Google My Business optimization is critically important as your listing often gives prospects their initial sense of your business. From general business information to reviews and company photos, it’s a snapshot of your business and what you offer.
Regardless, insight is nothing without action. What concrete steps can you take to strengthen your Google My Business profile? This Mini-Guide provides both the Why and the What: eight reasons that optimizing your GMB is important, along with ten actions you can take to optimize it.
Top Reasons Why It’s Crucial to Optimize Your GMB Page
Google My Business optimization delivers various gains:
- It allows you to establish the best possible presentation and guide first impressions.
Directly through your Google Business listing, you can differentiate your company and highlight key information. Give customers the right expectations. Let them know when you are open, your primary phone number, and your health practices.
You can better establish your identity with online users by including integrated “attributes,” such as Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned, etc.
You can make yourself look appealing to customers through your logo, cover image, and other photos — better conveying your brand’s personality.
- Google My Business optimization boosts your local SEO.
By filling out every piece of information within Google My Business, you gain online authority and provide another signal to Google that you offer services/products within a specified area.
- You get great social proof and credibility, with your overall star rating and customer reviews visible.
Gaining continued positive reviews may lead prospects to purchase/use your services as it will build your credibility with them.
- You can receive email messages and phone calls directly through your Google My Business profile.
Generally, it is important to have your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistency across the web (see below). Nonetheless, you can set up call tracking for your Google My Business number without hurting your SEO. You will enter the tracking number within the Info tab of the dashboard. The tracking number should be your primary number. Click the “Add Phone Number” link. For that secondary phone number, put the main number that is on your website. On your website, you can use Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) so that people call a different listed number that is routed to your correct one — while search engines always see your local number.
- People often search for services on Google Maps.
Since Google Maps is integrated with GMB, GMB optimization will automatically improve your presence and presentation there as well.
- GMB has become more prominent in recent years as Yelp, and similar crowdsourced review apps have become less popular.
Knowing how to optimize Google My Business allows you to carefully manage and curate your GMB profile – which in turn allows people to check your reviews and form an opinion before reaching your site.
- GMB is a key component of a strong content distribution strategy.
As Sarah Allworth noted in her Google My Business tips piece in Search Engine Journal, GMB is a fundamental tool of a solid content distribution plan. You must get your content to the desired audience if you want it to turn into sales and a better search presence. To get more people to read your content, consider Google My Business a channel for exposure — and update it each week.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
It’s one thing to know the value of a great GMB page. Knowing how to optimize Google My Business allows you to execute on your knowledge:
- You must set up a Google My Business account.
Google My Business optimization is irrelevant until you have a GMB account. GMB is different from a Google Business Profile. You use the former to optimize the latter. Create a GMB account and link it with your Google Business Profile. To do this, using the business account email you use with Google, log in at Google.com/business.
- Pay very careful attention to contact details & open hours.
The way that your business name appears on signage and elsewhere in the physical world should be reflected identically in your GMB business name. Organizations have often been penalized for adding keywords or cities to business names.
All your web listings should match exactly. Google determines how credible your GMB page is, in part, by looking at consistency across the internet. Try to always use “company” vs. “co.” or “street” vs. “st.” the same way on all sites so that your name and address do not appear to deviate. (Regarding NAP, see the note above on how to track phone numbers via GMB – in contradiction with typical NAP expectations.)
Finally, you want to be certain to update with holiday hours, rather than just putting regular ones. The inclusion of holiday hours will keep customers from getting upset and leaving poor reviews. Plus, it will give prospects the information they need to confidently head to your location.
- Fill out the “from your business” section.
Google controls the most prominent description of your business within your GMB profile. However, you do have the ability to provide a “from the business” message, which typically appears below the reviews. Be sure to use the entire maximum of 750 words to get the most out of this SEO opportunity.
- Indicate the applicable attributes.
As we stated above, you can choose “attributes” to describe your business. While the ones we mentioned above have more to do with cultural identification or group affiliations, your options extend well beyond that to other features consumers may seek, such as “free wi-fi” and “gift shop on-site.”
- Rapidly reply when customers leave reviews.
Beyond the reinforcement, it sends positive-review customers, and the reassurance it sends negative-review customers. A quick response improves your SEO! Among the ranking factors for Google’s Local Pack, review signals were powerful at 15.44 percent, per the Moz 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors study. Plus, you increase trust by responding quickly — which builds relationships with satisfied customers and may prompt dissatisfied customers to change or delete their reviews.
- Quickly respond when a prospect has a question.
One of the most important pieces of GMB is the Q & A section: Customers can simply click “Ask a Question,” and they can ask you anything publicly. Improve the perception and experience of customers through a speedy response that gets them answers and peace of mind. (Plus, since the questions are posted publicly, you demonstrate a fast response to everyone.)
- Provide photos of your team, products, physical locations, and customers.
Upload as many photos as possible. Photos are one of the most important ways that you can add content to Google My Business. You are likely to get a better click-through rate from your GMB page if you have 100 or more photos, as indicated by the BrightLocal 2019 Google My Business Insights Study.
What should you use for photos? Your cover image should typically be your business or office. Your products are great for image subjects, as are images of work being performed. Anything that has received significant praise should be featured in the photos.
- Distribute news and special offer information via regular updates.
As indicated above, you want to consider GMB a powerful tool for your content distribution strategy. Special promotions, events, and similar locally relevant content are best.
- Make your GMB page media-rich.
Let the audience know who you are and a little about the business through a video. If you really want to wow customers, consider a 360 virtual tour conducted by a Google-certified videographer.
Once you have the video made, you can distribute it through other channels as well. Be sure to post it to YouTube. While you are at it, optimize YouTube as well.
- Figure out what category is best for your business.
A central step in the optimization of GMB is the category selection, for two key reasons:
- Choosing a category allows you to access features only available for the category. The hair salon category allows you to state your experience with curly and/or thin hair. The hotel category brings in star ratings from other sites. Reservations and menu buttons are available in the restaurant category. Often these features are the tipping point for someone to buy from your business.
- Just 16 percent of searches that result in Business Profile views are direct searches, in which a consumer is typing in a specific address or business name. The other 84 percent of searches that lead to views are ones in which consumers search for categorical terms, services, or products, and you appear as an option — called discovery searches. You can show up in those searches through category selection.
A Google My Business Optimization Partnership
While this list of Google My Business tips for why and how to optimize your profile has not been exhaustive, we hope it has helped. The more you understand the value of Google My Business optimization, the more you will appreciate the value of GMB optimization services. At Oyova, we offer a variety of SEO-related services to help boost your visibility and ranks, including Google My Business optimization. Contact us today to discuss how our SEO solutions can transform your business.