Will Google My Business make my website rank in Google?
If you’ve seen the hype around Google’s new offering for Small Business, you might have been excited at the prospect of finally getting your website ranking on Page 1 of Google without navigating the often costly and confusing minefields most Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies present.
Google’s website promises to “Get your business on Google for free”. Indeed, their “sign up” button for new accounts even has the text “Get on Google” replacing the conventional “Register an account” – but is the service all it’s cracked up to be?
Like Business Pages for Facebook, Google+ Profile pages have been available for business owners looking to engage with their customers for several years now. Both will allow you to create a page with your Business name, logo and location, as well as list operating hours and services offered. Much like Facebook, Google encourages businesses to regularly upload photos and posts to engage their customers, as well as allowing customers to post reviews and ratings of the business for other potential customers to see. The resulting business listing page no doubt has potential to include some very useful information for new and existing customers of the business and while someone searching the company name in the business directory’s search-engine may yield results, getting the business page to rank in Google’s main Search Engine Results is another thing altogether…
Actually, getting the My Business page to rank for keywords related to your industry which potential new customers are more likely to search for (not just your direct business name, which new customers will not yet know) is even more difficult…
And… Getting your actual website (not the My Business page) to rank for keywords related to your industry by just creating a Google My Business page is near to impossible…
Your new local business directory
With My Business, Google have tried to streamline their older offerings into one package, by way of combining your Google+ business Profile page, Google Places and Google Maps into one listing that will allow customers searching in your local area to find relevant businesses more easily. There’s a few problems from a marketing point of view with this approach however – The first is many businesses service several areas and it’s difficult to control this aspect unless you have multiple business locations (something small businesses do not often have). This means you’re pretty much limited to displaying your business page in the suburb it’s listed under.
The other frustrating aspect about being listed in a business directory by suburb, is when the suburb your business is based in is known to potential customers by several variations… For example, a boutique bakery/cafe in Bondi Beach is not necessarily going to display for those searching in North Bondi, Bondi, Rosebay, Eastern Suburbs or even for searches with “Sydney” as the location (Google will tend to list businesses with a suburb listed as “Sydney” – I.E. the CBD area – first). I guess if you’re a small bakery then you may only want local customers that pass by on foot and frequent you suburb – that’s clearly why Google is pitching My Business to the Small Business segment – the trouble with this approach though, is most businesses who want to advertise online want to increase their marketing and target new customers, with a reach further than their suburb or city limits.
The other challenge comes back to good old competition… with reportedly over 340 million monthly active users on Google+ (source) it’s getting harder for businesses to rank highly in Search Results even within the Google My Business directory and even within a local suburb.
What if your business is so niche and unique that there aren’t many others like it online? Will it rank highly in business listings? Probably, but it would probably do just fine in the main Search Results of Google too, where a great deal more potential customers are searching. If it’s not niche, you’ll no doubt need to compete using Google Reviews and other My Business tools to battle your competition to higher ranks. Putting SEO resources into optimising your website and getting it to rank instead is are arguably a better tactic, with higher potential for ROI. A Google My Business page is actually a good addition to a well optimised website as part of an overall, healthy SEO campaign.
It’s all just a tad misleading…
Ultimately, My Business will likely be a great local business directory to replace services like Yellow Pages and TrueLocal, but not as a tool in and of its own to get your business website listing on Google’s main Search Results around the country.
So yes, Google are telling the truth when their website’s call-to-action proudly states business owners can “Get [their] business on Google for free”, but the question is what are they getting on Google (a business listing, not their own website)… and arguably even more important where on Google is it being displayed? In this business owners might be left feeling a little misled.
To answer my initial question in the headline: “Will Google My Business make my website rank in Google?” the answer is sadly “no”, unless the business is performing other ongoing SEO work to compliment it.