How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Local SEO
Posted on June 25, 2023
Today, any company would do well to prioritize visibility on Google, where more than 99,000 searches are made every second. As a result, a well-planned digital marketing strategy would probably combine optimizing your website for keywords with running Google Ads. Optimizing your Google business listing is a sometimes overlooked step that can help you appear more prominently in search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase traffic to your website.
In a nutshell, Google My Business (GMB) gives business owners more control over how their organization appears and performs within Google’s search engine. However, there are numerous steps involved, and completing those tasks is more difficult than it seems. While adhering to Google’s rules, users must set up and verify the listing, select the appropriate business category, write the ideal business description, and decide what attributes to add.
In this blog, we’ll give you an overview of Google My Business, go over the significance of an optimized listing, discuss a number of key GMB features, show you how to use them most effectively to enhance your business listing, and give you access to more Google Support resources to make sure you adhere to their rules. We’ll also go through how local SEO and Google My Business are related, and we’ll respond to one of your most often queries: “Does Google My Business affect SEO?”
What is Google My Business?
A service to help businesses manage their online presence across Google Search and Maps is known as Google My Business, also known as a Google Business Profile. It gives a brief overview of the operations, products, feedback, posts, and other crucial information about your company. Customers may easily find your business, learn more about it, and interact with it without ever leaving the search engine.
What’s best? It is totally free! You can get started by creating (or claiming) a GMB listing and beginning to fill out your business profile.
Why is Google My Business Important?
Do you want more customers to discover your company online? Google My Business can be helpful if so. An optimized GMB profile can help your company in a number of ways, including the following.
Engage with users and keep customers informed
When people search for businesses, the first thing they frequently see is your company’s Google My Business listing. It represents your brand and, depending on the details and assets included on the listing, might influence how customers perceive your business.
Having up-to-date information and utilizing all capabilities (uploading photographs, goods, services, Google postings, etc.) creates a positive user experience and aids businesses in informing their clients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many users used Google My Business (GMB) daily to check on company updates, search for business hours, and message companies directly. It is anticipated that majority will continue to do so in the future.
Boost your local ranking
Numerous experts have debated whether Google My Business has an effect on SEO for years and, if so, how much. We’ll start by addressing the first query: as Google has acknowledged, your Google Business Profile does influence your overall SEO performance. They provided an explanation of how GMB aids SEO, adding that “to improve your business’s local ranking, use Google Business Profile to claim and update your business information.”
But how much can Google My Business really do to boost local search results? Well, it all begins with these three crucial elements, which Google mainly takes into account when determining local search results:
- Relevance – Relates to how closely a local business profile’s data fits a user’s search terms.
- Distance – Consider the distance between each search result and the location phrase provided in the search query. In the absence of a location, Google will determine the distance based on the user’s location.
- Prominence – identifies the degree of the company’s fame. Additionally, this factor is based on the data Google has on a company (backlinks, reviews, articles, etc.).
A key element of any local SEO plan should be making improvements to Google My Business. Despite the fact that you have little control over aspects like proximity and location, there are many things you can do to improve the relevancy and prominence of your listing, which will have an impact on search results.
The rise of zero-click search
Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in user behavior within search engines, which has affected SEO and digital marketing as a whole. Nowadays, the majority of Google searches produce a zero-click search, in which visitors act and convert on the search results page rather than clicking through to a website. In 2019, more than 50% of Google queries had zero clicks, and that number increased to over 65% the next year.
This increase has been greatly influenced by SERP improvements like featured snippets and knowledge graph cards as well as Google My Business. GMB can be quite advantageous for your company because it can instantly give users with information, which is essential. Utilizing functions like the product editor or custom services may influence someone’s decision to contact your company or look up driving instructions to your storefront.
Best Practices for Optimizing Google My Business
Having an optimized, up-to-date Google My Business listing is more crucial than ever since the digital landscape changes constantly. Your business profile is crucial for satisfying the needs of existing customers and enhancing your online presence in order to draw in new ones, regardless of whether you operate locally or on a much larger scale. If you want to increase your organic presence and generate quality leads, it takes more than just creating a Business Profile or claiming an existing listing. Here are a few GMB recommended practices and adjustments to assist you increase interaction and your local rating.
Enter complete, accurate data on your business profile
First and foremost, you should include all relevant contact details for your organization, including name, address, phone number, website, and opening times. In addition to helping Google rank your business higher in local search results, having a thorough business profile enhances the number of actions potential customers may do after finding your profile.
As you finish each section, double-check that the data matches that on your website, social media accounts, and any other listings. Even minor inconsistencies, like putting “Street” on your website address but “St” on your listing address, can cause Google to raise an alert. One of the most important ranking elements in local SEO is having consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information.
Common mistake: Sometimes, people would attempt to “keyword stuff” their company name on Google My Business by including additional keywords or localized terminology (Example Company Inc. Cleveland) in the hopes of influencing results (Example Company Inc. Burgers & Beer). Keep in mind that Google may penalize you if your company name does not appear exactly as it does in the real world (Example Company Inc.).
Create an informative business description
One of the most crucial elements of your listing is the business description because it informs customers about the nature of your company and boosts your company’s SEO. Key search terms and pertinent company details (such as products and services provided, company background, unique selling proposition, or anything else that would be useful for buyers to know) are included in an efficient GMB business description that also adheres to Google’s rules.
Upload relevant and eye-catching photos of your business
Google strongly recommends include photographs in company listings. The likelihood that a conversion will occur will rise if the organization has a wide variety of images that highlight various parts of the business. Regularly adding new photos to your business profile shows Google that you are engaged with your account and that the listing is up to date, which could help your ranking even more. As Google keeps adding more photos to local results, it also gives your audience another way to find you in search.
Google Support advises including at least three eye-catching images to highlight your company. The many kinds of company-specific photos that Google suggests using on your GMB listing are listed below:
- Exterior photos
- Interior photos
- Product photos
- Photos at work
- Food and drink photos
- Common areas
- Team photos
- Add your business logo
If you submit your company logo and use it in your listing, Google users will be more likely to recognize your organization. The logos of businesses that publish their contact details and business hours are highlighted in the Business Profile.
Add a cover photo
A cover photo for a business profile may be included; this image will appear at the top of the listing in Google Maps and search results. Given that it is one of the most noticeable elements of the listing, the cover photo should be an image that best portrays the company. You can use any image that would draw potential consumers’ attention, including the exterior of the property (which is the most typical), an interior shot of the establishment (which is a terrific method to display the ambiance for restaurants and bars), your hallmark product, or anything else.
Select business categories that most accurately represent your business
Businesses can identify themselves using one of Google’s more than 3,000 categories, which range from “accounting firm” to “website designer.” Customers can use these categories to discover precise, targeted results for the services they need. One core category, which appears on the listing, and several subcategories, which aren’t displayed but help Google understand the context of the business, can both be applied to a business profile. The principal GMB category is regarded by many local SEO professionals as the most essential local pack ranking criteria, thus choosing a category that accurately summarizes the company from all angles is crucial.
Use subcategories to represent all of your many departments and services, and be as specific as you can when selecting your primary category (for instance, select “Nail Salon” rather than “Salon”). A grocery store, for instance, might select “Grocery Store” as its main category and add “Pharmacy” and “Deli” as secondary categories.
Add additional attributes to your business profile
Additional features and attributes may become available based on the categories you give your business profile. An appointment booking link, for instance, could be included in a medical center’s listing. Additionally, you can choose specific attributes to better describe your business and its services and to improve the ranking of your business profile. For instance, a restaurant may add qualities like “takeout” or “wheelchair accessible seating” to boost the likelihood that their establishment will come up in searches that are more precise.
Add business services
Another strategy to improve your profile’s ranking for more pertinent queries is to list services on your business profile. Based on the company categories you chose, Google will recommend services (plumbers, for instance, might see “Install faucet” or “Repair toilet” as add-ons). You can add bespoke services that include a description and a pricing if a service that your company provides isn’t already listed by Google.
Add business products
The GMB’s product editor function is a fantastic tool for enhancing your company’s online visibility by presenting your products and encouraging client interaction. A product’s name, photo, description, and price are just a few of the details that can be included for potential buyers when it is shown on a business profile. A CTA button that directs users to the product page can also be added.
Publish Google posts on your business profile
Businesses may express their brand personality and communicate with current and new consumers using the posts feature of Google My Business. Similar to social network updates, Google Posts can be used to highlight new or well-liked items in stock, communicate business news and information about forthcoming events, promote content and exclusive offers, and carry out other helpful duties. Although you can’t always optimize for keywords by posting to your business profile, doing so on a regular basis can still give Google the same good ranking signals that uploading photos does.
Users who are actively looking for your services or who want to learn more about your business can also contact you through Google Posts. This is an important advantage because search engines have a stronger desire to engage users and convert them than social media, where users are more prone to scroll slowly. Highly interested customers can even follow your Business Profile and receive notification for new posts and updates.
Respond to Google reviews
As more and more clients resort to Google My Business for reviews and comments, crowd-sourced review applications have seen a relative fall. The fact that Google has acknowledged that more reviews and high ratings on GMB listings will boost local SEO rankings is wonderful news for small companies. Indeed, one of the most important local pack ranking factors, according to local search experts, is the use of review signals (review quantity, review velocity, review diversity, etc.).
Responding to Google reviews is crucial since it can help establish trust with both your consumers and Google, which will boost your results. Google encourages businesses to “interact with customers by responding to reviews that they leave about your business” in order to help users choose reliable, trustworthy websites. Responding to reviews demonstrates your value for your clients and the comments they make about your operation.
Ask and answer questions
Google makes it simple for businesses to respond to frequent inquiries that potential customers might have, much like a FAQ page on your website. Ask and respond to questions that contain keywords as you complete your profile to help your Business Profile rank higher for that term. But keep in mind that anyone can ask and answer questions here, not just your company. In order to ensure that you can give your audience precise replies that are optimized, it’s critical to stay on top of incoming requests.
Building Your Local SEO Strategy
When it comes to local SEO, optimizing your Google Business Profile is just one aspect of the jigsaw. There are numerous extra opportunities to improve your local rankings, attract targeted traffic, and outperform your rivals. To increase your exposure in search, the professionals at Tech Zent Solution can spot these chances and work with you to develop a thorough digital marketing strategy. Get in touch with us right away if you’re interested in learning more about our SEO services and how we may benefit your company.