What is Google My Business and why do you need it?

Google My Business is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your site in search results, yet many businesses fail to use it to its full potential. In this article, I’ll look at why small businesses should have a Google My Business listing, and why it’s worth taking the time and effort to make the listing as useful and effective as possible.

show face with Google My Business

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is essentially a local business listings service, and it’s widely used. For example, you’ll sometimes find listings for multinationals like Starbucks alongside local cafes and restaurants. The big guys may already have Google My Business listings, but every business has a chance of achieving a prominent listing if they get the basics right and deliver value to customers. You’ll see these listings on many Google searches, and your business can appear in different ways. Most obvious is a search for your business name. Here’s an example for The Irish Store, on a direct search for the brand name. The Google My Business listing appears on the right of the page.

Google My Business | That's It Media

If someone has searched for the business name like this, it’s probable that they’re looking for information about the store, and GMB listings can provide very quick answers. For example, they can see the address, opening hours and a contact number straight away, as well as a summary of reviews. There are images, and a link to directions – handy if the searcher is a few minutes’ walk away looking for a your store. So the searcher finds the details they need quickly, with the only potential drawback being that they have found the information in the listing rather than the business’ website. However, the benefits of the listing are likely to make up for any loss of web traffic. Besides, they’ll still click through for more detail on products. Another way a business GMB listing will appear in searches is for local searches on a business type. This is perhaps what makes GMB so powerful – these listings dominate the first page of search.

Why do you need a Google My Business listing?

If you’re doing business in any way, you need one of these. Here’s why…

Prominence in search results

As the example above for Relevant Records demonstrates, a listing can help your business to stand out in search results, and can help people to find your business, whether it’s online or offline. While listings will guarantee that you’ll appear in brand name searches, such a prominent position isn’t automatic for ‘business type’ results. This can depend on the level of competition in your local area for your business type, and factors such as review scores, but there are ways to maximise your chances. However, if you can get into the top three results, it’s a great way to drive people to your website or physical location.

Your competitors may be on it…or not

This could work in a couple of ways. Firstly, if your competitors have GMB listings, people are going to have to work harder to find your site in local searches. You’ll be less visible, and people will have to scroll down the search results page, past the more prominent GMB listings, to find your site. Having your own listing helps you to compete on a level playing field. However, if your competitors don’t have a GMB listing, this is a chance to gain an advantage. Your mobile and local search results will stand out more, and searchers will be more likely to see your listing.


Web users will now be accustomed to seeing these profiles, and it can lend some credibility to your business. The listings look professional and provide key information that helps people to decide whether you’re a credible business or not through address information and reviews for instance.

Reinforce your search presence

Even if you don’t have a physical store presence and you conduct business online, these listings still help your overall search presence. For example, an online store that doesn’t have a store or sells directly, the GMB listings which appear for brand searches help to improve our search presence.

It’s free and easy to set up a listing

A GMB listing has many potential benefits, and even a relatively basic listing can help to improve your search presence, so it’s worth setting one up. Indeed, if customers search for your business and don’t see a listing, that could be a problem in itself.

In summary

A Google My Business listing is a must for businesses of any size. It’s free, and it’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your visibility on search results. As the stats quoted here show, mobile search with local intent is becoming increasingly popular, and a GMB listing appears front and centre for mobile searches. To make the most of GMB listings though, it’s important to go beyond the basics and work to create a useful and eye-catching listing which will encourage searchers to visit your stores, your website, or get in touch with you. If you want to know more about the details of GMB, check out Google’s details info pages.

If you need help in setting it up, feel free to get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.

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