Are you looking for ways to improve your local search rankings and attract more customers? Look no further than Google My Business. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using Google Business Profile a.k.a Google My Business to optimize your local SEO (search engine optimization).
Google My Business is a tool that helps businesses manage their online presence on Google Maps. By creating a Google Business Profile, you can provide potential customers with important information about your business, including your address, phone number, hours of operation, and more.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile is important for several reasons:
By optimizing your Google My Business profile, you can improve your local search rankings and increase your visibility on Google. This can lead to more website traffic, more phone calls, and more customers.
Google My Business also provides a way for customers to leave reviews and ask questions about your business. By responding to reviews and questions in a timely and professional manner, you can improve your customer support and engagement.
Google My Business also allows you to reach a wider audience by providing potential customers with important information about your business, such as your address, phone number, and hours of operation.
By appearing in local search results and Google Maps, you can attract more local customers, which can lead to increased sales and traffic volume.
A well-optimized Google My Business profile can help establish your brand as a business authority in your local area. This can lead to increased trust and credibility among potential customers.
Google My Business works by allowing you to create a profile for your business that appears in Google’s local search results and Google Maps. By providing potential customers with important information about your business, you can increase your visibility and attract more local customers.
Google uses several ranking factors to determine which businesses appear in local search results and Google Maps. These ranking factors include:
Google looks at how relevant your business is to the search query. This includes factors such as your business category, website content, and the content of your Google My Business profile.
The pertinence of your business to the search intent of the client is what relevance is all about. Is your focus congruent with what the client seeks, or is it shrouded in ambiguity? Strive for utmost lucidity and maintain a steadfast focus.
In this manner, the search engine giant Google will comprehend what prospective customers can expect from your business and will be more predisposed to exhibiting your enterprise on the results page of its search engine.
Google also considers the proximity of your business to the searcher’s location. This means that businesses that are closer to the searcher’s location are more likely to appear in local search results.
Proximity is a well-known factor for ranking local businesses. And quite logical when you think about it. You can’t rank in a local search for dentists in New York when you have located your company in Houston.
Nonetheless, the precise mechanism that Google employs to select which businesses to exhibit in a local search remains undisclosed, and it can prove to be quite challenging to secure a high ranking within a specific geographical location.
Finally, Google considers the prominence of your business, which includes factors such as the number and quality of your reviews, your website’s authority, and the completeness of your Google My Business profile.
Prominence is all about the degree of significance that your business enjoys and is closely tied to the level of activity surrounding your listing, which could take the form of reviews, events, and local content, among other factors. In addition, having a plethora of high-quality links pointing to your website can enhance your prominence.
It can be quite intricate to precisely define what prominence entails, but it is indisputable that inactive profiles are unappealing to everyone. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your profile updated by regularly uploading new photos and attentively managing your reviews.
Initially, the prospect of setting up a Google My Business account may appear intimidating, but in reality, the process is surprisingly straightforward, provided you follow the relevant instructions.
Creating a Google My Business account is easy. Here are the steps:
Go to google.com/business and click on the “Start Now” button. Follow the prompts to create your account
If your business is already listed on Google, you will need to claim it. Follow the prompts to claim your business.
Verifying if a business with the same name and location already exists before making a claim is of utmost importance. If there exists a business profile for a previous enterprise at the same location, it is prudent to suggest an edit that would result in the closure of the previous profile.
To commence the process of creating a new profile, all you need to do is click on the “Add your business to Google” option.
Enter your business name exactly as it appears in the real world. Make sure to use the correct spelling and avoid abbreviations.
Choose the category that best describes your business. This will help Google show your business to the right people.
Assigning a category to your business can significantly enhance your visibility in search engines as Google will correlate it with pertinent search queries. For instance, this can be “Dentist”, “Plumber”, “Bar”, “Coffee Shop”, etc.
With over 4,000 categories available on Google, locating the category that is most suitable for your business should not pose a significant challenge.
Add your business location to your Google Business Profile. Make sure that your business address is accurate and complete. To avoid any confusion, make sure the name matches your business’s signage.
If your business has a website or social media accounts, it is imperative that you use the precise same address across all platforms. Any deviations in this regard that are detected by Google could lead to penalties being imposed upon your business.
In the event that you did not provide a physical address, Google will prompt you to specify the region where your business is located.
Moreover, if your enterprise offers delivery services, it is advisable to include this information, as well as the areas where you offer delivery services.
Write a brief description of your business. This description should include relevant keywords and accurately describe what your business does.
Later on, you can add a business description to your profile. Taking a moment to devise a compelling description for your business on Google is imperative. The business description field allows for a maximum of 750 characters, which you can use to persuade potential customers to visit your enterprise.
Given that this description serves as the initial point of contact with your business, it is essential that you craft a description that is both attention-grabbing and informative.
Be sure to add a link to your website in your Google My Business profile. This will help potential customers learn more about your business.
During the process of setting up your business profile on Google, you will be prompted to enter the URL of your website, but this does not necessarily have to be your homepage.
For instance, if your business has multiple locations, it may be more advantageous to provide the corresponding page on your website that corresponds to the specific location you are submitting to Google.
There are varying opinions on whether listing your homepage or a location page would be more beneficial for ranking purposes, so it is advisable to prioritize what would be most convenient for potential customers.
If you think your homepage will give them the best initial sense of your business, submit it as your “website.” If a location page — or even some other page — will give them a better sense, submit that instead.
Add photos and images to your Google Business Profile. This can include photos of your business, products, and services.
Photos may be the most neglected attribute in all local SEO.
The success of Instagram, Pinterest, and any lesser-known apps indicates how visual our internet culture has become. Consumers often select — or reject! — a business because of its photos. Not only on the content of the photos but their quality and professionalism.
Similar to all other local media or social media sites, Google Business Profile has specific image format requirements.
It is advisable to carefully review these requirements and ensure that you possess high-quality assets for each format. To learn more about improving your images, you can consult our comprehensive image SEO guide.
Make sure to enter your business hours in your Google My Business profile. This will help potential customers know when you are open.
Selecting your opening hours is pretty straightforward. Over the past few years, Google has made significant strides in enhancing its interface for communicating your business’s opening hours to potential customers.
Your business hours will prominently feature wherever your customers interact with your enterprise on Google, which highlights the importance of ensuring that they are accurate.
You can even specify multiple opening hours during the day and add distinct hours for holidays and special events.
Although it is beyond your control, you may find it interesting to note that Google Search now showcases the real-time busyness of your business.
This is determined by collecting aggregate location data from visitors using Android phones and iOS Google Maps users who have enabled location services.
If you run a restaurant, be sure to add your menu to your Google My Business profile. This can help potential customers decide if they want to visit your restaurant.
For certain categories of businesses, there is an option to include a link to a menu. If your business falls under one of these categories, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of this feature.
Doing so will provide Google with an additional set of keywords that your business should consider relevant, which could prove to be beneficial for your business.
Add your phone number, website, and other contact information to your Google My Business Profile. This will help potential customers get in touch with you.
Verifying your Google My Business listing is important to ensure that your business information is accurate and to help improve your local search rankings. Here’s how to do it:
You should receive it in around five business days but sometimes can take up to 3 weeks.
Service-area businesses can be verified through an email address.
After verifying your account, you will be able to check out analytics, reviews, and relevant insights.
Google uses several factors to determine local ranking, including:
Here are eight ways to optimize your Google My Business account for SEO:
The first step you should take is to verify your business with Google.
Once you receive the verification code, navigate to the link provided and input the code. This will signal to Google that your local business is authentic, and they will then proceed to officially publish your new Google Business Profile.
Make sure to verify your business listing to ensure that your information is accurate and up-to-date.
Fill out your Google My Business Profile completely and accurately, including your business name, address, phone number, website, and hours of operation.
But adding other details, such as your service area description, shouldn’t be ignored too. Filling out your products and services will not only tell potential consumers what you offer, but it will also keep them on your profile longer, making Google see your profile as more important than that of your competitors.”
Regularly check your Google My Business profile to make sure that your information is accurate and up-to-date.
Merely providing your business information on your Google My Business profile is insufficient. It is crucial to ensure that all of the information is precise and that it remains accurate over time.
One effective way to keep your profile up-to-date is to include your holiday hours as required.
Make sure that your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across the web. This can help improve your local search rankings.
The details that are the most important are referred to as NAP – name, address, and phone number.
If Google notices that your address or phone number isn’t the same on your social media page and on your Google My Business profile, you’re risking a penalty.
Choose the primary category and secondary categories that best describe your business to ensure that Google shows your business to the right people.
This feature significantly influences Google’s decision regarding whether or not to display your local business in an organic search result.
Make sure you have the most relevant, current category selected for your primary category. We’ve seen instances where clients see a jump in 5-10 positions simply from moving the most relevant category from secondary to primary.
Add high-quality photos and images to your Google My Business profile. These photos should be relevant to your business and of high quality.
Pictures show Google that this is a legitimate business. They give the user an inside look at your business. They help build trust—a huge factor that Google considers.
Your cover photo should showcase your brand page’s personality. The cover photo is the large photo featured at the top of the brand’s business profile, it will always be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio.
And don’t forget to optimize your images. It is advisable to approach the optimization of your images in the same manner as you would with any other type of content.
Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile. Positive reviews can help improve your local search rankings and attract more customers.
Reviews play a crucial role in not only boosting your profile ranking on search engines and Google Maps but also have a significant impact on click-through rates.
As such, it is essential to develop a comprehensive review strategy. This could involve reaching out to customers individually and requesting them to leave a review or utilizing tools to streamline the process.
It is important to ensure that your reviews are authentic as search engines are proficient at detecting and filtering out fake reviews.
If responding to a negative review, it is advisable, to be honest, and offer an apology if necessary.
Use Posts on Google to share news, updates, and promotions with potential customers. This can help increase engagement and attract more customers.
You can publish deals, events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps by utilizing business posts on Google Business Profile.
These posts are an effective way to interact with your audience and maintain a consistent presence on Google.
To optimize the effectiveness of your Local Posts, it is advisable to ensure that each post is of high quality and free of spelling errors, broken characters, gibberish, or irrelevant information.
Encountering any type of issue with your Google My Business profile can be overwhelming, and it is entirely understandable.
If you run into issues with your Google My Business account, there are several steps you can take to fix them:
If Google suspects that your local business violates its guidelines, it will not hesitate to suspend it.
This can be caused by:
If your Google My Business account has been suspended, you will need to address the issue that caused the suspension and submit a reinstatement request.
If you see edits to your Google My Business profile that you didn’t make, you can reject the edits and contact Google to report the issue.
Google My Business also provides insights into how people are finding and interacting with your business online. By analyzing these insights, you can make informed decisions about how to optimize your Google My Business profile for local SEO.
This dashboard will help you stay on top of all the relevant insights that you need to establish healthy business growth and improve local search ranking.
Some of the main things you’ll learn include:
The most typical GMB troubleshooting issue continues to be duplicate listings for the same business. While it’s gotten harder to detect duplicate listings, it’s much easier to close them.
The first step to identifying duplicates is to search for your business name on Google. If it looks like multiple listings refer to your business, select the one you’d like to report as a duplicate and click “Suggest an Edit.” Follow the suggestions to have the listing marked as duplicate.
If only one of the duplicate listings is verified, get the URL of each from Google Maps, select the “support” link on the bottom left of your Google My Business dashboard, choose “contact us,” and ask Google to merge the two listings. (Supply the Google Maps URLs you collected.) If the duplicate listings have different addresses follow these steps.
Google’s support team is usually responsive to these reports within a reasonable timeframe. If you continue to experience difficulties, it is advisable to ask multiple people, such as co-workers, friends, family members, or relatives, to report the same problem, as this increases the likelihood of Google investigating the issue.
If your problem appears to be particularly complex, the best course of action is to tweet @googlemybiz, which is the official Twitter support channel for Google Business Profile.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile is an important part of improving your local search rankings and attracting more customers.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a well-optimized Google My Business profile that helps your business stand out in local search results and Google Maps.
Integrating your Google My Business strategy with your local SEO strategy can enhance your chances of ranking for relevant searches.
As with any other component of your on-page or off-page SEO strategy, it is crucial to prioritize adding value to existing and prospective customers when developing your Google My Business plan.
If you need any help setting up your Google My Business Profile and create a successful Local SEO strategy for your business we are here to help. Contact us today!