If you’re a local small business, Google My Business is one of your most powerful tools for ranking your website organically for search. This tool has become an essential part of any local business marketing strategy, and there are a number of ways to optimize on the platform.
- How Using Google My Business is Beneficial
- How to Use Google My Business
- Going Beyond GMB for Local Results
How Using Google My Business is Beneficial
Being owned by Google, there is an obvious connection between local search results and utilizing Google My Business (GMB). Beyond the obvious, though, here are four reasons why you really need to be utilizing the GMB platform for your business.
1. Better Organic Rankings
Using Google My Business ensures that Google has all of the details about your business they need at their fingertips. Rather than waiting and relying on their crawlers to go through your website and find all of the pertinent information, using GMB allows you to tell all of that data to Google directly.
Local websites can be tough for Google to crawl frequently, as they typically don’t garner enough traffic to command a lot of Google’s crawl budget. With that being the case, taking charge of giving Google as much relevant information as possible is positive!
A big factor for ranking in local (and national) results is trust. The more Google knows about your business, the better it will trust you, and thus rank your website for relevant results.
Besides, GMB is a Google product… so it stands to reason that you’ll rank better by using this platform. They’ve never confirmed it, but it makes sense, and studies have show it to be true.
2. Show Up in Google Map Pack
Search queries that have to do with a business near where the search is happening from often generate a Map result. This is otherwise known as the Map Pack, because Google always shows 3-4 results in a Map setting.
For people searching for a local or “near me” query, this Map Pack is highly relevant (and highly clicked). For that reason, it is really important to try and rank your business here!
Having your exact address submitted through GMB is one of the first steps to showing up in these results. That, combined with a number of optimization factors, help your business to show up in the Top 3-4 results.
3. Harness User Reviews
Google Reviews of your business are displayed and managed through Google My Business. We all know how important reviews are, and Google Reviews are one of the most important places to get these precious user reviews from. The only other platform that might have equal importance is Yelp, or perhaps an industry-specific one.
As a local business, you can see and respond to reviews through GMB. Getting good reviews is essential to ranking in local search, but it’s also vital to converting people into customers. Take a look at a few of these impactful data points:
- 90% of Customers say that their decision of what to buy is influenced by positive online reviews
- 94% of Customers will use a business that has at least 4 stars or higher
If for nothing else, your business needs to be on Google My Business to manage and engage with your reviews.
4. Make Use of Posts and Q/A
Google My Business has a lot more features than most people are aware of. One easy feature to take advantage of is Posts.
Similar to posting on Facebook or Instagram, you can create a Post in GMB. This post stays live for one week, and is visible to viewers who visit your profile. There is also a slight data correlation between posting frequently and improved rankings, although it isn’t substantive.
How to Use Google My Business
Know that you know how vital the GMB platform is for ranking locally, here are the top five tips for how to use Google My Business to grow your local business.
1. Ensure You’ve Set Up GMB
While it might sound obvious, most businesses don’t actually have a Google My Business profile established. If that’s you, go set your GMB profile up right now!
Google will require you to verify your listing, usually by mailing you a postcard. This typically only takes a few days, and then you’ll be able to utilize your account.
2. Fully Fill Out Profile
Once you’re in your GMB account, make sure to fully fill out everything that you can inside your profile.
Navigate to the “Info” tab first, and fill out all of the details. Make full use of all the characters available to you, fully describing your business and the services you offer.
Keywords matter in Google My Business, so make sure to harness your keyword strategy and use common and popular terms that your target market searches with.
3. Add Photos
Google really wants you to include a lot of photos in your profile. This makes sense, as it gives them more opportunities to show searchers a visual picture of your location and services.
Post a wide variety of photos, including:
- Inside Lobby
- Waiting Rooms
- Seating Areas
- Specific Services
- Details of Products
Obviously the specifics will depend on your business, but this is a general list of different areas to focus on.
In addition, encourage users and visitors of your business to post photos to your GMB account.
4. Post Frequently
In a section above, we highlighted that Google My Business allows you to Post, and you want to be doing this several times per week. You can post about a variety of topics, but here are a few suggestions:
- Post about any specials, discounts, or sales you have going on
- Post about any news, features, or awards you just received
- Duplicate your social media posts
- Post images of your customers interacting with your company
Since the posts expire after one week, you’ll want to make this a part of your ongoing strategy.
5. Respond to Reviews
Encouraging reviews on a variety of channels is an important part of any small business marketing strategy. Make sure you’re encouraging reviews whenever possible.
We all know how tough reviews can be… they are a double edged sword, and the longer you’re in business, the more you’ll have to deal with unsubstantiated negative reviews.
With that being said, it is important that you respond to every review, good or bad. Google wants to see that you care about your client’s thoughts, and its good for potential customers to see that you’re active and concerned.
Going Beyond GMB for Local Results
As you can see, Google My Business is a vital part of any local business strategy. The tool has a variety of uses, and since it is operated by Google, it is vital to harness its power for ranking locally.
If you need help crafting a local SEO strategy that harnesses Google My Business, along with other factors such as Content and Backlinks, reach out to us. We’re experts at helping Local Businesses show up high in organic search results.