Business owners with websites are always looking for ways to gain visibility in SERPs. While there are many opportunities to show up in search results pages, Google My Business provides one of the most efficient methods to improve local business SEO and rank.
Google My Business is dashboard that allows companies to manage their listing that Google uses in a variety of ways throughout search results. Brands who optimize their Google My Business profile are able to better control how their company appears and performs in Google search.
An essential tool, Google My Business lets brands adjust how they look in Google +, Maps, Google’s Knowledge Graph and organic search results. In 2017, Moz’ Local Search Ranking Factors Survey revealed results that showed Google My Business was the most successful local business SEO driver, followed by links in second place.
That should tell you how important optimizing your company’s Google My Business listing is.
When you claim and oversee your own listing, you have the ability to add photos, open hours, NAP details and more. Google My Business optimization includes the ability to manage customer reviews, create posts (with content, promotions or nearly anything you want) and so much more.
How exactly does it work?
Getting started with Google My Business is simple. You need to create an account first and then claim your business. After you fill out your company’s details, you’ll go through a verification process with Google to prove you’re the owner of the business.
What’s next? Filling in all the details about your company and checking the analytics to see how your listing is doing. Google allows businesses to view clicks, impressions and subscribers over a given period. These insights and others are a great way to get perspective on how your brand shows up to users online.
Google My Business isn’t intended to be your only tool for local business SEO (it should compliment your on-site efforts). If you don’t optimize your Google My Business listing, it’s not going to tank you search results. But, you likely won’t climb to page 1 if you don’t take advantage of improving your listing.
Updating Google My Business to make sure all of your company’s information is accurate, and is optimized for local search, is a smart strategy as part of a comprehensive local business SEO campaign.
Google My Business and Local Business SEO Ranking Factors
Google My Business uses several factors to determine how businesses are ranked in SERPs. The most important include relevance, distance and prominence.
Relevance is extremely important in search because it determines how likely your information will satisfy the needs of the user. It ensures that your company’s offerings match the intent of the customer searching for products or services.
If your focus online is identical to what a buyer is looking for, you rank higher. If your online content is vague or inaccurate, you don’t rank well.
When optimizing any part of your Google My Business profile, make sure you’re as clear as possible about what your company offers. Stay focused. Optimizing your About page and posts are easier and more effective if you keep focus keywords in mind.
You probably already know that distance is a critical ranking factor for local businesses. As an example, a hotel in Boston is not going to rank in a search for hotels in Honolulu. The result pages for a search of hotels in Honolulu have a lot to do with keywords used in websites’ content. But, they also have a great deal to do with factors known to Google and somewhat mysterious to the rest of us.
While it definitely helps to say you’re located in a certain area when you write web copy, showing it through local content on your Google My Business listing is invaluable. Google uses what it knows about businesses and the location of the searcher to present the most relevant results.
You can think of prominence like popularity. The more activity there is around your Google My Business listing (reviews, local posts, events, etc.), the better your chances of showing up high in search engine results.
It can be difficult to determine precisely what prominence means to Google, but keep in mind that a dead profile isn’t likely a popular one. Update your listing frequently with images, review responses, local posts and new business features. Because your Google My Business listing is a compliment to your overall local business SEO efforts, make sure that all your profile information lines up with your website.
Why Make the Effort to Optimize Google My Business?
Google wants everyone to be happy (when everyone is happy, the search giant is more profitable). Users are happy when they find what they need online. This is one reason why Google encourages companies to optimize their Google My Business listings.
Companies are happy when they rank well and get more business (and possibly start to pay for advertising). Again, another reason Google wants you to know it’s in your benefit to update your Google My Business profile optimized.
The key benefits for a brand to optimize its Google My Business listing include:
- Consistent information. When you update your Google My Business listing, you reduce the chance of your business being misrepresented online. Third-party services and apps that count on Google for their data will get accurate information if you keep your profile current.
- Visibility. Google My Business improves your visibility across the web because many sites rely on the tool for their information. If you complete your Google My Business profile, you increase opportunities to get featured on various sites.
- First impressions. The ability to upload images and video is a huge Google My Business perk. Why wouldn’t you want to have control over what customers see when they view your business online? Take advantage of the chance to show off your products and services the way you want and to make a powerful first impression.
In addition to these key benefits, Google My Business’ ability to allow companies to review insights (analytics), make value-driven and engaging posts, take bookings and manage their reputation is reason to jump on the tactic today.