Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform associated with Google released in June 2014 that catalogs local business profiles. A business profile includes things like:
- The name of your business
- Your business address
- Contact information
- Website URL
- A Description
- Questions and Answers
- Media (photos, videos, posts)
So, if it came out in 2014, why are we still talking about it now?
Claiming your business on GMB and optimizing your profile is one of the easiest ways to gain web traffic and customers, and yet 53% of local retailers haven’t even claimed their listing.
Image Source: https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors
Google is the king of search, and local SEO (tapped into by GMB) is the most prevalent form of SEO. But with all the information that’s out there about how to optimize your content and platforms, with no real evidence that they actually influence your ranking, is it really worth doing?
In the spirit of simplicity, let us offer the following advice on how to cash in on GMB without spending tons of time on factors that may or may not even influence your rank:
Claim Your Business and Create Your Profile
The most simple and yet effective way to boost your search ranking is just to create or claim your business profile on GMB so that when users are searching for your or your service, your information is out there.
One of the most common ranking issues on GMB is having duplicate listings, so before starting a new profile, it’s crucial to search GMB first to see if your business already has a listing. If someone has already claimed your listing (and it’s not someone who should have), follow these steps to contest ownership.
To set up your business, you’ll need to include some basic information such as the business name, description, address, and contact information. You’ll verify your business address by postcard in the mail. This ensures that your business is legitimate and should only take about 5 days.
Google’s local pack assumes the searcher’s intent is local unless they specify otherwise. Typically, a search includes the name of the company and the location and shows three business listings with a map, though you can click “view all” to see more.
Optimize Your Profile
Be sure to enter complete and accurate data while including keywords where they’re appropriate. Stuffing keywords is frowned upon by Google, and the attributes category was actually added to give businesses a chance to highlight more specifically what they offer. There’s no need to overwork yourself here—just be clear and to the point.
Treat your business description like any other piece of content. Write from the perspective of highlighting the problems you solve for your customers rather than focusing on the brand image of the business. For example, talk about your services and why they matter rather than how long you’ve been in business and your mission statement.
Accuracy is incredibly important to your SEO on GMP. If your business name, address, or phone is inconsistent with what’s listed on your website or incorrect, your ranking will be affected. In fact, consistency with this data is the #1 cited ranking issue among businesses according to Search Engine Land.
Along with filling out the basics, including photos is likely to increase the activity on your profile. According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos. This is no different than SEO for your website or social media, for example.
Follow Google Places Guidelines and Consult Your Dashboard
It’s possible that guideline violations may be causing more ranking issues than can be gathered by data because it’s difficult to trace.
Become intimately familiar with the guidelines and what violations can cause your listing to be removed or penalized. GMB has an extensive volunteer support platform that you can use to ask about problems with your listing if you’re concerned about a violation, or you can also speak directly with Google.
GMB’s dashboard (Insights) can also provide really helpful information for your SEO plans such as whether searches landing on your page were direct or through discovery, or whether they were done through search or maps. You can also get information about where customers are based gathered from their direction queries, what actions they take on your page, and the number of calls or messages as well as what time of day they typically happen.
The information gathered from your GMB listing could be helpful for your SEO and digital marketing strategy with other platforms as well.
Post and Update Regularly
The key to SEO is doing whatever it takes to get your business on the front page of search results—75% of people will never scroll past that first page. Sometimes businesses underestimate the power of posting regularly on GMB because posts only last for 7 days or less, but regular posting increases your chances of placing in the top 3 business listings for a search term (the Google local 3-pack) which is the front page of search results.
Google posts can be used to highlight upcoming events, new products and services, and recent company updates. They can include text, photos, gifs, and even call-to-action buttons that can contain inbound links.
They do have to be regular to be effective, but they don’t have to be long or complex (and in fact, they shouldn’t be!). A regular post could take you as little as 5 minutes per week.
Interact with Your Profile
Using GMB to reach your target audience and create a connection with them is ultimately what’s going to draw in clients. While some platforms discourage businesses from directly asking for reviews, GMB actually encourages it. Generating as many reviews as possible and responding to those reviews (especially negative ones!) Shows that you’re active, professional, and care about the image of your business.
It’s also a good idea to set up the messaging feature on GMB. SMS has been shown to generate a higher response rate than mobile advertising for purchases, appointments booked, and apps downloaded.
Setting up the feature is as easy as inputting a phone number and verifying it with a text message code. You can even turn it on and off as needed and update the phone number it’s linked to. Keep in mind that an average response time will be generated based on how long it takes you to respond to inquiries that will be included on your listing.
Remember, SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. Google and other search engines are moving towards algorithms that value conciseness, accuracy, quality content, and good customer service above all else. A GMB listing is just another way for you to make yourself available to potential clients and connect with them on a local level.
Do you need assistance optimizing your webpages? Get in contact with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs.