Well, not MY business specifically, though if you’re interested please call in for a cup of tea one day!
I’m talking about Google’s new My Business option which is one of the biggest changes in search for ages.
There are always changes in search, especially algorithmic ones, but this is a different, more visual way for smaller businesses to make a serious impact online.
It’s all about you
I’ve had a play with My Business and it’s a lot smarter looking than Google Places. It’s also very attractive to people that haven’t heard of SEO before and are looking for Google to help benefit their business.
Instead of the old ‘Sign In’ option, for instance, is a big button saying ‘Get on Google’ – something that everybody and their wife wants to do when they start a new web venture.
It seems like a very slight change but that, to me, shows that Google has been listening to a lot of smaller businesses that have been looking for ways to appear on the world’s most popular search engine.
From a business point of view that also makes sense to Google. There are a few articles online that focus on converting organic traffic that focus on small changes to copy.
But the real meat of My Business is how much easier it is it to use all of Google’s properties in one place, in this respect it beats Google Places hands down.
With a few tweaks Google has made advertising a local business in its search engine easier than ever, which will hopefully have a big knock-on effect for brands of all shapes and sizes.
How do you make your website more attractive to local shoppers, and how has that audience helped you grow? Let me know in the comments section below.
Places to go
So what’s new with Google My Business? As mentioned, a lot of changes are very visual to assist with usability for people that have likely never used Google for their business before.
Google My Business condenses what used to be a tricky way for people to manage their business listings and content. Now people can update all their business information across Search, Maps, and Google+ in one go.
Google says it’s “a free and easy way to find and connect with your people, wherever you are” and seems to show that they’re getting behind the SME market a lot more, especially from a search perspective.
When starting on My Business people have the option to claim businesses and get a postcard sent to them in the traditional way to confirm.
And once done My Business gives people metrics that I feel will genuinely help brands online. Business owners will be able to share updates on Google+, see a variety of insights, start hangouts (AKA video meetings), and see reviews.
If you already have a Google Places account set up then don’t worry, your information will be transferred to My Business. Non-local accounts will also be able to use My Business effectively.
Only half the battle…
Not only is this change for the benefit of smaller local businesses, but for searchers across the globe.
Google constantly makes a big noise about how its ability to return the best search results is why people use it, and that its desire to fight spam and return the best results is what makes it the most used search engine on the planet.
So, in theory, Google makes local search easier to use, local searchers can find what they need more easily, and smaller businesses get greater visibility. Everyone wins, right?
Not necessarily. As I mentioned last week search and online marketing is a long-term practice. If you’re visible in a local search but your website is hard to use and doesn’t give the greatest impression of your services then converting that traffic to revenue may be a tough ask.
Being visible is only job half done. Is your website portraying you and what you offer as well as it possibly can, and is it easy to use?
There are a lot of questions you need your website to answer if you want it to start earning money for you.
Like search, though, web design is always evolving. Your website, like your business strategy, should always move with the times to keep things fresh and attract new leads.
What incentives do you offer your local audience and shoppers in the vicinity? How does this complement the rest of your digital strategy? Let me know below!
The future of search
To me this appears to show Google is focusing more on the brand and people that take the time to cultivate their business using its channels instead of traditional search practices.
Take ‘shoes’ for instance. Shoes are a product that hell of a lot of online retailers sell, but it can be incredibly tough for a new, smaller business to rank anywhere near the first page for such a generic keyword and its manufacturer deviations.
A lot of work can be put in, of course, to help boost keywords’ presence in a natural and organic way but it can be a costly long-term business for new ventures starting out.
Google My Business looks like it can change all that with condensed local optimisation practices that truly work.
We’ll have to wait a while for all the information to filter through Google naturally and to see how My Business works for smaller businesses, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a great show of faith to people that need help getting their brand more visible online.
And not just more visible in general – to make them more visible to a local audience that is looking for their products and can help them grow and make a success of themselves online.
This to me is a more important change to search than the Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird algorithm updates put together!
If you’d like to know more about how to use My Business and how to use it as part of your overall marketing strategy contact Webpresence today.