In case you haven’t come across it before, Google My business is a free tool provided by Google to help businesses and organisations manage their online presence across Google, including things like Google Maps. For any business owner who relies on local search and local buyers for business, it’s an absolutely essential tool – and thankfully it’s very easy to set up. If you don’t have one already, I suggest you claim your listing today. And if you already have one – great! Especially since Google just announced yet another new feature for Google My Business listings – one that could make it even easier for small businesses to compete with big name companies on Google. It’s called Branded Search.
What Is Branded Search?
The branded search function is a new addition to the Google My Business insights page, a series of reports that tell you anything you want to know about your listing and its performance. It’s essentially an analytics dashboard for your business, and it’ really easy to view and use. And when you generate a report for ‘how customers search for your business’, in the insights page, you will see a new segment pop up in the graph called ‘branded searches’. You might be forgiven for thinking that this represents the number of times a customer typed in your business name directly, but you would be wrong. Instead, it covers customers who find your listing while searching for a bran related to your business. So for example, if you ran a fast-food business, a customer may have searched for ‘McDonalds’, but found your listing as well. If your listing has appeared in this kind of search at least once, then you will see the new segment appear in your insights graph.
How Is This Graph Worked Out?
The ‘how customers search for your business’ graph is arguably one of the most important reports that Google My Business Insights can generate for you. It does exactly what it says on the tin, but breaks down the way customers find you into 3 categories, like this.
Each of these sections is calculated in a slightly different way, and will show you something different about how your customers behave online.
Direct: This is the green part of your graph, and refers to the number of searches made for your business name or business address specifically. If your direct traffic number is looking very low, then it’s a sign you need to check that your listing is actually showing up when you type your business name into Google. If it isn’t, then you need to work out why, or contact a reputable Google My Business expert to help you bring it back online.
Discovery: This is the blue part of your graph, and arguably the most interesting. This shows you how many people found your listing when searching for a category, product or service, and can even give you details of what those searches were if you opt for granular detail. This covers any searches on Google search or Google maps, and will give you an insight into where your listing is being shown. For example, if you own a flower shop and someone discovers your business by typing ‘daisy bouquets near me’ into Google, then this would come under discovery.
Branded: And the new kid on the block, the yellow section. This will probably be your smallest section at the moment, and relates to customers who find your listing when searching for a brand related to your business. This shows you exactly how many people found the business on Google Maps and local searches when they were looking for a big brand. This is good, because each new number means someone clicked on your listing even though they were specifically looking for another brand.
Having this level of insight helps you as a business owner understand exactly how people are finding your business in local search. Ultimately it should feed back into your marketing plan, and help you improve the performance of your SEO by tweaking it to come in line with what real people are searching for.
At Ad-Extra, we help business owners navigate the minefield of Google and manage their Google My Business listings on a day to day basis. As well as publishing articles, changing opening hours and optimising your listings so they appear more often, we can create reports just like these to show you how your customers are finding you online, and make suggestions on how you could improve. To find out more about Google My Business management, just get in touch with the team today.