Google My Business – Play Where The Puck Is Going
In recent months I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many established business owners regarding sound online marketing tactics. The one constant among them, as is similar for most business owners, is that they have barely enough hours in the day to do their actual business, let alone hone their internet marketing skills. To that end, when talking with them, I try to condense succinct, digestible information and recommendations into what time they can devote, aimed at the highest return and value for that time. Here, I thought I would share one that has commonly come up and been appreciated lately.
Google Owning The Entire User Experience
It’s the sort of thing that is almost taken for granted within digital marketing circles. We who pay attention, know this all too well. But to a busy business owner, it might have easily escaped their notice. More and more, Google is now less inclined to promote your actual local business webpage in its search results. It’s true. The entire concept that Google’s sole purpose was to rank and lead you to the top 10 webpages on “page one” is part of the past. The search engine is far more interested in giving users relevant results in the form of consumable information and destinations that they (Google) can control without sending those users away from Google properties. They are evolving into the actual destination itself, especially in local search, which is growing by leaps and bounds. And, a vast majority of lead engagement (phone calls, emails, map views) occurs directly from Google, with the prospect never seeing a company’s website.
Want an example? You may have already seen this in your own day-to-day use of Google. Do a search for a chain restaurant in your area (Starbucks, Panera Bread, etc..) and see what Google presents you. You will see locations, hours, contact info and even an entire menu with nutrition information appear – all with your never needing to click through to a website. Google is coming to own the entire experience. And hard to deny, it’s a pretty handy user experience despite the fact that Google is making a business’s actual website less and less necessary.
While it will never hurt you to successfully optimize your site to rank at the top of search results, and many users may well make it to your website, you should notice that Google favors driving eyeballs to their own properties – and will happily promote your business content there, where they don’t have to give up the user. We could have a long conversation about why this is the case, but that isn’t the point here. Your being aware of this, and taking appropriate action, is. The puck has already gone far in this direction, and it’s not looking to stop soon. For your business, you need to play where that puck is going.
Take Control of Your Business Info
If you have not claimed your “Google My Business” profile page yet, it is high time you do, since more often than not, Google is featuring the “My Business” information they’ve stored, giving the user a fully contained experience within its results.
Your Google My Business profile information is there for you to control. In fact, it’s like giving yourself an extra webpage; one that is primed and ready for the way Google wants to feature results for its users. It also feeds all Google mapping tools, and is ready for mobile, and social interaction. And don’t worry too much about how you might “optimize” the info. Just feed in robust, relevant content about your business. That, in itself, will take you well down the optimization path.
Claimed and accurate Google My Business information matching what is on your website, and the info you may have living in other online business directories, will give you a good optimization leg up in being found by your audience within Google properties. This can provide the solid bedrock upon which to layer your content and marketing strategies.
So there you go. It’s no longer just about getting your website to rank. It’s about providing relevant business information to potential customers wherever and however they may consume it – an old concept that just keeps ringing more true. I hope you found this useful.