When you are the owner of a small or medium business that operates at a local level, you know how important it is to put your brand on the map. No matter how popular you already are with the people in your area, investing time and effort in proper local SEO will help you get to those potential customers who are just transiting or anyone who hasn’t heard of you yet, or never passed your threshold.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) represents all the actions you can take to make your website or business profile more visible when internet users are looking for similar services or products online. As it is with most businesses, your competition plays an important part in your marketing decisions, as you relate your brand to other similar ones.
Online, your brand won’t compete with the same businesses you take into account when analysing your market share, but with those who rank highest when people are looking for relevant terms that connect directly to what you do.
Things get even more complicated when it comes to local SEO as Google uses other rankings factors to determine if your web pages are relevant to local queries. Among those factors, optimising and managing your Google My Business page is one of the most challenging ones.
So, in this article, let’s talk about Google MyBusiness and how you can use it to rank high in search engine results, on Google Maps and other online apps and websites.
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What Is Google MyBusiness?
Google MyBusiness is a free online service provided by Google in order to display information about your company. Various businesses are listed in the Google MyBusiness directory and then compete for higher ranks for certain keywords that are related to what they do.
The next example will certainly sound familiar, as any of us lived this scenario before. Let’s say you are in a new place and you’re hungry. You’re looking for a restaurant, but you would like Italian food. What’s the most common thing to do? You open Google Maps and search for “Italian restaurant”, right? Google then retrieves listed restaurants in the area you are currently in, and next, you can look at their search rankings, see photos of the interior or the food, browse the menu, and so on.
The example above shows how important it is to be on Google MyBusiness and to be in control of what is displayed there. This service allows you to edit and update your information, post content and interact with your customers.
Why Does My Business Need Google MyBusiness?
To conclude all the arguments above, your business needs to be listed on Google MyBusiness because this will bring you more new customers, it will consolidate your existing customer base and it’s a fabulous opportunity for free advertising.
The first step towards an effective local search strategy is to list your business locations on Google. This will allow you to display the most important kind of business information for your potential customers:
- Category of products or services
- Your business address
- Your contact information (phone number, email address, website, etc.)
- Connected social media accounts
- Business hours
- Content that you can use to attract your audience
Once you have entered the basic information about your local business, Google MyBusiness listing will automatically be linked by Google with a location on Google Maps, which will also be linked to various third-party apps that use data from it.
Let’s see how to create a Google MyBusiness account and how to use it to your advantage.
How to List Your Business on Google
You might not know this, but your business might already be listed on Google by someone else. So, the first step is to find out if that’s the case or not. While being listed is often a sign of your customers actively promoting you, well-intentioned actions might not always be helpful if the provided information is not accurate or if it wasn’t updated.
If a listing for your business already exists, you can go ahead and claim it. If you can’t find your business at all, which is often the case with young companies, you can create one from scratch.
The first thing you will have to fill in is your official business name. You will then be required to select the most accurate category for your business, from a predefined menu. Take your time and choose this carefully, as it will have a big impact on how and when your business will be shown.
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, but provide services to a certain area, you can select that option and your business will show up in local searches, but its specific address won’t be displayed.
When creating or updating your listing, you can provide additional information about your business, such as opening hours, delivery options, and so on.
Verifying Your MyBusiness Listing
Updating and claiming your business is not enough to make you the rightful owner of the listing. Verifying your business will be needed for that, and it’s done by mail, which helps you prove that you do, indeed, own the business at the address in the listing.
Skipping this step is a bad idea, as it limits your possibilities quite a lot. Only verified businesses will be fully displayed in Google results, and the platform gives valuable insights to the owners of verified business profiles.
How to Optimise Your MyBusiness Listing
Business owners with a verified GMB account have a lot of advertising potential at their disposal, for free. A well-made GMB listing will not only provide the necessary information to your customers and potential customers, but it can attract new sales through high-quality content and constant updates about what you do.
Here are some tips on how to grow your business by optimising your Google MyBusiness account.
Use relevant keywords in your listing
Keywords are one of the building blocks of a good SEO strategy, and GMB is not an exception. In order to rank higher for the right keywords, you have to do some research and then include the most promising keywords on your website, in your GMB listing, etc.
Keep your business hours up to date
It’s really frustrating for a customer to check your GMB listing for opening business hours and get to your location to find the store closed. This can happen especially during holidays if you don’t update your business hours online. Make sure you mention exceptions to the regular business hours every time that happens.
Add photos to your listing
Photos are a very easy and effective way to make your listing more attractive. You can upload photos of the location, the product or service you provide, your menu or service list, and so on. Use high-quality photos and don’t forget about your logo, as it’s an important part of your branding.
Interact with your reviewers
Business profiles on Google include reviews from customers, and they are one of the most valuable pieces of information for internet users, often influencing their final decision. Besides focusing on delivering good service and generating good reviews, you should also respond to reviews, especially those from customers who were not satisfied with your product or service. Always use a positive tone and show everyone that you are invested in solving problems and tuning their review into a positive one.
Enable messaging on the GMB profile
Messages through the GMB platform can be a good opportunity to get direct feedback from your customers or receive interesting questions. You can select automatic messages to greet them with in case you are not online, which will give them something to use even when you are not open.
Post content on GMB
Maybe you didn’t know or notice, but Google MyBusiness allows business owners to post content on their profiles. This can be anything from tutorials and “Did you know?” pieces to specific promotions, sales, and product presentations. Choose engaging content that can be easily skipped through, and update it constantly.
Google MyBusiness Insights
A gold mine for your local SEO, Google Insights is a valuable source of information that can help you improve your next campaigns, optimise your advertising strategy and have happier customers.
You can see how your business was found by Google users by following the following parameters:
- Total Searches
- Direct Searches (the user was looking for your business)
- Discovery Searches (the user was looking for a category of services or products that relate to your business)
You will see where the visitors of your GMB profile come from:
- Total Views
- Listing on Search
- Listing on Maps
A very interesting section of the MyBusiness Insights refers to the actions your visitors took:
- Total Actions
- Website Actions
- Directions Actions
- Phone Call Actions
- Direction Requests
Are you regularly engaging with your customers via phone calls? Google Insights lets you know how many customers have reached you by phone after getting your number from your GMB listing.
- Total Calls
- Graph by date and time
If you added photos to your listing, you can see how many people have viewed them in the Photos section, by the following parameters:
- Total Owner Photos
- Owner Photo Views
- Total Customer Photos
- Customer Photo Views
Insights help you see what the interest points are in your business, where your customers come from, and what they are likely to look for. Check these stats regularly and you have a good advantage in your overall local SEO strategy.
Are You Ready to Use Google’s Free MyBusiness to Grow Your Business?
If this seems a lot of work on top of the rest of the marketing tasks you have to do regularly, we sympathise. But we also insist that you invest a few hours a month to keep your MyBusiness profile fresh and engaging, and full of useful information. Google might not catch on that right away, but if you persist and constantly feed it with valuable content, you will be pleasantly surprised at how effective it is.
Local SEO is very important for businesses activating in a limited area, and investing in it is a long-term decision. If you prefer delegating your marketing and advertising services, an agency like ours can do everything fast and effectively, and maximise your return on investment.
Do You Need Help With Google MyBusiness or Local SEO in General?
Our experts at Australian Internet Advertising are ready to boost your sales, brand awareness, and customer base with simple, yet highly effective strategies related to Google MyBusiness and local SEO.
Contact us if you are interested in finding out more about local SEO, how to make your brand stand out in a crowd, and how to convince customers to visit your brick-and-mortar store or order from your website.
Our experience of over 10 years allowed us to A/B test countless SEO tactics and strategies, giving us a very clear idea of what works and what should be reconsidered. We invest our time and efforts into long-term results, and focus on a very simple principle: do advertising and marketing that brings our clients more revenue.
Tell us about your business and we will offer a strong plan for the future and a free health check for your website.