How to Optimize a Google My Business Listing for Local SEO
The Top Local Directory
Google My Business (GMB) is a simple-to-use business directory. With it, you can do many things that will support local SEO and get you noticed on the 1st page of the SERPS. When users are searching for your business or a comparable one using local keywords, GMB shows your business profile on Google Search or Maps.
Google My Business profiles stand above other directories as your listing can be very detailed, and the information Google outputs go to a variety of places with high visibility.
With GMB you can:
- Manage, index, and display important business information
- Use reviews to connect with potential customers and manage your reputation
- Capture user-generated content like photos and videos
- See how your customers are landing on your website
- Use Google My Business for your local SEO strategy
- Add a custom website URL about your business
If you haven’t set yours up yet, you should. The first step in implementing a local search engine optimization plan using GMB is to claim and verify your local business. To do so, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Make sure all of your basic business listing information (NAP, business description, map location, hours, etc.) is correct and exactly the same as in any other business listings. Inconsistencies in your information will negatively impact search ranking. Also, make sure your info is updated when changes are made.
If you need help Contact PrimeView and we can help you with your Google My Business setup.
Increase your ranking above competitors
Local search engine optimization is about providing Google with the information needed to determine that your business is the most nearby and relevant product or service. Many business owners have not taken advantage of GMB and this will give you an edge on your local competition that has failed to do so.
Just having a Google My Business listing doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will rank in Google search results. But GMB listings have been shown to be a local search ranking factor.
- 82% of consumers conduct searches on a smartphone add the words “near me.” (Search Engine Land, 2018)
- 72% conducting a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their location. (WordStream, 2016)
- 50% who conduct local searches using mobile phones visit the store within one day. (Google, 2018)
According to Moz, the top-ranking factors for organic local SEO are:
- Link signals: 27.94%
- On-page signals: 26.03%
- Behavioral signals: 11.5%
- GMB signals: 8.85%
- Citation signals: 8.41%
- Personalization: 7.32%
- Review signals: 6.47%
- Social signals: 3.47%
OPTIMIZING YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS LISTING
Add Relevant Categories
When you set up your new Google My Business listing, you’ll choose how to categorize the business. This is important for improving your rankings. The more relevant categories you choose, the better your chances of getting your business information in front of prospects.
Just make sure the categories you choose are truly relevant to your business as it is against Google terms to use irrelevant ones. It will also have a negative impact on your ability to rank in Google’s local results.
Keep in mind these Google recommendations:
- Choose a primary category that describes your business as a whole
- Don’t add multiple categories to list all of your products and services
- Choose the least number of categories it takes to describe your core business
Making sure all of your basic business listing information is accurate and consistent across the internet may be enough to get some leads. However, to get the maximum value from Google My Business, you need to take advantage of the extra features GMB offers.
Here are the extra key things you can and should do to optimize your Google business listing:
GMB Profile Picture
Every listing should have a profile photo. A Synup study found, “Listings with photos are 2x as likely to be considered reputable and get 35% more clicks.”
Google My Business recommends you upload a profile photo, cover photo, and even a video to showcase your business. You can also add to this content by crowdsourcing information about your business. Ask people to share photos, videos, and answer questions about your business.
You can share educational content that appears directly in Google Search inside your business’s Knowledge Graph. Include an image, copy, a Call To Action (CTA) and a URL that links to a landing page or your website.
- Post has a limit of 1500 words
- First 100 characters (or fewer) of the Post appear in the business’ Knowledge Panel
- Google Posts last for only about 6 days and then they’ll expire
- Google provides insights into how well your Google Posts perform
The Google My Business messaging app lets you respond to messages from customers who find your business listing on Google. You can engage in real-time conversations with people searching for you online directly in search, without them having to go to your website.
Responding to customers can help you answer their questions, tell your business’s story, and attract more people to your location.
- Send and receive text messages
- Customize the welcome message and automated messages sent to people who message you
- Customize an automated welcome message that customers will see when they message you
GMB Appointment URLs
One feature of GMB that is very useful in getting new leads is to add a Google My Business appointment URL, a.k.a. local business URLs. People can book appointments directly from their search. This can increase conversions by making it easier for potential clients to contact you and schedule appointments.
- Add a specific link such as a Contact Us page to your Knowledge Graph that allows people to sign up for appointments without ever having to click to your website.
- Make sure the appointment process happens immediately after clicking the link
Google My Business Reviews
Most consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product or service so it is important to ask for and respond to customer reviews. Encouraging customers to rate you online is a powerful source of referrals and social proof. GMB reviews improve your business’s visibility on local search, show that you care what customers think and improves keyword rankings.
Respond to all customer reviews – even to just thank them for the review
- Every review is a chance to stay connected with the customer
- Demonstrate top-notch service with tactful responses to negative reviews
- Work some of your keywords into the response
Google My Business Website
Google My Business has a feature that allows you to create a simple website that’s free and is easy to create and edit from your computer or phone. Google automatically generates your GMB site with information from your Business Profile. You can then customize your site with a design theme and with text and photos.
- Mobile responsive – your website automatically adjusts to every screen size
- Custom Domain Name – Make the name for your website that reflects your business
- Always up-to-date – Your website automatically updates with info on your Business Profile
To learn more about business directories and their importance, please read – How Incorrect Online Business Listings Can Hurt Your Business
What does Google want from you?
These are some of the many ways to Search Engine Optimize your business for local search. But it is important to understand that your website needs to provide a good user experience to Google and visitors. Google will penalize you in rankings for many things but in particular;
To offer people the best experience while searching online Google would like your business to match these 3 factors:
- Mobile – Is your website mobile friendly?
- Speed – How fast does your website load?
- Quality – Does your website and online presence provide quality information about your business?
If your website does not have these 3 factors then GMB will not be as effective as is could be or even work at all. If your website is not properly and thoroughly optimized for SEO, traffic to your website can really suffer. Moreover, if it hasn’t been “Conversion Optimized” you may get traffic but not sufficient sales.
PrimeView can do a website refresh to get your site tuned up and fully SEO and conversion-optimized.
Schedule a 15-minute introductory call to see how PrimeView can help you manage your “Google My Business” listing in addition to all of your digital marketing activities. Contact us here and let us know if you are interested in getting more traffic, leads and conversions!