If you want your business to be found, both locally and online, you need to be listed somewhere, a place where people can search for you – right? Let me ask you this – Does your Business have a Google My Business listing? If you haven’t taken the time to claim and verify your business’ Google My Business (GMB) listing – you’re missing out on being found!
A Google My Business listing is one of the most important profiles a business should have if they want to be found through local search. MOZ’s Local Search Engine Rank Factor Survey shows that Google My Business is still the biggest driver of local SEO conversions.
If you want your business to be found on search results, Maps, Google+, Google’s Knowledge Graph and more, complete with all your relevant information, then it must have a relevant and active GMB page.
Note: Having a GMB listing is not an alternative to having a business website, instead, both are needed to build your online presence and give your business name solid digital presence.
Is a Google My Business Listing That Essential?
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to start doing yoga…again. I figured that going to a studio where I would have a coach and other people to encourage me would be better than practicing at home, where I could easily get discouraged and give up.
So what did I do? Like every other person, I went to the one who has all answers- Google- and typed in “yoga studios downtown Toronto”
Here’s the result I got:
These businesses popped up because they all have optimized Google My Business listings with information to show that they are all located in downtown Toronto. Notice that the GMB listings are first on the SERP, even before websites. This is because Google is consistently optimizing its result page to give users the most relevant answers at first glance.
Local SEO optimization is an endless field, but a GMB listing should be one of the first things you complete to stay at the top of relevant result pages.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Your Local Business
Add or Claim your GMB Listing
The first thing to do is to claim your listing. If your business has been around for a while and has an online presence, it is possible that it already has a listing. Using these steps, claim it if you find said listing. It is also possible that someone else might have claimed your business for fraudulent reasons. If this is the case, it can be fixed using these steps.
To create your GMB listing, start here.
Verify your GMB Listing
Even with all information completely filled out, Google will not display your listing if it has not been verified. To do this, submit information needed in all required fields, and select the most convenient verification method for you.
I recommend verifying your listing by mail. This way, Google sends you a postcard with the needed details enclosed. I prefer this method because the mail is sent to your listed business address, showing that it is indeed yours. It’s a lot easier because it confirms to Google once and for all that information provided is accurate, and you are not falsely trying to claim someone else’s business.
Once you receive the mail, you will be required to input the enclosed code using steps provided. This process takes about a week for verification. Once it is completed, your listing will go live.
Fill Out Business Details & Use Relevant Keywords
Be sure to fill input boxes with the needed business information. Just like with websites, keywords are very important in identifying what listings are relevant to certain searches. Use the right keywords that contain information such as your services and location. Ensure that enough information about your business is provided.
Include Photos & Videos
Visual content is very important when promoting your brand or business. It gives viewers a clear picture of what you have to offer. Include high-quality, professional images in your listing. A clear logo is essential as it will be displayed with your listing on the SERP. You will also need a cover photo. This usually shows up at the top of your Google+ page. Your cover photo should be creative and show a part of your brand’s personality. Other photos to include are of your office, staff, fun activities organized by your company and products and services offered. Give viewers a clear insight into your brand.
Update Your Operating Hours
If you offer physical products and services, include your opening and closing hours on your listing. You can also include operating hours to indicate when customer support will be available.
It would be a horrible first encounter if a potential customer goes all the way down to your business just to find out that you are still/already closed.
Include All Service-Area Business Details
Many times, people search for local businesses that can make home deliveries or provide home services. The services you provide to customers are the distinctive features that separate you from other businesses. Ensure that all extra services provided are also available on your listing.
Monitor Customer Reviews
Customer reviews can make or break your business. Potential customers also actively search for reviews before they even contact you to make an inquiry. Monitor all reviews related to your business. If you find a negative review and can contact the reviewer, do your best to resolve the issue. Your business’ online presence is interlinked, regardless of how many platforms it is spread across.
Include Business Contact Details
Remember to include your business contact details; customer care lines, email addresses, and social media profiles. Make sure that they are all active, and make required changes if any of these channels become inactive.
Does your business have a GMB – Google My Business listing? How effective has it been in boosting your online local search rankings? Have you seen improved conversion results yet – if not you need to optimize it for better effectiveness?