Perfecting and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile is a very important aspect of your SEO efforts. Google is constantly rolling out updates and new features and staying on top of optimizing your profile is high priority. Learn more about some of the ways the experts at the Almost Agency stay up-to-date and help business get found on search using GMB.
Why are GMB Listings Important?
Google My Business is a free tool that helps business owners manage their business information across search results, maps and all other locations across Google’s growing utility platform. For small businesses, GMB has a significant effect on rankings and exposure because you are in control of the data that Google uses. You get to tell your consumers, directly, the location of your business, what types of services or products you offer and what makes your business unique from others in your area.
Optimizing your GMB listing is paramount for your local SEO; your map location and other features can prove essential to showing up first in search results.
Owners need to know that GMB Listings are not the same as Google +, which is a now-defunct social network created by Google.
A super easy trick for GMB? Use the posting feature like any other social media platform and let users know about sales or specials – directly from search results.
How to Optimize Your GMB Listing
Here are some tips from the SEO Experts at The Almost Agency have found will help out with search rankings, visibility and website click throughs or conversions. These optimization steps include:
1. Claim Your Listing & Confirm Your NAP
The first step in optimizing your Google My Business Profile is becoming a verified owner of the listing. This process can be somewhat complicated if it’s a new business or if someone else previously owned the listing. The easiest way to verify the listing is by phone call (an automated call will go to the listed number and provide a code to verify ownership on the backend of the profile) or postcard (a postcard is mailed to the listed address with a code, that again is input into the backend of the profile). Once the business has been verified and you own this listing, it’s time to start getting found!
Check into your GMB account each month to ensure that your current name, address, and phone number (NAP) are correct. Having an accurate NAP is crucial for your business. This level of consistency creates authority across the internet and ensures users can find your business.
2. Optimize Your GMB Listing
Optimizing your listing will help you stand out among your competitors. You can build trust with your customers and easily give them all of the information they’re looking for.
- If you have more than one location that is servicing your customers, you need a listing for each of them.
- GMB is now able to share a business’ service areas, along with information about the company by using Google Maps and Search. This feature is ideal for businesses that don’t serve customers at a storefront but rather deliver services to customers directly (like home services)
- If the business doesn’t have a storefront address, the profile can be setup using the process designed for service area enterprises. Adjustments to this information are available when necessary.
- Your GMB business name and your storefront name should match. Doing this will help customers find you more easily online. Use an exact address to describe your store’s location. The phone number you list needs to be local; all phone numbers and URLs must direct customers to the actual business.
- Make sure you confirm your holiday hours or special dates and keep them up-to-date as well.
3. Add Photos (and now Video)
Your listing should provide photos that represent your business accurately. Add your business photos to showcase your services and products to those who are searching for what your business offers.
- Photos and videos will not appear on your GMB page unless you have verified your business. Pictures must follow the JPG or PNG format and must be the specified size, and within GMB guidelines.
- Business photos are an excellent way to assist customers in identifying your location; giving a first impression of your store, and a creative way to get your logo seen.
- Use photographs to highlight seasonal offers, sales, or activities. Keep your audience informed about upcoming products, open houses, visiting artists, and more.
4. Add Posts
Consider GMB as part of your social media strategy and keep your listing current. General updates are critical for your success. This action keeps your information fresh and lets Google know you’re active. Posts can also improve audience engagement, which could lead to more interest than in months when there is no posting. Consider using this space for new offers and promotions. You can use the GMB App to keep posts update on the fly.
5. Resolve Any Updates
When you sign in to your GMB page, you might see “Update from Google” – these are updates suggested by users. Review these updates carefully and perform the tasks necessary to ensure that your information is clear and accurate. If you have multiple listings, you must check for updates for these various locations.
6. Use Site Links to Your Advantage
Links on your GMB page can take the form of notification of special events or services you want to highlight. Go easy with this idea because you want users who are interested in your product or service to be able to find your homepage. Owners can use UTM Parameters to track Custom Campaigns in Google Analytics. Doing so will assist you in differentiating types of organic users who visit your site and can notify you of their specific behaviors and conversions. The team at The Almost Agency can help you set these up.
7. Business Categories Within GMB
On your GMB page, you are asked to define your business category. Luckily, there are plenty of primary and secondary business categories available.
- Choose the categories that match your business best.
- Research the categories your competitors use.
- If you have multiple locations, you can test the waters using A/B testing (comparing two versions of a webpage against each other to determine which page is performing better).
- Can’t find a category that works for you? Experiment with category types. This action will help you see which groups are best for your business and measure the number of customers who visit your page.
8. Add Menus & Services
If applicable to your business type, service listings can be very informational and possible attention-grabbers. Our team has seen short-form (150 characters or less) and long-form (1,000 characters or less) listings. It should be noted that this is a relatively new feature and not all business categories have service listings. Our team recommends saving this information in a document because the listings have been known to disappear!
9. Ask for Reviews
High-quality, legitimate reviews add credibility and trustworthiness to your business’ character. Don’t be nervous about asking past clients to review your business, products, and service. Yelp, GMB, Facebook, and other sites accept reviews and you should earn them for all platforms.
- Follow website guidelines when asking for reviews.
- Reply to reviews to earn your customers’ trust.
- If you receive a negative review, it’s important to address it, but take the conversation offline.
- Keep your business verified. Only verified entities can respond to reviews.
Bonus Tip: Check Out the Analytics & Insights Panel
While not necessarily a profile optimization strategy, checking out the analytics and insights reports can be valuable. There is telling information in the Insights panel that needs checking regularly.
In 2018, Google announced aggregated Google My Business Analytics Insights. You can see what users are looking for when they found your profile, what type of action they took and where they came from. This can help you dial in your listing if you’re not seeing the results you’re hoping for.
Again, if you add UTM parameters to your GMB listing, you can discover how your GMB users are interacting with your website.
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Ready to get your #SocialMedia strategy rolling? Check out Part 1 of our blog series on identifying your brand’s voice & tone from the team at The Almost Agency.