Local SEO is fundamental to small business organizations that work on a local, instead of a general level. While public SEO moves in the direction of driving clicks the nation over, local SEO organizes showing up on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in a particular area. Tying all of these things together is Google My Business. This system relies on showcasing your business through images, products, and marketing specifically to local leads and clients.
Growing your local SEO implies more site traffic, leads, and growth since the methods are more applicable to nearby clients’ base. By using Google My Business, a local business can compete head-to-head with huge, national companies with much deeper pockets. By working on specific local SEO tasks, you can kill the upside of more notable brands who are much more likely to market catchphrases and national recognition rather than focusing on the visibility of their local business listing.
Further, 46% of all search traffic is looking for a local business listing [SOURCE]. Without local SEO, your business could be missing out on a lot of traffic.
With all that in mind, here are the
Ten ways to optimize Google My Business for the best local SEO.
Global spending on digital marketing nears $100 billion: study
1. Get a Google My Business Account
Improving your Google posting (otherwise known as your Business Profile) is probably the best way to rank higher on Google Maps to gain visibility in Google Search nearby outcomes. To get access to your Business Profile to make these improvements you first need a Google My Business account related with that profile. When you give the entirety of the mentioned data in your Google My Business account dashboard, the whole of that data will be added to your Business Profile, which shows up in Google Search nearby outcomes, the Google Search Knowledge Panel Google Maps.
To improve your Business Profile on Google, make sure that you:
- Create a Google My Business account and confirm responsibility for business (also known as “claiming” a business)
- Provide precise and exceptional data including the correct address and phone number as well as hours of operation.
- Include your logo, how long you’ve been in business, how your service sets your business apart, the products or services you sell, and a lot of pictures (inside and outside of your business as well as projects)
- Encourage your clients to leave a review on your business listing
- Respond earnestly and quickly to client reviews – even when it comes to negative reviews
- Publish posts (reporting items, occasions, and special offers) to your Business Profile through the Google My Business dashboard.
2. Create a detailed and CTA-driving description
The description of your business that you add should be clear and should make potential customers want to reach out to you. If you’re not familiar with the internet parlance of “CTA” that means, “call-to-action” and means that you are using words in the form of instructions or outright requests to take action. The most straightforward illustration of a CTA is something like, “Buy now!” or “Give us a call to find out more!”.
The more information you can give potential customers, the better. You can tell your crowd what’s in store when they contact you or visit your location. You can also help make sure that a customer who’s not really looking for your business (we call these, “tire-kickers”) doesn’t waste your time. While it is a must that your Google My Business profile makes it obvious that you’re an expert in your field, it’s also important to let customers know – especially those who find your business in local search rankings – that you’d love to talk to them. Let that person know through your CTA’s that they can stop by or – especially during the days of COVID-19 – they can pick up the phone and speak to an actual person.
3. Choose the right business category
Categories let potential customers know what you do and what you offer. Being clear about this means that the combination of a local Google search and map results can inform shoppers of exactly what you do and how close you are to them.
For instance, if your primary classification is “Pizza café,” Google may show your business in somebody’s local search items when they look for “Cafés,” “Italian eateries,” or “Pizza.” Your class is only one of the numerous variables that can influence your local ranking on Google. Get familiar with local search ranking and how specific categories and sub-categories can affect your business.
4. Select the right attributes for your business
Google My Business attributes are probably the most important details about your business that show up on your Google My Business posting and in other local business listings. They demonstrate things like payment options, amenities, accessibility, and other highlights including COVID-19 accommodations and availability.
Google My Business attributes are essential to customers, and they are critical to Google in ensuring the correct SERPs are delivered. It is a speedy and compelling path for a business owner to convey what might be essential to a customer.
5. Add Photos
When it comes to local search engine rankings, there are a lot of factors which can not only affect your ranking, but also whether or not a person clicks on the link to your website above others. Probably one of the most important – especially when a business has a very visual product or service (we’re looking at you, roofing companies!) is photographs and this is where adding photos to Google My Business comes in.
In Google’s eyes, adding photos helps to show that your business is real – especially when you include pictures of your staff. It helps show off a bit of your business’ character and helps increase trust. It’s a bit surprising that Google My Business puts so much weight into pictures but, with how much rich media content adds to other platforms, it should be surprising.
Having a few pertinent pictures in your posting will help your business stand apart from the group, accomplish higher rankings, and stand out online.
6. Get clients to leave Google My Business reviews
Reviews on Google (among other online reviews) give essential data about your business to both you and your clients. Business reviews show up close to your posting in Google Maps and search and help your business stand apart on Google.
Asking existing clients for a review of your business is simple by sending them a short URL to visit. To get reviews on Google, urge your clients to get the message out about your business by following these prescribed procedures:
Remind your clients to leave reviews. Seriously. Be explicit and know that happy clients are often happy to share their experience. Tell them that it’s easy, fast and straightforward to leave business reviews on mobile phone or regular computer.
When a client leaves a review, respond to them. Your clients will see that your business values their opinion, and potentially leave more reviews later on. However, don’t think that all reviews are going to be good! If a customer has a less-than-great experience (ESPECIALLY if this is the case) and leaves you a bad review, you should use your response as an opportunity to find a resolution. This will show that client – and others who read that review – your professionalism and flexibility.
Check your business, so your data is qualified to show up on Maps, Search, and other Google administrations. Just confirmed organizations could react to reviews. Figure out how to verify your business.
7. Post to your Google My Business profile regularly
At the very least, you should post on Google My Business at regular intervals.
A lot of businesses post once every day and have seen excellent outcomes and improved rankings. In fact, Google actually seems to defer strongly to companies that use Google’s tools (including Google My Business) frequently.
In any case, remember that the latest Google post shows unmistakably in a search, so if there is some important information or deal that you need individuals to see, it very well may be a smart thought not to have another post for the following six days. That way, that post won’t be covered behind the more up to date posts until you’re ready. Remember this when sorting out how frequently to post to Google My Business is ideal for you.
8. Ask questions your clients might ask and then answer them
This may seem like an odd thing to do but, if you’ve been a good business owner – and we know that businesses owned by people who aren’t fail quickly – you’ve certainly heard more than your fair share of customer questions. So, with those questions now being typed into mobile searches, local searches, searches in your zip code, etc, you have a golden opportunity to help guide potential customers to the right answers.
For instance, if you’re a pizza restaurant, you can use Google My Business to post something like:
“Does Bob’s Pizzeria have outdoor seating? Yes, yes we do! Bob’s Pizzeria has a beautiful patio with heaters for when the weather gets a bit colder. Come on in and check it out!”
Not only can this act as a valuable tool for businesses but it also serves to answer specific questions about your location which people are likely already wondering about. It also is a factor in local search engine optimization (local SEO) which search engines look for.
Things like this can be even more important during the days of COVID-19 when people are sometimes reluctant to simply find a nearby location. They want to know if a business is open, if they have outdoor seating and if they have accommodation for cleanliness measures. People don’t want to waste their time simply heading to a businesses address only to find out that they can’t – in our Pizzeria example – eat there.
9. Add your products and services
The Product and Service Editor in Google My Business is all businesses but caters more to small to medium-sized organizations. Aside from a couple of verticals, most businesses can utilize the Product and services Editor to showcase their products to potential clients.
How it works:
Recently updated items and categories show first in the Product Catalog. To feature an item, make a minor update to carry it to the highest point on the list.
To ensure all clients utilize search, check your items and add your them through the products tab in your Google My Business dashboard.
Retail vendors can use the Product Editor to transfer items to their Business Profile. To look more closely at the products you offer, clients can tap the items in your Product Catalog and product posts.
Once again, this is an opportunity to use your product posts to drive people to either buy online or to visit your business location. Remember that Google tries to prioritize local businesses above larger, national companies who are actually located near a particular location. For instance, in our earlier example of of Bob’s Pizzeria, a person may be searching for a local pizza restaurant and a national competitor miles away from their location isn’t what they want. In this way, local businesses can compete by using their local nature and their address relative to local search optimization to dominate the big boys.
10. Maintain your Google My Business profile with regular updates
Regular updates are essential to ensure that your Google my Business profile does not become out of date or stale compared to its competitors.
One suggestion that we have is to set one (or more) day a week to add content to your Google My Business profile as well as other local citations. Be sure you’re using local keywords (example: Roofing companies in Fort Collins CO) which search engines can use to establish local intent. Use these updates to share company promotions and new industry features.
If you do not maintain your Google My Business profile regularly with updates, your competitors will surpass you, and your business may lose revenue.
The Bottom Line
While we hesitate to say too broadly that consumers have become “smarter” they have become smarter consumers when it comes to searching various links for more information about a particular product or business. It’s not enough to just be a local business in a certain category – you have to set yourself apart.
Now, the “word of mouth” marketing thing is something which a ton of businesses point to as their only method or marketing. While that is certainly one of the MOST powerful small business marketing tools, it’s also an incomplete pathway to a new customer these days. In fact, if “Jenny” recommends a mechanic to someone, that someone searches for that business online 68% of the time. On top of that, if that business doesn’t have any online reviews or if their website is lackluster (or non-existent) then potential customers are extremely likely to look elsewhere.
At X3, a huge part of what we do for our clients is help them build out many different types of citations and perhaps the biggest these days is Google My Business. So, if you’ve gotten this far and you’re shaking your head saying, “I do NOT want to mess with all this stuff!” then you need to either pick up the phone and call us or CLICK HERE to send us a message. We want to help your business DOMINATE YOUR COMPETITION ONLINE.