How To Get Found
Google My Business is Google’s version of the Yellow Pages. Back in 2014, it replaced their original directory called Google Places. While it has evolved with some new features, it largely remains the same. Having a complete profile will help your business’ local SEO. New features have recently rolled out; we’ll explore how you can advantage with alerts, photos, and locational attributes.
What Is It?
Google My Business gives you the information that you would expect from an ad in Yellow Pages: address, phone number, opening times. But it also gives you so much more. Your profile can have links to the exact location on Google Maps, links to pertinent pages within your website, photos of your storefront and interior, graphs showing when you are at your busiest and more.
Truly optimizing, or at least filling in all of the possible information, can give your business a boost. This boost is seen in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and local listing, as it gives your customers practical information they need to find and use your service. So, what do you need to do get the most out of Google My Business profile?
A Type of Schema
For SEO purposes, Google My Business can be seen as a kind of Schema or AMP. Earlier this year, Google updated their Local Search Ranking documentation to include confirmation that performing specific tasks within GMB, can “maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results. The document explains that you should have as much information about your company as possible, post only accurate and current details, manage reviews and include photos. From an actual ranking perspective, Google continues to outline relevance, distance, and prominence as the most influential factors.
Maximizing Your Google My Business Profile
There are many benefits of fully utilizing your Google My Business Profile:
- More space dedicated to your business on a results page. A full profile, especially on mobile, fills a considerable amount of space on the front page. Want more real estate on page one? Then add everything you can about your business into your profile including photos.
- A sense of legitimacy and social proof. Having your business information listed directly on Google has a psychological effect on a searcher/potential customer. First, there is the built-in review function, allowing customers a chance to leave Google reviews for your business or products. These reviews and the respective star ratings show on the SERP. These ratings are can also be displayed as AdWords extensions on PPC ads. Generally speaking, the feel of a detailed Google My Business profile is one of confidence and openness.
Compare the two screenshots below:
As you can see, neither profile is fully completed, but the one on the left takes up almost 50% more space. It shows busy opening hours, reviews from Google and from an independent website.
GMB doesn’t only help you on Google’s search engine, it also puts you on the map. Google Maps that is. With the improvement of their Maps application, many users now search directly in the app for business names when they’re looking for directions. If your company does not have a Google My Business page with the correct address listed, you won’t appear at all.
Getting Your Profile Started
Setting up the page itself is relatively straightforward. The bigger issue, once you have it live, is keeping the information up to date. It is important to note that when creating any other local profiles, the syntax for your NAP information should always match what is listed within your GBM profile. This is the key to maintaining relevance factors when creating local directory listings. Posting new photos will keep your account looking fresh and stop it from appearing dated. Of course, any changes in address or operating hours, menus, etc. should be updated as quickly as possible. Here are four must-do tasks as recommended by Google:
- Verify your location(s) – Be prepared to verify your business address. Keep in mind that it is Google Policy to use the complete and exact physical location for your business. This cannot be a virtual mailing address. If you are maintaining a home-based business, you can list your service area and withhold your street address from the public. You will, however, still be required to verify your address with Google.
- Enter complete data – Be sure that you have included the most important details about your company so that your customers can quickly learn how to find you, verify what your operating hours are, locate you through Google Maps, contact you directly, and easily leave feedback through Reviews. Keep your NAP (name, address, phone number) information consistent and up-to-date at all times.
- Keep your hours accurate – Don’t forget to include special hours for holidays and other events so that your customers are not surprised if you’re closed when they would typically expect you to be open.
- Manage and respond to reviews – Manage reviews by interacting with your customers. This helps to build loyalty and trust with current clients while increasing both visibility and the likelihood for potential customers to visit and/or reach out to you.
Google continues to enhance features for Google My Business users. Recently, they gave businesses more control over their notification settings. Now you can choose exactly which notifications you would like to receive. Alerts are also available for reviews, photos, insights, and more.
In just the past two weeks they released new insights on photos. The latest feature provides the ability to see how the images you are selecting to represent your business perform when compared to businesses like yours.
Additionally, users can now edit certain factual attributes to include specific details about the offerings at a business location. For example, you can let potential customers know if your establishment has free Wi-Fi or if you have outdoor seating. Other attributes, which are based on the opinions of users who have visited your business, cannot be updated directly through this tool.
Earlier this month, Google also added functionality to the API that allows users to include a menu within their profile. This update supports both food and drink items from a restaurant as well as service-oriented business such as car repair shops or spas.
Is there a unique feature about your business you could highlight in your Google My Business profile?
How can we help?
Is your Google My Business fully optimized? Do you think you’re getting enough from the SERP?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.