What’s Google My Business and should I have a profile?

What is SEO?

The good and the bad about a Google My Business profile

When you search Google, you often see some relevant local businesses on the right hand side on a desktop and just below the sponsored ads on a mobile. They have a map, a contact number, some info about the business, opening hours, address or service area – but most importantly, they have the reviews for that company. Here’s a screenshot of my Google My Business listing:

Google My Business listing

So should I get a Google My Business listing?

My first reaction is to say yes – it’s free, it allow people to see useful information about your company and can show off your reviews. However, there are some considerations:

1. A Google My Business listing with fewer than 5 reviews doesn’t look good, so you need to be confident that you can get at least half a dozen reviews pretty quickly to avoid your profile from looking neglected or that your business simply doesn’t have any support. However, if you pick some past clients and ask them in advance if they would be willing to do so, it’s a good idea.

2. Anyone can post a review – all they need is a Google registered email address. And sometimes that means people who you’ve never even had any dealings with can post a review. At the time of writing this, I have a single one-star review from someone I’ve never heard of and who has only given one-star reviews to other companies around New Zealand. Don’t expect Google to care at all when this happens. Unless it’s openly abusive or obvious spam, they will simply deny any claim that you’ve never worked with/for this reviewer, and the review stands. I know that sounds scary and can potentially be a problem, but these cases are rare and can generally be overshadowed by positive reviews. On the plus side, you get to respond to the review, and a calm, polite and measured reply to a negative review can actually improve your overall chance of getting that message, phone call or visit.

3. A Google My Business listing helps with your SEO, so can bring you more business. It literally and figuratively puts you on the map, so people can get driving instructions to your place of business if you have one.

4. Collecting reviews, even at the risk of picking up a few bad ones along the way, is generally a good idea. If you were picking between a company that only writes reviews on their own website and have 5-star feedback or a company that has a 4.5 star average based on Google reviews, I’d pick the 4.5 star company – they’re confident enough about what they do to have a Google My Business listing, and that gives me confidence in them. Of course, that confidence does drop off somewhat if they have 30 or 40 reviews but average only a 2.5 star rating!!

If you don’t currently have a Google My Business listing and I’m hosting your website, get in touch – it normally only takes about half an hour at most to set up your listing, and it can really help get – and keep – your website on page 1 of the search engine listings.

Overall, I’d recommend a Google My Business listing!