How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Get your business to the top of Google
When someone is trying to achieve a big goal, they often fall for grandiose gimmicks rather than implementing a tried-and-true strategy. It’s the reason that many people trying to lose weight jump on a trendy diet instead of simply eating fewer calories and exercising more. It’s also the reason that businesses get caught up on the latest SEO hack and skip one of the most basic building blocks of SEO — optimizing their Google My Business listing.
Optimizing your Google My Business listing will help potential customers find your business, which could then lead to more conversions. The information you provide on your profile informs Google so they know where to place your business and when to show it to people searching. It is a simple and effective way to be seen by consumers.
Imagine if one of your potential customers is in need of a plumber or dentist or massage therapist. What do you think is their first step? Most likely, they will type into Google “plumber” or “dentist” or “massage therapist near me.” If your business doesn’t show up in those search results, you just lost a sale.
Today, 97% of people discover more about a local company when they’re online versus anywhere else. Google is often the first place people see their business, so they should know right away the name of your business, where you are located, and how they can get in contact with you. Use these tips in order to know how to optimize your Google My Business listing in 2019.
Steps for Optimizing Google My Business
Optimizing your Google My Business is not hard. In fact, its simplicity is one of the reasons that many businesses overlook it. But by carving out 30 minutes from your day, you can ensure that you are maximizing your visibility on Google.
Claim Your Google My Business
If you want your business to show up on Google search results, you need to first claim and verify your Google My Business. To do this, follow these steps:
- Visit https://www.google.com/business/
- Enter your business name
- Either claim your business’ existing profile or create a business profile
- Complete the Google My Business walkthrough
- Verify your business by mail, phone, email, or Search Console
- Review information and make changes as necessary
Claiming your Google My Business profile will prove to Google that your business exists and that you have ownership of it. You will then be able to manage it and ensure that the information on your listing is accurate.
If you do not claim your business listing, any regular Joe can suggest a change to your business listing. Those changes include critical information, such as your address, hours of operation, phone number and website. Claim your business to avoid the trouble of someone else, including a competitor, altering your Google My Business information.
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Update Your Business Information
After claiming your Google My Business listing, it’s time to optimize the information on it so Google is more likely to show it.
You’ll want to use categories for your business so Google knows how to classify your business. The categories makes Google more confident about your business’ validity. Then, you’ll want to list the proper address of your business, the phone number and website URL of your business. There is no need to include business attributes, because this feature is not well built out on Google.
Under the services tab, list the items your business sells and a short description of them. You can add the approximate prices if you want, but it is not necessary.
Next, you’ll want to write a short but informative business description. The description should include your business’ keywords and a CTA (call to action). You can write up to 750 words about your business, but only the first 250 words or so will show without the user clicking the “see more” button.
If you are a service-based business, you should include a local business URL for people to directly book an appointment, place an order, reserve a table, search for items or view your menu. This makes it very simple for new customers to book an appointment without having to leave Google. It’s also a good idea to include a “Contact Us” form so customers can write down their contact information and leave you a message with ease.
Upload some quality photos of your business and the services you provide. Choose an exterior photo for your main image so that people trying to visit your business can recognize it when they arrive.
Create Google My Business Posts
Another way to increase interaction and click-through-rates with customers is to create posts on your Google My Business listing. These posts can serve as little ads or informative posts for your business, and they should almost always include a CTA. For example, you can list special offers, events, new products, or links to your latest blog or video.
These posts are located in the knowledge panel on a desktop or in Google Maps on mobile. They are especially prominent on mobile devices. Use photos or videos with your posts to make them stand out even more. Google posts expire and disappear after seven days, unless it is an event that is set for a future date.
Slip in Keywords Where Possible
As you write your description, services, products, and other information, try to enter some of the keywords you are trying to rank for. Those keywords could include the type of business you are, such as hair salon, family therapist, electrician, etc, as well as the services you offer and your location.
The other place you can slip in relevant keywords is your photos. Google looks at the file name and the file source, so you should include keywords in the name of the photo and the folder that the photo is coming from. Insert the keywords naturally rather than stuffing them.
Keep Up to Date on Q&A Section
The Q&A section is a great way to interact with users and answer the questions. Your business needs to be responsive, though, because any Google user can go and answer the questions. Make sure to check up on the questions regularly in order to provide accurate answers. Answering questions is another way to sneak in relevant keywords.
The best way to find and answer questions about your business is to use the Google Maps app. Sometimes, you can generate your own questions that many customers ask you in person and answer them yourself.
Get Lots of High-Ranking Reviews
Reviews matter because consumers trust them. One study found that 91% of millennials (between the ages of 19 and 35) trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. But, good reviews will also help your business show up on Google. The higher your star rating, the higher your business will rank when someone completes a local search, especially if you type in “Best…. near me.”
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Regularly Check Up on Listing
Once you optimize your Google My Business listing, you can give yourself a pat on the back. But, you can’t push it entirely out of your mind. One unfortunate fact about Google My Business profiles is that people can suggest edits to your business, and sometimes those changes are adopted without Google informing you. (Side note, if Google does notify you, you can find these notifications in the Google Updates section of the Google My Business tab).
Check up on your business every now and then just to make sure that everything is up to date. You can do this when checking for questions to answer or when making a new Google post. If you edit a change on the back end and it is not appearing on the front end (user-facing side), you can suggest the edit as a user.
Don’t put off optimizing your Google My Business listing. It might seem like simple things to do, but they can make a big difference. Cover the basics before moving onto bigger, more exciting SEO strategies for your business.