Google My Business is a free tool that allows business owners create their business profiles in Google Maps – which is then shown in search results & maps – to nearby people who might be looking for your business, services or products.
The query “Pure veg restaurants near me” brings up search results like this –
These restaurants listed here are all nearby ones to the user who typed the query – based on his device GPS, or last known location.
This is how Google My Business helps business businesses boost their online presence.
However, to make the most out of this free service, it’s important to implement a few best practices while creating & managing this business profile – this is known as Google My Business optimization.
Some marketers also call it Local SEO – which is optimizing your business presence to build its authority & get discovered in these local searches.
Why Google My Business Optimization is important?
Look at some stats below:
Before optimizing for Google My Business, it is important to understand how Google My Business works:
How Google Determines Your Local Presence?
Relevance: This refers to how well your business listing profile matches with what a user is searching for. Continue reading this article till the end to optimize your GMB listing to ensure that Google better understands your business & distributes your business to relevant nearby prospects.
Distance: This refers to how far a users’ location is from your business. It would be nice if the prospect has location turned on, but if not, then Google will determine results based on their calculation of the last location they tracked, & other data.
Prominence: This refers to how well-known your business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and Google tries to reflect this in local listing results. For example, famous hotels, destinations, or well-known brands are likely to be prominent in local search results too. These rankings are based on information that Google has about your business, from across the internet, like backlinks, articles, business name citations & directories. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.
Important: If your businesses have a chain system & branches across places, then it is important to provide local business credentials for specific locations accurately.
For example, your 1st branch office listing must have the local office phone number of that location itself, not another headquarters number that redirects.
If you haven’t claimed your Google My Business listing yet, register one now. Let’s start optimizing your Google My Business profile:
Google My Business Optimization: Boost Your Local SEO
Do Your Homework: Is Your Website Optimized for Local SEO?
Local SEO isn’t a walk in the park, but if you’ve put in the right efforts from your end, you will surely reap the rewards.
One important thing comes down this topic is optimization of your Website for local SEO.
Though Local SEO is somewhat different aspect, larger than GMB optimization, a few things you should always consider
- Make sure the address & contact details you’ve listed on the website matches GMB profile details, be consistent with NAP.
- If you have more than one physical locations:
- Create separate listings for locations
- Mention all addresses & contact details on the website footer
- Mention local office number for local listings
- Your website must have a local address cited on your website that you’ve used in your GMB profile
- Be consistent
- Ensure mobile number & contact email are clickable
- It would be better if you embed a location map to your website, either on the homepage, footer, contact us, about us.
Consistent NAP: Key To Building Brand Name Citations
Mismatched NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) account for 41% of the total ranking issues.
You confuse Google bots, they will decrease your optimization.
Google love listings that have consistent business credentials represented & distributed across other places.
The most important credentials are NAP: Name, Address & Phone Number
It is very important to provide accurate & consistent business brand names that you use elsewhere, viz, other business listing places like YellowPages, YELP, Social Media Accounts, Website, etc.
If you’ve hired an agency for SEO, make sure to verify through them if your business has consistent NAPs distributed across the internet.
Business Description: Keep it Real
People will find your business description here under reviews if you if you scroll down.
Use this place to describe about your business, what you offer, your mission & history.
You should Include your primary business keywords here, but don’t overdo it as Google will not like it.
You should not include any promotions here (sale, offer, discount, cheapest etc) or texts that mislead users.
This description should highlight what makes your business unique. Provide useful information on services and products offered, as well as the mission and history of your business.
You should be upfront & honest about the information you provide here.
Focus on creating a description that is relevant & useful to your customers to understand your business.
Remember: In some GMB profiles, there’s also a short description that appears below your Business Name section.
This description is not under your control, Google sets this.
Choose Business Categories Wisely
This is where most of business listing owners try to maximize their reach by entering broad categories.
However, just like niche marketing works, you should mention fewest categories to describe your overall core business.
Don’t rush for covering all the categories you might think of. Don’t go broad, choose sub-category instead if applicable for your business.
Be relevant & specific, to make it easy for both a user & Google to understand.
Your category appears here:
You might be unaware that you need to choose categories in GMB listing wisely, because you did not know that choosing
According to a Google My Business insights study (45000 GMB profiles analyzed) conducted by BrightLocal, it is found that
The average GMB listing is found in 1009 searches per month, with 84% of these coming from discovery searches.
Discovery search means when a customer searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared.
Fill All Details Completely
Filling all of your business details asked in Google My Business listing makes it easy for Google to understand your business, what you offer & hence, to rank you higher.
A complete GMB profile also increase customer trust & your business authencity, which encourages users to take action from your listing (visiting website, )
The Details You Must Fill Are
- Phone Number
- Business Category
- Operating Days & Hours
Here’s how a complete & optimized GMB listing looks like:
Select Applicable Attributes
Google My Business allows you to add specific attributes applicable for your business.
These attributes are highlighted on your GMB profile & it helps a user make informed decisions before visiting your business.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Google rolled out some health & safety attributes, like
- Appointment required
- Mask required
- Staff get temperature checks
- Staff wear masks
- Staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits
- Temperature Check Required
Here are some other latest attributes added to Google My Business:
Attributes for Local Restaurants
- No Contact Delivery
Attributes for Online Services
- Online Appointment
- Online Care
- Online Classes
Other Business Attributes:
- Identifies as women-led
You can view a full list of GMB attributes here, or simply try adding attributes that are applicable for your business.
Here’s how to add attributes in your Google My Business listing:
-> Sign In to Google My Business
-> Open the listing you’d like to manage
-> From the menu on left side, click on “Info”
-> On this screen, you will see an option to “add attributes”
You’re good to go.
Don’t Forget To Target Primary Keywords
When it comes to keywords optimization in GMB, you have to be very specific & should not overdo it.
Using keywords in Title is a controversial topic, however, most recommends sticking to brand name only.
In business description, target one or two keywords that your audience might use to find businesses like yours.
You should also target keywords in posts.
Don’t repeat keywords that you’ve already used. Use every placement of your GMB profile wisely so as to make your business easy to understand.
Google also analyzes keywords in reviews to help understand your business. I am not suggesting you put some fake reviews targeting keywords.
What would help in the long run is how specific you are with your services keywords so that your services keywords become memorable to your customers.
Instead of getting self created or paid reviews, you should seed your own QnA sets & target keywords in it.
Keep Operating Days & Time Accurate
Imagine how worst experience that would be if a user completely relied on what information you’ve provided & headed to your physical location.
What he saw is that your business is closed.
The consumer will in turn not only put a bad review but also flag your business profile which can lead to suspension of your profile.
Google has been very strict about user experience & hence regularly rolling out Google My Business updates.
Hence, it’s important to be real & serious with Google about what he asks for.
Keep your operating hours & days updated on your GMB profile.
Set Up Messaging & Be Reachable
Turning on messaging feature would require you to download Google My Business mobile app
Enabling this feature allows users to send you directly a text message for any business enquiry they may have.
It gives you a great opportunity to connect with customers since most users are lazy to dial phone number, what convenient for them is just sending an enquiry on one click.
It works as a chatbot for your business.
Remember: If you’ve turned on messaging feature for your customers but not responding to customers on time, then it may result in the suspension of messaging feature for your listing, which will eventually decrease your optimization efforts.
Leverage Q & A: Boost Conversions
Google My Business listing also has a Question & Answer feature wherein users can directly ask questions related to your business or services.
As a part of online marketing strategy, you can leverage this placement to mention some commonly /frequently asked questions to help users better understand your business.
This feature will help you increase actions, traffic & conversions! Add some Q & A to your business profile now.
Update Posts & Photos Regularly
Just like sharing updates on other social media channels, you can also post from Google My Business. This will surely add value to your GMB profile.
Use this feature to share announcements, latest updates, events, offerings, etc.
Google prefer content that is new & up-to-date. I recommend you post at least twice a week, the more, the better!
If you’re struggling to find new content, you can re-share old posts. Something is better than nothing.
While uploading photos, keep in mind the below things:
- Read business-specific photos guidelines by Google
- Ensure Quality
- No stock or free photos
Add a few quality videos too, & you’re good to go!
Customer Review Are Most Important: Encourage & Engage
Online audience is a review based society.
Google My Business allows other to leave reviews on your business listing.
Encouraging reviews is very important to local optimization success & overall conversion rate.
These reviews are building your brand presence overall. Don’t forget to ask your happy customers to leave a review on your listing.
Once you get reviews, don’t forget to engage & revert to them.
If you wish to create new business listing & wish to move reviews to this new profile from old one, you can simply send a request to Google My Business team for this.
Keep In Mind The Best Practices to Avoid Penalties
- Keep each & every information real & relevant
- Don’t focus on promoting offers directly into the business description
- Avoid keywords stuffing in Title & Description, instead, leverage sections like QnA, Reviews, Product/Service offerings, etc
- Google My Business profile is not a website that you should overload with information. Your GMB profile must suffice basic user questions like:
- What is this business called across?
- What can this business do?
- Where is the office/physical location?
- How can this business be contacted? Phone, Email, Message?
- Can I message this business or book an appointment online myself without having to call them?
- What other services or products does this business offers?
- Is this business highly recommended?
- How does the office look like?
- Don’t have multiple listings for the same business/branch
Product Editor & Catalog
Google My Business also allows you to showcase your products/services separately on your GMB profile.
It is really helpful, especially for those whose offering are not clearly understandable from business description.
This is another opportunity to publish content (targeting keywords as well) that help users understand what you offer.
You can add service/product name, description & price.
This is how a product/services carousel looks like in your GMB profile:
If a visitor clicks on any of product/service, a popup will expand with a CTA like this:
Once you’re done optimizing your GMB profile, it’s time to start monitoring some important KPI’s that you will find inside of Google My Business dashboard
- Phone Calls
- Clicks To Website
- Direction Views
- Searches By Source
Google My Business is a great way to boost local SEO & attract potential customers searching for your services.
Once you’re done optimizing your listing, I would recommend you to go through official guidelines published by Google for Google My Business
Don’t be lazy at this part, it is important to read these guidelines & pay attention to what Google has to say on listing your profiles to Google My Business.
Apart from consistency, it is very important to be real with Google My Business. It’s just like SEO, only those who play white hat practices will stay in the marathon.
You need to be relevant & specific while providing information on your GMB profile, to make it easy for both Google & Users to understand your business better.
Did I miss anything to add? Was this article informative? Leave you feedback in the comments 🙂