Have you tried googling your business recently? Isn’t it helpful to your customers that they are immediately able to access your businesses’ location, hours of operation, contact number, website link, and other customer reviews? This was a dream for every local business to make a killer digital display. How did it turn into a reality? With the introduction of Google My Business.
Understanding Google My Business
Google My Business was introduced as a free tool that gave business owners more control over what shows in the search results when people look up their business. This way, Google allowed business owners to verify their own data by creating a new profile or claiming an existing auto-generated profile. It helped local businesses to generate leads by feeding information in the local pack and Google Maps search results.
A Google My Business profile comprised information that had to be submitted, such as the services provided, contact details, category, and working hours. The other features such as QandAs, Google Reviews were submitted by customers.
Adding services and charges to Google My Business
Recently, Google sent out a survey to a few businesses to understand if they were ready to pay for Google My Business, a feature that was freely available and accessible until now.
The survey focused on how often a local business paid to advertise online, whether the advertising was organized by the business itself or through an agency and what was the monthly advertising budget for the business.
If the paid update of Google My Business is implemented, Google will spruce up your listing with new features such as authenticated reviews, option to remove ads, company background checks, verifications, advanced map pins and adding a video to your profile, etc.
Another highlight, according to the survey, was that Google might charge a business between $10 and $70 per month to be listed in its local search results. The charges will be based on the features that a business opts for.
Choosing Google My Business over traditional advertising
Unlike traditional advertising (email communication or newspaper), local SEO helps businesses reach potential customers. This makes local SEO practical as well as cost-effective. A prominent part of local SEO is making your Google My Business profile as current and accurate as possible so that it has higher chances of appearing in the local pack. On the other hand, the submitted information should be trustworthy and attractive to get a clickthrough. A survey conducted by comScore, Neustar Localeze, 15 Miles suggests that:
- 96% of desktop/laptop owners conduct local searches
- 46% of all Google searches are local
- 64% of local customers use search engines and directories as their main way to find local businesses
Implementing Google My Business in your SEO strategy
If Google decides to levy charges on Google My Business, it would definitely generate a lot of revenue for them. However, this change will transform into a requirement, rather than an add-on service. This would mean all businesses will have to pay for this feature and will need to make room for some extra budget to enter the Google listing.