Local SEO is critical for any business that relies on foot traffic and local phone calls. An essential piece of local SEO is to claim and optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile because this listing displays your company’s contact information right on Google’s first page.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool offered by Google to help your business stand out from the competition. GMB offers the best opportunity to help your local business get found by potential customers who are looking for a local product or service to address their needs.
GMB considers several factors when listing companies in the Google Map Pack, but the most important variables are:
- Relevance: Google is obsessed with delivering the most relevant search results. Be sure to update your category and services to show for customers with specific search intent.
- Proximity: Google My Business only show business in a specific geographic area. Make sure your service area and address are updated to increase your visibility for local searchers.
- Authority: Google wants to feature companies that are authorities in their industry. This means you should focus on reviews and other factors to boost your company’s authority in the local market.
5 Ways To Optimize Google My Business For Local SEO
Several factors go into securing a prominent spot in Google Map Pack, and you can take steps today to ensure your business displays at the top of Google whenever a local prospective customer searches for your products and services.
Image Source: https://moz.com/blog/2018-local-search-ranking-factors-survey
You may think that you don’t have the time to optimize your GMB profile, but the truth is that local SEO is the best marketing strategy for businesses that need to attract local qualified leads. While important for all industries, the benefits of local SEO offer the most benefits for companies like:
- Home Improvement
- Realtors/Real Estate
- Medical Practices (doctors, hospitals, dentists)
As you can see, local SEO is an essential piece of any online marketing strategy. Here are five quick and easy ways to improve your GMB profile and improve your ranking in Google Map Pack today!
1. Ensure Profile Information Is Accurate
Since you are trying to reach customers near your geographic location, you need to make sure that your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are accurate in your GMB profile. This makes sense since Google can’t display your company to local customers if it doesn’t know where your business is located.
Google uses several factors when choosing the best companies to display in the Google Map Pack, and NAP consistency across the Internet is one of these variables. Building hyper-local citations can help Google understand your business, and you should have the same information listed across all citations. Some places to check NAP consistency include:
- Local business directories
- Citations across the Internet
- Social media accounts
- Website header and footer
2. Set Your Category
Choosing your GMB profile’s right category is a core piece of your local SEO strategy and GMB optimization. Since Google will only show relevant results to local customers, you need to set a correct category and subcategories to improve your chances to show in Google Map Pack.
Most people search for products and services based on their needs. Your GMB category will improve your chances of showing for the services your company offers.
In addition to helping Google understand your business, there are also category-specific features your GMB profile could show. For example, hotels can pull in star ratings, and restaurants have the option to add a menu tab to their GMB profile.
3. Add Your Products & Services
As a local business owner, you want to get in front of qualified customers looking for specific products and services that you offer. As you optimize your GMB listing for Google’s algorithm, you also need to optimize your target audience profile.
Add products and services to your GMB profile to help Google understand your company and show potential customers that you offer the solutions they need. Add products and services to your GMB profile like images, descriptions, links, and even videos to show relevant information to your customers.
4. Create Local Posts Each Week
Google My Business allows you to publish updates, events, and offers to your GMB profile. These posts allow you to stand out to potential customers as they search for you on Google and Google Maps.
While posts don’t typically plan a primary factor in local rankings, they can tip the scale to help you drive more traffic to your site and stand out for your competition. No matter what industry you are in, you can use Google Posts to promote your products and services. You can follow the example of “boring” companies like R & T Services that use Google Posts to promote informational blog posts, reviews, and videos of their work.
There is research that shows posting 3-4 posts per week is a good starting point, and be sure to use these tips to make your local posts more effective:
- Use a unique, high-quality image for each post. Google is starting to reject posts with stock photography.
- Don’t include your address or phone number in the posts. As of August 2020, Google is beginning to reject posts with this information in the post’s body.
- Make each post short and concise, with the most important within the post’s first 20 characters.
- Daisy-chain links between posts and your GMB website. This is one way to help Google connect your GMB posts and build a network of knowledge across your GMB listing.
5. Manage Your Company Reviews
Reviews play a significant role in the customer journey since they signal to potential customers that you are trustworthy. At the same time, reviews are signals that Google uses to determine how relevant your business is to the search query and user intent.
If your customers are consistently happy with your products or services, then you should be able to generate lots of reviews on your GMB profile. Try to aim for 3-4 new customer reviews each month to ensure your business stays above your competitors.
As your GMB listing builds more reviews, you will want to also focus on responding to reviews. Not only do review responses show excellent customer services, but responses also show customers that your business is active and engage with customers. Try to respond to all reviews (especially bad reviews) within 48 hours of posting, and be sure to always stay positive with responses.
Build A Local SEO Strategy With Google My Business
If you want to reach local customers who are searching for your products and services then you need a complete local SEO strategy. Just like a traditional SEO strategy, your GMB profile should offer quality information about your business, products, and services based on the needs of your target audience.
There is no way to know every ranking factor that Google uses to rank local businesses in the Google Map Pack, but you can use these five GMB optimization tips to connect with searchers looking for the best solutions to their needs today!