32: Google My Business – The Key to Local Search

Darryl: Hi I'm Darryl King and I'm here with my co-host Ed Pelgen were a couple of old internet guys, who have been running our online agencies for over twenty years. We get together every week to talk about all things online especially for small and medium business owners or executives who talk about their websites as their bloody website. Each week we aim to tackle a range of online issues, put them in plain language so anyone can understand, how to make their websites work better for their business. Episode 32 - We're going to talk specifically about: Google my Business. Hey Ed.

Edmund: Hey Darryl, How are you?

Darryl: I’m good. I think; like we have talked a little bit about local, previously

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: but there is a lot of stuff coming down the pike which I think Google my business has a direct relationship with; more so than the overall picture of local and it's impacting in a lot of ways or it's going to impact in a lot of ways on people's results online and people see great results from Google my business specifically, so that's why this would be a good topic

Edmund: absolutely

Darryl: why don't; when we start by for those people that don't know you want to give them an overview about; what Google my business is? Where I sort of come from? How it fits into the ecosystem…?

Edmund: yeah so; absolutely; so to really understand Google my business and we did an episode on local before and it's just important to understand that a lot of search is local in nature meaning I'm in a place and I'm looking for something in my general vicinity, I'm looking for a local provider, I'm looking for a restaurant, I'm looking for a plumber in my area right? So but very nature a large percentage of searching that's done online is local especially with the advent of the mobile phone. A lot of it is, it's very local and because Google owns android they know where you are physically and they can tailor the search results to your device so local is very important. Now the way that you get your business listed in the Google system the Google ecosphere; I suppose, is that you have to submit and list your business in the platform, which is Google my business right? So you basically need to go to sign up, fill in all your details and because it's a local business there’s a process called verification. So they'll either; ring you using the phone number that you signed up with or they will send you a little physical card which gets sent to your physical address.

Darryl: So before we get into the detail of like signing up and more you can do

Edmund: Hmm

Darryl: Where do people see Google my business results, well like, what; what's the; I’m Bob; I’m out there with my business. Why do I care about this?

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: Where does it impact me?

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: when on a phone or on a desktop, what; how do I know what you're talking about?

Edmund: yeah, so there's typically three places where I see; I tell people that they see that mostly. So the first place is if you're on your desktop computer for example and you do a search right? And the search is local: meaning let's say you're searching for a plumber and then you add your location right? People have been trying to search this way. So I'm searching for a plumber in Brisbane. In that situation you'll see through a little 3-pack of maps right? Which are local businesses. Now if you did that search in Sydney you would see three different local businesses so that's the first place. That little; they call it a snack pack of Maps right? It’s from the Google map system. Which is from my business. So that's the first place you'll see it right? Now the second place is when you go to Google and you do a Google search for a business for example right? And if you search for the business name itself what you'll see is a knowledge box or a listing on the side that belongs to the business. so for example if you searched for a car dealership you'll see the car dealership listing on the side with pictures, their logo and all that sort of information and then the third place that you'll see; my business information or maps listings is when you're searching on a mobile device and that mobile device will deliver those same three pack or four pack of maps but on your phone itself and so that's where you're going to be visible by listing your business in Google my business

Darryl: I want to interject something here that for people understand. Why this is really important, so those results that are they're part of the different types of knowledge information by the knowledge graph that are being shown across Google search results. There’s a statistic that's really important with this how accurate to the exact number it is. I'll leave that up to others but the term is that 60% of queries on Google are answered without a click or without them leaving Google to do it. So if the click might be into my business listing to call or something like that. What that and what that means is that they're no longer going to the website links to go on see things because they're getting the information and that's the big difference between searching for your business and yes, your website shows up but for and this that could be an American figure, it might be a bit of an average, it might be a bit overinflated but what it's saying is that a lot of the results that Google are delivering don't require you to go anywhere else to get them. So for example if they're looking for your business and all they want is the phone number that's being displayed there. They don't need to go to your website to get it. So that's why I wanted to bring that up.

Edmund: Hmm

Darryl: so it's super important that you understand the relevance for local type businesses because if you don't do it. You either don't show

Edmund: absolutely. And this could be; yeah and it's especially important for mobile. So man, remember the last time that you were on a mobile phone device and you were going somewhere and you search for the business name right to find the address and the Google my business listing came up; you clicked on it and then it said, there was an option to navigate or call right? So you can click it and it would pull up Google Maps and navigate you to that location or you could push a button and it would call the business right? Neither of those two actions required the website and in fact that functionality could only be delivered because they'd listed the business in my business. So if you weren't there right and someone searched for your business name; they wouldn't have been able to take advantage of the simple Maps integration or the click to dial, you may have lost the business

Darryl: okay. So let's get back then to - How do you; let's go through; maybe just retouch again;

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: How does someone get their business to show? How do they get their business on Google?

Edmund: yep, so the simple process is you go to Google and you can either search for Google my business or the website address is business.google.com and it's that simple; you go to business.google.com; you sign up for my business and you fill in the details right? Be and the key thing here is be as complete and as comprehensive as possible. if they give you the option to upload ten photos, upload ten local businesses, upload all of the information that they give you so the business description be comprehensive and complete; fill it out and make sure when you list the categories; you know, if you're a plumber or whatnot make sure you've got them all covered; it gives you up to a five or so categories to be listed in and but the one key thing that I can say here is this make sure that when you list the business name and the address and the phone number that they're consistent right? So that the business name that you are listed; that you use in in two other directories is the same as the listing that you put into the Google my business system right? And so once you've completed that. You'll submit the details and it will go through that verification process I told you about and that's basically trying to say; they're trying to make sure that you in fact our real business right at the location that you say. Simply because in the past Google my business has been the target of a lot of SEO spammers and scammers and in fact in the last week I think there was a case where Google took some people to court because they were you know aggressively spamming and making false statements in the Google my business system right? yeah

Darryl: Cool; it's a one thing that comes up particularly for smaller trades people; things like that.

Edmund: Yep

Darryl: Their business you know that might have a register to some account; they've got a PR box. Their business effectively is from home; you know, there might be a couple of people when they're out on the road; they don't necessarily have an installation in the premise so that one of the challenges they don't want to show up their house to show up in Google my business

Edmund: yes

Darryl: and you'll see both sides of it. Some will and unfortunately shrink you; take say; shows the house where you live

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: you know; the others are that they; that you can market to not display the address. If you want to talk a little bit about the challenge but that

Edmund: yeah; absolutely; looks so for example if you had a retail store or you know or a multi-unit retail operation. It's important that you actually list the physical address because that that that feeds into the navigation system and the maps and all that sort of stuff but you're right; there are a lot of us who may work from home and have home offices and don't want that. In that situation you can set what's called a service area and you can actually say; you know what I don't want to list my physical address and I don't want you to show the address in the maps but I want you to allow my listing to be found in a specific service area and so you can say you know 50 kilometers from this location is where I want to get found and that's how you avoid that issue.

Darryl: well, anecdotally in reviewing some stuff in the last few weeks. I found that in those instances those people don't show in the three-pack. The only the ones; that all of the ones in the 3-pack and ones that have an actual address

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: Do you know if that's accurate like the lower in the map listing it's because of that?

Edmund: yeah, I would think it's a combination of two things one the nature of the industry and the ….?

Darryl: competitive query but so the 3-pack only showed ones with addresses

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: is further than either if you click through the maps that; you know; this others were there but none of the ones that you uses their services (10:03…?)

Edmund: yeah, that's right and that's because Google is going to show and try to deliver the best outcome, the best result for that person and if it's a physical location and it and those big businesses you know; they're looking for a restaurant in this area. They're gonna show a physical business before anything else right; whereas it you know there might be a different consultant type of business there that it's less competitive but you're right; typically, I would suggest the ones I've seen; ones with physical addresses in competitive spaces are the ones that get listed in this 3 pack because it is competitive

Darryl: So what are ways that people could handle that? I mean for example on Australia for a lot of businesses that you have to have a registered business address. So for a lot of people that could be their accountants you know and they actually use that address. so take you could use that as your business address

Edmund: yeah, the challenge as I said with that is that there are a ton of other people probably using the same register business address in that situation and so location wise; it's not going to work and so it basically tells you that you should use the service area and here's the thing. If you're using your accountants address as the address for you’re my business listing well then you're not; that's not the purpose for which Google my business was created. It was created for location specific businesses for which location is important right?

Darryl: yes, but unfortunately they create this monster themselves because they; the map becomes relevant that you know, like; used to say that you can't service that area. (11:31 you know, I mean; like it’s; if it said that, how did they ….?) Only for shops and restaurants then that would make sense but it's being used for

Edmund: I know; I know and the frustration is that it's not perfect right and it has gone through a lot of challenges and different levels of support from Google and it is becoming more important and then it becomes less important you know. So it is a challenge right? It’s aggressively spammed in the early days and Google tries to improve it but yeah it's the system that we've got. It generates traffic for a lot of businesses and so we need to work within the constraints of it.

Edmund: okay, so what are some of the features that make it up because in the early days it was literally - here's my business, here's my address, here some photos and you could do things like basic opening hours and see what types of credit cards you take but they've made that a lot more elaborate in recent months and years

Edmund: yeah, look; I think that the best thing about Google my business is that a lot of your other marketing is going to generate branded searches like people looking for you you know they might search for online Kickstarter, they might search for Ireckon or localness and dealership or whatever it is right? And that's an opportunity for you to present more information to them. so if you; if you are looking at the Google my business system today besides the fact that it'll show your business name, your address, your phone number; it'll show that you're currently open right? It’ll show the ability to navigate to your location right and a whole bunch of other information and if you've been looking at the knowledge box listing of your business lately a couple of new things that have appeared. They now allow the ability to post or to actually publish posts on their My business system. So let's say someone was searching for you; you could publish a post about a promotion or an event right? or anything like that and the beauty is then they allow you to even embed video so imagine someone just searches for your business name; you've got an opportunity to be on page one with more real estate with promotional offers with videos and all those sorts of things. So it's really powerful from that perspective right and in the situation where they weren't searching for your business name; you've still got the ability to get found from the maps

Darryl: Other features over there? I mean; I suppose that I've noticed in the last year that they are now emailing me out about business hours for public holidays really really aggressively like

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: they really want you updated and the way that's used is that; so it's a public holiday; you're searching for a Bunnings store or something like that. It tells you are they open or not on that particular day whereas historically people put up in a Monday to Friday 9 to 5

Edmund: Correct

Darryl: (14:07 I didn’t know how fast they are 😉 now there's a lot more where they identify that this has been changed specifically for this date. so that they know on Easter or whatever it might be. that it's accurate information

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: there's also Q&A? Now that they offer ….?

Edmund: yeah, absolutely; yeah, the question-and-answer section has come up recently so that you; if you; if you look at a listing now in fact; I've just got one up here now and you search for the business name the listing pops up; you'll see; says you know questions and answers; do you have a quote; you want to ask a question and it's a good opportunity for the brand to then answer back and engage with them. You know, it’s so it's a really powerful system. The other thing too is

Darryl: (14:43). There a good point on that. You can ask the business owner. You actually compose the questions and answer them yourself as well

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: so you can actually write Q And A in advance as if you were writing the FAQ on a website. So it doesn't just have to be questions from people asking, so you can actually go in there and go you know these are common questions. Do you sell us? Know we don't.

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: Do you do take after pay? Yeah, we take after pay. You could put that stuff up there right now; to fresh those details out

Edmund: yep and the great thing about the listing is; there helps encourage people to do business with you because one thing we know people can leave business reviews, Google reviews about your business and they will be listed there right? In addition to the Google business reviews they actually pull reviews from other places on the web right? So you’re my business listing will actually say; you've got a four point five out of five from Facebook for example. and the other feature that I love is if you're a very time specific business it even shows you popular times of when your business is busy right and they base that on the data that they have but as a business owner there's a whole bunch of information that you can get access to about it. Which is really powerful like one thing that the insights aspect of it is they tell you where the people found you in organic search or they found you on the maps right? It also tells you what action they took, did they click on the call button, and did they navigate right? And the other interesting aspect too is it also is starting to tell you the places from which customers actually have actually requested directions to your business. So it pulls up a little map and says you're located here but customers over in this suburb. That’s where they're actually requesting map navigation information and so you can start to use all this information to figure out; oh, my customers are in this area this is; these are the times that they're looking for me and then you can post up those promotional things as well. So it's a really important tool for every location specific or service area specific business who wants that visibility in Google search, who wants to be found when people are looking for them and if you're not in it you're missing all these little opportunities to engage.

Darryl: I'd like to throw in something else; tell people to think about that is; voice is becoming significant in search and discovery and that's from a Google home or an Alexa its Seri on your phone or Google assistant on your phone whatever that might be. The hypothesis behind all this is that having this information stored in structured data by Google hosted by Google means that they are actually able to respond to the questions about your business because they can do the natural language processing from; so for example if your question is you know; When is online kick-start open? if those opening hours aren’t there; it's to resource-intensive and slow for Google to go and crawl a website try and find it in real time, pull it back and make sure the formatters is right but if your opening hours are in their data structure and Google my business

Edmund: Correct

Darryl: It can go oh, as Friday ;whatever it might be; they're open until 5:30 p.m. this afternoon and they've got that information there and that when you start to look at the other information that they're asking you to provide. You suddenly realize that that's part of their intent. Anyone that wants to see the Google duplex presentation you can just search for you know Google duplex restaurant booking or hair salon booking; where they actually use of Google Voice BOTS to ring a real time business and book appointments and ask questions and respond to them in real time and all of that stuff requires that they have a lot of knowledge about certain things (18:20)

Edmund: hmm

Darryl: and the Google my business they're going to add more features you could see that coming but that's how they can give you those voice instructions and directions is that you're providing useful information so that's going to be super super important as more and more people start to use voice navigation

Edmund: yeah they trying to do it. I mean I went out and bought myself a little Google home device to practice and play and test all the different searches and you know I did the same thing. I search for: Are there any good plumbers in this area and then it Voice proceeded to list right three local plumbers in my area. And where is it getting that information from? You're right, it's pulling it from the structured data that's within Google my business right and that's how it knows and it's an incremental game they'll get that information then they'll hook into your Google assistant in the home and then you'll start to have these natural language queries

Darryl: if you if you compare that with what happens when Seri on an Apple iPhone; can't find a good result And you go I found these things for you on the web and all that happens is they out put some stuff on your device but if you think about your driving, you've got voice happening because you know how to look at your device; that's useless; so they're not able to access that information and use it the same way whereas Google is able to say literally hey, I know these three businesses; they're the three pack; I know they're opening hours, I know the reviews and all those things and it can talk back to you and say; are you; you know, which one are you interested in? Is it Bob’s plumbing, is it Fred's plumbing or is it Mary's plumming Oh Mary's plumbing; okay, Mary's plumbing and she's gonna be really busy right now but here's the number; do you want to call her; yes; and it automatically dials you can do that as easily on my iPhone and there would be no result

Edmund: No and what's really important is I think at the recent Google i/o they announced updates are coming for Google Assistant, Google assistant is the software that runs on your phone or through the Google home devices and I can’t remember what it's called but it allows you to have a continuing conversation and it remembers the previous results. So you might say; ok, Google lists me three plumbers in the area and then it lists the story and then you say; ok, Google ring number two or something like that and it remembers the answers from the previous one; so it'll allow you to have those ongoing discussions. Seri doesn't do that at the moment and I think Google is going to be the game; the game to play in this area; so I guess the key point we're trying to say is if you're a local business, if you've either got a physical business or you serve a physical area you need to be in Google my business and take advantage of the app, fill it out, be comprehensive, get verified and start to play with some of the new features that they're providing you and spend some time digging through the analytics; the insights and see what information that gives you about your business and about your customers

Darryl: yep I think that's the key thing and the other important thing go and check it. Don't just add it now and never think about it. Go and look; easiest way if it's your business type in your business name in Google it'll show up and look you can get problems there can be issues where you may have old listings you didn't realize, you've got a new listing up and you still don't show and that's the time when you're going to need to go and get some help; you're gonna go ask someone that's going to help clean up your records get them right; but it's really important you show a lot of businesses get great call inquiry from it; they've been way ahead of the curve using it but just make sure you follow through on that and get it done

Edmund: yep, set it up encourage people to leave reviews stay on top of it because it's onl;y will we see that this is going to be the pointy end of the voice search at some point in time that's how; we're a lot of information is going to as people move to voice. Alrighty? What do you reckon Darryl have recovered everything?

Darryl: I reckon we have

Edmund: awesome so that's it for today's episode. Thank you again for listening. We really appreciate having you along for this ride. if you want to see the show notes get access to the resources we talked about and get notified about new episodes just visit bloodywebsite.com or subscribe to the podcast at iTunes or stitcher also if you enjoyed this podcast please leave a review in iTunes, it really helps other people find the podcast. We hope to see you next week when we'll continue this chat about my bloody website. It’s goodbye from me

Darryl: It's goodbye from him