Get New Clients With Google My Business

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Local search is growing – a lot. And this means HUGE potential for your business. In this article we’ll look at why local search is important to your business. And how to use Google My Business (hereafter GMB) to outrank your competitors for local searches.  

Google’s job is to provide the most relevant results to a searcher’s query. And as GPS equipped devices have exploded in use, so has Google’s ability to provide incredibly relevant search results. 

Before local search, a query for “McDonalds” would probably return information about the company itself. Now Google assumes you’re hungry and need info on the outlet nearest you.

According to Google, about 46% of searches have some form of local intent. That means people are searching for products and solutions that can only be delivered locally. For example, “locksmith near me.”

Or they may be looking for services that can be delivered from anywhere, but the searcher prefers face to face interaction. For example, web design can be done remotely, but most buyers often prefer to work with someone face to face. So they might search for “website designer in Greencastle”.

Local Competition Is Puny

Imagine you had to outrank everyone in your industry across the whole world. In some industries that’s nearly impossible. You’d need a full time SEO team just to get on the first page.

But local search reduces your competition to a very manageable level. You only need to outrank your direct competitors in your town. There probably aren’t too many, and many of them have limited search presence. Easy peasy!

I know what you’re thinking. What about large national brands? How can you possibly compete against them? Local search levels the playing field between giant brands and local providers. With local search, small companies can reach the top of the search results, provided they are the best solution to the searcher’s query.

Start by doing a quick audit of your local competition. Make note of any company with a physical presence in your area that you need to outrank. Take note of what areas they are potentially taking your customers. You’ll need to know what keywords are most applicable to your business. So you can hog them all for yourself! If you don’t have enough time for this process assign a remote sales assistant to the task. 

What Is Google My Business

Google My Business is a FREE tool (from Google) that gives you the power to decide how your company should appear in the Google organic results and maps. For example, if someone searches for your company they can instantly see your contact information, hours of operation, and other useful details you provide. 

But control over your company’s identity in Google properties is just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Ultimately, GMB is a tool to get new customers.

It’s worth noting that many SEO professionals consider GMB a powerful ranking signal for local search. This may be in part because you need to verify your business with Google to create a GMB listing. So they know you are a real, live entity.

GMB also lets you add keywords to your profile so Google knows EXACTLY what you do and when they should be showing you in the search results. Think about that! You can tell Google the exact search queries they should associate with your company. 

Google even recently announced that businesses can even add a list of services in GMB so Google can even more accurately match your services to common service requests.

If you want to meet people in your local area who are actively searching for your solution, GMB is where you need to start.

GMB Reviews

Take a moment to think about how local search might work from an algorithmic point of view. If someone searches for a “digital marketing company in Indiana” how does Google know how to rank marketers in Indiana?

The short answer is, they don’t. 

There’s no realistic way for Google to know who provides a reliable service. So to generate search rankings they rely (in part) on 3rd party signals to help them identify the best search results. That includes reviews from happy customers.

One of the first things you’ll notice about GMB is that it allows your customers to leave reviews of their experience with your company (hopefully 5 stars!). When someone leaves a review, you can respond to their feedback (if you wish to). That may seem a bit daunting, but it’s also a huge opportunity for your search presence.

People trust 3rd party reviews over anything a company says about themselves. They feel that if someone similar to ourselves was happy working with your firm, then they probably will, too. Think about it, when was the last time you bought something online without checking out the reviews from other buyers? 

GMB can also pull reviews from 3rd party sites like Facebook. They aren’t as prominently featured as Google’s own reviews. But if you have strong reviews outside of GMB then this will make them available to people searching for your business.

If your clients provide you with positive reviews on GMB, then Google may consider you a trusted service provider. And that means lots of clients searching for your solutions being introduced to your website via the Local 3-Pack.

The Local 3-Pack

If you’re searching for a service in your area you’ll be shown the Local 3-Pack near the top of the search results. If you’re not sure what this is, try searching for something like  “accountant + {your city}”. Near the top you should see a section with an ad and 3 organic results that looks like this:

Think about what getting placed in the Local 3-Pack would mean for your business. Google is literally giving people directions to your place of business. 

More importantly, it’s generally easier to get into the Local 3-Pack then it is to take top spot in the organic search listings. It’s sort of a ‘short cut’ to the top of the search rankings.

We discussed the importance of reviews to your GMB profile and how Google might use them to determine which companies to recommend. Look at the companies in the “Miami accountants” 3-Pack image above. It’s not a coincidence they all have a complete GMB profile, and positive reviews praising their work. 

Google My Business Posts

GMB has a sweet feature where you can add short ‘posts’ to your GMB profile. A post is a section under your main company information. It has an image and expandable text that provides information about your business. When someone searches for your business the post appears in your GMB profile on the right side of the search results.

Your posts can be about pretty much anything that relates to your business. You can share recent news, upcoming events, product information, and special offers. GMB posts are short term in duration. A post only lasts for 7 days before it expires or needs to be refreshed. 

Since your posts include an image they draw the searcher’s eye and make your profile stand out even more than it already does. The post also increases the size of your GMB profile so you take up most of the right side of the search results. That’s a LOT of real estate. And compared with the other text results, you really stand out.

Look at the image above. If you were searching for a “fence contractor in Montgomeryville, PA” which fencing company would you contact? Probably the company that takes up the WHOLE right side of the page and shares vibrant pictures of their work! The products section above is a post that includes eye-catching images designed to drive conversions. 

Get Local Business

If you want local clients then GMB is essential for your business. It gives you the chance to appear in the Local 3-Pack, and Google maps. Information about your business will be easily accessible for searchers. And occasionally, you could be Google’s default recommendation for your entire category of work.

Best of all, GMB is free and takes very little effort to manage. The toughest part is asking your clients to provide recommendations, but most of them will be thrilled to help you out. And those reviews will let both Google and future clients know you are the right company to work with.

Matthew Murray is the director of Sales Higher, a B2B lead generation firm. Sales Higher grinds through the data so you can focus on landing deals.

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