Local searches are an important part of any SEO strategy. Google My Business helps you optimize that local angle and get a competitive edge, if you know how to use it right. Google My Business is free, so it’s worth figuring out how to leverage it.
The Benefits of Google My Business
To qualify for Google My Business, your brand has to have an actual brick and mortar location. Each location you have is an individual listing. People who provide services like carpentry or cleaning are considered service area businesses, who can also qualify by telling Google they deliver goods or services to customers at their locations.
Qualifying local businesses that claim their Google My Business listing can advertise important information – all of the details potential customers want to know. You can list when you are open, your address and phone number, payments you accept, and other data that will assist your local searchers and help you show up in search engine results.
Setting Up Google My Business
Google My Business requires verification. You can choose to claim the business by accepting a phone call from Google, during which you input a PIN, or verify through the mail.
When setting up your listing, you can optimize and be competitive from the start by choosing the right categories, specifically and sparingly.
A consistent business name, address, and phone number is very important across your entire web presence. Google My Business is most effective when it matches the correct information elsewhere.
It also needs to match up with your legal business name and any listed information in resources like the Yellow Pages or Yelp.
Photos are extremely effective for captivating interest, along with an awareness of SEO techniques. Images of your products, store front, and staff all help, and they should be named using your keywords.
Your introduction is another area to optimize. You have 250 words to create something unique and captivating. Don’t go crazy with keywords. The introduction needs to work for people, not only algorithms. And ensure that your introduction is separate from what already exists on your website. Duplicate content can hurt your SEO.
Using Google My Business Effectively
Google My Business goes a lot further if you put a bit of work into it. Instead of claiming it and forgetting it, keep it updated and frequently check in on it. Why? There are a few reasons.
First, anyone can attempt to edit your listing and answer queries about your business. You have to approve the changes, but if you are not regularly logging in you won’t even know that someone is trying to make adjustments.
A call to action could include a booking button, which is done right through the listing. Any appointments or scheduled bookings will appear in your integrated software. This makes it super easy for customers to get appointments with you, drumming up business without much work at all.
The same holds true for text messages — customers can send you messages right through the listing.
Each listing has an additional area – business posts – that you should use. These posts appear as part of the listing and will accept rich content like images or links. If you have something worth sharing, this is a good place to do it!
Creating business posts is as simple as creating and advertising events, sharing links to sales or articles, featuring products or services, or otherwise highlighting something fun or exciting. They stay up on your listing for a week or until an event expires. If your competitors aren’t keeping up with posts or don’t have anything worth sharing, you will have the advantage.
Reviews with Google My Business
Online reviews are an important part of competitive business practices. Having good reviews attached to your business is enough to sway customers over to try your products or services. Negative reviews have the opposite effect, of course.
With Google My Business, you can not only display online reviews, but you can also ask customers to leave them. You can then respond to the reviews, whether positive or negative, which shows that you are willing to engage with customers and demonstrates your customer service and your professionalism.
Why Use Google My Business?
You can access analytics with Google My Business, though they only show current data. If you are able to transfer this data to your own tracking spreadsheet, Google My Business can offer you additional insight into how your listing is working and who is accessing it.
Google My Business should be part of a larger SEO strategy that helps your business be as competitive and successful as possible. When you take the time to use it well, it brings customers and clients to you!
To get the most out of Google My Business, it requires some time in the beginning to set up your profile accurately, and then a relatively small but ongoing commitment to share unique and interesting content.