The Best Tool for Local Marketing
Local businesses always need tools to help them compete and grow in digital marketplaces. Having the tools at their disposal to get the maximum reach towards new and existing customers is something most companies strive for. This is something that can be hard with the ever expanding, always changing search engine algorithm. Even if you have a well optimized and regularly updated website, it can be hard to find the reach and new eyes to expand your business.
This is why now more than ever, its important to use all the tools at your disposal when positioning your business online. SEO doesn’t end at just your website and its content. Ensuring all your web-facing content is optimized provides additional benefit and may indeed give a competitive edge when placing for search.
One of the most valuable tools you can use is Google My Business (GMB). For businesses targeting their local markets, GMB is a critical tool that cannot be ignored. Taking the time to optimize it can create great SEO for local searches and be the thing that provides a boost to SERP placement.
What Is Google My Business?
Having a Business Profile in Search
Before understanding just how Google My Business helps, it first is important to understand what it is.
Google describes it as a tool for promoting your business profile and website via Google Search and Maps. With it, you are able to connect with customers by providing posts and letting them leave reviews and comments on your profile.
The intent is to have an easily accessed, public face for your website and company that can be used to engage with customers both new and existing about your business. It also provides insights on how you can better optimize and encourage interactions with your customer base within its tool set.
Why is GMB Important?
If not already obvious, the reason why Google My Business is important is because it is likely to be the first thing that customers see of your business and as the old saying goes, first impressions are everything.
If you don’t already have a GMB, getting one set up is imperative. If people can’t find you or your location, then it is now quite hard to grow. In this day and age, not having a digital presence of some sort can be majorly detrimental to your business.
Accuracy is Everything
You want to make sure that your content is being presented as best it can be on that page, and to make sure that it is accurate. If something is inaccurate or presented poorly, this reflects badly on the rest of your content offerings.
This information is also vital for businesses targeting local markets, as this page also is a place to have contact and location details that are vital in determining how your content is going to be ranked in local searches.
With all of this in mind, you want to make sure that your content is accurate and optimized so that you are ensuring people are seeing you in the best light possible.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Once your page is made, there are several things that you can do to ensure it is pulling its weight properly regarding your search engine optimization. Doing all of them can set your page up to be better visible by search and assist in expanding your business’ reach:
- Have display photos, including cover and profile photos that accurately represent your business
- Accurate information including phone number, address, hours of operation
- Interactions with any existing reviews
- Posts that reflect upcoming events, blog posts, or other information you want to share with your customers
- Answering any potential questions asked by people
- A business description that lets people know what you are about
- Services/menus that detail what your business offers
By doing these things, your Google My Business profile will be set up to best utilize the platform and best serve your website and business.
Now that they’ve been listed, lets take a deeper look at how implementing these things better helps your business out.
Worth A Thousand Words
It is no big secret that photos are easier for people to consume and process than reading sometimes. This holds true with GMB posts as well. Having images of your business, such as the location, interior offices, work events, etc. can increase the amount of clicks a website receives by up to 35%.
Make sure that wen you are picking photos to display on your page that you are considering how these photos are going to be displayed, as they will be representing your company, and presenting a kind of ‘face’ for people to identify with.
Where this is especially important is on your profile and cover photos. Your cover photo will represent your company by being the preferred photo shown when people are searching or looking at Google Maps and seeing your business. Your profile photo will be used to show your business’ identity when you post a photo or reply to a review.
These two photos are going to be the most prominent ones displayed on your page, and as such it is beneficial to give them some extra thought. It is also helpful to have other photos present to make things feel a bit more engaging, as well as to give customers a sense of identity for your business.
H4: The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing but the Truth
Already mentioned before but ensuring that your information is complete and accurate is critical. As Google My Business pages are going to be the first thing people see of your business in a local search, any one piece of information can lead to a lost customer.
It is also important to regularly check on this information. Users on Google can suggest edits to the information, and if it is changed, Google does not always alert the owner of the page of the changes made. If such a change is made, for whatever reason, this could lead to a similar situation of accidental misinformation.
There are several sections of information, and while they are not always all relevant to every company, it is highly suggested you fill out as many as possible. This way, you are attaining the maximum benefit from the search algorithm and not leaving it up to customers and others to fill out that information for you.
Another thing people like to see is a brand or company that is active and engaged with its customer base. GMB has many methods with which a company can engage with customers and other people and foster interactions with users.
This can come in a variety of ways.
One of the most important ones is responding to reviews. Regardless of whether they are positive or not, these responses show that you are paying attention to your page, and your customers. It also gives you a chance to thank those people that left positive comments, while also potentially mending any issues should someone possibly be dissatisfied with the services received.
You can also answer questions about your business. This gives two benefits as one you’re providing valuable information for anyone visiting your GMB page in the future, and two, you’re again showing customers and users that you’re active and attentive to ensuring that people have the information they need with regards to any specific queries they have about your business and what it does.
Posts are another way to drive engagement, and also act as a bit of marketing as well. With posts you can let people know of new offers, blog posts, or just set up a general interaction to let your customers know you’re thinking of them. When done routinely, you are showing that you are active in your participation and want to keep people informed of new happenings.
Being in the Know
Business descriptions are a great way to talk about your company and give a quick window into what you do and who you are. They’re also a nice way to slip some keywords in, but they are not mandatory for success as the section themselves is not all that large.
For restaurants, you have the ability to upload your menu, allowing for people thinking of dining at your establishment to get a snapshot of your offerings to help them make a decision.
Making the Most of GMB
As you can see, there is a lot that can go into making your GMB shine, and having a well maintained, attractive looking page can do wonders for boosting your visibility in local markets. Higher SERP placements and making yourself more attractive to any potential customers that have come across your business organically via search.