Local SEO is a huge part of what we do at Ferocious Media and you can’t mention local SEO without immediately thinking about Google My Business (GMB). We’re here to guide you through the number one tool to achieving local success, Google My Business.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a tool for local businesses that gives your company a fighting chance to appear in Google results, specifically the map section. A business profile through Google helps you compete with other nearby businesses and you can easily manage your business information all in one place. The best part other than helping you secure more local business? Google My Business is completely free and easy to use. A GMB profile is a necessary step to increase visibility in the maps and without one, well, we try not to think about that.
Disclaimer: Creating a GMB does not guarantee placement in the maps. Read on to learn the best practices to be seen.
How to Verify Your GMB
To show up in the maps section of Google, first do a preliminary search of your business name on Google to determine if your business listing is live and needs to be claimed. It might not already exist. If it does not exist yet, start here to build out your profile with general information including your business name, category, and address. Once you complete the first few pages, you will be able to choose how you would like to verify your business profile. The choices are through a postcard sent directly to your business address or via phone. In less than a week, a postcard from Google My Business will show up and you will be prompted to enter a verification code and with that, you will be live!
Can My Business Create A GMB?
Google enforces the types of business that can create a business profile. This includes any local business that has a storefront or a service area that doesn’t serve their clientele at a specific location. If you don’t have a physical address, you can set up the radius that your business serves. Any other type of business cannot create a profile and faces removal by Google.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business for Local Success
There are a number of guidelines you are required to follow as a contributor to Google My Business and we’ve included a list of them. For best results in the local scene, follow these rules.
Business name: Submit your real business name without any keywords in the title. Though it works well for achieving results in the maps, including keywords you want to rank for in your business name is considered a spam tactic.
Categories: Choosing your business categories is one of the most important ways to be seen on Google My Business. For best results, start specific. Your business should have one primary category that highlights your business as best as possible. Add in other less specific categories that also match your business after.
Address: Your address must be a real location and not a satellite office.
Hours: This includes holiday hours.
Phone number: Usually a local phone number for tracking purposes.
Add photos: Adding photos, logos, and videos all make your profile more personal. Especially against profiles that haven’t been filled out completely. Customers can add photos from their experiences with your business as well. FWIW, profiles with more photos are seen as more reputable and get an average of 35% more clicks to their pages!
Website URL: Include your full website address here.
Business description: Utilize the business description to include a detailed summary about your business. You can go the extra mile and add in a few high priority keywords here too.
Posts: The posts feature on Google My Business is a valuable way to reach your audience with updates, news, or announcements. These posts can link to blog posts or your website for more information. It should be noted that not all industries can post, including gambling, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and financial-related businesses.
The Importance of Reviews for Your Google My Business
Reviews are an important local ranking factor when it comes to local visibility and showing up in the maps. The more positive and current reviews your GMB has, the higher the chances your business has to appear in the maps. Google wants to show the best profiles in this real estate, so get your reviews, just don’t play the incentive game for reviews. Google is against this. Don’t forget to respond to reviews left by customers, especially negative reviews. Doing so proves multiple things; that you are a real business behind the screen and you value feedback and your clients.
Google My Business Is the End All for Local SEO
By now you know local search is a competitive yet worthwhile place to be. By putting in effort and some TLC, your GMB can do a lot for your business.
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About the Author
Katie Backovski is a Sr. SEO Specialist at Ferocious Media with 6 years of SEO experience ranging from legal to the ecommerce industries. A Miami University graduate, Katie has a BA in Strategic Communications and a Marketing minor. Katie loves all things Columbus, including local coffee shops and her Orange Theory gym.