A business’ Google My Business listing is its most visible asset in local search, and half of those who search for local businesses visit them within 24 hours.
You can verify and edit your business’s information on Google if you claim your GMB profile. If you don’t claim your GMB profile, Google will try to provide the best information about your business, which may not always be accurate.
Today, most people “Google” when they are searching the internet, which has been beneficial to businesses as well. Google has given you control over what searchers see when they search for your business and the opportunity to rank higher in relevant search results. Optimizing your GMB listing will give you an advantage to showing up in Google Maps Local 3 pack SEO.
With tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Search Console, Google has transformed the marketing game forever.
How to optimize your Google My Business listing
Below are seven steps to help you outshine your competition in local search.
1. Claim Your Google My Business Listing
If you haven’t already, claim your Google My Business listing in order to get listed on GMB Google Maps.
The Google My Business tool is a free and easy-to-use tool where you can manage your online presence for both Google Search and Google Maps. The process for claiming your business listing is simpler when you already have a Google account; if you don’t, you must create one first.
In addition to choosing what Google users see when they search for your business, you can learn how customers and prospects find you and from where. By creating a GMB page, you enhance your SEO, local search, brand, and overall business.
Verify your Google My Business page by going to google.com/business and receiving a postcard with a unique PIN number.
Since we work with many service-based businesses we recognize that a majority of practices are remote and use a PO or UPS box. It’s important to note that UPS and PO boxes are strictly prohibited by Google.
It is best to use your home address rather than your business address when claiming an account. It will be masked in your business listing once verified. Check out our article on how to hide your address on google my business for more information.
Optimising your Google My Business listing begins with this step. It may seem tedious, but it is necessary as it is the way Google verifies the authenticity of your business.
2. Using Google Categories
Using categories correctly can help you appear in the top results for relevant search terms, thus assisting you in gaining new clients. Categories are used to describe your business and connect you to customers looking for the services you offer.
You cannot create your own categories, since Google automatically populates each one, however, they offer plenty of home and contractor service-related categories. You can choose from options such as “kitchen remodeler” and “landscape designer” and “concrete contractor” to describe your work and multiple categories are allowed.
If you will be adding more specific categories to describe your services and products, the primary category should give an overview of your overall business.
Along with categories, businesses can also add a business description to their Google My Business listing. The description will appear in the local knowledge panel in search or in Google Maps results for the business.
3. GMB Business Description
On the Google My Business home page, click the “Info” button on the left-hand navigation bar. You’ll then see the “Add business description” section.
If you click on the pencil icon next to this field, you will be given the option to add a short description of your business. You only have 750 characters to work with, so you need to be concise. However, you should still include relevant keywords in your GMB description.
When describing your business to customers, consider the words they may use to search for your business and include those, as you would be sure to include keywords in your blogs and website.
4. Add Relevant Photos
There is no question that photos engage viewers more than text, which is why they need to be a part of your GMB page. Businesses that use photos receive 35% more clicks through to their websites than those that don’t.
Using images to convey your brand and answer these questions in a different way can help you convey many characteristics of your company that text cannot. These questions include “Is this team professional?” and “Is the office inviting?”
Uploading high-quality pictures that showcase your professionalism and your team’s personalities, as well as the interior and exterior of your office space, will allow visitors to get to know you and your business.
Google My Business now offers virtual tours, so you can also consider hiring a Google-approved photographer to create a 360-degree virtual tour of your space for prospects. Since photos are so important in marketing small businesses, we recommend posting at least 3-6 photos.
5. Localize Your GMB Page
You should search for your business first when creating a Google My Business (GMB) page. If your company is already listed, make sure you claim it as your own. That way, you’ll ensure your efforts are not duplicated.
It is also a good idea to list a phone number with a local area code on your Google My Business page. This is not only beneficial to GMB since it verifies your listing, but can also help you reach local prospects who may be more inclined to work with local advisors.
Additionally, you should make sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone) and listing information are consistent across all online platforms. This means your GMB, website, and social media. This is crucial both for you and for your target audience.
6. Get Google Reviews
Do you check reviews often? I always look for reviews when I’m looking for a new restaurant or need plumbing services. Getting reviews on your Google My Business page can be a great way to build trust with prospects and show them a more personal side of your business.
There are many advantages to Google reviews, including ranking in Google for local search, leveling the playing field, and building your online reputation.
You can gain a huge credibility boost without spending a dime thanks to Google reviews. Other benefits include being listed as a local expert, leveling the playing field, and increasing your online reputation.
In essence, Google Reviews enable any business to start proving themselves to their potential customers. People can go online and leave reviews without having to install an app. Reviews level the playing field, reducing the importance of marketing hype, expensive campaigns, and slick copy.
In that context, campaigns and slick copy are certainly highly effective, but they lose their impact on reviews, since Google business reviews serve as a form of transparency and social proof rather than beautiful marketing. Searchers can type in their search query and discover businesses that have reviews from actual customers, making an informed decision on whether or not to engage with that business-conversation driven by positive reviews.
One of the benefits of reviews is that they let businesses generate local SEO rankings on par with big brands, whether big or small. A local shop offering running shoes may rank higher in local search results than your average retail giant, if Google believes it gives a better experience to customers. The same holds true for a local retail giant.
In summary, positive reviews have unprecedented power on Google that can influence brand trust, local SEO, and feedback.
7. Configure Your Service Areas
Recently, Google brought the option to link multiple service areas to your Google My Business listing as a separate listing from your physical business location. We get this question a lot: “I serve clients nationwide.” Set your service area to a region, city or zip code, and apply multiple service areas if you have more than one, so Google can rank them equally.
As business has become increasingly virtual, optimizing your Google My Business listing is more important than ever. Since we can’t meet in person, having an online presence is crucial. Claim your company so you can manage information about your company, see what others are saying about you, and a whole lot more. Therefore, in 2021, boost your online presence to boost your SEO rankings.