Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing Impacts SEO More Than You Think

When someone searches for a product or business in Google, Google will populate a list of verified listings and businesses. So, if you are a local business without a listing on Google, or you have one that is not continually optimized, you are missing out on potential customers, online and in-store business.

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps business owners manage their online presence across Google, offering the greatest impact for brands seeking local exposure. It is a tool that helps expedite success in digital marketing initiatives with location-based strategies.

Majority of organic searches come from Google—around 90% for worldwide search engine market share. While GMB does not replace your website, it does complement it by giving your business a verified presence with a listing on the most popular search engine in the world.

Setting up your GMB listing

Google My Business is simple to set up, update and maintain and you can start by visiting www.google.com/business.

Before you begin though, Google your business to make sure you don’t already have a listing. If your business has been around for several years, you probably already have one that you will need to claim.

You can visit Google My Business page for adding and claiming GMB listings to enter your business information to see if you need to claim it. If someone else has claimed it, follow these steps.

Assuming they haven’t, you’ll fill out the forms with your business details.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure everything is accurate and grammatically correct
  • Select the best relevant category for your business
  • The last option asks if your business delivers goods or services to customers at their location. This is important to note for many businesses that operate away from a brick-and-mortar headquarters or at the home or business of the customer (such as cleaning services, pest control, construction, home services, etc.)

Once your listing is set up or claimed, you’ll need to verify it. Google won’t display your business or edits until it’s been verified, which usually takes around a week.

Typically, they will send a postcard with a verification code. Once you use that code to verify your business it will be live.

Publishing and optimizing your GMB Listing

Optimizing your GMB listing is important. This begins with using all the resources they offer within listing details and making sure to enter detailed and accurate information about your business.

Make sure your listing explains what your business does, where it is, and how potential customers can the access services or goods you are offering.

These are 5 other steps to take to optimize your GMB listing:

  1. Include keywords. Just like you do on your website, it is important to include keywords and search phrases in your business listing to help SEO. We can help you identify the high-performing keywords and phrases to use on your website and your GMB listing if you would like.
  • Update operating hours. It’s important to enter your business hours, but also to update them whenever they change. Google lets you customize hours for holiday and other special events, so take advantage of this. This will keep your customers happy and site accurate.
  • Add photos. According to Google, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their website than businesses without photos. The most important photo is your profile picture. It should be something other than your logo—a photo that represents the brand, business and what you offer. Other photos to add include:
  • Logo image
  • Cover photo- Large photo featured at the top of the brand’s Google+ page, cropped to fit a 16:9 ratio.
  • Additional photos- Goods or services your business offers, staff, interior and exterior photos of the business or other general photos.

All photos should follow best practices:

  • Format: JPG or PNG
  • Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
  • Minimum resolution: 720px tall, 720 px wide
  • High quality photo in focus and well-lit
  • Post Weekly Like Other Social Media Channels. It’s important to let your customers know what is going on with your business and posting on GMB is an effective way to do this. Posts can include text, photos or videos. You can use posts to share announcements, offers, new products or items in stock, or to share event details with existing and potential customers on Google Search and Maps.

There are 4 types of posts:

  • Offers: promote sales or offers from your business. Offers require a title, start and end dates and times. You can also include photos, a description, coupon code or link.
  • What’s new: provide general information about your business. You can include a photo or video, description and an action button.
  • Event: promote an event with a title, start date, end date and time. If you don’t have start or end times, the system will default to 24 hours on the date you post. These posts can also include a photo, video, description and an action button.
  • Product: Add products that appear in your “product tab” with product posts. But remember, product posts aren’t posts to be shared.

To learn more about creating effective social media posts, check out our blog on How to Reach Your Target Customers on Social Media.

  • Respond to customers. It’s important to interact with your customers and to respond to reviews to show that you value them and the feedback they leave for you. Positive reviews increase your business’s visibility in search results and help leave a positive impression on potential customers who are searching for you.

GMB pages also offer the ability for you to direct message with customers and display a Q&A feed. Direct messaging is similar to a live chat but the message is sent as a text message to the manager’s page so customers can get responses fast. It can be customized so away messages can be set up on evenings or weekends too.

Q&A feeds are especially impactful for SEO purposes and for your customers. You can display the most common questions and answers within Google Search related to your business on your GMB page. Customers can also ask direct questions and receive answers in this feed. If a customer approves of an answer, they can give you a ‘thumbs up.’ The more thumbs up you get, the more authentic it is to Google.

These are just a few features GMB offers that are significant for SEO. There’s no doubt that the number of people searching for your business from a mobile device increases every day, so if you’re not already using a listing on Google My Business, let us help you get one started!