How To Optimize Google My Business in 10 Steps
If the goal of your business is to target local customers, then boosting your local search visibility online will be a high priority for you. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by making sure to optimize Google My Business for your company.
Google My Business in recent years has undergone a transformation that provides business owners with incredible new features. So much so that if you are not using 1 or 2 of these features, you actually are not maximizing the value behind your Google My Business Profile.
If you want to optimize Google My Business for your company, you can always perform a GBM audit on a platform like BrightLocal or MozLocal, but at MarketKeep the digital marketing agency for small businesses we also think that there are 10 steps that will definitely will optimize Google My Business, and help you start connecting with local customers. Before we jump into that though, we must first understand why having an optimized Google My Business Profile is important.
How an optimized Google My Business Profile benefits your business
Every business should have a Google My Business Listing. It provides searchers online with a wealth of information regarding your business and increases your local search presence. The details you provide in your GMB profile are used in a variety of ways from creating a knowledge panel, to appearing in the local 3-pack on Google Maps. In recent years it can also assist in voice-related searches and driving directions.
Setting up a Google My Business Profile is free, quick, and easy to do. Once you have created your Google My Business Profile you can start to optimize Google My Business and work on improving your local search presence.
Optimizing your Google My Business Profile is both about updating it routinely and using your GMB profile to tell Google everything it needs to know to accurately list your business in the right places at the right times (think local pack and Google Maps). By doing this your GMB profile will appear in local searches that many potential local customers will see.
Your Google My Business Signals are vital to your local search campaigns, and their influence only continues to grow each year. In many studies, your Google My Business profile is now a determining factor in local search success so it really showcases how important it is to optimize Google My Business for your company. It can make all the difference to staying ahead of your local competitors or falling behind. So now that we understand the importance of Google My Business let’s look at the 10 steps necessary to optimize Google My Business.
How to optimize Google My Business: Steps 1 – 4
Step 1: Make sure your NAP is accurate
The first thing you should do when optimizing your Google My Business profile is making sure that your foundation is accurate. For GMB, this means verifying that your business name, address, and phone number are all correct, up-to-date, and are consistent with your other local business citations online.
Citations help your business get discovered online and can help consumers find your business too. These various online citations help feed Google the information they need to rank your business online. If your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are wrong on your Google Business Profile it could derail your entire local search accuracy, making it harder for customers to find you.
To verify that your NAP is accurate, log in to your Google My Business Dashboard click on the ‘info’ icon on the left-hand side and verify that all the information is correct.
Step 2: Claim your Google My Business Short Name
Once you have verified your Google My Business account, make sure to claim your short name as well. Your short name is a custom name designed to make it easier for local search users to find your business online. Google requires profile owners that the short name be associated with your business name or a name customers commonly refer to you as.
If your business has multiple locations try to use your business name and location for your Google my Business Short Name. To claim your short name, log in to your GMB profile and click on ‘info’ tab on the left-hand side of the screen. Scroll down to the ‘claim short name’ section and create your name there. Remember you have a maximum of 32 characters so make sure it counts!
Step 3: Write a killer business description
To optimize Google My Business, make sure to add a 750-character description of your business within your profile. This text should describe your business in an engaging and authentic manner but should not reference things like ongoing sales or promotions.
Your business description should tell local search users about your unique selling points (USPs), your brand story, mission, and history of the business. You can even include a phone number or email address in this section.
When writing your description try to focus on 1 or 2 SEO keywords to build your description around and make sure to emphasis them within the first couple lines of your text. You should also remember to include a location keyword as part of this process.
Step 4: Choose the right categories AND sub-categories for your business
The category you chose when you optimize your Google My Business profile plays a huge role in your local search rankings. That is because it tells Google which searches your business is relevant for. If your business offers a lot of services such as a law firm might, your primary business category should be for the category that is most important to your business.
This category should also be specific to your business. For instance, if you own a nail salon your primary category should be a nail salon, rather than just salon. it is better for your optimization and provides more useful information to local searchers.
Your secondary or sub-categories should outline the additional services you offer. For example if you run a supermarket that has a deli and pharmacy inside, your main category should be supermarket while your sub-categories should be pharmacy and deli.
Step 5: Upload eye-catching photos
Not only is a picture worth 1,000 words but it also provides you with some much-needed brownie points within local search. To optimize Google My Business make sure to incorporate photographs of your business.
Your GMB profile will give you plenty of opportunities to highlight your business location, team members, and the items that make your business unique. In fact, Google suggests that you upload the following style of photos to your business profile:
- 3 exterior photos of your business
- 3 images of the interior of your business
- 3 photos of your team providing services
- 3 images of the services that you sell, offer, or create
- 3 photos of your colleagues or team members
How to optimize Google My Business: Steps 6 – 10
Step 6: Reviews…Reviews…Reviews
According to MozLocal Review signals including the quantity, velocity, and diversity of them are a huge part of the top three local pack ranking factors. That means if you have Google Reviews on your profile you are much more likely to rank in the top 3 spots on map searches if you have Google Reviews attached to your profile.
Once reviews start coming in, make sure that you have someone within your company that can monitor and respond to Google Reviews. This also helps to keep your Google My Business profile optimized.
Step 7: Utilize Google Posts
A recent update, there is a feature within Google My Business called Google Posts. Think of posts as tiny blogs that can be used to provide short news updates, promotions, and details about your business.
Google Posts can provide your business with a significant amount of additional exposure since they are now appearing in local search results. There are also theories out there that Google is a big fan of this type of content, making it an important piece of your Google My Business campaign strategy. Want to learn more about Google Posts? Read our blog article on How to Use Google Posts
Step 8: Build a good Q&A Section
A question and answer feature that has been added to Google My Business, the Q&A section gives consumers the opportunity to ask questions about a local business, with the question and answer being displayed in the knowledge graph.
The purpose of the Q&A section is to provide local users with additional information about a business – and provides a business with additional local exposure and search visibility. Creating questions and answers about the services you offer, the brands you carry, and price can help in aiding the local search consumer on the hunt for local businesses.
Step 9: Connect your social media accounts to Google My Business
To make sure that your social media profiles appear on your Google My Business Knowledge panel you must make sure that your social media presence must be consistent, verified, and use structured data. In order to maximize this opportunity, we cannot stress enough that you need to make sure your social media profiles are updated often and that messages and comments are monitored and engaged with.
Step 10: Look for GMB features that are unique to your business category and use them
Google My Business is designed to support every business within every category. There are many features and tools that are unique to each industry and category so make sure to look for and use them. These features are being constantly added and help to optimize Google My Business for your company. For example here are some unique features that are only available to certain categories within Google My Business.
- Hotels have an entirely different knowledge panel for hotel searches
- Restaurants can link the menu to their profiles
- A majority of businesses can upload products & service details
- Appointment-based businesses can use a book now button
- Service area businesses can actually hide their address on Google My Business and establish a service area instead
How to optimize Google My Business: In conclusion
Knowing how to optimize Google My Business properly can add instant value to your company. Just remember that while some actions such as updating your business hours only need to be done once or twice a year, other items such as uploading recent images and publishing posts on your profile need to occur on a regular basis if you truly want to maximize your Google My Business profile.