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Is Google My Business Only For Local Businesses?

Exploring the utility and value of Google My Business for location-independent businesses

· SEO

For local businesses (cafes, restaurants, retail stores, local service businesses like tradespeople and hair/beauty salons) Google My Business is one of the most effective digital marketing platforms at your disposal.

In fact, if you're a locally-focused business and not using Google My Business, then you're leaving money on the table - it really is that simple. In fact, if you're a local business and you DON'T yet have Google My Business set up, then stop reading this article and go and make your profile today ... you won't regret it. 

But what about if your business isn't locally focused?

Is Google My Business only for local businesses? Or do other organisations that don't have a local sales focus have a good reason to use this platform as well?

In this article I'm going to walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of Google My Business for non-local businesses.

What Is A 'Non-Local' Business? 

To start, let's establish what I mean by a 'non-local' business.

Although your definition may differ slightly, in my view a non-local business is one that doesn't specifically require customers to be in their local area.

For example, a 'Software as a Service' business might have an office (which could be the GMB location) but customers generally won't be coming to your office - most of your sales might be made overseas. 

Basically, if the local component of your business activity isn't particularly important, then you have a non-local business.

This is in contrast to businesses like hairdressers, plumbers, cafes, restaurants, mechanics etc where your customers either need to be in your local area to go to your business, or you serve them. 

Is Google My Business Useful For Non-Local Businesses?

Yes, Google My Business does have benefits for non-local businesses.

Although it isn't as critical or as beneficial as for a local business, here are some of the reasons why GMB can be good for your non-local business:

  • Own your brand name - When a prospective customer searches your brand name (maybe they've seen an ad online and want to do more research, or have heard of you via word-of-mouth) you want to "own" the Google results for your brand name as much as possible. Having a GMB profile configured means you wind up controlling more space for your brand name, which is ideal. Basically, a GMB listing for your own brand name makes you look more credible and gives you more control about the information you display to prospective customers. 
  • Build trust - While many people are happy to buy from online-only businesses (especially in the 'post-Covid' world where we have all been forced increasingly online) many like to know that there is a physical presence to the digital business they are considering buying from. With a Google My Business listing, it's easy to demonstrate to prospective buyers your physical credentials, and give trust/confidence that you are a "real" business. For example if you run an eCommerce website but have your warehouse/HQ listed on Google My Business, that can inspire confidence that you aren't just running a dodgy dropshipping operation. 
  • Collect reviews - Another advantage of Google My Business for all business types is that you can use your listing to collect customer reviews. These reviews (provided they are positive) will help to build trust and credibility for your brand. Having positive, genuine reviews is great for your digital presence. 

Do You NEED Google My Business If Your Business Isn't Local?  

If you've been learning about SEO for your business, you might have seen some people say that a Google My Business listing is absolutely 100% essential.

I disagree.

If you are a non-local business you don't necessarily need to have a GMB listing.

For the reasons listed above it can be beneficial.

However, if you've got a home office for your non-local business - for example - and you'd rather keep your address private, then not having a GMB listing isn't critical.

I might catch some flak for this statement, but I do not believe that GMB is necessarily a "game changer" for non-local businesses.

If you run a conventional local business (store, cafe, tradie business etc) then it is something you must have in my view. 

Conclusion - Is Google My Business Only Good For Local Businesses?

To recap, Google My Business still has value and potential benefit for non-local businesses.

If you have a truly international business (such as the SaaS example I gave earlier) then the primary benefit is to use it as a trust-building and legitimacy/authenticity tool.

When a potential customer Googles your brand name, they will see your GMB listing.

If your profile is properly completed with good content - and especially if you have positive customer reviews to boot - then this can be beneficial in terms of building trust and enhancing your chances of converting a prospective new customer into a sale.

If there's some pressing reason why you don't want a GMB for your non-local business (e.g. you don't like the idea of having physical details listed) then you can get away with not having one. You might miss out on some benefit, but it's not mission critical.

Local businesses, on the other hand, need to have a GMB ... it's very important.

If you'd like advice or help with your Google My Business presence, then contact me and I'd be glad to walk you through how you can use this platform to grow your business online.

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