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How to Optimize Google My Business for Local SEO

Optimize Google My Business

The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google. The brutal truth is that if a business isn’t showing up on the first search engine results page (SERP) it will be very difficult to acquire new customers.

Given Google’s dominance of the search market (in April 2021, Google accounted for over 92 percent of the global search engine market share), it’s clear that search engine optimization should be at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy. Interestingly, 46 percent of all Google searches are regarding local information (Source: Oberlo). Consumers want to find local businesses quickly and easily.

It’s especially critical for local businesses that are competing with big commerce to have an SEO plan. Listings on Google My Business are one of the best ways to be found in local search. Local citations and review management are other tactics that will increase your clients’ Local SEO.

Therefore, to be found in a general local search for ‘brunch restaurants (insert city name)’, or ‘brunch restaurants near me’ it’s critical to be on the first SERP.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a listing that displays business information. This free tool from Google helps customers find and contact local businesses. With a Google My Business account, your client can see and connect with their customers, post updates to a Business Profile, and see how customers are interacting with your client’s business on Google.

Interestingly, although small businesses are competing with big-box stores to rank on Google, they can hold their own in local search by executing a local SEO plan. This is because of the community support that they can leverage to power their backlinks. Building backlinks is another excellent way to build authority with Google, resulting in higher ranking. You can lean on the business community connections you have. Reach out to your connections to mention your store in a blog or on social media.

How to create a Google My Business account

Ensure to fill out as much information as possible when creating a Google My Business listing. Google ranks these profiles based on the quality of their information and favors listings with more information. By keeping the information updated you can make sure that Google is feeding the correct information to Google Maps and the local pack. This pack displays three high-performing GMB listings when conducting a local search.

A business profile alone won’t help in SERP ranking. As a completely separate step, you will need to create a GMB account from which you manage the profile or listing. Now you’re ready to optimize for ranking purposes. For additional answers to Google My Business questions, this FAQ page can help.

Steps to get set up:

1. Check if someone has already created a listing for your business

  • If a listing exists you can claim and verify it by following the prompted steps
optimize Google my business

2. Create a Google Business Profile

  • Fill out the form fields with applicable information. This ranges from name to address, phone number, website, categories, hours etc.
  • Add photos
  • Write a short business description in the description field
optimize Google my business

3. Create a GMB account

  • This is the dashboard from which you can own, manage, or edit a Google My Business listing or ‘Business Profile’
  • You will need a standard Google Account to be able to sign up for this

 

4. Claim and verify the Business Profile

  • Search the business using the link from the first step and follow the prompts
  • Once you have ownership no one else can alter the listing
  • If you have a third party managing your account, they can be added as a manager without removing ownership from you

 

5. Request reviews from customers

  •  Ensure to respond to all reviews, positive or negative

 

Google Maps

Google Maps is also included in the process of creating and adding information to a Google My Business listing. The business address filled out in the Google business profile will correspond with the address in Google Maps. Ensure that you  have the correct physical address in your profile.

According to Larry Kim, a blogger for WordStream, “three out of every four people who search for something nearby using their smartphone end up visiting a store within a day, and 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase” (Source: WordStream).

Other maps such as Bing Places for Business and Apple Maps are additional platforms that should be updated with the same location information as Google.

Local pack

What used to consist of seven local listings is now called the ‘3-pack’. According to Kate Maugeri, blogger for Sagapixel, this local pack shows up in 93% of local searches. In the below example the top result for ‘brunch restaurants san francisco’ is a paid spot, but the local pack still displays three local brunch restaurants.

optimize Google my business
The most important factor in ranking in the local pack is to optimize your Google business profile. Google My Business, local citations, reviews, and the business website as the top four sources of organic ranking power within the local pack.