A recent study by BrightLocal yielded valuable insights on the importance of having your business on Google My Business (GMB) listings. GMB is a tool that helps businesses rank high in local searches and Map findings. We highlight some of the inferences from the research.
Improve Visibility and Conversion Rates
The research indicates that 83% of the listed businesses get discovered 25 times every month, while the top 34% have over 1000 monthly views. Most of the finds are through discovery searches rather than direct searches. Discovery searches are general searches under business categories while direct searchers look for specific brands. Direct searches registered strong growth, while discovery searches have only made modest growth. The growth in direct searches is attributable to an emerging trend where consumers use the GMB to gather information about a particular business. Therefore, listing your business on the GMB improves its visibility to local customers.
However, direct searches are more likely to lead to a purchase decision than discovery searches as they attract lesser competition than the latter. The search data indicate a trend where businesses that are rarely used lead in discovery searches while those that are used regularly or require informed buying decisions record high direct searches. The visitors click on a site if it has a high volume of positive ratings and ranks high in the search results. Therefore, businesses have an imperative to improve their rankings by having positive reviews on review sites and forums and interacting with the reviewers.
The Growing Importance of Google Maps
The research indicates Google Maps are increasingly becoming valuable search tools for certain segments of customers. A third of the average monthly searches for all businesses are through Maps. While search continues to dominate most industries, maps are a valuable tool for hospitality clients. It is also notable that the UK is a leader in site finds using Map with 32% of the visits done through maps. The researchers attribute this trend to the high proportion of direct searches for UK businesses compared to other countries in the sample. Moreover, firms with photos of their facilities on the Maps receive more visitor call than those without photos.
Firms in the hospitality business have an incentive to enhance their Map rankings with photos as they take the lion share of views from Maps. Typically, customers find a location on the map and call for directions. Managers of Hotels, restaurants and bars would do well to recruit full-time customer care staff to guide clients to their facilities or even send a cab to pick them.
What Does This Mean to Your Businesses Online Presence?
It is clear that Google My Business is an important part of the digital marketing mix for businesses targeting local customers. There is an incentive for firms to list on the GMB and boost their rankings as top-ranked businesses are likely to extract the most value from these listings through conversions and repeat business. Finally, hospitality businesses can boost their Map rankings as a way of increasing conversions.