In today’s digital world, consumers look to Google for product and purchasing direction. With approximately 5.6 billion searches per day, Google is a vital platform for businesses, especially when optimizing Google My Business (GMB).
What is GMB?
Google My Business is a free platform that enables businesses to control their listing that appears in Google searches. This is extremely critical for location-based searches, as a GMB listing will quickly display business name, location, hours, reviews, Q&A, posts, and photos to consumers. GMB is an excellent asset and is an essential step for small businesses in optimizing their SEO.
GMB is critical for local search and driving SEO-related business, as an optimized GBM can attract customers and boost revenue by increasing search ranking. In a recent Bright Local GMB report, over 75% of all listings were found through organic search, many of which are achieved through direct and discovery searches.
Direct searches – are people searching for a specific business; they know what they’re looking for (I.e. GROWL Agency Grand Junction).
Discovery searches – are searches that are related to your business and relevant to your area (i.e. marketing agency Grand Junction).
An optimized and maintained GMB listing will make it easier for customers to find your business while boosting your local search ranking. For example, if a customer searches “taco shop near me,” a Mexican restaurant that has an optimized GMB listing will be likely to pop up at the top of the search (in both Google search and Google Maps). Thus, making GMB vital for small businesses.
Google My Business is all about local search
GMB focuses on optimizing small business pages and promoting local activity. Consider a general search query and the yielded SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Typically, you’ll see keyword search ads followed by local listings, then general web pages. For example, if you search “marketing agency” in the Grand Junction area, you’ll see brands like 9th Wonder or LRXD that have promoted, pay-per-click ads on these keywords and geographic location (they’re both Denver-based). Next, Google displays GMB listings in Google Maps, allowing users to see locations and select a local listing to fully view. Lastly, Google includes related search options and cross-web results (i.e., top stories).
When it comes to local, your business needs to appear in the Google Maps SERP. When a GBM is verified, updated, and recommended, it is more likely to engage the consumer. To make the most out of your GMB listing, follow these GROWL tips.
Get the most out of your GMB listing
To get started with GMB, follow these steps:
1 Immediately claim and verify your business
Google will walk you through the steps to claim your business so that you can have control over the listing. You can verify your business by phone, email, postcard, etc. so that you can monitor and manage your business listing.
2 Update all information
From location and hours to phone number, website, and FAQs, all information needs to be accurate. When a local customer views your listing, over 56% are likely to visit your business, and 24% are likely to call you; thus, having up-to-date information is critical.
3 Check your listing regularly
As information changes or users provide feedback, Google often tries to automatically fill in missing information in your listing. Sometimes, this will incorporate automated searches and consumer suggestions that might be inaccurate.
Optimize GMB in 5 steps
Local searches, such as “near me” and “close by” queries, have grown by over 900% since 2017, so not utilizing or optimizing your GMB is detrimental. First, double-check the basics from above:
- Business name
- Launch date (date you first opened)
- Service area
- Contact information
- Verify your page via phone or email
Then, cross-reference all contact information with your social media and webpages. When your brand leverages the same information across the internet, your SEO strategy improves.
Next, follow these steps for maximizing your SEO potential on GMB.
1 Complete your profile
Include a short business name, something your business is frequently called (i.e., GROWL Agency’s short name would be GROWL). The short name will make it easier for consumers to find your listing. You’ll also want to completely review the listing and build out your business description in 750 characters. Be sure to incorporate keywords, locations, and keyword phrases early on.
2 Add photos to your listing
Businesses that have pictures are more likely to drive traffic through to their website. Your cover photo is the first thing customers see in their search, so it is important to choose a photo that represents your business well. This should be a solid profile picture that will go along with all of your posts.
3 Consistently post to Google Posts
This is similar to any social media platform, but with bolstered SEO. Here, you can share company updates that act as mini ads. From generic company news to events and special deals, Google Posts is a great way to show your brand’s personality.
- Share company updates as generic posts
- Post about a company event including dates and other necessary details as events
- Promote a special offer to entice a person who started with a discovery search to follow through with a service
Any of this content, including images, will show up in your listing search results. Be sure to add a CTA to control a consumer’s next steps. Currently, you can use the following Google CTAs:
- Learn More
- Order Online
- Sign Up
- Get Offer
- Call Now
4 Build out the Google Q&A section
This section provides consumers a FAQ and gives them a chance to learn more. Here, include information that didn’t fit into your 750 character description and provides more insight into your business, products/services, and operations.
5 Google Reviews, the pinnacle of success
Lastly, one of the greatest tools GMB has to offer is Google Reviews. Across your marketing, request reviews and recommendations from consumers. Then, respond to all reviews. Engagement shows consumers that your brand is thankful and thoughtful, resulting in a positive perception. Additionally, it helps improve your SEO reputation. Be sure also to address negative reviews in a kind and courteous manner so that you remain professional and enhance your credibility.
Google My Business is an excellent tool for businesses, especially those impacted by local search. Contact the GROWL team today to start bolstering your GMB and SEO ranking!