Google my Business is a free tool provided by Google that allows business owners to manage their online presence. Experienced SEO professionals utilize Google my business listing to optimize location-based strategies. Thus, creating your GMB listing is the first move in getting success in local searches.
Google my business listing has the biggest effect on brands looking for local exposure. A functionality like Google’s local search underlines the requirement for a GMB listing for new as well as existing businesses.
It provides all the detailed information to searchers about a business including address, working hours, category, reviews, and more. When a new listing is made, its location is generated on Google maps. This is synchronized with traditional Google search for easy accessibility.
It absolutely helps to ensure that a majority of organic searches are made on Google, which is about 90% of the global market share of search engines. It also demonstrates the importance of Google my business listing and successful local SEO.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the tips that you can follow to create and optimize your Google my business listing and rank higher in the local search results.
Before that, let’s see why you need to work on your Google my business listing and optimize it.
Why do you need to optimize your Google my business listing?
1. Increase engagement
The frequency of customers opening and leaving Google without going to any other website is increasing day by day. It’s because the details on the SERPs completely address their queries. With significantly more customers engaging with your company through your Google my business listing than your website, you would definitely want to optimize this profile for quality interaction and to generate more leads with GMB.
2. Boost your ranking
Google’s business profile’s ranking algorithm not only considers distance and significance but also the operation and quality of information. Improving your Google my business listing gives these indications to Google to rate you higher in local search results. And you already know that a higher rank means more engagement and conversions for your business.
3. Maximize your sales
A standard Google my business listing will not deliver much in terms of customer acquisition. They will figure out your location and go through the reviews only if they know your business name. However, with an optimized Google my business listing, people can find you with keyword searches, call, visit your website, check out your product and services, ask for a quote, book an appointment, and more. You can also monitor your website visits, appointments received, profile visits, etc.
Now that you know how important it is to optimize your Google my business listing, let’s discuss what you should do to optimize it and improve your search rankings.
How to optimize your Google my business listing
1. Verify or claim your Google my business listing
Firstly, it is vital to remember here that Google my business listing is a different entity from a Google my business account. The GMB account is used to gain access to the GMB listing and optimize it. Go to www.google.com/business to sign in. Use your existing Google account to sign in or create a new account. Enter your business name, category, location, and contact information.
After providing the basic details, you’ll see an option to verify your business in different ways. Verification by postcard is the default verification option. If other options, including phone or email verification, are available for your business, select the one you prefer.
It will take up to 15 days for your postcard to arrive at the given address. After receiving the postcard, sign in to your account, select ‘Verify location’, and enter the 5-digit code mentioned in the postcard.
2. Fill in every section of your listing
After verifying your Google my business listing, provide Google with each and every piece of information about your business that you can. It helps Google in showing your business listing when someone searches for a business like yours. Simply put, it will boost your rankings. As Google says, “Local results prefer the most appropriate results for each search, and listings with up-to-date and precise details are easier to match with the right searches.”
Google decides ranking on the basis of 3 things:
- Proximity: The location of the searcher and your business
- Relevancy: The way your business matches the search query
- Prominence: The popularity of your business
Thus, you should complete every section including name, address, phone, website, working hours, category and attributes, products and services, and description. And also include appropriate keywords wherever you can.
3. Be accurate with contact details
Apart from the phone number, you need to take care of the following things while optimizing your contact details in Google my business listing:
- Ensure that your business name is written in the same way as it’s on your store signage. If you don’t have a physical store, make sure the name matches your card or your website. Writing your location or keywords in the business name is considered spam so avoid doing that.
- Make sure that your business name as well as address match with other listings that you’ve made across the web. This means that if you using ‘co’ instead of ‘company’ in other listings, maintain the same in GMB.
- Mention your working hours as well as holidays. This way, customers will know when to visit you and removes the possibility of a bad review left by a customer who visited your location only to find it was closed.
4. Choose primary and secondary categories
Selecting categories is necessary for optimizing your Google my business listing. Here’s why:
- It helps you get found in discovery searches. A total of 84% of business listing views come from discovery searches (where the users were looking for a product, service, or category, and the business listings appeared), compared with just 16% from direct searches (where users type in the exact business name or location).
- Google provides category-specific features to you once you select a category – to make your business listing more appealing and efficient. Restaurants, for instance, can have a menu or booking icon on their profile.
Google provides a fixed set of categories, thus selecting the right one is crucial. If your exact category is not available, try to choose the closest accurate one. Be as specific as you can. You can choose secondary/additional categories, but don’t overdo it. Choose only those that match your business’ offering.
5. Write a detailed business description
The first thing to consider is that you can’t edit or control the brief overview that appears below your business name in your profile. This is the editorial overview that Google composes to maintain consistency across the web.
However, the good part is that Google does a great job at providing descriptions. The description that you can actually control and edit is the ‘From the business’ section. This paragraph shows up under the reviews section of your profile.
While optimizing the description, use all the 750 characters, and include important information in the first 250 characters. Avoid repeating the details that are already mentioned in other sections of your listing. Utilize this section to speak about what makes you stand out from your rivals and what consumers like about your business. Don’t include any links or HTML in the description.
6. Choose appropriate attributes
As we discussed earlier, Google will provide you with a list of attributes that you can use to describe your company, once you select a category. Attributes are exclusive features that potential buyers search for, like ‘free wifi’, or ‘antique decor stores’.
Hotels can show class ratings and a list of services available. Restaurants and bars have the ability to upload menus and highlight popular food dishes. Service-oriented companies can show a service menu and incorporate a booking button. Small and medium-sized businesses can add catalogs of products.
You could have selected the wrong category if you consider your business to be eligible for one of these attributes, but do not see them. You can select up to 10 categories, so make use of that.
7. Collect 5-star reviews
Consumers trust others more than they trust companies. A positive rating could be the definitive factor that signals potential customers in your direction. Reviews will also boost Google’s ranking. The appropriate time to ask for a rating is after giving a positive experience. Try providing a card or an e-receipt asking for a review, whether in-store or online.
Google recognizes that ratings have a huge effect on customer sales, so this is a primary ranking consideration in its algorithm. You can also see for yourself the effect of the ratings on rankings. For most Google searches, the first three local results that display (what is known as the “Local 3-Pack”) are those with several reviews and strong star ratings.
Also, make it a habit to respond to reviews as soon as you receive them. Thank the users who leave positive feedback, and provide assistance to the customers that leave a negative rating.
8. Create posts
Just like other social media sites, you can post to your Google my business listing about products, discounts, events, etc. Posts can be made from your GMB dashboard and they appear in the ‘Updates’ section at the bottom of your profile. But, depending on the search query, they may be shown at the beginning of your profile.
Posts boost the number of actions taken by users that come across your listing. Posting frequently gives Google optimistic ranking signals. The user intent on Google and other search engines is higher than other posting platforms like Facebook and Instagram where users are browsing casually – thus they are more likely to interact with GMB posts.
It is necessary to post frequently as a post expires after 7 days. Utilize event and offer posts for ad campaigns with a limited timeline. While creating a post, include links and a call to action – it increases the chances of users engaging with your content.
9. Add products and services
Adding products and services is particularly useful if they are not mentioned clearly in your business name. Filling up this segment also adds content to your Google my business listing and can help you rank in relevant searches.
Write the name, description, and price of the products and services while adding them. The complete description will appear when the user clicks on a product. Google might also link to your products from the section of categories.
10. Set up messaging
This function offers users the ability to send a text message to your contact number directly from your Google my business listing. 82% of people who shop through smartphones use their device for local search. Thus, messaging provides users a great opportunity to get in touch with your business.
In order to enable this feature, select the ‘Messaging’ option in your GMB dashboard and then you need to install the GMB app from the play store or app store. Make sure that you set up messaging alerts from your GMB dashboard. Go to settings and select the ‘Customer messages’ checkbox to receive notifications for new messages.
11. Add photos and videos
It is very important to upload photos and videos to your Google my business listing. Here’s why:
- Everyone can add photos and videos to your listing, so you will receive a range of quality. Adding your own media can ensure quality and you will be able to showcase your store and products in the best possible manner.
- Regularly adding photos and videos indicates to Google that your GMB listing is active and up-to-date. This ultimately affects your ranking in search results.
- Google has made advances in image recognition and started to display images in search results.
- Google estimates that consumers are 42% more likely to ask for directions for a business profile that has uploaded pictures, and 35% are more likely to visit the website.
Manage everything in one place with RecurPost
It is challenging to remain on top of multiple locations or businesses. But, luckily, you can add your Google my business listing to RecurPost once your listing is verified. RecurPost is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to manage GMB listings along with 4 other social media platforms. You can create and schedule posts on your listing and add call to actions. This will keep your profile always updated and eliminate the need to post manually every day or every week.
With the social inbox, you can also keep a check on the reviews that people leave on your Google my business listing and also respond to them.
Here are some tips on how you can add CTAs and manage your listing efficiently through RecurPost.
Checkout RecurPost by signing up for the 14-day free trial now and see your rankings improve!
Amaiya Rathi is a content writer at RecurPost. She helps RecurPost communicate with their readers in their own language. Whether it is the web copy, social media posts or blogs, Amaiya has worked on all aspects of copywriting.