You may think you don’t know what Google My Business is, but you most likely know it by one of its former names: Google Places, Google Maps, or even Google+. Google My Business, while ever-evolving, is a mixture of its predecessors while also bringing new features to Google searches.
While it could be easy to dismiss Google My Business as another listing you don’t have time to manage, that would be a mistake. If it helps, think about a traditional (yet primitive) pre-internet phone book listing. Now imagine that listing could tell you everything you could want to know, where the business is located, show you videos and photos, and then place a phone call to that business. And you didn’t even have to turn the page.
That’s the capability of a robust Google My Business listing. Financial advisors who do most of their business locally need a strong and consistent local search presence to cut through the clutter of paid ads and avoid being sent to the dreaded lower third of the search results page.
Good SEO Alone Isn’t Enough
Yes, local SEO is important. There’s no denying that fact. But when it comes to local search, SEO will only get you so far. That’s because Google gives priority to paid search above organic listings. Meaning that no matter how good your organic SEO is, there’s no guarantee you’ll end up at the top of a local search. This is likely because national competitors are able to purchase this prime listing in markets all over the country.
However, you have something they don’t: A local business with a local address. By completing your Google My Business profile, and keeping it updated, you are giving Google more information on your business. The more information you provide, hours, photos, events, etc. the more you’ll likely appear in local searches.
Pay extra attention to your address. Google My Business feeds directly into Google Maps, so if you have an incorrect or outdated address, you could be sending potential clients to the wrong place. Also, if you use a separate physical and mailing address, be sure the physical address is the one being pulled up in Google Maps.
Your Website Alone Isn’t Enough
While you may have painstakingly worked on your website to make it polished and professional – there’s a chance some of your potential clients will contact you without ever clicking on one link to or on your site. That’s because of the emergence of Google My Business and no-click searches.
Just what their name describes, no-click searches are when someone conducts a search and gets the information they needed without clicking on any links. For example, if someone searches for the weather in their area and it pops up on the top of the page, they never had to visit any websites to get that information. That’s exactly how Google My Business results are displayed for local searches. Your business information could appear in a local search, including your phone number, hours of operation, and even reviews could all appear, as well as any relevant CTAs.
Hence the importance of keeping your listing as completed and up to date as possible is crucial to your online success. If you don’t have accurate information, your listing may not get displayed – and your organic listing may be buried down the page and never be seen.
Google My Business is Ideal for Mobile Searches
Mobile searches are becoming increasingly popular as more and more business is done via smartphone or tablet. On a smaller screen, Google my Business can dominate the visible area, making that listing the most prominent part of the page.
Additionally, the calls to action on Google My Business are built for mobile interaction. These listings offer a call button and a link to Google Maps which can send a potential client to your doorstep as mentioned above.
Client reviews are a vital part of gaining business through Google My Business. While financial advisors face a bit of a challenge with SEC regulations, it’s worth the effort to ask your clients for reviews on Google My Business. While these regulations prohibit you from responding, deleting or suppressing a review, your positive reviews will likely outweigh any negative comments.
Remember, you can’t ask someone to leave a positive review – you can only ask them to leave a review. You also cannot pay or reward anyone for writing a review. That said, online reviews are becoming the new word of mouth advertising. If you’re working hard for your clients and running your business well, you will see the benefits of client reviews on Google My Business.
Of course, you should always check in with your compliance department first regarding Google My Business reviews.
Google My Business Insights, Posts and More
Google is known for keeping meticulous data and analytics for websites. There is the same breadth of information when it comes to the Insights portion of Google My Business. This feature can show you how and when visitors are accessing your listing (think: Maps, search, etc.) as well as the actions they took and much more.
While Google wasn’t successful with their previous attempts at social media, they do seem to have a handle on incorporating posts and videos to Google My Business Listings. This can be a great way to share some of your blog content, upcoming events, and even videos you have shared previously on your website.
Also consider creating new, unique content for your Google My Business listing. Remember, this may be the only impression you get to make with a potential client because they might not make it to your website based on that initial search.
Google My Business is FREE. And while your time may not be free, you will almost instantly see the benefits of working on your Google My Business listing. If you do see the value but simply don’t have the time, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help manage your listing, as well as help with your local SEO efforts.
A digital marketing agency can help manage the features mentioned above that Google provides, as well as use the analytics to determine how and where your search listings appear and how to possibly get them to appear more often.