Google My Business Optimization
Generally speaking, Google My Business has the potential to increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings. Furthermore, in the last several months, Google has added some great features to Google My Business that businesses should implement to enhance their Google My Business listing and assist to bring in more customers. It can increase your business in local search results.
Google My Business (GMB) is one of the most effective online listing tools for any local business. It drives the local business search results on Google search, maps, Google Assistant (voice search) and others.
Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing is important for getting new customers and helping repeat customers do business with you again. Nevertheless, Google My Business changes very often and the best practices for a well-optimized listing are not always clear. Google has released many new Google My Business features, not too long ago. In fact, you may well find that you have missed out on one or two, and as such are no longer using your Google My Business profile as effectively as you might think. Google My Business lists the content you offer for consistency across Google Search, and other of its platforms. However, the majority of these contents are available on your website. This article is dedicated to teaching you everything you need to know about Google My Business as well as answer most of the questions bugging your mind on this subject.
What is Google My Business, by the way?
Google My Business is a tool that business owners can use to manage how their information is listed in the Google search. It is offered by Google free of charge. With Google My Business, you can manage the following: your location on Google maps, the knowledge graph, and online reviews. If you have a local business, you will actually want to bring your business location on Google My Business so people can find you when they search in Google Maps.
It is more than just a place to get basic information about your business.
If you use it in the right manner, Google My Business is a powerful tool that can boost your income and provide useful insights about your customers.
Apart from the fact that there are other ways to make your business to show up on the Google’s first page, Google My Business is unbelievably a valuable and easy tool one can use to perform the following functions:
- Control, index, and show related business information
- Interact with prospective clients and manage your online review reputation
- Create and design customer photos, videos, and other user-targeted content
- Collect data that relates to how your clients are coming to your site
The actions sent from Google My Business even influence how you manage your local SEO strategy.
Why it is important to any local business?
In a simple term, every business needs a Google My Business listing because it provides a whole lot of business information to Google and local customers as well as offers a robust local search presence. The information you included in your Google My Business profile is used in diverse ways by the search engines. Some of these ways are:
- Populating the outstanding knowledge panel which is located at the right of the search results.
- Filling out the local packto fill Google Maps.
- Offering voice search results as well as assisting with Google app search results.
Setting up or creating your Google My Business listing is free, you don’t have to pay anything to get it done. It is also quick and easy to set up, and once that is done, you can start the Google My Business optimization process to boost your local search presence.
Google My Business information is essential to local search and their influence in business is growing every year. They are now one of the determining factors in local search success. Therefore, having the knowledge of how to optimize Google My Business could be the channel your local business has been waiting to thrive.
Why should I add my business to Google My Business?
Google accounts for nearly 80 percent of all desktop search traffic. This information alone should make it clear to you why you might want to have a Google listing that is completely up-to-date and accurate. There are enormous people searching for a business like yours online. Do not ignore them.
If you maintain a strong search engine presence, customers will find you. You will then make more sales and earn lots of profits. So, why worry about managing your listings by yourself when it is really easy for customers to find your phone number online?
Report has it that businesses that verify their information through Google Business are certain to have customers see them as reliable ones. That reduces uncertainty about your business and gives people the courage to pick up the phone and call your new business number.
How can you add your business to Google My Business?
If you are a new user or already have a Google My Business account, here are the necessary steps you need to take to add your new business:
Go to Google’s My Business site (www.google.com/business) and type your logging details (username and password) or follow the prompts to register a new account.
Type your business’ name and address into the search bar and select “Add your business” if it is not already listed, (in which case you will need to claim it as yours).
Choose whether you want your business’s location to show on Google Maps.
Tip: If you are adding a restaurant, being on Google Maps is very valuable. However, if you are just adding a small business in front of your house, it would be a great idea to keep that location private.
Supply all the requested information, such as the business category. If you are not certain what category your business falls under, just type a related keyword into the box and see the outcome. Furthermore, you will be able to add extra categories in the future.
Verify your business. Here are all the straight forward steps you can take to verify your identity in Google:
By mail. Google will send a physical postcard that contains a verification pin, which you will then use to verify online.
By phone. You will receive a call from Google, and read out a verification code over the phone. This is only available for certain businesses.
By email. The same procedure with verification by phone. Google will send you the code over email. Again, this is only available for certain businesses.
By bulk verification. If your business has more than 10 locations, you will have to submit an additional form to have them all verified at once. To do this, you have to click on “Get verified,” and “Chain” afterward, then input all your information. Google will process the request within a week.
You can verify your account instantly should you have a Google Search Console account and your business’ website is verified through Search Console. Some business categories are not allowed to do this.
Lastly, set up your Google My Business page to complete the process.
If you have no My Business account already, you can add your business and create an account at the same time. The steps are almost the same as enumerated above. The only difference is that you will have to click “Create Account” on the My Business homepage, and each question has its separate or individual page.
But again, completing that information should be quick and easy, while verification may take some time.
How Can You Create GMB & Optimize Technical SEO?
Here is a step by step guide on how to optimize your Google My Business listing:
- Create or claim your Google Business Listing
The basic step is to create or claim your Google My Business Listing. Proceed to Google’s My Business page (www.google.com/business) and click “Start Now” in the upper left corner. Then fill in every relevant field that Google provides. You want to ensure the profile is complete and that every piece of information is accurate.
If you do not have a storefront or physical location, you should still have a Google My Business listing. When you first create your Google My Business account, the setup wizard will ask if you want to add a location that customers can visit. If your answer is “no”, you can list your business as a “service area business” to indicate which cities or postal codes you cover.
- Choose a relevant and specific category
The category you choose will help Google decide which searches your local listing appears in. You have to choose from the list of available categories as you cannot create your own. However, if there is not a specific category that describes what your business is, settle on a more general one that still describes it accurately.
- Add high quality and high-resolution images
Photos help make your listing to be outstanding and give potential customers a glimpse of what to expect. Just be sure to use high-quality photos that make your business look good and show off your products (if you sell physical products).
Consider hiring a professional photographer to create an all-round-view virtual tour of your business for customers. According to Google, listings that have a virtual tour and photos generate much interest more than those without.
- Ensure the information you add matches everywhere else
Google’s algorithm considers one essential thing in order to verify the legitimacy of a listing and that is a consistency in how it is listed across various websites. That sounds simple though, but your address is the same each time you write it somewhere and it is not difficult for small differences to come in.
Choose a usual way to write out your address, a consistent phone number to use, and ensure all your listings match each other as well as the information you provide on your website. Strive hard to get your website listed in many relevant directories.
- Make Use of a local phone number
In addition to keeping your phone number consistent between your different listings, it is equally essential to use a phone number with local area code. This alone shows Google that you are really local. Make sure the phone number you use for your Google My Business listing is also shown in a prominent place on your home page or whatever landing page you link to from your Google listing.
- Avoid penalties or offenses
Any effort you put in to optimize your website or local listing will amount to nothing if you incur a penalty. Google places embargo on business listings for a series of offenses. It is a stressful, confusing, and bad experience to get suspended, so it is better to avoid those actions that will put you at risk of it.
Some of the main things to avoid are:
- Using a URL that redirects to your website’s URL, rather than the actual URL itself.
- Adding keywords awkwardly into your business name field.
- Having many local listings for the same business location.
- Using any address for your business that is not a physical storefront or office space where you interact with customers.
When you apply wisdom and avoid playing the system or get additional listings, then you will actually stay on the right side of Google.
- Encourage reviews
Have you ever noticed that the local businesses listed in the map snippet of a local search usually have star ratings attached to their name? In the same manner, Google wants to provide the most useful information to its users, and users want to get the nearby business that is the best. In whichever case anyway, it benefits your business to have a high star rating.
In a lighter mode, it would be fine if you would ask your happy customers to give you a review on Google. A gentle reminder of how much it means for your business can propel your loyal customers to take the time to say a few kind words about you.
- Ensure your website and its content are optimized for search
As usual, every SEO advice that assists in strengthening the authority of your website in the faces of Google are all important, too. Therefore, do not channel your energy on optimizing your local listing and avoid optimizing your website as well.
Make sure that you:
- Add relevant keywords into the Meta tags as well as on each page, where you can do so naturally.
- Add schema markup to your website.
- Create content that is local-centric.
- Be on the look-out for local linking opportunities.
What are the benefits of adding and optimizing Google My Business?
Optimizing your GMB profile has to do with updating GMB and using it to tell Google everything it needs to know to list your business in the right places at the right times – in the local pack and Google Maps. This will naturally influence any prospective customer coming across your GMB profile to patronize your business which best meets the needs defined in their local search term.
Here are some of the benefits of optimizing Google My business listings.
- Your business shows up in Google Maps searches
Apart from online reviews, the second most important factor that consumers consider when searching for a local business is nearness to their location. Ideally, a fast Google search is certainly effective for narrowing down the various options, especially those available on a smartphone. Actually, the majority of consumers use Google Maps to find nearby businesses.
Whether you are searching for a local electrician or a well-known spot to get some fresh fruits, Google Maps will immediately populate your search with lots of red markers, each showing a local business that meets your search criteria. By simply creating a Google My Business listing and completing the verification steps, your store location will begin to show up for local searches as well. This is a big advantage that allows users to immediately see how close you are to their location, thus, increasing the probability that they will visit you.
- Your business will be seen in Google’s Local 3-Pack
If you have been in tune with Google’s local search results for the past few years, you have probably noticed that the once inclusive 7-pack has now become the limited 3-pack. In order to be part of this special club, businesses around the globe have been trying a lot of different SEO tricks to improve their local rankings and chances of being included in Google’s local 3-pack.
Most brands are unaware that by simply creating a Google My Business listing – which is free, they can easily increase their chances of making it onto this exclusive list. What is the best benefit of being in the local 3-pack? These listings show users the location of your business on Google Maps and they also show up before organic results, thus providing a key benefit to your visibility.
From the business perspective, brands that show up on Google’s local 3-pack get a whopping 700 percent boost in clicks over brands that don’t.
Customers will trust you
For customers of this age, one of the biggest challenges they have to face is that of building enough trust to confidently buy a product from a seller. As a business owner, your objective is to help them make that jump with ease. One of the easiest steps you can take to achieve this is that of assisting prospective customers to see that your business has an actual location.
Most internet users place huge trust and confidence in Google, so, your business benefits whenever it pops up in a local search, as prospects will automatically be keen to trust your brand. In fact, business brands that show up on Google are three times more likely to be considered reputable by consumers.
The reason is because of the thorough procedures businesses have to go through before being listed on Google My Business. The many verification processes every business must go through before appearing in local searches is one of the reasons. Google creates a reliable atmosphere that users can really depend on.
- Star ratings improve your appeal
Many factors can influence the decision of a potential customer including online reviews. As a consumer, think about the last time you bought something online. Did you go with the product that had the highest reviews, or not?
With a Google My Business listing, customers will be able to review your business and leave feedback for others to see. When they do this, you get honest feedback about what you are doing right and what you could be doing better. Still, you will also get that good star rating next to your business on Google.
As long as you are delivering quality products and helping customers with a quality experience, over time, you will begin to have more reviews and a higher overall rating. This is helpful when there are competing businesses around and you need to gain a competitive advantage.
- It will help you to increase traffic and sales
Among the many hurdles, local businesses will have to cross is that of maintaining an increase in quality website traffic and keeping a firm supply of foot traffic coming through their doors. Although, there is no way to totally avoid the challenges in business but, having a Google My Business listing can help to boost your numbers across the board.
Google has figured out that brands are 70 percent more likely to attract location visits from browsing potentials because of having a listing and coming up in local searches. Even more impressive figures showed that customers who came across a brand through their Google My Business listing are up to 50 percent more likely to make a purchase.
Google My Business will give you the chance to learn more about your business
No matter the kind of business you engage in, the more you know about your customers, the better you will be able to speak to them. From your Google My Business page, navigate to the Insights section where you will have a wealth of useful analytics that describes how visible your brand is, who your target audiences are, and how they are engaging with your business.
This is an effective way to measure how your business is doing throughout the year so you can better make up your mind on what is working and what is not working. By learning more about the kinds of customers your business is attracting, you will also be able to change and improve your marketing strategy.
- Your business will rank higher in search results
As your business becomes popular, Google will like it and rank you higher its Search and Maps results. Now the question comes: how do you get Google to like your business more? By providing quality, consistent, and correct information. The more Google spread the news about your business to customers, the more your brand becomes a household name. Your Google My Business profile is the best way to give Google this information.
- It leads to an increase in customer engagement
Google My Business profiles provide more than enough opportunities for engaging your customers. Prospective customers can check your website or call you in one click. Even more beneficial is the ability to book an appointment directly through your listing.
- Free Google advertising will be available at your doorstep
Running a Google Ads campaign is an effective way to get to the front page of Google, but you have to know what you are doing so you can improve your budget. You should also have a budget for running ads in the first place. The other way to get to the first page of Google is by improving your SEO techniques, which is primarily content-driven. Although this method is very effective, it takes time to build up your authority and ranking.
Google My Business listing provides a form of quick and free advertising on Google. With it, you get targeted exposure on Google. It costs nothing to create, claim, and verify your listing. In addition, it takes little time to optimize your profile than to start a solid paid search. You will also have results very fast than with building up your organic search results through website pages over time.
- Your business will stand out from competitors. Your Google My Business profile shows the critical information customers need in order to connect with your business. In addition, it also shows a brief description to help users quickly find out if your business is what they are actually looking for. An invaluable Google My Business descriptionprovides a short description of your business, incorporates relevant keywords, and plants something unique or genuine to assist you to show your value.
Through a small piece of content, your Google business description provides you the opportunity to stand out from your competitors in a consumer’s initial scan through search results.
Are Google My Business listings free?
Yes in affirmation, GMB is completely free. Compare it with the Google Maps app – the platform on which Google My Business listings appear. It is equally free and anyone can add a location to Google Maps free of charge. Nevertheless, not everybody can add and edit details such as hours, offerings, and categories.
Google’s major aim is to bring the physical world into the internet world. Your listing enables Google to help its users find what they are looking for with ease. One of the many benefits you can gain from Google is the free online visibility it provides. It is a win-win situation for you.
How Can You Advertise Your Business on Google for Free?
The first and quickest way – you can get your business to show up on Google Maps and in the local results of Google Search by setting up a Google My Business account or profile.
Second, you can make your web pages show up in organic search results by implementing key SEO practices such as writing high-quality content, placing your keywords properly, and getting quality backlinks to those pages.
The third way to indirectly advertise your business for free on Google is to create listings on popular directories such as Yelp, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, and others. These directories have high domain authority and are trusted by Google, so there is a chance that your profile page for any of these sites could show up on page one of search results, granting you free visibility and exposure. If you can rank your listing between 1-3, on the Google Search Result, you don’t need to spend any money on Pay Per Click advertising.
How do you create a business profile in Google My Business?
While there are several ways to monitor and improve GMB performance, you will need to create your basic profile. These are the steps you can take to get your company on Google:
Create a new Google account or log into your Google My Business account, if you have one.
Head to google.com/business and click ‘Manage Now’.
Enter your business name – If your business name is the same as another business in your region, you will see the autocomplete function suggest those businesses for you. This is to help you to see if your business name or listing already exists to avoid accidental duplication, and to add a new Google My Business profile to an existing business if you have just opened a new location.
Enter the address of the business location – If your business involves face-to-face interactions with your customers.
However, if you are a Service Area Business that provides goods and services to your customers, you will have to tick the box at the bottom of this form. Service Area Businesses have two options here, you either indicate that you can receive customers at your business address or not.
All businesses that offer goods and services directly to their customers will have the option to indicate a service area in the next step.
State service areas – specifically for Service Area Businesses only.
Before you can choose your business category, you will need to state the areas you serve, so that Google can precisely place your business for searches in those areas, even without a physical address. Fill in as many regions or cities as possible, that your business serves.
Choose your business category.
The business category you choose will strongly influence the types of search terms your business appears in Google for. It will equally show in your Google My Business profile. So, this is something that you can test when you want to update your Google business listing.
Include a contact phone number and website URL.
Although this option is not compulsory, we strongly recommend it if you want to get the most out of GMB functionalities such as call tracking. If you will ever need to change this option when updating your Google business listing, then ensure you make those changes to all other business listings, too.
Finish your Google My Business Verification.
Obviously, Google needs to be able to prove that your business is actually at the location you say it is. There are three options for entirely new GMB profiles:
Postcard verification. This is the most common verification method, and it is applicable to all businesses. With this method, a verification postcard will be sent to the address you indicated during your sign up. The postcard is expected to reach you within five days. Once you receive it, you can enter the code in your GMB account to verify the business. If your code does not show up, you can click the ‘Request another code’ banner at the top of the screen in GMB.
Phone verification. Some brands can choose to verify their listing through a phone call. In this case, you will know whether you are eligible if you see the ‘Verify by phone’ option at the beginning of the verification process. Using this method, you will receive an automated message with a verification code that you will then need to enter into GMB.
Email verification. Like phone verification, this is only available to some businesses, and you will know whether you qualify for it if you see the ‘Verify by email’ option. This simple method lets you receive a verification code in the inbox of the Gmail account associated with the GMB listing as well as entering it at the verification stage. Always get your inbox ready before taking this step.
Why is it important to optimize Google My Business listing?
In a Simple term, every business that wants to succeed should have a Google My Business listing. It provides a wealth of business information to Google and local consumers. More so, it provides a rich local search presence.
Optimizing your GMB profile entails updating Google My Business and using it to tell Google everything it needs to know to accurately list your business in both local pack and Google Maps. It will equally convince any potential customer coming across your GMB profile that yours is the business that best meets the needs defined in their local search term.
Google My Business signals are very critical to local search and their influence is growing every year. They are now among the major defining factors in local search success. So, having an understanding of how to optimize Google My Business could help your local business to thrive well.
How to apply best strategies when optimize Google My Business?
If you are really serious about targeting local consumers and improving your local search visibility, you will need to optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing without delay. Here are the necessary steps to take.
- Ensure your NAP is correct
The number one step of knowing how to optimize Google My Business for local search success is to ensure that the first things are done well. This means a fast check that all the information relating to your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) is correct and totally consistent with your other local business citations.
Citations are what help to discover your business. They can assist consumers to locate your business, and they feed Google with the data it needs to help rank your business. If your NAP is not correct on your GMB profile, you are completely redirecting your entire local search accuracy and making it difficult for people to locate you.
- Claim your Google My Business short name
After verifying your Google My Business account, the next task on your GMB optimization list is to claim your short name. This is a custom name that is designed to make it easier for local search clients to find your business. Google requires your short name to be a name either associated with your business name or something that customers commonly use to refer to your business.
If your business has many locations and you are worried about how to optimize GMB for each one, you can still claim a short website name for each one but will simply need to add your location, too, as recommended by Google.
Claiming your short name is simple. Just sign in to Google My Business, click ‘Info’ on the left-hand side then scroll down to ‘claim short name’. Your short name should not be more than 32 characters long. You can change it a maximum of three times a year by going back to the same menu option and selecting edit.
- Write a suitable business description
You can write a 750-character description in your GMB profile as part of your Google My Business optimization job. This write-up should describe your business in an engaging and genuine manner but it should not reference anything relating to sales or promotions.
Once you are satisfied with your description, go back to the ‘Info’ tab and scroll almost to the bottom. Then copy and paste the text into the ‘add business description’ section. You can go back and edit this as many times as you want until you hit on the perfect optimized text.
- Choose the right category and sub-category
As you should know, the category you select when optimizing your Google My Business listing does a lot of wonders in local search rankings as it tells Google which searches your business could be relevant for.
- Upload amazing photos
A good picture offers your business some accolades when optimizing your GMB listing. According to the research we did about the importance of images in search results back in 2011, about 60 percent of consumers said that local search results with good images captured their attention. Another research also shows that good images give posts 3 times more chance of being shared.
Ultimately, looking good online comes down to a careful selection of exactly the right image.
GMB gives you several options to use when it comes to images, so it is important that you really maximize this opportunity to grab local search attention. You can add interior and exterior shots, 360-degree images and even video to this space.
How do you generate and respond to reviews?
- Use Google Posts to increase conversions and show brand personality
There is a feature within GMB called Posts, which is important to your Google My Business optimization efforts. Posts are really small blog posts you can use to offer a short news update, share an offer, publish information on an upcoming event or showcase a product.
- Add your social media profiles to your GMB profile
Everything about optimizing a GMB profile is to ensure it is complete and up-to-date. There are some good search visibility benefits to harness if you complete your profile information, update quite often and make use of the many GMB features.
In order to maximize this opportunity, you need to update your social media profiles often, monitor their messages and comments, and engage with your community.
Knowing how to optimize Google My Business has plenty of benefits for local business owners. It promises greater local search visibility, more reviews, and enhanced information for local consumers.
While some actions, such as choosing a category need only be done once, others, such as uploading recent photos and publishing Posts, need to be done on a regular basis if you are truly serious to unlock the myriad potentials of GMB.
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