In business, it’s of utmost importance that you have maximum online exposure to end-users. Google My Business can play a critical role in ranking your business higher in local search results whenever prospective buyers look for products/services that your business provides in your local area.
But while many leaders, entrepreneurs, brands and businesses have embraced the advantages of digital marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), many still seem to not understand the importance of a very basic but really critical resource – Google My Business.
Google My Business, GMB, as it’s often called, is a simple-to-use, free platform that allows any business and brand, which serves customers at a physical location to list their brand on Google Search and Google Maps.
By ranking higher on Google Search and Google Maps, businesses can enhance their exposure to local people looking for relevant products/services.
Let’s dive deeper into what Google My Business basically is and how to best utilize it for maximum results.
What is Google My Business?
As we mentioned earlier, Google My Business is a free tool that allows a brand to promote their business on Google Search and Maps. When a person searches for your business or terms related to your business on Google — you need to ensure they have all the information required to visit, make a purchase, or contact your brand.
With a Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates to your Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.
However, something you might not realize is that just creating a Business Profile does not give you the right to manage it. Creating a Business Profile is as simple as adding a place to Google Maps — it is something that anyone (including a random person, customer, employees or an automated listing generator) can do. All that is required is the business name, location, and category. Once Google confirms that it is not a duplicate, a Business listing is created for that location. This Business Profile now is open for customers to leave reviews, add photos, ask questions, and even answer queries.
A Google My Business account is the only way by which you get ownership of a Business Profile and get editing and management features with which you can increase your brand visibility on Google Search. These features are very important for your Business Profile to work as an effective SEO and lead generation tool.
Why is Google My Business Important?
Google My Business is an important tool to help your business engage with your target audience and provides you with helpful information about current and potential customers. By ignoring Google My Business, you miss out on potential sales, exposure, and revenue for your business.
Other compelling reasons to use Google My Business include:
1. Google My Business is Free
Regardless of whether you’re a startup or an established brand, Google My Business is an essential platform for anyone. It doesn’t cost anything to create a Google My Business profile.
Unlike other platforms, Google My Business does not operate on a freemium model and comes with no tiers or limitations, which means everyone has access to the same tools.
That’s why optimizing your Google My Business profile for search can maximize your rankings in search results and earn your company more exposure from your target audience.
With literally no costs, Google My Business is accessible to every business. You won’t have to invest anything, nor do you need experience setting up.
2. Google My Business Generates Leads
In the past few years, searches with the phrase, “near me,” have increased by more than 500 percent. Meaning, people are looking for businesses near them, whether it’s a restaurant, movie theatre, shopping mall, or salons.
When most people search, they use Google. For local searches, Google almost always displays Google My Business listing, which is why it’s important to create and maintain a properly optimized Google My Business profile.
Making a Google My Business profile is a critical part of your digital marketing strategy – to start earning new leads, as well as generating additional sales. The high conversion rate of local searches — 80 percent — confirms the immense benefit of Google My Business.
If you want to increase your leads and revenue, however, it is very important to optimize and nurture Google My Business profile. Add your latest hours, respond to your reviews, and ensure your address and phone number are up-to-date and much more.
3. Google My Business Helps Your Ranking in Search Results
On an extensive website like Google, you want to ensure that your business doesn’t get lost in a long list of search results. The more you’re visible on Google search results, the higher chance you have of getting noticed by people searching for products or services in your industry.
Google tries to provide users with the best experience, which is why it tries to deliver the most relevant search results. Meaning, if your business is a restaurant that serves Italian food, your Google My Business profile wouldn’t appear for someone looking for Mexican restaurants in the area.
To maximize your ranking in search results, which can lead to more clicks on your Google My Business profile, as well as more visits and calls to your company or franchise, then you need to optimize and maintain your profile.
Google favours Google My Business profiles with more information and more user engagement. With complete information of your business, like your hours, location, and services, Google can ensure it’s relevant to a search and rank it as such.
4. Stop Others From Manipulating Your Listing
What many business owners do not know, or may not realize is that anyone can suggest a change (or “edit”) to your business listing — including your competitors. While the section may say “suggest an edit”, they can literally edit your Business Profile and make dynamic changes.
And these edits aren’t just “suggested” — these user-made changes can actually be made public on your business listing and displayed to people without you even noticing.
This is one of the reasons why you must own a Google My Business account. By owning one, you get administrative rights over your Business Profile, as such, can keep track of changes made to your business listing by someone else, and thus can revert these unwanted changes.
Many factors are used to determine rankings for businesses on Google My Business. Among those, the three most important ones to focus on are:
Relevance is the factor that decides how well your business category and sector goes with the query of the customer. The more your focus and category are identical to what a customer is looking for, the higher the chances of you ranking in the search and appearing in front of the audience.
Remember this, being vague about your business category will negatively impact your ranking. Be as clear as you can be about what your business does and keep your focus.
Proximity is a very well-known factor for ranking local businesses. If you are a Digital Marketing Agency in Toronto, you can’t rank in a local search for a Digital Marketing Agency in Ottawa. Although the exact way in determining how businesses are shown in a local search is unknown, and it is pretty hard to rank in a given area.
Other factors play a significant role as well. It helps not just to say you are located in a particular area, but also to show it by creating local-oriented content around your business on your site.
Google uses the location of the customer to present them with the most relevant local businesses near them.
The prominence factor is about the activity around your Business Profile listing; this can be factors such as the number of reviews, events, local content, offers and more.
Although the factor of prominence is vague, one thing is sure: no one likes dead profiles. Keep your Business Profile updated with the latest photos, videos, replying to your reviews and answering queries.
How to use Google My Business for SEO
Google My Business Profiles are dynamic. Google prioritizes sections of your profile according to the keyword that was searched and the type of information most important to customers for your category.
But first, there need to be information inputs and target keywords in your profile to increase your visibility. Google My Business is used to optimize your profile and expand your reach by optimizing Google search results. Here are a few ways of using Google My Business for your SEO needs.
1. Target Relevant Keywords
When using Google My Business for SEO, a business needs to make sure to incorporate relevant keywords into their Business Profile especially into their business description to tell Google the keywords they are trying to rank for.
The keywords need to be incorporated naturally just as one would with any other SEO strategy and content.
For some businesses, it’s important that you put your keywords in the business name so that it ranks higher. However, this is not recommended by Google, and doing this might result in a penalty.
2. Maintain Quality of Information
The accuracy of the information on your Business Profile impacts its rank, so you must make sure to provide relevant information in every section of their Google My Business Profile.
By filling your GMB profile with the latest relevant information, including products & services you offer, working hours, special dates, offers, and so on, you have a higher chance of Google showcasing your business to local searches.
3. Build Trust
Another approach to using Google My Business for SEO appeals to the trust component of Google’s algorithm. Keeping information related to business operations updated and accurate as the business grows is essential.
It is very important to keep a steady stream of reviews coming in and responding to them. Also, you must show Google that the business is active, regularly upload photos, videos and publish posts to the Business Profile through Google My Business.
Reviews and responses appear on the Business Profile. Be sure to manage them and respond to any queries and complaints to increase business transparency.
4. Standout with Photos
Help people see what your business is all about by adding a logo and cover photo—much like you would on social media. It will be harder for people to recognize your business online without these important aspects of your business.
Show off your location, products, services, events or new designs by posting additional photos.
If you are running a restaurant, then you need to post pictures of your food items, menus, and interior design. Make sure your food items look appetizing, professionally made, and the picture quality is high.
According to data from Google, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for directions, and 35% more clicks through to their websites.
5. Post News, Updates, and Special Offers
Your address, business hours, and contact info on your Business Profile should always be accurate and updated. Always make sure to change this information on your Google My Business Profile if it changes.
Create posts for your business to let customers know about the latest updates, new products, new services, offers, and events. Depending on your goals, these posts will keep your profile fresh, drive sales, and encourage visits to your physical store.
6. Add Special Features and Attributes
Many business owners don’t know this, but you can add special features to your Google My Business accounts, depending on the category you’ve chosen.
Category-specific features include:
- Hotels can display class ratings and list amenities offered
- Restaurants can upload menus, showcase popular dishes, and add a link for online orders and reservations
- Service-oriented businesses can display a service menu and add a booking button
- Small and medium-sized companies can add product catalogues
If your business is within these categories but you don’t see the option to add these functions, you may have chosen the wrong category. You can choose up to 10 categories for your business.
You can also add additional attributes of your business to your Business Profile to share more information your customers may need. For example, if you run a shop or restaurant, you may want to share that it’s accessible to disabled people, offer free Wi-Fi or outdoor seating.
Managing Your Google My Business Profile
After creating a Google My Business Profile, it is important to keep it fresh and up-to-date. Always provide the latest information about your business on Google My Business. This information can range from the services you offer, products you sell to business hours and contact information.
You can also provide information about special services you provide, such as accessibility to disabled people, free wifi, events and more.
In order to let customers know that your business is active and to keep your business profile fresh, regularly make posts regarding your business, additions to the menu, special offers, events and more. Post pictures regarding these to make your posts more engaging.
Connect with your customers by responding to reviews and queries and post the latest updates about your business, such as new services, products, or updates relating to your business.
Managing Google My Business is Difficult
Let’s be honest – managing a Google My Business Profile for your business can be hard, especially when you have other important things to focus on and operating, managing, and growing your business.
Even if you are able to give time to managing a Google My Business Profile, you might not be able to bring the best out of it, whether it is due to being less experienced, other business matters or even other easier methods of marketing. This may lead you to either half-heartedly managing your profile, neglecting it, or even abandoning it.
And that is a very erroneous mistake to make. So, instead of dealing with it yourself, get a digital marketing agency to manage and grow your Google My Business Profile for you!
Damex Digital is a digital marketing agency located in Smithers, British Columbia, offering its expertise in Digital Marketing across all of Canada.
With years of experience in our hands and a rapidly growing list of satisfied clients, we’re the best Digital Marketing Agency you can find in Canada. Get your Google My Business Profile optimized and digital marketing needs to be fulfilled with expert services from Damex Digital.