Targeted visibility is essential for every business that endeavors for high-quality traffic and conversions. And as we all know, that requires an optimized online presence (a website in general). However, one entity that is greatly ignored is Google My Business (GMB) listing which has a huge impact on local SEO.
So, if you are a business owner looking forward to gaining local visibility in search engines, you should focus on optimizing your business profile, which can be skillfully managed through a free Google My Business account for that profile.
Need help with that? Well, you are reading the right blog.
Google My Business is a free platform that dynamically displays your business profile. It highlights all the essential information your potential customers need to find and engage with you. And the best part is all the information is available right in the SERPs.
GMBs allow you to add photographs, provide an essential description, your location so that you can be found on Google maps.
According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are for local information. Also, 4 out of 5 users choose search engines for local information. So, it’s imperative that your business to show up in the local searches with a solid local SEO. And this business listing we are discussing is a part of local SEO strategy you don’t want to miss.
With the help of Google My Business, you get the opportunity to grab the top spot in the local searches. Without it, however, you get no place in the Google maps or local packs.
Another bonus being, GMBs allow customers to leave reviews, ask question and lets you answers them on the same page, providing invaluable customer service to visitors. Whereas reviews are great for your business to stand out in terms of credibility and gives you a chance to improve service or upgrade your product.
An active GMB page is a window to your online presence displaying your products or services in the most effective manner than you can ever manage in a non- physical store.
Another factor as to why GMB is beneficial, it allows you to get an insight into your target market. You get to understand how many people are engaging and their personas. This helps you built fresh strategies for targeted marketing.
Though the name looks complex, the steps we are going to go through are super simple. And this is going to be your first step towards increasing your visibility in the search engines.
Step 1: Head to Google My Business’ create page (https://business.google.com/create). The page has simple instructions to follow. You get to sign in with your Google account
For starters, let’s assume you are a local bookstore.
Step 2: Fill out the information. Be true to your business’ name and this is not the place to play with keywords. Google can suspend your listing. Once you give an appropriate name to your bookstore, it will ask you whether you wish to be visible on Google maps.
You should opt for the ‘Yes’ and add the appropriate address. Google will ask you to review some other business listing because of a close match with yours. With a few more steps like contact information and the areas you want to serve, your business profile is ready and good to go.
Step 3: Verify your listing. This can be done almost instantly through a call (recommended) or a postcard delivered to your business location (this will take about 4 business days).
Once verified you will be directed to your GMB dashboard. Here you’ll be able to add service hours, descriptions, photographs, and more.
Once you have successfully completed all the steps and provided enough information, your business profile should look like this bookstore’s:
Why is optimizing your Google Business Profile necessary?
A well-optimized website gets a good ranking in the SERPs, this strategy stands for GMBs as well. An optimized business profile gets ranked higher in local searches.
Firstly, more and more consumers are into zero-click searches. They are looking for information in the SERPs without having to visit websites. If you don’t own a Google Business profile while your competitor does. Unfortunately, it’s them who are enjoying the improved engagement.
Secondly, Google’s algorithm considers Business profiles as relevant information. Having an optimized GMB allows you a credible visibility in the search results.
Thirdly, Business profiles are a sign of credibility to potential customers as well. They know your location, have your contact number, and also can read reviews. They can get in touch with you almost immediately without having to visit your website.
Now that you already know how helpful a small Google My Business Profile is, let’s have a look, how we can optimize it effectively.
With a properly optimized business profile, three things are to be gained –
So here are 9-steps to follow when optimizing your GMB profile and turning it into an effective lead generation tool.
This step has already been explained above. However, you must understand Google My Business account is different from a GMB profile. You need to have the account first to be able to make a business profile. This is how the page looks:
To create an account you need to sign in with the business’ Google account and then you can head to create the profile.
When filling out the information for the profile, ensure every section is completed right away – name, address, contact, website, etc.
2. Provide information diligently
Name the business as it is and do not end up stuffing keywords. This is considered spam by Google and your account can get penalized.
Your digital and physical store names must match; every word of it. Google’s algorithm takes these into account in terms of business credibility.
3. ‘From the business’ description
The brief description below your business name is controlled by Google, not the business. Sad! I know.
However, if you scroll down to the end, just below the reviews section, you get to see this:
This is what’s called ‘from the business’ section and is fully under your control. This is how you can optimize it –
* Use the entire 750-character limit and provide the essentials within the first 250.
* Target keywords that your customers might be looking for.
* Don’t incorporate any links or HTML
* Don’t be repetitive with information already visible. And always mention what makes your business unique.
4. Choose proper category
BrightLocal’s Google My Business insight study claims about 84% of business profiles originate from discovery searches. That is, the consumers are largely using relevant keywords and compared to this only 16% are direct searches where the consumer types in the business’ name.
Another reason to categorize is it highlights your features making the profile catchy and ahead of your competitors.
When optimizing the category, be specific with your services. There are over 3000 categories to choose from.
5. Check on the attributes
Once you choose a category, Google will ask you to check off some attributes. This helps provide further information to potential customers. These attributes give your customers a glimpse of all the amenities of your store. Like whether you have free Wi-Fi, or if there is a restroom available, if pets are welcomed, special payment options, and more.
6. Add Photographs
This is very essential. Anyone and everyone can add photographs, but if you add your photographs of your store, this is counted as quality. Also, make sure the photos aren’t age-old. Show your customers that you are active.
According to Google, 42% of viewers are drawn to businesses that have photographs as they have a higher click-through rate.
Here are few tips to using photographs for optimization –
7. Add reviews
Consider from a consumer’s point of view. Would you shop from a 3-star store or a 5 star one? Do you collect feedback before making a purchase?
Well yes, isn’t it obvious? And Google knows this as well. Reviews are one of the key ranking factors in their algorithm.
To optimize your business profile with reviews, you can follow these simple steps:
8. Keep posting to your business profile
Just like social media, GMB profiles allow businesses to post content – announcements, offers, products as such. These posts can become relevant based on search queries. With more posting will come more engagement.
So here are some optimizing tips for GMB posts:
9. Maintain the Business profile strategically
This marketing technique, very similar to eCommerce SEO to drive traffic to your store, cannot show you results in a day. It’s a long and ongoing process, you must be consistent to achieve effective results.
Just like GMB profile you should also add your business in Bing Local and Yahoo Local to ensure you are visible in the local search of all search engines. Just like a SEO freelancer like me who uses various strategies to signal Google about your product and services, similarly Google My Business uses GMB posts to helps the latest AI driven crawlers to effectively connect searchers to the best business suitable to their needs.
I hope this blog provides you enough information and your business can reap the benefits from Google My Business. If you need assistance in GMB page setup or a low cost, mobile friendly optimized site, you can contact me at [email protected]