Is the short answer! If you are a local business then having a Google My Business account is really important and every business should have one. It is free and just needs a bit of time to set up and then can work really well for you.
What is it?
So when you need someone to fix the leaky tap in the bathroom and so perform a local search on Google and type in…’plumber in Buckingham’ for example, Google will show you the results of the search starting with with a small map and a pin of all the local businesses that fall into that category and location. They appear here because they have a Google Places (My Business is the name of the full account) listing. The Places listing allows you to connect your business to a geographical location and enter information about opening hours, links to contact details and websites and information about your services. Even if you operate from home, it is worth doing as you can hide the full address from public view if you wish to and just show a general area instead.
The other part that is really useful about the ‘My Business’ account is that you can use it to gather Google reviews from customers. Then your listing is shown in Google with stars and the number of reviews underneath it as well. If possible customers can read positive reviews and comments about your business, they are more likely to get in touch. And you can respond to the reviewers and thank them for the reviews they leave too. Google says “According to consumers, businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7x more trustworthy than businesses who don’t (76% vs. 46%).*” So it is worth acknowledging the comments made and trying to keep encouraging customers to leave reviews so they are kept reasonably up to date.
So if you want to set up your own Google listing here is where you start: https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/ – make sure to keep a note of all the details you use to set it up!
For every client of mine that opts for a Small Business SEO Package, we set this up or edit an existing listing for you to ensure it is working at its best with accurate details.
*Google/Ipsos Connect, Benefits of a Complete Google My Business Listing, October 2016. A total of N=15,904 adults 18-64