A GMB, or Google My Business listing, is a business listing on Google. It works similarly to business listings on Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other directory websites.
The thing that sets it apart is that it’s owned by Google, which means it carries a lot more weight than other business listings. Google is the one providing the search results, and it’s a lot more likely to favour its own products over a competitor’s when it does so.
However, your GMB listing is a lot more than just a directory entry – it’s a business essential, and it’s important to secure one for your practice. Read on to learn more about the unique benefits it can provide.
GMB listings provide no-click answers
At least 47% of all Google searches end without a click. However, this doesn’t mean that Google’s users aren’t satisfied. To understand why this happens, it’s important to understand how Google operates.
Why Google doesn’t always push for clicks
The success of Google’s search platform is dependent on how useful it is to its users. Google knows that when users search for a local business, they want to find accurate information as fast as they can. If they can’t get this from Google, they’ll likely find another search engine to use.
To cater to this expectation, Google helps its users to find valuable information as fast as possible and with minimal steps involved. One of the ways it does this is by displaying information on the search results page where it can, rather than directing the user to a secondary location (like another website).
Almost every click in a search engine means a new web page has to load from scratch. This takes time, especially if the user is using mobile data or has a bad internet connection. By displaying essential business information on the search results page, Google helps its users find information while eliminating excess load times. This contributes to a positive user experience, making people more likely to use Google again.
So no-click search results don’t meant that the user didn’t find what they need – they mean that they found the information they were after without having to interact with the page further. By enabling this, Google provides a good experience to its users.
So how does a GMB listing help me with this?
Unfortunately, Google’s tendency to display information on its search results page means that it may sacrifice sources which need extra steps to access (like your site’s contact page), in favour of information that it can easily show. If your information isn’t readily available, it can get passed up in favour of another business’s details.
When you claim your GMB listing and set it up, you give Google all the information it needs to tell people about your business without making a user click. This means it can display YOUR information in the search results page to bring value to its users, rather than a competitor’s.
Although it may not always translate to a direct visit to your website, Google My Business helps users find their way to your business in other ways. It gives potential patients easy access to almost everything they need to convert – your phone number, your address, directions to your practice, your open hours, and more – without having to navigate through more pages of information.
GMB listings give you more ways to display
Unlike your average website pages, Google My Business listings don’t display in the main body of the search results page. They have very different, very distinctive ways of showing information.
Google pulls data from GMB listings to populate two different types of content block: the map pack, and the knowledge graph. You have most likely seen both of these in your own searches at some point They’re very visible, and they help users find information quickly and easily.
As these display methods rely on information from GMB listings, setting up a GMB listing can help you stand out more and get noticed on the search results page.
Let’s take a look at the different ways you can display.
Position 1: the map pack
The map pack is a core element of local searches. It’s generated using the information from GMB listings, which means you have to have a listing set up if you want to appear in one. At a glance, it gives a user access to your basic information, shows them exactly where you are located, and gives them options to learn more about you.
In the example below, you can see that the map pack is one of the first things to display on the search results page. It displays above everything except for paid ads, which means that a user would have to scroll a long way to access the regular search results.
Being seen in the map pack is even more important on mobile, where 84% of searches with local intent come from. Since a mobile screen is a lot smaller than a desktop one, the user has to scroll much further to access other options. This takes more time and more effort, making them more likely to settle for the results they can see immediately.
(To help illustrate how far a user would have to scroll, we’ve added a red line to show where the screen view stops on the device used to take the screenshots. Anything below the point requires more scrolling to see.)
As you can see, being in the map pack puts you physically above many other results. This means that a user doesn’t have to search far to find you. It also lets them know exactly how close you are to them in a physical sense, and gives them the details they need to contact you. This makes the map pack a very valuable place for your business to appear!
Position 2: the knowledge graph
The second place that GMB content can display is the knowledge graph. On desktop, it displays completely separately to all the other content. In the example below, you can see that it takes up the part of the page that’s usually empty, making it stand out even more.
On a mobile page (where most users will likely see it), it displays similarly to the map pack: as the first item on the page below the paid ads, blocking out all the regular results underneath it. In the example below, you can see it taking up roughly the same amount of space as the map pack would.
It’s a little harder to land – it usually only displays one business at a time, so you’ll likely need to put some work into optimising your listing before you can end up here. But having a GMB listing at all gives you more chance than not having one.
GMB listings help your local SEO
An estimated 46% of all Google searches have local intent. This means that the search is conducted by a person looking for a business in their immediate vicinity.
Furthermore, 93% of local searches feature GMB listings in the results, which shows that Google My Business listings are an integral part of local searches.
As discussed above, setting up a GMB profile gives you a chance to display in both the map pack and the knowledge graph. Both of these increase your change of displaying in a local search.
Why is this important? Consumers who search for a business in their local area are usually ready to act on the results straight away – usually within the next few hours. By claiming your Google My Business listing, you can put yourself in front of hot leads that are ready to act.
GMB listings let you establish credibility
Google My Business listings are one of the most trusted sources for contact information on the internet. In fact, 32% of consumers trust a business’s GMB listing over their website when it comes to finding accurate information.
The reason they’re so trustworthy is because Google takes time to individually approve each one, checking their details through a verification process. This ensures that businesses are legitimate. By having a GMB listing, you show your patients that your business is genuine.
How does verification work?
When you set up a GMB listing, you can expect to go through a verification process. Google may verify your listing by testing:
- Your physical address – Google tests this by mailing you a physical card with a code on it. You’ll need to communicate the code back to them to prove that your address is correct.
- Your phone number – Google sends a text or automated message with a code, which needs to be sent back to them to confirm.
- Your email address – You may receive an email, which will contain instructions on how to verify your business
Although it can be inconvenient, the outcome is that Google My Business profiles are kept incredibly trustworthy. This makes them even more valuable to have.
The catch: anyone can claim them
One of the advantages of GMB is that just about anyone can make them, and there’s no cost involved in setup. Unfortunately for businesses, this also means that someone you aren’t affiliated with can easily set one up on your behalf.
If you don’t set up your own Google My Business listing, someone else can claim it. They may supply incorrect information, or even enter deliberate misinformation.
To combat this, it’s essential to set up your own listing as soon as possible after setting up your business. You’ll also need to update the details if your business hours change, if you have new contact details, or if you shift your physical address.
If someone has already set up a listing that you aren’t affiliated with, you can request ownership from Google.
For help walking through this process, talk to us about your GMB listing.
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