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Boosting Customer Relations & Sales with Google My Business
For quite some time since the introduction of Google+, managing local listings and content across commercial properties has confused many local business owners and search engine marketers alike. Launched in 2014, Google My Business is Google’s new unified interface designed to make life easier for local businesses and increase exposure to brand names within Google searches.
The core engagement point of Google My Business is to make it “easier than ever to update business information across Google Search, Maps and Google+.” Think of this new service as a basic customer relationship management (CRM) platform for small and medium-sized businesses.
What Google My Business Can Do For You
The number one search term for any business is a related company name, and Google My Business provides an additional platform to further promote this name and company listing on Google. Upgrades to Google My Business are performed at the back-end (no application administration required) and only enhance the user experience for Google search users.
Specific Google My Business opportunities include:
- Reach a Vast, Informed Community: More than 250 million individual people have registered active Google+ accounts. While business-to-business users may not spend as much time on this platform as other popular social media applications, visibility on Google+ is directly tied to search engine results and overall business awareness.
- Leverage Expanded Business Information: Probably the most important feature Google My Business brings to companies is the ability to post and update a wide breadth of company data including real-time news articles, verified Google Maps, consumer reviews, photos, and virtual tours. Google My Business allows access to all this data through a centralized dashboard view—putting relevant business data directly in front of decision makers.
- Improve Search Results: Posting on Google+ enables businesses to tap into the organic search result power of Google searching. Google still dominates as the most popular search engine, and, therefore, any content posted via Google My Business naturally ranks high within Google search results.
- Remain Relevant to Search Engine Users: By posting, editing, and verifying information through Google My Business, businesses allow customers to locate specific physical locations and gain access to the products and services offered. Businesses that verify information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
- Enable Data Visibility and Analytics: Google My Business includes powerful tools for viewing and analyzing how customers search for a business and where those searchers are coming from. Business operators can judge the effectiveness of content posts (with integrated Google Analytics capabilities) and determine how many inbound phone calls resulted from a Google My Business listing.
What You Can Do for Google My Business
While businesses and consumers can undoubtedly benefit from collaborating with each other via this new service, the effectiveness of Google My Business ultimately relies on the quality of content and business connections that the platform enables.
Organizations can contribute to Google My Business through a few simple activities:
- Update to this New Service—for Free!: Business owners should first check their existing Google+ pages to ensure they have been updated to My Business. Google My Business updates Google Search, Maps, and Google+ all from a single interface.
- Focus on Up-to-Date, Relevant Content: Given the adoption of Google search and Google+ functionality, businesses can no longer ignore the need to create and maintain a technically correct and visually appealing Google+ profile. Additionally, the integration of YouTube and various standard Google services require businesses to ensure that supporting content hosted across these services is up-to-date and unique.
- Grow Your Circles and Communities: Standard Google+ circle and community features allow users to segment their followers and interests into targeted groups. Whereas Google Circles provide for easier customer identification and outbound marketing, Google Communities allow business stakeholders to listen to conversations, share information on a specific topic, and directly engage with their customers and prospects.
Improved navigation and connectivity make Google My Business a central location for managing all Google business applications. For additional details on upgrading to Google My Business or taking advantage of the features mentioned, watch Google’s promotional video for the application.
As pressures for improved time-to-market, product quality, and cost efficiencies increase, Google My Business is one avenue for businesses to stand out from their competition. Google consistently adds new features to the platform and communicates a strong commitment to helping organizations achieve tighter communication and operational processes—all at no cost to businesses and consumers.