How to analyze and optimize your Google My Business listing performance with Alexander Silén

In this podcast episode, we catch up with Alexander Silén to learn how to make the most of your Google My Business profile.

You'll learn

  • Why you should care about your Google My Business listing
  • How to analyze your listing performance
  • What metrics you should pay attention to

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Hello, Alexander, and welcome to the show.


Hello, Anna. Thank you so much. I’m super happy to be here.


It’s super awesome to have you, and I remember when we were discussing the topic first, I already got super excited about it. So the topic for today is going to be Google My Business, and Alexander’s company is focused on Google My Business analytics, and we’re going to dive deeper into how companies can implement the insights they get from Google My Business. So my first question to you, Alexander, is why is a well-performing Google My Business page so important, and what kind of companies can benefit from it?


Thank you. That’s a great first question for this session. I mean, if we start by quickly explaining what a Google My Business profile is as a concept, so for those that aren’t familiar with it. So Google My Business profiles are the small information boxes that appear on Google search and Google Maps with basic information, reviews, the location, addresses, and so on. And they are highlighting where a store is located, what they offer, and as I said, both connected to Google Search and Google Maps. And if we look at the purpose of a Google My Business profile, we have to quickly look into the use cases. So today, it shouldn’t come as a surprise for many of you that people are lazy. They want to make decisions fast. They want to get the answer to their questions really fast.

So when you search for services, products, or businesses on Google today, GMB profiles are appearing in most searches before the results of their organic website on Google. So if you ask a Google user, for instance, to search for a restaurant nearby, carwash, a grocery store, or even a lawyer, Google is showing the local results of businesses offering what you are searching for by showing GMB profiles or businesses nearby. So Google has also understood that people are lazy. They want the results fast. And for this purpose, a Google My Business profile fits in really well.

And for businesses today, answering your question now, why is a well-performing Google My Business listing so important, as people are searching for local businesses, GMB profiles appear first. So for businesses, to get these leads from those searching for you nearby, you have to have a really well-performing Google My Business profile. There has to be everything in order, all the basic information from opening hours to name to address, to also utilizing all of the other opportunities that Google My Business profile has from posts offers and so on. So you’re catching those local leads and getting that foot traffic, getting those people that are searching for your kind of businesses and your services nearby.


Awesome, and I really love how you highlighted the fact that actually, Google My Business results appear before search results so it’s absolutely crucial for any type of company to optimize this page, especially if that’s a store. And now, if we can talk more about the customer’s journey and how people transition from online to offline. So how would GNB data support this transition, and what are all these different stops within that journey?


Yeah, again, a great question. In the Google My Business data, the most important metrics that we are looking at are our views, searches, actions, and reviews. To highlight how you can visualize the customer journey by looking at these metrics. You can see that, for instance, views on Google My Business are divided into views on search and views on maps, and these are how many times people have seen your Google My Business profiles. Then we have the searches that are how many people have ended up in your profile by searching on Google. Then we have actions, how many people have visited your website, clicked on direct requests, or called you from the Google My Business profile. And when we start from here, mapping out the customer journey on GMB, we can see that in most situations, a client need is emerging, a person starts to search for that on Google to fill that need.

And obviously, as I said, first, a Google My Business profile appears, and if you want to get those leads, you have to be visible in those searches. So we can see from there that the customer journey, first you have to be seen. That is what Google My Business profile is filling, a well-optimized one.

Then from the going into the thinking perspective, obviously, there is something in the Google search, something called the local pack that is appearing in the Google search results. That is three businesses that are matching your need the best in that area, so you have to be relevant in those searches and be ranking in the local pack. And then, if we go into the thinking phase of a customer journey, there are many different businesses, and you have to be chosen from those options. We can see in the thinking? As the thinking phase, you can look at how many interactions your Google My Business profile gets, so how many views your pictures get, how many views your posts get, how many clicks you get, product clicks to your website through UTM tags in a Google My Business profile, all of these are part of the thinking phase.

Then we can see obviously the conversion phase from doing. The do phase is there in this framework. We have website visits, clicks, direct requests, messages in your Google My Business profile. So then the client is already in the deep. They’re making a decision of visiting your business or having an interaction with you. And then obviously the after-sales, the care part, answering reviews or asking for reviews from a client. So Google My Business is kind of covering the whole customer journey in a sense here.


Awesome. I love it, and I really love how you have broken it down by phase, and you highlighted which specific metrics businesses should pay attention to. So another thing I was really curious about, now that you have all that data, so searches, reviews, views, actions, which also can be many different types of actions, how would you analyze this data depending on the industry, for example, e-commerce or any other industry? Are there any tips you could give? What should marketers pay attention to?


That’s a perfect one. We have clients across many different industries. The most important of those are car dealerships, grocery stores, retailers, restaurants, cafes, also the public sector, which wants to control their Google My Business and Google Maps and get data from there. And the kind of value of Google My Business and the Google My Business data is very different depending on these industries.

So if we go in first into, let’s say, a car dealership, they are most interested in the leads they get from the Google My Business profile in the local search, and the leads can be measured in, for instance, Google My Business messages, calls they get from the Google My Business profile or even through UTM tagging, test drives that people can for instance book from their website and so on. So those are the most important metrics for a car dealership.

Then we have restaurants that have completely different metrics. They want to look at conversions. So, for instance, table bookings from a Google My Business profile, direction requests, then we have. For instance, Google just actually introduced the booking tab to Google My Business insights so restaurants can actually see their stable bookings from GMB. It’s still in a testing phase there, but it’s rolling out at this exact time.

Yeah, the directory requests are super important to track for restaurants as they can measure how many people they get from the local search to their restaurants through Google My Business. And this is actually specifically measuring new customers as direction requests are mostly seen as new customers. Both me and you, Anna, I think we wouldn’t use direction requests if we knew where a place is, right? But if it’s new to us, then we are searching for requests, so that’s important.

Then for retailers, again, looking at the Google My Business products because the trend here is that most people are starting to search more for products locally and the inventory stocks of different businesses locally. So what retailers want to measure is how the GMB products, the data in the GMB product is performing, and through UTM tagging, also seeing how many clients, for instance, go from the Google My Business product into the website and to the right landing page, and measuring that part. So they can measure the impact of a product in local search.

And as a last one, maybe grocery stores, they often want to track with our clients. We often track offers, posts, also direction requests here because, at least in the Nordics, grocery store offers are super important to highlight in the local search, and that is getting customers into the stores. A lot of people are searching for offers locally.


It’s super amazing to know that Google is developing these solutions for marketers to use GMB data to analyze offline sales. And my next question would be, now that you mentioned there was lots of data and lots of data to analyze for each industry, depending on the business, what are the typical mistakes marketers make while analyzing GMB listings performance? Because I’m sure that it’s quite challenging given the amount of data one has to analyze.


Exactly. You are very, very right and spot-on on that. It’s definitely a challenge that we have also been faced with, especially from the feedback from marketers that it’s difficult to analyze GMB data. There’s actually a lot of pitfalls that I could go through here. First, we’ve seen that many marketers want to see website visits as a good conversion from many different places. I think that’s a good thing in many situations. Still, in Google My Business, a decrease in website visits might not actually be a bad thing because we’ve seen that it tells the story that people get the information from Google My Business. They don’t have to visit your website anymore. So actually, you are serving your customers better as long as your website visits are going down.

This is not the case in all situations. For some clients and in some situations, it’s actually relevant to aim to increase website visits, but when people have to cross-reference your opening hours and addresses and phone number from the websites because they don’t trust your Google My Business profile, you have a problem. And when you start optimizing and doing work on your Google My Business profile, we see in many cases that, actually, website visits go down.

A second one, I would say that maybe not a pitfall, but a tip to look at is that direction requests are often a mark of new clients because, as we said before, people who have been at your location don’t generally take direction requests there anymore. So perceive direction requests as new clients. That’s good practice.

Then looking into searches, the searches in Google My Business are also interesting to look at from a marketer’s perspective. For instance, looking at and dividing them into direct searches and discovery searches and analyzing the direct searches and discovery searches separately. Because if you see that your business has got much more direct searches for the last month, for instance, locally in a certain area for a specific location, you can cross-reference that with increasing your local brand awareness and looking at the reasons why these have happened because then you are doing something locally really well in maybe other channels and so on.

Then we also look at the discovery searches again. It’s interesting to see because discovery searches are telling how many people are finding your business from categorical searches that are not direct searches searching for your business name. So they are finding your business by searching. For instance, if you’re a coffee cafe, they search for coffee nearby and end up on your profile. So if these are also increasing, that’s interesting to see because then you can also see that you’re getting more new clients that didn’t know about you before if these searches are increasing.

And then the last thing and the last good golden tip here is to look at Google Posts. I would say that it’s important not to get fooled by the number of views in Google Posts. They are getting fewer views than Facebook and Instagram views, but people are generally very much longer in the buying phase in the customer journey when faced with Google Posts. So Google Posts have a huge impact on the customer since they are already interested in your business. And when they are faced with Google Posts, they are already interested in your business and have a higher conversion or higher impact and a better conversion possibility there if they see this post.


Fantastic. I really loved the level of detail in your tips, and now if the listeners want to learn more about you, where can they find you.


They can find me both on LinkedIn. Definitely, I’m very active there. So you can send me a message on LinkedIn, or you can find me by sending me a message on [Alexander.Mobald@io 00:17:15] and I’m super happy to discuss more. And if you need any help with Google My Business or Google My Business data, we are very happy to have a discussion.


Fantastic. Thank you so much for coming to the show, Alexander.


Thank you for having me, Anna.

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