As a business owner, it’s more important than ever to improve and optimize your digital presence. With the changes in the current global economy, more customers are shifting their focus and buying habits online. If you haven’t already started, it’s a good idea for your business to update and fine-tune your online local presence. More companies are improving and optimizing their website, social profiles, and local business listings than ever before so the competition is heated.
Google My Business (GMB) is a powerful (and free) tool your business can utilize to expand your online reach, increase sales, and build brand loyalty. As users search for your business or even services in your industry, having a profile set up can help bring potential customers and sales to your business. Let’s explore how Google My Business can help your local SEO and how you can integrate it into your SEO strategy.
How Does Google My Business Work?
Even if you aren’t familiar with Google My Business, you’ve probably interacted with several local listings when searching for services in your area. (Remember YellowPages?) So why do you need a GMB? There are impactful benefits for small to medium-sized businesses when they create and optimize their GMB profile.
To create a GMB profile, you need to be a business, you need to have a customer base, and you need a website or online presence so potential customers can find you online. If you don’t have a website, some businesses can link to their social accounts, like Facebook, on the GMB profile. However, to really make the most advantage of GMB, we suggest you build and list an actual website.
Google wants to know the details of your business to better serve its users. Update your listing with the most accurate and current information. This includes your address, photos, and hours of operations. Always keep your listing up to date. You are doing your customers a disservice when you have inaccurate or outdated information listed on your profile.
Be as accurate as possible when choosing your business category. Be specific in your business descriptions and details, however, do not add URLs or HTML. A keyword optimized description in your profile will make it that much more likely that users will find you when searching for your business. Your GMB business description is allowed 750 characters, but 250 will be displayed in the search with an option to click “read more.” Google provides this example:
“We’re an independent ice cream shop located steps from the center of town, and are proud to be the favorite for locals to meet friends for a cone or call for a fresh pizza, delivered straight to their home. We serve 35 flavors of homemade, hand-churned ice creams and sorbets year-round, and the pizza oven turns out New York-style pies every day from midday until close. Come see us today!”
Notice the use of locational terms and service descriptions that really illustrate what the business provides.
Use that full character limit to optimize your profile, but make sure to really fine-tune the sales pitch of your business in the first 250 characters to answer the important questions for the user.
How Does GMB Help Local SEO?
With a well-optimized listing, Google will be able to identify what type of business you are, where you’re located, and how you provide a service to its user. According to Google, local results are based on relevance, distance, and prominence. When a business optimizes all three, it will help the user find the best match for their search. Sometimes businesses farther away from you are going to rank higher in the search results because they are more relevant to the search query. When you update your profile with relevant information, this will help you gain prominence within your local industry as well as on Google My Business and win a higher spot in the search.
Local branded keywords
Using branded terms and keywords in your description helps your profile rank locally on the SERP. A branded term is a keyword with your business name. Adding your business name like ‘Boostability SEO Lehi” or “Boostability SEO Utah Valley” will help users find what they are looking for and Google will feature these results more frequently. Optimizing your profile with branded keywords and terms helps Google recognize your brand in a specific location.
Google recognizes your businesses as an entity that provides a service/product
When you create and optimize your Google My Business profile, Google recognizes your local business as an entity, which alone helps to improve your SEO. A lot of the work we do with our SEO customers at Boostability helps get your company recognized as an entity by search engines like Google. GMB communicates directly to Google because they want to recognize you as a business. GMB benefits those with or without a physical location, however, if you don’t have a physical location, there is a benefit to also listing your business information on local directories.
Control your Brand
Think about the profiles you see when you’re searching for local businesses in your area. The profiles with the most updated and complete information tend to pull your eye and interest more than the ones that are incomplete and incorrect. Give your customers convenient and updated information in one location making it easy for them to find. By doing so, it drives for traffic to your business and builds domain authority for your website which improves your SEO.
You can also build your relevance and trust with the help of Google Reviews. Your customers can leave reviews for your local business on your GMB profile. Having good reviews on your GMB profile from your customers will help your future customers be more inclined to visit your website. Which in turn gives you the KPIs for your SEO. With the help of a good profile and reviews, you can help build trust and authority with both Google and your customers.
Do I Need a Google My Business Profile?
Along with the many tools offered by Google, as long as you use the tool in the way it is intended to benefit you as a business owner, it’s going to be a good decision. In the case of Google My Business, it will almost always be beneficial to have a profile to help optimize your business locally. You can build relevance and trust with your profile and see yourself start to rank higher on the SERP.