The information that businesses record on the Google My Business (GMB) platform is presented daily to millions of people worldwide through the multiple services that Google has put at our disposal. Services like Google Search and Google Maps are familiar platforms for millions of users who are looking for local businesses, services, or products to fulfill a specific need that they have at any given moment.
Searching for local businesses is one of the most common actions that we perform on the Internet. Google Search and Google Maps are among the most popular services for performing these searches. Google introduced the ability to search for local businesses many years ago in a move to complement their popular search engine and to capture some of the traffic that was, for the most part, reserved for the main players in the business listings space, such as yellowpages.com and infospace.com, among others.
During the past few years, Google has been improving and adding new features to its search platform, including new tools to make it easier for people to find local businesses. Business owners have also benefited from the progress that Google has made in this area, and they rely on GMB to connect with current clients and with prospective clients who are looking for their specific local services or products.
While GMB is the only tool that business owners use to manage their business listings on Google, that information is presented in multiple ways, depending on what users are trying to find, where they are located, and which Google service users are using.
Google Search continues to hold the number one position in the market among search engines. Google started including information about local businesses as part of the regular searches that people performed over a decade ago. Over time, Google has refined how it presents that information in the result pages, and it has also integrated GMB information with other Google Search features, such as their Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) product.
According to a study conducted by BrightLocal of over 45,000 businesses across various industries in 2017-18, 75 percent of Google My Business (GMB) listing views were on Google Search, and 25 percent were Google Maps views.
Here are the main sections on Google’s search result pages where business information is being presented to the user.
Google Local Results
These are the business listings that often show up when searching on Google. They are normally placed between the top paid ads and the organic results (although sometimes there are a few organic results above them).
Google incorporates information from GMB listings into the result pages. This feature adds value to the result pages.
This is the information panel that appears on the upper right side of the result pages when searching for a specific business. The Knowledge Graph includes details about the business that mainly come from what is recorded through the GMB platform. Additionally, Google will often aggregate information from other sources to complement the information for the user.
This is a service that is separate from Google Search and provides different functionality, since it was primarily built to find and get directions to local businesses. When you use this tool to search for a specific business or for businesses providing a specific service or product, Google Maps uses the information from GMB to show you the details of the business or business type for which you are searching. Google Maps incorporates features to make it easier for people to arrive at those businesses, such as driving directions and traffic information, and to view other similar businesses.
Google Ads (Local Extension)
Information from GMB listings can also appear as part of Google Ads when using “Local Extensions” as part of a campaign. There are multiple places where Google Ads are displayed, and the “Local Extensions” rely on the information from GMB.
Ads on Google Search
These are the ads that appear at the top of Google Search before any of the local and organic results. When a local extension is in use, the ad text will show the address information and a location marker.
Ads on the Local Pack
The ads listed on the local pack on Google Search also use information from the GMB platform.
Ads on Google Local Finder
You can also find ads that use GMB data on the local finder tool. This tool is accessible by clicking on the “More places” option in the local pack results on Google Search.
Ads on Google Maps
Ads also appear on the Google Maps tool.
Other Worthy Mentions
While Google Search and Google Maps are the most popular tools to find businesses, there are other Google tools that also make use of the GMB information. Here are some worthy mentions:
With voice search increasing in popularity and use on multiple devices, such as cell phones and digital assistants, you can now find businesses by using speaker products, such as Google Home.
Google Earth also shows information from GMB.
Waze is a map service, owned by Google, for obtaining optimal driving directions to a specific address, given real-time traffic conditions. GMB listings are available when searching on Waze for a business, a service, or a product. For example, these are the results for the search “Immigration Lawyer in San Jose, CA”.
These are some of the most popular Google services that benefit from the GMB data. Each service leverages this information to provide a better user experience and to incorporate new functionality that adds value to each service’s main purpose.
At Justia, we can help you with GMB and let you know how new and current features could be useful to your specific business. Contact us today if you are interested in getting help with your GMB listing.