It’s no secret that local SEO is important. It’s one of the primary ways that brick-and-mortar businesses make sales and get found online. According to some industry experts, though, it’s going to become even more important in the near future.
Part of this increasing importance may be due to sheer search volume. According to SEO expert Evan Bailyn, 1 out of every 5 Google searches is local. What’s more, Google Maps has more than 150 million mobile users and 59% of monthly Google users are using the search engine to search for local businesses.
When you take these numbers into account, it’s clear that companies with a local presence need to be optimizing for local SEO.
Fortunately, Google My Business is one of the best platforms marketers can use to do this. When you have a listing on Google My Business, you’ll also have a fantastic platform for gathering reviews and helping your company feature more prominently in the SERPs.
Here’s what you need to know about the service and how to use it.
Benefits of Google My Business
Companies who use Google My Business can reap the many benefits of the service. These benefits include the following:
- Keeping business information up-to-date from one easy platform
- Building customer engagement with the Google+ page
- Tracking engagement
- Integrating AdWords campaigns
- More prominent placement in local SERPs
- The ability to read and respond to reviews quickly and efficiently
- Accurate search insights and the ability to track where users are coming from
These benefits, combined with the usability and functionality of Google My Business make the service a favorite among inbound marketers.
Optimizing your Google My Business Listing
A Google My Business listing is only as good as the content optimization therein. To ensure that you’re getting the most out of your My Business listing, make sure that you’re optimizing your information by doing the following:
- Entering your business location correctly. The format should be your business name, your physical address and your phone number (it is important to keep this the same across all listings and update it whenever it changes).
- Listing your official website within your Google My Business listing. This will help Google improve its search results and display your listing for more Google users.
- Filling out the profile completely. This means that you should be including high-quality videos and images and providing as much information about your business as possible. Think about answering your customer’s questions before they have a chance to ask them – this practice makes for a great listing.
- Ensuring that your business location is accurately represented. Drag the map balloon into your exact business location for better search matches.
- Adding information about what payment types you accept.
Categorizing Your Business
Filling in your profile is only half the battle. Once you’ve done that, you’ll still have to categorize your business. Google My Business does this by offering three different categories:
- Brand pages: Brand pages are a slightly different animal than other forms of local listings. These pages help brands, bands, and organizations reach out to their fans. Unlike true local listings, these pages don’t include information about an entity’s physical location.
- Storefront businesses: If you run a brick-and-mortar business with a physical storefront, this is your wheelhouse. This category allows customers to locate you in the Google Maps feature and is what businesses like hotels, stores, and restaurants should be using. If your business has multiple physical locations, consider Google’s guide to optimizing your Google My Business account correctly.
- Service area businesses: This local page option is meant for businesses that go to a customer’s location to conduct your work. This is true for plumbers and delivery services.
One of the main things that can help your Google My Business page rank higher is your company’s presence on third-party directory sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. Maintaining an active presence on these sites tells Google that your business is a participating member of a given community.
That said, when you set up your Google My Business listing, don’t neglect to also set up listings on these important third-party sites. To make your listings as effective as possible, list the same information in every single directory, including name, phone number, hours of operation, and address. This helps keep your business presence consistent across the web.
One of the factors Google uses to rank your My Business page is links. Links play a huge part in Google’s organic search algorithm and when your site has earned a healthy amount of incoming links from other sites, Google is likely to give it a boost in local SERPs.
While many marketers don’t realize it, a business’s name plays an important part in Google’s local algorithm. To help yours feature prominently, ensure that your business name features relevant keywords. This can help ensure that your company appears for relevant search queries.
Building Your Google My Business Presence
Once you’ve built your listing, it’s time to establish your Google My Business presence. This means that you should be writing relevant content on your company blog and getting reviews from customers. Be sure to read and reply to each of these reviews in order to promote engagement and maintain an active web presence.
To learn more about optimizing your Google My Business page, contact Bigfoot Media.
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