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Welcome to our three-part series on Google Search for Businesses! We’ll share the whole series over the next week. Stay tuned for more!

If you’re a business owner, you’ve likely set up a Google business listing at some point. And if you’re a franchise owner, you know this process all too well! Your current business info on Google is not only the #1 source for your customers in finding your business and affecting your bottom line, but did you know that your franchise listings also serves as a bullhorn to other business sites?

How your Google franchise listings and online aggregators can affect your business

An aggregator refers to a web site or computer software that aggregates, or collects information on a specific type of information from multiple online sources. For example, you might see listings for you company on sites like Manta or City Search.  And they pull your business info over to their site.

So, let’s say when you put in your Google franchise listing info you made a typo on the phone number or address, but don’t realize it until a few weeks later. By then, aggregators have likely scraped the bad phone number/address and listed it on their sites. And now you have a mess on your hands because you’ll have to try and fix the Google problem, then address the others. A good rule of thumb is to go in and “claim” each listing from the get-go so you have the power to to put in the correct info. And yes, that should be done for every franchise location. 

The phone/address issue is just one example of how strongly your Google My Business info impacts your business. If a customer can’t reach you due to an incorrect phone number, or they can’t find your physical location, you will probably never see that customer because they found another business to go to. And for your franchises, that means revenue loss. The more locations you have, the more pertinent it is to be sure each location is up to date. You want to be sure that when a customer searches “nearby” they are actually led to the closest location.

google my business searchGoogle checks several sources to verify your business info, searching for consistency. Here are just a few:

From search to customer visit

Now let’s back up a bit and talk about how Google search works for businesses, and the current statistics on how we are searching online in this day and age.

  • There are now more than 60 trillion (yes, you read that right) pages on Google.
  • Each day there are roughly 3.5 billion searches – and half of them are on a mobile device.
  • 30% of those searches are local, meaning individuals are searching for a local business or service.
  • 60% of “nearby” searches lead to in-store purchases. That could be anything from a restaurant to gasoline or a grocery store to a dry cleaner. (If you’ve ever taken a road trip and weren’t paying close attention to the gas gauge, you’ve used this feature)
  • 28% of those nearby searches have a greater chance to visit the business if found via mobile search (folks who are on the go, usually).
  • 90% of nearby Google searches lead to a visit within a day (nice!)

List your services, products and amenities

Are you double checking your Google listings yet? You should be. In fact, it’s important to review your listings on a regular basis, add new photos and stay on top of online reviews (more about that later). This can take a good amount of time for a business with several locations, so it’s smart to have one person in charge of this to ensure consistency.

Optimizing your listings can also help lead customers to your locations. Be sure to list out your services and products. Do you have any amenities like WiFi or a patio? Do you serve alcohol or offer gluten-free menu options? All of these items should be included in your profile for those narrowing their search. Remember when you used voice search to find a nearby happy hour on a patio?
90% of nearby Google searches lead to a visit within a day (nice!) Click To Tweet

To speak for your business, or let others speak for you?

The moral of the story is – if you don’t claim your free Google My Business listing, Google will turn to other data to try and fill in the gaps. And even when you think you’ve got everything up to speed, you’ll need to go back and make adjustments to hours, new offerings, store closings, etc.

Remember: consumers begin forming their opinion of your business when they hit “search.” Be sure information is correct for all of your locations, your reviews look good and you will be set up for success.

Next week – Part 2: How Revenue and Google Analytics Tell a Bigger Picture for Franchises