7 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile for Massive Local SEO Results
You need more customers so you can make sales and grow your business. Guess what - your potential customers are already searching Google for businesses like yours, and they're probably going to work with whoever shows up at the top of search results.
So how can you get to the top of search results?
By optimizing your Google My Business profile! If done right, you can tailor this online listing to bring your business massive local SEO results, including more new customers and higher customer loyalty.
I'm going to show you why a solid Google profile is so important, how to show up at the top of search results, and how to entice searchers to pick you over your competitors. Let’s begin!
How does a Google My Business profile help local SEO?
1. It increases your business's visibility.
Having a Google My Business listing gives Google’s sophisticated algorithm extra information about your business - like what exactly you do, and what past customers think about working with you.
That gives Google the data it needs to recommend your business to people searching for what you do.
For instance, if you are a taco shop, you want to show up as a local taco place for those searching for “tacos” or “tacos near me." Your profile will also boost "visibility" during voice searches, which account for at least 20% of mobile searches these days.
Businesses with the most relevant and engaging GMB profiles make it into Google's coveted 3-Pack of highlighted recommendations at the top of search results.
2. It gives you a specific audience to target.
If you're a local business trying to increase sales, local search engine optimization (SEO) is your best bet! It gets you right in front of the people you want to work with. How can we be sure?
It's in the stats.
72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within five miles of them. Showing up as a local spot will increase your chances of being visited or contacted by these searchers.
Plus, 28% of searches for something nearby result in a purchase. Searches for service providers are even more likely to result in a transaction.
You're only going to get these opportunities if you (a) have a Google My Business profile, and (b) optimize it for local search. So how do you do that?
How to Create a Google My Business Profile
If you already have a Google My Business profile, just skip down to the next section. If you don't, these quick steps are crucial to your online marketing and sales success.
Step 1: Log into Google with your business email
If you don’t have a Google account already, create a free account here.
Step 2: Head over to www.google.com/business and select “start now”
Step 3: Add your information as prompted, including:
- Business name
- Business location
- Whether you deliver
- Whether to hide or show your address (hint: you want to show it)
- Your business category
- Phone number
Step 4: Verify that you are an official representative for this business (and the listing you've just created).
There are a few verification options you can choose from, though the most popular is to have a postcard mailed to your business address with a confirmation code on it.
How to Get Your Local Listing to the Top of Search Results
Now that you’ve created a profile, how do you get it to rank higher in local searches? There are at least seven great options that you can (and should) implement.
1. Add relevant keywords (i.e. describe what you do or offer).
Google always wants to show the most relevant results to searchers. So use keywords in your company description (and elsewhere as available) to show Google and viewers what you're all about.
In other words, describe what you do and what services or products you offer. A good tip is to use a free tool like Google Trends.
Type in various phrasings for your industry and offerings to see which get the most search traffic, then be sure to use those terms in your profile. See the image below for a quick example.
It's also good to include any extra amenities that you offer. Things like:
- A money-back guarantee
- Free parking
- Allowing pets
- Carry-out, drive-thru, or delivery
- Alcoholic beverages
- Reservations, etc.
These can help sway searchers to you over your competitors. It can also help searchers stumble upon your business while looking for specific things in town - like free parking Wi-Fi - which will broaden your target audience.
Just make sure any details you add are relevant to what your target customers would be searching for.
2. Optimize your profile for last-minute and map searches.
71% of people have had a bad experience with incorrect local business information online in the last year, and 80% of people lose trust in a business (i.e. won't work with you) whenever this happens. So what should you do?
Make sure your hours of service, contact info, and location are correct - and make sure to update them during holidays as needed.
Not only does this keep people from having bad experiences, it makes your profile more likely to show up in search results. For example, people searching for places that are “open now” can find your listing quickly.
This is especially helpful during voice searches, and when people are looking for your business through mobile apps like Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, Yelp, etc.
Another best practice for last-minute updates is to use Google My Business Posts to promote your business and what you think customers viewing your Google My Business listing would be interested in.
A few good options include:
- Promotions or sales
- New offerings
- Highlighting a great review or recent award
- Anything else can help your business stand out
3. Leverage your reviews!
High-quality reviews help you rank higher in Google. Today, 93% of buyers also say they make their buying decisions based on online reviews.
The key is to ensure that you have quality reviews, not just a high number of reviews. What counts as a quality review?
You need two things: a high average rating (like 4- and 5-stars), and meatier reviews with details about the customer's experience with your product or company.
Generally, reviews with more details are going to be seen as more helpful to other searchers. So how can you get more good reviews? One great way is by texting your customers a google review link.
4. Be consistent throughout your listing.
This part is really important for the purpose of Googles bots. Make sure that you spell names and list your information across your listing.
For instance: "Text Request" is two words, so throughout anything we post, we write it as two words, and would never write it as “Textrequest."
Or, if you use a particular phrase to describe something you, use the same phrase throughout instead of using multiple phrases to explain the same thing.
You also want to make sure people have good experiences with your listing, and part of that is making sure your information is also consistent across your website and other profiles people might find (like on Facebook).
5. Engage with reviewers!
Having a Google My Business Profile allows you to be more engaging with customers. You can respond to reviews that customers are leaving, which is great for the customer, and also shows other searchers that you can about what's going on with your company.
Whenever you get a review:
- Reply to the reviewer
- Thank them for leaving the review
- Begin to resolve any issue that might've come up
- Ask what you can do to make their experience even better
It's also good to make things personal (if possible). Use their first name, sign off with a personal signature instead of as a generic brand. Basically, you need to show reviewers that a real person is taking time to provide a custom response. That'll go a long way for you.
Make sure to say thank you, even for a negative review. Your business can always benefit from negative reviews by learning and trying to fix whatever was wrong. Thank them for that opportunity.
6. Use lots of pictures and other visuals.
You can upload photos so that searchers can see what your business looks like, and have a better understanding of the things that go on there. People love to see what something is like before they get there, and these images will boost your profile's engagement.
These images will also be indexed by Google, meaning they'll also be considered for ranking in search results. Sometimes, you might have an image rank higher than your website or listing, which is helpful (and gets you in front of more people).
The key to these pictures is to instill confidence in searchers that you are a good choice. You might want to include photos of your location, your team, your product, your employees working with customers, and other similar trustworthy photos.
7. Use your data to inform changes.
Google My Business profiles offer extra insights into how your listing is performing in local search. It'll show you:
- Clicks and views
- Performance over time
- And suggestions for improving your listing and results
Take this information, and the suggestions, to look into what you can do to improve. Winning local SEO is almost always going to be a long-term play, so follow these basic principles and keep an eye on them to see great results over time.
Is investing in your Google My Business profile worth it?
YES! Your Google profile helps you reach more local searchers and engage with customers on another level. Without it, all of the customers you want to work with will choose a competitor.
Besides, the only cost is the time it takes to set up your profile and maintain it (which is minimal). Our recommendation is to utilize this tool to help further your businesses success.