By Garrett Smith
It’s no surprise that the first place most customers turn when they need a snow contractor is the internet, particularly Google. After all, the search giant owns over 80% of the total online advertising market and is typically the largest online referrer of traffic to websites.
So it makes sense that if you are seeking great search visibility, and leveraging Google to grow your business, that you should be tapping into the tools provided by Google My Business (GMB). It’s a free service to help businesses manage their presence on properties such as Google Search and Google Maps. Think of it like your own homepage, or even website, on Google.
Over the years Google has changed how it displays search results, especially those for service businesses (such as snow and ice contractors). Today, Google prominently displays information taken directly from businesses’ GMB profiles at the top of their search results pages, also known as the Map and Local Pack. This means your GMB profile is key to having greater search engine visibility.
Google has also released numerous changes to GMB that expands what you can do with your profile...and gives you more tools than ever to market your business within its ecosystem.
The earliest versions of GMB feature profiles with basic images. Traditionally, Google has given businesses the ability to upload multiple pictures to showcase their location. Now you can upload videos about your company directly to your GMB profile. These videos can be accessed and viewed directly from your GMB profile and are a way to help personalize your business and better captivate new customers.
GMB has always been more than a static directory of businesses, but with its new Posts feature, your GMB profile can now be used to publish coupons, deals, events and services in text, or display video or photo content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google. This makes your listing more interactive and more likely to get a click from a potential customer.
Similar to its move with Posts, Google also enabled the ability for Google users to ask questions about a particular business on their GMB profile. They also give profile owners the ability to answer questions, allowing you to provide accurate details about your business, and engage with potential customers who are curious about your services.
Google has always provided business owners with data about the performance of their GMB listing, but over time has increased the amount of data to glean from your profile. Through a number of recent updates, profile owners can now see how many times their listing was viewed, keywords used by searchers, the number of clicks to their website, requests for driving directions and even inbound phone calls.
Expect Google to continue to use data from GMB profiles in their search engine results and to release new features that allow you to better market and enhance your profile. Ensuring you stay up to date (and are using the newest opportunities) with the changes to GMB is an important step in maximizing your efforts.
Garrett Smith is co-owner of WNY Snow Removal and founder of Pitch + Pivot, LLC. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.