Local small business owners; unless you’ve been living under a rock for several years you have probably at least heard of Google My Business or GMB for short. But, do you know how to get the most benefit out of it for your local SEO?
Here is what we will cover in this blog post all about Google My Business:
- A quick overview of GMB
- What matters the most
- How to let Google know you are open and actively serving clients
Google My Business: Overview
In a nutshell, GMB allows a local small business to be eligible to appear on Google Maps, collect Google reviews, and appear in the ‘Map Pack’ found at the top of local searches on Google.
To claim your Google My Business listing, go to https://google.com/business.
Provide them with the basic information about your business they ask for as you go through the setup, then have them send the verification postcard to your business address. It is that quick and easy to create your GMB listing. And, yes, it is completely free!
Fully Populate Your Google My Business Listing
You should populate every little bit of data Google allows you to. Most of these entries on made from within the ‘Info’ tab inside your GMB account. Be sure to add your products or services as this is often overlooked by small business owners.
Add photos! Upload your logo (600px x 600px), upload your cover photo (1080px x 608px), and try to upload a couple photos for each category Google displays in your GMB account. We like to at least upload 20 photos to get a GMB listing started. Do not use stock images as your Google My Business photos! Google is cracking down on using stock or copyrighted images. To avoid any images, only use photos you took and have the rights to use.
Google My Business: Don’t Mess These Fields Up!
Some of the information you populate is going to matter more than other information, at least as far as providing local SEO value to your business.
These data points are most important within your GMB:
- The categories you choose (primary and secondary)
- The service area you set
- Ensuring your business name, address, phone, hours, and website links are accurate
Research shows these data points really matter. Like we said earlier, fully populate your GMB listing! Based on research by numerous search engine topic related websites, ensuring the NAP (name, address, and phone) data is accurate is very important. Your service area and categories you choose plays a large role in when your business could possibly show in the Map Pack.
Most SEO’s agree Google is not referencing your products, services, or business description for SEO purposes. Still, fully populate them. And select and ‘Highlights’ that apply to your business.
Stay Relevant on Google My Business
There are several things every business should be doing on an ongoing basis to get the most out of their Google My Business listing.
Here is the list of ongoing GMB to-dos:
- Post to GMB weekly
- Steadily collect positive reviews
- Add new photos regularly
- Update info as it changes
By performing the tasks noted above, you will clearly show Google your business is open, active, and ready to serve new clients! Don’t let the list overwhelm you! This can honestly be accomplished in just 5-15 minutes each week.
How To Utilize Google My Business To The Max
First, make sure all of the info inside your GMB is accurate at all times.
Next, hop on your GMB every Monday morning and make a quick ‘What’s New’ post. While you are in there, post at least 2 new photos. Finally, copy your Google My Business review link and ask at least 5 clients to leave you a review. Text the review link to them for the best response rate. Email can also be effective. Post your link to Facebook every now and then too.
Be sure to respond to all reviews, positive or negative, within 24 hours if at all possible! If you get a bogus negative review, go through the process of requesting it to be removed.
That’s honestly it!
It’s really not too much to do and the benefit it can provide a local business is insane. Like anything, you need to stay consistent and perform these actions regularly over time.
There is a 100% chance of positive ROI for your business if you choose to follow this advice!
A Couple Advanced Notes About GMB
If your business is seasonal, consider changing your secondary categories as appropriate for that time of year.
Post a COVID-19 Update. This is currently a ‘post type’ option within Google My Business.
Remember Google My Business and Google as a whole are also referencing other websites to ensure your business’ information is accurate. make sure the data inside your GMB exactly matches the data found on your website, business Facebook page, and everywhere else such as citation or directory sites.
Citation and directory sites do provide a lot of value to a local business’s SEO. Be sure to populate at least 20 of them and make sure you populate the most important ones for your industry or geographic area.
Use this citation building tool to create your citations. We’ve spent over $3,000 with them as an agency and 100% believe in their service.
Turn on messaging. You have to set this up using the Google My Business app. This will allow people to ‘text’ you directly from the search results.
Consider using a review fetching service to automate your review collection. We have a client with well over 400 Google reviews. They use Blipp Reviews and love the service.
Create a welcome offer. This can only be found on the GMB app.
If you have an existing website, do not use the free website provided within your GMB listing! This free website from Google is creating if your business is brand new and on a tight budget. It certainly beats not having a website at all!
Google My Business: Conclusion
Google My Business is a must for every local business.
Setting up and maintaining your GMB account is quick, easy, and free. So, make sure you do it!
We hope you found value in this blog post!
If you did, you can leave us a review on Google.
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