In a recent survey by Bright Local, their 2017 survey showed that “While visiting a business’ website remains the most common next step (37%), consumers are now more likely than before to get in touch directly. A significant 17% of consumers will now visit the business after reading positive reviews—a huge jump from 7% in 2016. And what’s more, 10% now contact the business as their next step—up again from 3%.” Yes mobile is taking over search – but does that mean you don’t need a website anymore?
Not at all. While Google My Business gives a consumer a lot of the information they are looking for – such as your hours, address, phone number, reviews, photos, a menu etc. – your website is key to your overall SEO strategy, brand building and consumer confidence.
Why You Need Google My Business
It’s Essential for Local SEO
Google My Business, Google mobile-first search and consumer mobile micro-moments might make you think a website isn’t necessary. Google is doing all it can to encourage consumers to engage directly with your business from the search results instead of going to the website.
Not only can you create a mobile-optimised Google My Business website for free, now ‘sit was possible to add action buttons, such as ‘get directions’, ‘message us’, and ‘call now’ to your free Google My Business website.
Want to know how long it will take to get a table at your favorite restaurant? Google My Business now shows wait time estimates on restaurant listings and allows menu descriptions such as ‘gluten free’ or ‘gluten friendly’ to be added.
Links for ‘make a reservation’ or ‘order online’ can now be part of your Google My Business listing, so it’s no longer necessary to visit the website to do this.
Last July Google added posts, allowing small business owners to share news and offers via their Google My Business listing. It’s yet another reason to not only skip te website visit, but allows the business to engage with users in search instead of on social media.
Menus & Services
For awhile, restaurants have been able to upload menus to their Google My Business listing – and now Google will now allow other businesses the same feature, allowing them to upload a list of their services.
Why You Still Need A Website
It’s Essential for Local SEO
It’s not impossible to rank high on Google search without a website but it’s so hard, why even try? Local SEO is vital for your business. Make it easier for customers to find you on search and use your website to help boost your local search results. And maybe even make it into the Google 3-Pack.
Your Customers Expect It
Yes I know we said that more consumers are skipping the website and taking action from search results – but the Local Search Association confirmed that most consumers expect you to have a website – and won’t do business with you if you don’t.
You Need It For Link Building
To get referrals, people need a web address to share with friends and family. A website for your business instills trust and is essential for listings in business directories.
Content, Content, Content
Your website is where you can keep your information fresh and communicate with your customers, helping to enhance your local search results. It helps you build internal and external links – the current currency of local search.
Your Website Is Your Brand
Usually it is the very first impression your brand will make on a potential customer. As a ‘virtual storefront’ you want to make as good a first impression as possible. This is where you have total control over your brand image and message.
A lot of consumers turn to social media for customer service help, a local business might not have the staff or the time to reply in a timely fashion. But with your website and an FAQ page or contact form, you can manage your customer service more effectively.
The End Result
You need to make sure you are giving both your attention – local SEO and mobile search, plus your responsive mobile website. If you do that, not only will you improve your local search results, you’ll see an increase in business as well.