Google My Business Optimization Checklist
Do you run a local business in your area? The first impression your business could have with potential customers isn’t just your website anymore, it can actually be your GMB (Google My Business) profile. Optimizing your GMB listing is a powerful and easy tool to boost your local SEO for your company. Here’s a brief rundown of its importance, an outline of how you can optimize Google My Business and a checklist to follow all to help generate more leads and sales!
Need a quick intro to local SEO first? Check out our article on how local seo can impact your business. Then come back!
What is Google My Business
Google has gotten smart enough to interpret which products/services queries have local intent. When these are searched, Google will provide map listings at the top of the search results.
Usually there are three, though you can expand the list for more. But this three is called the “Local 3-Pack” As a local business you’ll want to optimize for this first and foremost. The best route to that outcome is your Google My Business listing.
Google My Business is a free listing feature that allows you to list your business information directly in the Google Search Results (and map) including:
- Business name
- Services and Products
- Phone number
- Important updates or posts to keep your customers informed
- I.E. – Special Holiday Hours, Temporary Business Hours…etc
With this listing, searchers on Google can ask questions, and leave reviews about your company. Quantity & quality of the reviews under your listing is also important for optimizing – we’ll touch on this in a bit.
How to Set Up your Google My Business Listing
To set up a Google My Business listing for your business, navigate to business.google.com.
Here, you will be prompted to sign in to your Google Account. The steps are pretty simple and straightforward.
If your business has been around for quite sometime, Google may have already auto-generated a business listing for you. If this is the case, don’t be concerned, you’ll just need to verify that you own the business, and they’ll grant you full control of the listing.
Search the name of your business in the search bar and see if you pop up. If you do, that means Google already has a listing for you. If not, you can simply click “Add your business to Google”.
From here, you’ll be prompted to fill out a lot of the information that we mentioned above simply by filling out all of your business details that customers may be interested in or searching for.
Quick Note: You’ll be asked to provide an address, but there will be an option to have a service area, or physical location. The reason for this depends on which of the two local business types we mentioned in the beginning of this article.
For example: If you’re a local Boise videographer that doesn’t want his/her address listed because you work out of your home, make sure to choose “service area”. With this, you’ll be able to say that you’ll travel anywhere in Boise for a video shoot. However, you may be a brand new coffee shop in town. Then you’ll definitely want to put in a physical address so people will know where to find you and visit your location.
Don’t be too concerned if you make an error or leave out some information. You’ll be able to edit and make changes as the owner of the business at any time. If you’re not sure how to go about this process or which path is the best for your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help walk you through the steps!
The final step is actually to verify that you’re the owner of the business.
Important Note: Google will usually mail a postcard to the address that you listed. So make sure you’re able to receive mail at the address you provided. On the postcard, you’ll receive a short code that you’ll be able to enter into your online listing to finalize the verification. This usually takes 3-5 business days.
Once verified, congratulations! Now you have your business listing on Google! Here’s where the local SEO magic really begins.
Google My Business Optimization Checklist
Google decides which businesses will show or list at the top of the search results page based on a variety of factors. For local SEO best practices, you want to optimize your business listing for as many of these factors as possible.
Proximity of the Search
If someone is searching for a coffee shop near them, and there is one across the street from their location, Google will take this into consideration. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do here other than to triple check your exact location details are correct on your GMB.
NAP Citation (Name, Address, Phone number)
Google wants to assure that your business is legitimate and has familiarity on the web. The more often your business is listed on other websites with references to your name, address, and phone number, the more Google trusts your business and the accuracy of your GMB listing. The consistency of the NAP across the web is significantly important.
- List Your Business On Local Directories: Submit your business to as many local business directories as possible. This will help with higher rankings!
Google My Business Keywords
When writing the description and services in your business listing make sure you include the keywords that someone might be searching for to find a business like yours.
How Thorough Is Your Google My Business Listing
Make sure to complete any and all sections that Google My Business allows. Google prefers to see that you are providing as much information about your company as possible to the end user. Include exterior and interior images or photos of your business, a thorough and distinct description, accurate hours, phone number, etc. The more information, the better!
Reviews on Google My Business
Two important words here: Quality and Quantity! Arguably the most important factor besides proximity are your GMB reviews. Google wants to recommend businesses that people would be the most interested in. For example, a business with a total of 2 reviews (1 of which is a 1-star) is less likely to list or show for Google than a business across the street with 500+ 5-star reviews. It’s in your best interest to get as many 5-star reviews as possible!
Since this is such a big ranking factor, here are some great tips:
- On the back end of your Google My Business page (where you go to edit or make any changes to your listing), there will be a section that says “get more reviews”.
2. Click “Share review form” – This will provide a URL that you can send to your customers/clients. Once clicked, they’ll pretty much be able to immediately start typing the review. It’s as seamless as you can get.
- One caveat is they will need to have a Google account and they’ll need to already be signed in on their browser. If they aren’t, then the link will prompt them to sign in first, but then they should be good to go to review away!
3. Make sure to bookmark and save this link for future use! Copy and paste this link to email old clients, current clients, etc. We also recommend adding to your email signature, as that’s always an easy way to get it in front of clients.
Overall, if you’re a local business owner and are looking to improve your online visibility for the clientele in your area, optimizing your Google My Business listing is a must! By providing accurate & updated information, you’re helping Google offer search audiences better results to what they’re looking for. We hope this checklist helps get you started. It will go hand-in-hand with your traditional SEO efforts! If you’d rather have a team of experts take care of this for you, we’d love to hear from you!