Is it best to spend time on building a small business website or a Google My Business listing? You may feel you do not have the time and resources to focus on both.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy as failure to have one will impact on the results you can expect from the other. Let’s first assume you decide to concentrate on a Google My Business listing.
Google My Business
Research shows that 85% of consumers search for local businesses online (source). Worldwide over 80% of all organic website traffic is generated by Google. According to Advanced Web Rankings, 67% of clicks go to the first five listings on Page 1 Google.
To be clear, if you only have the time to put into either a website or Google My Business then in our opinion it is best to spend that time on a Google My Business listing. Why? Even if you have a website and you manage to ensure it ranks at a high position on page 1 of the SERPS it will still be below the Google My Business panel.
A quick view of the first page of Google for any location based search phrase (for example wedding flowers in Nottingham) will show a Google My Business panel immediately following the Ads. In each panel, Google usually displays several local businesses. The first three businesses listed have a red pin showing their location on the map while others show as a red dot.
Which local businesses are included in the Google My Business panel and their relative positions are decided by a Google algorithm. The algorithm is based on many factors. One of which relates to the business website (more on that below)
Google My Business And Website Integration
A prominent position in the Google my Business listing pack delivers a position near the top of the page with an obvious link to the business website. For many small businesses with websites languishing down on page 2 of the search engine results pages (or below) this is a real bonus. The Google my Business listing effectively delivers a page 1 presence for the website.
So if it is possible to achieve a position towards the top of Page 1 of the Google search results in a specific geographic area with an effective Google My Business listing why have a website at all? There are three main reasons
- Impact on Google my Business listing ranking
What is a prospect going to do when they first find a potential supplier online? If they have any initial interest they are going to check the business out. If there is no website is that going to raise suspicions? Is the business real? Are they a credible supplier?
Although testimonials and reviews available on a Google my Business listing are powerful they cannot deliver the same level of credibility as appropriate content published regularly on a website.
A proportion of prospects will find a business and make contact immediately but a much larger proportion are likely to make multiple visits over an extended period of time before making a decision.
A Google my Business listing is effective in securing enquiries from those ready to make an immediate decision but it has limitations when it comes to building a longer term relationship.
Finally, it is important to consider what factors Google considers when ranking one business above the next in the Google My Business listing. Proximity to the centre of the location used in the search is almost certainly one but there are many more.
If a business has no website or a website that ranks low down on the search engine ranking pages does it affect the position of their listing in the Google My Business panel? In our view yes it probably does but to what extent is open to debate.
There is little doubt a Google My Business listing is a quick and relatively easy way to quickly obtain a page 1 listing on the search engines. When used in conjunction with a locally optimised website and best practice content and search engine marketing then more sales leads can be expected to follow.