What is Google My Business (GMB)?
Google My Business is a tool for companies to create and list their businesses online and boost their local SEO. Their profiles appear in search results in a geo-targeted manner, i.e., based on the searcher’s location. Google My Business, therefore, allows local businesses to be listed first in Google Search and Google Maps results.
Let’s take an example. If someone is looking for a bike repair shop in New York, and your company provides that service in the same town, your profile will appear in the Google Maps search results.
This marketing tool will boost your visibility on search engines, making it a must in any successful SEO strategy.
Well-constructed GMB profiles can also be displayed in the so-called “local pack”, i.e., Google Search results.
Appearing in the top 3 local Google Search results increases a company’s visibility and drives traffic to their website. A GMB listing is therefore a powerful tool to stand out from the competition!
But how can you create and optimize an effective GMB profile to maximize your chances of appearing in the “local pack”?
1. Create a Google My Business Profile
After creating a Google account, connect to GMB and click on “Add your business”. Enter your basic information, including:
- Business name
- Categories: i.e., your business’ activities. Be as specific as possible and use keywords you want to be listed for. For example, if you are a dentist and provide an emergency service, select “Dentist”, “Dentist’s office” and “Emergency dental service”.
- Address: you can add several locations if you have more than one
- The areas you serve
- Your contact info: phone number and website
Make sure that your GMB details match those on your website, so as not to be penalized in SEO.
2. Verify your Google My Business Profile
Once you’ve entered your details on your GMB profile, it needs to be verified by Google. There are three ways to get a Google verification code: by SMS, telephone (although these 2 options are not always available) or mail (a letter with the code).
Once your profile has been verified, it will appear online.
3. Complete your Business Information
Your profile has now been approved and includes basic information about your company. But don’t stop there! Add more information to stand out from the competition. Here are a few important details you can add via the “Info” tab in your account:
- Opening hours
- Special hours: e.g., public holidays
- Description of services: make sure to write an accurate and unique description of your company’s activities
- Links to make a booking
- Products: you can add details about your products (description, photos, category and price)
- Unique selling propositions: highlight what makes you stand out from the competition. Add information that you cannot display elsewhere (e.g., an outdoor seating area or free Wi-Fi).
4. Add Photos to your Profile
Now that you’ve entered all of your business information, make your profile look nice! Several studies have shown that adding photos to your Google My Business listing boosts user trust. Which in turn increases the number of clicks.
Make sure that you add your logo, a cover photo and a few other pictures. Choose your photos carefully; think about what users want to see. For example, if you are adding to a restaurant listing, add a photo of the outside and a few interior shots to make potential customers want to come and eat.
5. Talk to your Customers
The impact of reviews on your GMB profile’s SEO is huge! Google sees companies with good reviews as more trustworthy and displays them more often in the local pack.
To optimize your chances of being displayed at the top of the search results, collect plenty of customer reviews, check that they are well rated (ideally, you want an overall rating of 4 stars or more) and, finally, respond to them.
Remember that most users won’t leave reviews unless you prompt them. You’ll get more results if you ask, especially since the process is so easy. Simply send customers a link to your profile (available in the “Home” section of your GMB dashboard).
You can also activate the “Messaging” option so that users can ask you questions directly. However, if you activate this option, make sure to answer as quickly as possible, because your average response time will be displayed.
One final tip: never buy fake customer reviews! Google strongly penalizes this practice.
6. Check Account Updates
Make sure to check all the information on your GMB profile. The Google algorithm, as well as any user, can suggest changes.
Go to the “Home” section on your dashboard and click on the option “Review updates” to make sure no false information has been added. You can edit or discard any updates you don’t want.
7. Go One Step Further
To get the most out of GMB, you can also add any sales events or campaigns (new products, open houses, exclusive deals, etc.). This will turn your GMB profile into a real marketing communication tool!
You can create and personalize your ads via the “Message” option. Remember that ads are only displayed for 7 days.
And there you have it! If you’ve followed all these tips, your GMB profile is now fully optimized. So, stack the odds in your favor to appear in the top local results and boost your company’s visibility!