Yes, we know that’s a big statement. But it happens to be true. Why? Well, because Google is quickly moving to a mobile-first index, it seems that website or not, the Google Knowledge Panel results are morphing into a fully-formed mobile website, points out Street Fight. To back up just a bit, the Knowledge Panel in Google My Business refers to the box of information that appears to the right of the search results, whereby customers can learn about and contact home care businesses without having to go deeper into search. In order to show up in the Knowledge Panel, you have to have a Google My Business listing with relevant information.
That information is now going beyond the standard NAPW (name, address, phone, website) and hours of operation. Now, overviews, posts, and reviews can appear there, giving potential clients a pretty robust snapshot of your business before they even hit your website. That’s why GMB listings are more important than your website. The sheer fact that it pops up in local search first, front and center, chock full of useful tidbits about your business means it’s getting in front of more eyes than your website might. What appears in that box will determine whether someone clicks through to your actual website or decides to bypass the website altogether and just give you a call. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
Importance of Google My Business
About four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches, yet many small businesses have not claimed a single local business listing online, says Search Engine Land. Talk about a missed opportunity! Therefore, it’s vital that you claim your home care business on the Google My Business directory, which is totally free and gives you the kind of exposure that this search engine god is well known for. If you do it right, you’ll show up in Google’s local three-pack, which is essentially the top three local businesses that show up when you do a search. Not only is it showing fewer listings than it used to, it’s redesigned to fit more within the mobile user interface. This increases the competition even more.
The first step, if you haven’t already, is to set up your Google My Business page, where you’ll go through a verification process to ensure your business is legitimate. Then, you’ll have to optimize your GMB listing with an accurate description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted and other components that are customized to your business type. Don’t forget to upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services. The description must be complete and accurate in all places so as to be perfectly optimized and get you the results you need.
It’s also wise to gather and incorporate reviews. Here are some good stats that point to how important reviews are to your business, according to Moz:
- 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
- 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- Positive reviews encourage 73% of consumers to trust a local business even more
- 49% of consumers want to see at least a four-star rating before choosing a business
- 30% say the speed of review responses helps them decide on local businesses
- 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked
Why GMB Trumps Your Website
There are many reasons why you should view your GMB listing as even more critical to success than your own website or even Facebook page. Here are a few takeaways:
- Your Google My Business listing is the first touch point: Because your Google profile is the first thing prospective clients see, they don’t even need to venture beyond it to your website because they already have the critical information they need.
- Without a GMB profile, you’re missing out on potential home care clients.
- Such a profile makes you look prominent, credible and trustworthy in your area.
- Your reputation is on the line. Showing up vs. not showing up, or having four stars vs. five stars, can make all the difference in how you’re perceived by the public.
GMB listings are especially important when it comes to iPhones, as the Knowledge Panel and its CTAs dominate the first three screens, which is nearly 3,000 pixels of vertical screen territory before viewers arrive at the business website in the search results. That’s at least four to five scrolls, pushing the boundaries of viewer patience as it is.
Experts speculate that businesses will become less dependent on website content in the future thanks to the abundance of user-generated and business-contributed content. Tough to imagine a world in which your website will become significantly less relevant than it is today. Other experts don’t see this happening quite yet, as there is still a lot of value in owned content for search, positioning your business as being relevant for a given query as well as conversion in categories that require more thorough research.
Contact A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing
A Servant’s Heart Web Design and Marketing specializes in home care SEO and can help you position your business for strong local search results. Please call us at (760) 227-2720 to learn more.