Are you looking for ways to improve your business’ online presence? Do you need targeted visibility on Google? Then, you need to have effective local search engine optimization (SEO), because Google presents local results to people who search for businesses and places near their location. One of the most important ranking factors for local SEO is the presence of your business or organization on Google My Business (GMB) listing – or officially known as your Business Profile. Be it any business – big or small – claiming and optimizing your GMB listing is one of the simplest ways to gain traffic and customers. Without a well-optimized GMB profile, your chances of appearing in Google features – such as Search and Maps – are going to be frail.
GMB is a free tool – that lists your business’ operating information, reviews, posts, and so much more- that is considered as your company’s most visible asset for local search. According to Google, half of all the users who conduct a search for a local business will visit that business within 24 hours. But, if you don’t claim or optimize your GMB listing, then Google will provide the information that is available about your business to users, which may not always be accurate. So, to optimize your GMB listing, the first and foremost thing you have to do is claim your GMB profile. You have to verify and edit all the information about your business on Google and make the connection you need for prospects to find your firm.
Check out 5 other important actionable ways to turn your Google Business Profile into a 24/7 marketing and lead generation tool for your local business:
Fill out your profile: As local results favor the most relevant results for each search, it is important that businesses should have complete and accurate information in their GMB listing as it would improve their search ranking. However, to make it easier for Google to match with the right searches, give Google as much information about your business – such as contact details, category, attributes, and more – as possible. While filling out the profile:
- Make sure everything is accurate and grammatically correct.
If possible, use the right keywords wherever possible.
- Make sure your business name, contact details and other information are consistent with the details on your website and social media profiles.
- Try to find the best relevant category that describes your business.
- Make sure you indicate the areas you usually service, especially if your business involves delivering goods or services.
Never leave any information to be guessed or assumed, because businesses offering the most detailed and accurate information will be easier to find in search.
Upload Images: It’s a known fact that photos/images are more engaging than text, and therefore adding more images to your GMB listing can help you in optimizing your profile. It is also a great way to encourage virtual visitors to get to know you and your business. In fact, Google says that businesses using photos or images on their listing are seen to receive 42% more requests for directions, 35% more clicks-through to their websites compared to businesses that don’t.
To optimize your Google Business Profile with photos, follow these tips:
- Load high-quality photos that have clear depictions and reflect your professionalism.
- Add at least one new image every seven days.
- Make your logo as your thumbnail photo.
- For your cover photo, use a photo that best represents your brand.
- Refer to Google’s photo guidelines for general photo specification and make sure to include happy customers, interior and exterior views, and team photos.
- Don’t use stock photos, and photos with special effects or branding because, Google is trying to represent your business as it appears in the real world.
Uploaded photos should capture your team’s personality, your work setting, as well as the interior and exterior of your office space.
Get and respond to Google Reviews: Do you know that Google Reviews help with your GMB page rankings? Yes, for instance, if your page has 20 or more reviews, Google is more likely to show your page in the mapped listings over a page that doesn’t have any reviews. With these reviews, people will also get an idea of what it would be like to work with you, as it paves a great way to build trust and give them a more personal acknowledgment of your work.
Getting reviews help, and interacting with customers by responding to their reviews also illustrates that your business values its customers and the feedback that they leave regarding it. Positive reviews – that obviously have a positive effect on potential customers when researching your business – will increase your business’ visibility in search results; therefore, encourage your customers to be honest and accurate in their review.
Set Your Multiple Service Areas: Very recently, Google rolled out a new feature where it allows businesses to list multiple service areas within their Google My Business listing, separate from their physical business location. If multiple service areas are applicable to your business, make sure to set your service area to a region, city or zip code, and apply multiple service areas. This helps Google to rank them equally.
Being a free and valuable tool, GMB helps you manage your business’ or brand’s online presence not only across Google’s own search engine but also within its growing portfolio of online utilities. Just like any SEO strategy, your GMB strategy should also center around providing as much quality information about your business as possible. For that, you have to make sure that the information entered is not just in your Business Profile but also in the sources that Google uses to populate it— such as your website, review site profiles, and even your social media accounts. Even though there are many ways customers can find your business, GMB helps to make your important business information more easily visible to potential customers who are looking for your product, service, or experience. It helps with local SEO by offering a chance to engage with your customers in various ways – such as reviews or posts – and provides useful insights on your customers’ purchasing paths.