Google My Business: The MVP of Your Marketing Team
Surveys show that 82 percent of shoppers using a smartphone search for local businesses. And more than 90 percent of those people are likely to click one of the top results. If you do business locally, you can’t afford to miss out on those searches. If you want to rank at the top of the local search results, your Google My Business profile is key. Let’s look at how Google My Business supports your local SEO rankings so you can reach all those new customers.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is your company’s profile on Google. It has information like the name, address, and phone number of your business (together known as your NAP), your hours of operation, your website address, and more.
Google uses this information in the search results when someone is looking for a local business.
Why Google My Business is Critical for Local SEO
When someone does a local search on Google, the top 3 results are set apart from the main search results. These 3 listings are known as the Google 3-Pack. They include details about each business, which are pulled from their Google My Business (GMB) profiles.
Those details include things like your address and phone number but they also include customer reviews, a map of your local area showing your location, and more.
If you don’t fill out the GMB profile for your business, Google uses the information it finds on other websites to “guess” at what should be shown there. That information may or may not be accurate.
If you’ve ever searched for a local business and its hours of operation turned out to be wrong, you’ve seen the kind of problems that can happen. Most searchers don’t understand how that information gets into Google and will blame you for any errors.
How to Make the Most of Your Google My Business Listing
Completing your Google My Business profile is the most important factor in your local search marketing strategy but your efforts shouldn’t stop there. The following tips will help you make the most of your Google business account.
Verify Your Business
Google lets you verify your business to confirm that you are in fact the owner. They’ll send you a 4-digit PIN in the mail at the address on your GMB profile so you can confirm you’re the owner.
It normally takes about two weeks to receive the PIN and once you confirm it, your business shows as verified.
Keep Your NAP Consistent
Your NAP (name/address/phone number) should be consistent everywhere on the web. Google uses the details in your GMB profile as its main source but it also combines information from sites like Yelp and Foursquare in its listings.
If your business details are different on any of those other sites, it could hurt your local SEO since it throws doubt on whether the information is correct. Make sure your details are the same everywhere, down to the spelling and formatting.
Choose the Right Categories
Part of your Google My Business profile is choosing categories for your business. This helps Google connect your business’ products and services to particular keywords people are searching for.
Make sure you choose the categories that are relevant but don’t choose more than what you actually target. Adding too many can look spammy from Google’s perspective.
Keep Your Google Business Account Current
Make sure you keep your Google business profile up to date. If something changes, update it in your profile. And don’t forget to make the same change on other sites like Yelp and Foursquare.
A good way to stay on top of this is to set up a reminder to double-check the details every month, quarter, or whatever is appropriate for your needs. Go through your profile whenever the reminder pops up, even if you think nothing has changed. You might notice outdated information or mistakes that slipped by you before.
Interact With Your Customers
One of the most important parts of maintaining your Google My Business profile is to interact with your customers as much as possible.
Google uses reviews as part of the local 3-pack results so always encourage your customers to review your business. You might even consider offering incentives for doing so, like a discount on their next purchase. Don’t restrict the incentives to good reviews only but use them as a way to encourage people to share their feelings, good or bad.
Make sure you respond to your reviews as well. Whether it’s a simple “thank you” for a good review or a more thorough response to reviews that mention problems, this shows that you’re engaged with your customers and will help push your site higher in the search results.
Use the Google Posts feature in GMB to share news, new products, special offers, and other timely information with your customers. You can post videos, images, and other types of content here. Having fresh content on a regular basis is another way to show engagement, which will help with your Google My Business SEO.
Add Professional, Interesting Images
Google includes images from your website and GMB profile in the local search results and those images can be a great way to grab searchers’ attention. Use professional, interesting images and make sure they’re optimized to be more vibrant and colorful.
Where to Turn for Google My Business Support
Managing your GMB profile isn’t complicated but it can be time-consuming. And it’s only one piece of a bigger local SEO strategy. If you would rather focus on your business’ strengths and leave the SEO work to experts, Studio C5 can help.
We offer a range of Google My Business support and local SEO services to help you improve your local rankings and bring in more customers. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation or request a free SEO audit and find out what your website is already doing well and where there are opportunities for improvement.