sorta the same thing as your Google Maps listing but not really…), I feel your pain.
I deal with this stuff every day; helping businesses set up and optimize their Google My Business pages is part of my job, and even I get confused sometimes. In my opinion, Google has really made a mess of this and has done a terrible job explaining to local business owners what they need to do to properly set up their page.
Unfortunately, one side effect of this has been the rise of telemarketing scams in which less-than-reputable marketing companies call up local business owners insinuating that they represent Google in some way (“Hi, this is so-and-so, your local Google+ specialist…”). These companies take advantage of the confusion surrounding Google My Business to sell the business services that they don’t really need (such as charging a monthly fee to “maintain” the business’s Google listing, which is a free listing).
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Another side effect of this is that many local businesses, rather than try to figure it out, have simply tuned out and are ignoring their Google My Business listing. This is a big mistake for them and an opportunity for you, because whether you love it or hate it, the fact is that your Google My Business page has the power to send a lot of customers your way–or undermine all other advertising or marketing that you do.
The reason for this is that any ratings or reviews that your customers have given your business will show up in your Google listing. This listing will sometimes show up right under the paid ads at the top of the search engine results page for local searches–in other words, a search that combines a keyword like “auto repair” with a location term like “Richmond Virginia”.
This means that if you are on the ball and properly set up your Google My Business page and collect positive ratings and reviews from your customers, your business will be more likely to show up in that section at the top of search results, allowing you to brand yourself as the top-rated provider in your area. In most areas and most industries, you’ll probably be the only one of your competitors paying attention to this, meaning it won’t be hard for you to claim that top-rated status. In fact, despite the fact that I moved to a new city less than three weeks ago, I am already the top-rated provider in my new city in three categories as far as Google is concerned:
On the other hand, if you ignore this, what can happen is that a Google maps listing that was automatically created for your business could potentially get some negative reviews on it, and still might show up at the top of search results in the maps section. This means that any advertising that you do could potentially be driving traffic directly to negative reviews about your business–meaning that all the money you spent on that advertising in an attempt to get people to call you would be wasted.
In an attempt to clear up some of the confusion about Google My Business and help you take advantage of the opportunity it presents, in this week’s podcast episode I explain how to optimize your Google My Business page and how to leverage it to become the top-rated provider in your local area.
Watch the episode by hitting the play button on the video below, or use the audio player to listen to the episode.