June 22

Don’t Get a Website Until You Have a Google Business Listing


Don’t Get a Website Until You Have a Google Business Listing

Ads keep telling you that "A website makes it real" (at least they tell me that constantly).

Well, is that true? Not exactly.

These ads make it seem like your business isn't real until it's got its own website.

But for most SMBs, the reality is that your business is not "on the map" (in digital marketing terms) until it is quite literally on the map, on Google's map to be precise. Getting a Google My Business listing is how you get on Google's map and start getting discovered by local customers. It's the number one way to get more traffic (though it's not the only important step as I explain below).

So, how soon should I get a website for my business? Don't get a website before you get a Google My Business listing.

A website is an invaluable business tool, and it has a couple advantages over a Google My Business listing that I'll mention soon, but you seriously need to get your business listing before anything else.

Why you should get a Google Business listing first

The simple reason why you should get a GMB listing first is that it is the fastest, most effective way for an SMB to get lots of local web traffic. It's like having a billboard on people's phones when they look up keywords related to your service.

Here's an example for you.

Last year, True Marketing created a business site for a bouncy castle rental business, Bouncy Castle Rentals by Rod. We created a GMB listing for this business at the same time.

So now, about a year later, we've got some hard data to look at in terms of how both assets are performing. 

The result? The GMB listing significantly outperforms the website. The GMB listing got around 3500 views in a quarter, whereas the website got less than 1000 in twice that timeframe.

Website Traffic on Google Analytics

Google Analytics data for a business website

Traffic on Google My Business

Google My Business search traffic data

How do I get a Google My Business listing?

To get a Google My Business listing couldn't be easier. You got to business.google.com and hit "Manage now".

How do I get more views on my Google My Business listing?

There are three main ways to get more views on your Google My Business listing: reviews, citations, and photos.

How do I get more reviews on my Google Business listing?

To get more reviews, you will need to ask clients for them. This is best done right after you are completely finished with the work and they are very happy.

Alternatively, if they send you some indication of your good work, don't be shy about asking if you can quote them on what they said in a testimonial for your website.

To make it extra easy, you can generate a special link from your GMB dashboard that enables people to go right to the review page for your listing. Getting this link generated can be a bit hit-or-miss, but the simple way is to just copy this link and insert your own GMB short name.

Here's how it works:

Find out what your short name is (or set it in case it's not created). In the GMB dashboard, look under the @ sign to see what your short name is. It will be a single word, all lowercase, beginning with an "@".

True Marketing's short name is @truemarketingcanada.

To get your review link, just add it into this link: http://g.page/[YOUR SHORT NAME HERE]/review

So True Marketing's link looks like this: http://g.page/truemarketingcanada/review.

Send this review link to clients to make it super easy for them to leave you a review. By the way, if you're finding this article helpful, why not take a moment to leave us a review? It takes only two clicks (the first one being that link in the previous paragraph)! Thanks for supporting us!

What are citations and how do they benefit my Google Business listing?

A citation is a link or reference to your site around the web. You can go to a number of places and list your website—and your GMB listing is in fact your first and most important citation.

Other important ones you won't want to miss are:

  • Facebook business page
  • Twitter account​
  • LinkedIn account​
  • Yelp listing
  • Apple Maps
  • Bing for Business
  • Any others you can find!

These citations are important and help boost your listing's rankings in search and map results for your area, as they confirm for Google's algorithm that you are a real business with a real, physical presence in the world.

What kind of photos should I upload to my Google Business listing?

This one is easy to answer: you can add any photos that are even tangentially related to your business.

Got a snapshot of your office? Upload it. Office dog? Upload it. Home office dog? Sure. Just label the photo appropriately so people know why they are seeing Rufus on their map results.

The only thing you need to know is that these photos must be original. Non-original photos simply don't benefit you at best, and put your listing in jeopardy for copyright issues at worst.

TLDR; upload original photos related in some way to your business.

Why you should still get a website after you create your GMB

There are two main reasons you should still get a website (after you've finished setting up your Google My Business listing of course): 

  1. Your website is completely under your control. Anyone who owns their own business knows that relying on vendors may be necessary, but it can also be a pain. When you don't control an asset someone else can just turn it off, sometimes for less-than-great reasons, sometimes for no reason at all. Owning your own website means you get to call the shots.
  2. Your Google My Business might get suspended. This almost always comes as a shocker to people when it happens, but Google calls the shots with your business listing. If they change their algorithm and your listing gets dinged for some reason—any reason at all—it's a bit of a process to reinstate your Google My Business listing, and sometimes reinstatement doesn't even happen (though this is rare when it's a genuine mistake on their part).

Getting a business website is literally as easy as calling us up and telling us what kind of site you want, and then sitting back and letting us do the magic. You don't pay until your site is done and ready to rock! With True Marketing you can get a new business site starting at $50/month. To compare our packages, hit the button below, and thanks for reading!

If you have any questions or comments about this post's topic, share them in the comments below!

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About the Author

I'm a PhD student, author, teacher, and problem solver. When I'm not writing and building my business, I like reading, spending time with friends and family, drawing, renovating houses and building stuff, and other fun things like that.

Ryder Wishart

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