Google My Business is one of the most effective and efficient ways to improve your local SEO and generate more traffic to your business both in-person and online.
This article will explain what Google My Business is, why it’s important for your business, and how to conquer the SEO basics of your listing so that your business can claim its rightful virtual real estate.
What is Google My Business & How Does It Work?
Google My Business, or GMB, is the biggest platform available online to showcase your business to a local audience. Optimising GMB can put your business’s information in front of local shoppers at many different points of their online search and influence how your information is displayed to those viewers as well.
Google provides three main opportunities to optimize your local business listing:
- Google Knowledge Panel: if you have your GMB listing properly completed, when a user searches for your business specifically, Google will present key information about your business’s location in an information box at the top of the page in the search results.
- Google Maps: your business’s listing on a local map, accompanied by directions and important information about your location available on both mobile devices and desktop computers.
- Google Local Pack: With every local search result, Google will highlight three business listings directly underneath or beside the map of the area. These three listings are called the “local pack” and vary throughout time based on SEO efforts.
Benefits Of Google My Business
Google is the biggest search engine in the world so having your business listed with this behemoth in all ways possible is good for your visibility online. Google My Business specifically has a few more key benefits to consider:
- Allow local visitors to find your business on Google maps and get directions to your location, hours of operations, contact information and more
- Encourage visitors to leave ratings and reviews about your business, boosting social proof trust signals
- Stand out from generic search results with a prominent, dedicated business listing at the top of the page
- Collect and track data about how users interact with your business from a local perspective
- It’s a free way to improve your SEO and visibility online
Optimising Google My Business
Google My Business SEO strategies are more simple and more straightforward than many other forms of SEO because Google makes it as easy for you as possible to present your information effectively.
Google knows what information is most important and prompts you to provide it.
Optimising your GMB listing begins with setting up your page.
Set Up Your Google My Business Page
Your GMB listing begins by visiting the Google My Business Create page. Google will take the lead and guide you through a detailed questionnaire. Fill out the information as specifically and consistently as possible, providing as many relevant details about your business as you can.
Once you’ve filled in as much information as you want to share, you will have to verify your listing either through a phone call or postcard and within a few days you’ll gain access to your verified GMB Dashboard.
Once your business is verified, you can adjust or expand on the listing to maximise the SEO results. Pay particularly close attention to the following areas:
1. Adjust Your Local Service Area
Make sure you list all locations of your business through the “Manage locations’ tab in your dashboard. This section will impact how your business is reflected on Google Maps and is a key component of local SEO.
You will also have an opportunity to indicate a service area beyond your physical location, sharing the boundaries of your services or delivery options.
You can create a Google My Business page without setting a physical location, but you will be missing out on a considerable amount of potential attention from a local perspective. For more details on why optimising for local SEO is so important, read our related post, Guide to Local SEO.
2. Categorise Your Business
Choosing a category for your business is a mandatory step in the process of completing your listing, but you can add additional categories once your listing is complete if they are relevant to your business.
The goal through this entire process is to be as relevant and useful as possible, so choose a category or categories that describe your business as accurately as possible.
3. Optimise Labels and Highlight Attributes
Throughout your GMB page, try to use keywords that are relevant to your business, product, or services in all the key locations, just as you would optimise for on-page SEO on your website.
There are also opportunities to highlight special attributes of your business, helping your listing stand out from the competition. A few examples are minority-owned businesses, healthcare or essential services, or accessibility accommodations.
4. Answer Questions & Encourage Reviews
Responding to questions and reviews is a great way to provide high-quality information that your audience is asking for, but it’s also a way to keep your business fresh and engaged in the eyes of Google spiders. The more frequently you’re adding to your listing, the more likely your listing is to gain in rankings.
5. Use Photos and Videos with Alt Text
Photos help visitors know what to look for when they’re visiting your physical location and make your business feel more approachable on various levels. Pictures help improve the trust factor of your business listing.
If you use Alt Text and carefully named images, Google will have more information to understand and list your company in search results, and you will also be improving the accessibility of your listing to your visually impaired viewers.
Videos are even more compelling but should be optimised for fast-loading and acceptable audio quality as well.
Setting up a basic Google My Business listing is relatively straightforward, but optimising that listing to its fullest potential and maintaining its relevance over time is a more intensive project. Riordan SEO can help develop your GMB page so that your business stands out proudly in search results.