Google My Business: Taking Local SEO to the Next Level
While most small business owners have heard of Google My Business and get that it’s an online business listing, most don’t understand that it can be one of the most powerful marketing tools available. More than 64% of all online searches are conducted on Google which handles 3.5 billion searches per day. With a potential audience of that magnitude available, small local businesses are wise to make Google My Business an integral part of their online marketing efforts.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is free from Google and allows you to craft and manage a comprehensive profile for your business on Google Search and Maps. The only requirement is that you must have direct interaction with your customers and not exclusively be an online business.
If you’re just getting started and you’re new to search engine optimization (SEO), GMB is a great place to start. When people need a given product or service local to them, they conduct an online search. Half of those will visit a business location that very day. With that in mind, it’s vital that information about your business on Google, the world’s leading search engine, be as current and correct as possible.
The best part? GMB also allows you to optimize your listing to increase your online visibility and boost your local SEO.
How to Create a Google My Business Listing
There are three steps in creating a GMB listing for your business.
- Create a GMB account and claim your business
- Verify your business
- Optimize your listing
Create a GMB Account
- Log in to the Google account you’d like to use for your business or create one to be used for this purpose.
- Navigate to Go to google.com/business and click on “Start now” in the upper right corner.
- Enter your business name and its location.
- If you go to your customers at their locations as opposed to having them come to you, make sure to check the “I deliver goods and services to my customers” box on the form. If you work from a private residence or other address you don’t want to be made publicly available, ensure you check the “Hide my address (it’s not a store) Only show region” box. Finish by selecting a Delivery area.
- Select the business category that most closely matches your business. This component is vital because you’re telling Google what type of customers should see your listing.
- Add the phone number you use for your business and the URL of your business website.
- Select the verification method you’d like to use. You can also select “Try a different method” -> “Later” if you need to verify your business at a later time.
Verify Your Business
You’re required to verify your business listing to be able to manage your business details in Search, Maps, and other Google applications. The process not only helps Google ensure the accuracy of your information, but it also identifies you as the party with the authority to manage it.
You have several verification options to choose from:
- Mail verification
- Phone verification
- Email verification
- Instant verification
- Bulk verification
Regardless of which verification method you use, double check your details before submitting to make sure everything is correct. Google offers a great information page on each verification method to help you with the process.
Optimize Your GMB Listing
The ability to flesh out your GMB listing and add rich images and details is what makes it a powerful marketing tool. At the dashboard of your GMB account, select your listing and click “Info” to add or update information.
Take advantage of the opportunity to add as much information as you can about your business including profile images, your service area, hours, biographical data, complete contact information, and other details that might be important to customers. If your business is accessible for those with mobility challenges or you offer free WiFi, make sure you include that information as any given detail could be what makes a potential client choose your business over a competitor.
Develop the habit of checking in to your GMB dashboard and ensuring all of your data is correct once it’s all established. Ensuring its accuracy will prevent random visitors from suggesting changes.
GMB profiles using images see 35% more clicks to their websites and 42% more requests for directions from Google Maps. Images used have to be a minimum of 720 pixels in height and in either JPEG or PNG file formats.
At the front and center of your GMB listing is the cover photo, making it an important element of your profile. Ensure this image shows your shop or business off to its best advantage. The profile photo is an image representation of your profile and professional logos would be great for this element.
There are a number of other photo types you can add as well. You can include photos in categories like products, interior, exterior, employees, common areas, teams, and more. Google typically imposes a one to three image limit on each category but the opportunity to offer customers more information about your business is a real bonus.
Google allows you to use video within your GMB listing but each video must meet the following conditions:
- 30 seconds or less
- 100 MB file size maximum
- 720p resolution or higher
While they aren’t essential to your profile, if you can manage an engaging video to fit within Google’s parameters, they could really enhance your listing.
GMB allows customers and visitors to your business the opportunity to leave reviews. How to best collect good, honest reviews of your business? Respond to all reviews you receive, even the negative ones. Showing an appreciation of the visitor’s support or showing a willingness to correct any shortcomings is a great way to influence future customers to leave positive reviews of their own.
Need Help With SEO?
If you need help or guidance with establishing a Google My Business profile or with local SEO for your Miami business? Our team at eSasson Studios would be very happy to help. Contact us today with any questions.