I’m here to talk about a ground breaking and little-known secret in the Local SEO world. Its name is…
Google My Business
Just kidding. Hopefully by now you’re already familiar with Google My Business (GMB). If you own a local business and you’re not using the platform, you’re missing out on some valuable advertising. I’m going to cover some of the pros and cons of GMB and the basics of getting your listing set up correctly.
IT’S FREE. Since cost is where most of these conversations begin, I thought it would be best to start there. Anyway, you don’t need to invest large sums of money to get found online. Simply submit your business to Google, get it verified, and presto – you’re searchable online. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s cover a few other pros.
Google My Business listings are what populate Google Maps so, if you want to show up there, you’ll want to get a listing ASAP. Google Maps isn’t the only place though. GMB listings also appear in the Knowledge Panel which shows up on the right side of search results. For local businesses, we generally see information like name, address, phone number, website, reviews, and other info depending on your industry.
GMB listings can be a major traffic driver and help support transactions and conversions both on your website and at your physical location. Since GMB is very locally focused, the people who find you there are frequently looking to buy soon and often aren’t very far away from your store. GMB also helps narrow your competition since results are heavily based on the users’ location. When users are looking for specific products or services, you’re likely to rank high in the results if you’re one of the only businesses in the area to offer that product or service.
While there’s a lot to love about the platform, GMB doesn’t come without its own problems. Google is still working out some of the kinks for certain industries and has previously encountered problems with showing service area businesses in Map results. While they seem to be getting a better grasp on this, it has been an issue for these types of businesses in the past.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Google My Business provides all the basic information about your business and displays it directly in search results. Due to this, users looking for just that info may have no need to visit your website. Not really a big deal, but something to be aware of. Personally, I’d rather have users get they info they need to do business with me as quickly as possible.
The basic setup is fairly simple. Adding your business name, address, phone number, and website and select the relevant categories for your business. There are many other details that you can also include. I would recommend being as thorough as possible here. The business description is important along with filling out the QA section that allows you to answer questions that commonly come up in your industry. Also, photos. Everyone loves photos. Take some pictures of your business and throw them on the GMB listing.
The most important aspect of the setup is getting the listing verified with Google. There are a few options for doing so that include receiving a postcard in the mail, answering a phone call and providing a code, or via email. Options for verification are different for everyone, so you may have to go with whatever Google tells you. Once your listing is verified, you’ll start seeing more interactions happen on your listing.
Google is constantly building on the platform for business owners and users alike. As you work to make an impact on your local market, you’ll want to gather reviews and leverage other features to drive engagement. The more “active” your listing is, the more you’ll continue showing up in search results. GMB now offers features like Posts, Offers, & Products that allow business owners to provide more information about their products and services, as well as announce deals and specials that are going on at your store. Lastly, GMB provides insights on how many people saw and found you listing and some keywords they used when doing so. If you see keywords showing up consistently, you may want to create a Question and Answer around that topic or be sure to include it in your business description.
For local business owners, GMB is an extremely valuable tool. It allows you to narrow competition and connect with customers who are close by. With its ability to inform users about the business and create offers and posts, it really can’t get much simpler and direct than GMB. Take the time to setup your listings and fill it out thoroughly. Watch your insights to continue optimizing and fine tuning your listing toward your preferred customers.
If all this sounds like a lot but you want to jump on the bandwagon, give us a call. We’re happy to help on GMB and any other facet of your digital marketing.