You may have noticed business listings in search results or Google Maps. These listings showcase hours, photos, reviews, and more. These are called Google My Business listings – and they one of the most powerful tools for Local SEO.
You’ve probably used them to help determine whether to visit a restaurant or go to a shop. You may have read the Google reviews left, or determined if the restaurant is right for your family. Google My Business (GMB) listings are therefore a critical powerful tool for businesses to use – because when you use GMB you can customise your listing and improve how individuals find and research your business.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to fully optimise your Google My Business Listing and appear in local search results.
Powerful SEO optimisation means visibility. It means more people finding your business when they need to, and converting. They’ll be adding more items to their cart, signing up for your newsletter more often, and staying on your website for longer. SEO matters when your is business online – and it is equally crucial when you are optimising for a local SEO strategy.
When people are Googling your store, you want them to be able to access a wealth of information at a glance. Getting on Google My Business means more people finding your business through Google Maps and organic searches. It means people finding out when you are open, your phone number, address and reviews at a glance. It means using your online footprint to address positive and negative reviews. In short, Google My Business is a powerful tool to establish and manipulate your online presence.
The first step is to claim your business on Google, at https://www.google.com/business. This is a straightforward procedure:
There are several methods for verifying your Google My Business listing. We recommend either getting (1) a code sent to the business’ phone number or (2) having a postcard sent to the business address. Either process works but calling is the faster method.
Once verified, you will be able to respond to reviews, post updates and manage your GMB listing.
Optimisation means developing your profile fully, adding in as much information as possible in order to stand out when users search for your business (or your related keywords).
Once you have access to your Google My Business listing, make sure that all of your relevant details are accurate and up to date. Details include your address, phone number, operating hours.
Additionally, make sure that you select the correct category for your business. You don’t want to be competing for local search results in a non-related business category. If you are not sure which category best suits you, see what your competitors have selected on their listings to get a better idea.
Furthermore, enter the region or radius that your business delivers goods and services to by going to “Manage Location > Address.” Get in touch with one of the Pure SEO Digital Marketing Consultants if you need any advice.
The next step is to write a brief description, which outlines your business, your offerings and what sets you apart and includes several of your core keywords. For example, if you were a café in Glenfield, Auckland selling freshly roasted coffee, you may describe your business as a ‘Boutique roastery and café, serving fresh, gourmet coffee drinks in Glenfield’.
Google has a set of guidelines that you can use in order to write a well optimised, powerful business description, that will help users understand your business.
Your business listing also has the potential for photos. While customers can add their own photos, which is a nice touch, businesses can also upload photos. Adding photos is a great way to show off new product, or give customers a “behind-the-scene” look at what is happening at your business.
Your profile photo is the most important picture as this is the one that will have the most impressions. Try to find something that is appealing and eye-catching. Other types of images that you can upload include branding photos, interior or exterior photos of the premises and additional photos such as staff helping customers.
The ability to post video content to your business listing has been recently added, giving your business the ability to tell your story with the power of moving image. Videos need to be 30 seconds or shorter, smaller than 100mb and 720p resolution or higher.
At the end of the day, imagery is about translating your business difference visually. People enjoy imagery, and adding it photo or video positively positions your business.
Consider this: According to Inc.com 84 per cent of people trust online reviews as much as their friends. 91 per cent of people use reviews regularly or occasionally.
The bottom line? Reviews of your business are a powerful tool that you can use – even when they are bad reviews.
You should take the time to respond to all customer reviews and encourage more reviews by asking your current and past customers to write a business review on your Google My Business listing. Google highly encourages business owners to ask their customers for reviews.
Businesses that respond to bad reviews and address problems head-on are seen as authentic and reliable
Online reviews play a large role in gaining potential customers’ trust and have been shown to impact organic rankings. Make sure to respond to all reviews in a professional and thoughtful manner to show that you engage with your customers.
Google is continuing to add new features to Google My Business and the Question And Answers section is one of their latest additions. When activated, you allow people to ask questions about your business and you can answer any of their queries.
It is important that, as a business in the digital age, you answer any potential customer queries and questions directly. Reliability and reputation matter online – that’s why you should take the time to address questions customers may have about your business.
With Q&A’s you need to make sure that you are monitoring and replying to any new questions that appear. You can download the Google Maps App and reply to questions as they come in. Questions that have been left unanswered can look bad on your GMB listing so make sure you keep track of everything.
Google My Business lets you publish your events, products, and services directly on your listing. These posts last for 7 days but you can republish the post once they expire.
To create a post, simply go to your dashboard, click on “Create post”. Some post ideas include posting promotional offers, new products, company events, or posting a snippet from your latest blog post.
Google also provides information on the number of impressions and clicks generated from each post. Users can now also view post insights for individual posts, all posts from the last week, and all posts from the last month.
For more information, we’ve created a dedicated blog post about Google Posts.
If you are looking to develop an SEO strategy that targets New Zealand and boosts your rankings for your local business, contact Pure SEO today, or call us on 0800 SEARCH.
Google My Business is developing at an exponential rate – we discuss that more here – so including it as part of an SEO strategy is and will continue to be a powerful way to highlight your business on Google.
While Google My Business is a fairly straightforward tool in your SEO toolbelt, Pure SEO can help you optimise your business, and help you get the most of it. We can also analyse your current local SEO portfolio and provide recommendations on how to maximise ranking potential.