If you want your business to thrive, you’ll need targeted visibility on Google.
That’s why in addition to optimizing your website and Google Ads, you’ll need to pay special attention to your Google business listing. This is one of the most important steps in any local SEO strategy.
Doing so can boost your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Finder, Local Packs, and Google Maps.
But, which factors can impact your Google My Business SEO rank? And which of them will ensure that users will be able to successfully find your business online?
In today’s post, Ignite Visibility Sr. SEO Manager Darryl Blank will break down some of the top Google My Business tips that will help your business earn higher rankings for local searches in 2021.
What We’ll Cover:
What is Google My Business?
Launched in June of 2014, Google My Business is a free tool offered by Google that’s designed specifically to help business owners manage the way they appear in both Google local search results and on Google Maps.
As long as you get your business verified and it meets Google’s guidelines, your business listing will give your company free exposure on Google’s search engine.
With Google My Business SEO, you have the power to place pertinent business information in front of the eyes of your potential customers, including contact information, business hours, services, online reviews, and much more. This is all made available without them needing to even visit your website!
Not only does it help with local SEO, but it gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers more often. On top of everything, it’s an extremely useful feature that comes in handy when managing interactions with users and providing them with key business updates.
Tip #1—Utilize Google My Business Posts
Google My Business posts use a combination of text, graphics, and calls to action to creatively convey your brand and message to customers. It’s best to think of them as short mini-ads for your company, products, or services. Posts can also be used to highlight specials or promotions without expiration dates.
Luckily, Google offers a range of different posts you can design to promote your business:
You can even add a call to action like “Order Online” or “Get Offer” so you can encourage the visitor to take action after they view your post. Once created, you can share the post on social media for added exposure.
Frequent postings in Google My Business will provide more signals to Google, as well as promote more engagement on your site, more blog visits, and more social media shares.
These posts show up in the knowledge panel right after your main business info, so it can help with increasing click-through rates and generate trust and authority in your brand. And you can add posts as often as you would like!
Keep in mind that the first 100 characters of the post are what appears on the screen. The rest is cut off and has to be clicked on to be seen in its entirety. Make sure the most important content is at the beginning of your post, and aim to publish a new post every seven days or so.
Tip #2—Use Primary Keywords in the Title of your Google My Business Profile
Google continues to reward businesses in local SEO rankings for including a keyword or two in their Google My Business title. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this.
Keywords should be used naturally and appeal to humans more than Google bots, which means keyword stuffing should be avoided at all costs. You’ll also want to make sure that you use your actual business name and/or branding in there as well.
If you see a lot of competitors just using primary keywords for their Google My Business title, report them! Anyone can do this through Google Maps. Google might force those businesses to update their information, or possibly suspend their profile for violating their rules. Just suggest their actual business name in that case.
Remember that Google My Business SEO ranks businesses based on three variables—relevance, distance, and prominence.
Let’s break that down a bit :
- Relevance: You want your business profile to match what someone is searching for. That’s why you should include only relevant products or services, as well as words that would often be used when searching for those products or services (ie. Best, cheap, near me, where is the nearest, 5-star, etc.). Also make sure to display your primary or top categories or services higher up or on your list.
- Distance: This is based on your company’s geographic location or office address, but you can’t really do much to influence it. Local rankings change as users move around an area or neighborhood and are based on where Google considers your business to be located compared to the “epicenter” of the city or location area.
- Prominence: Prominence refers to how well-known a company is. For instance, museums, landmarks, or popular store brands are more likely to be prominent in search results. You may want to implore users to write reviews so you can improve your business’s local search ranking.
Tip #3—Fill your Profile with Recently-Expanded Attributes
This is one of the newer Google My Business tips on this list.
Google My Business recently introduced a series of new attributes in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic with options that allow you to highlight specific health and safety measures.
Searchers can use these attributes to determine where they want to visit. Here are a few things you can add to your listings:
Google is currently developing another feature that lets you see recent customer calls that were pulled in from search.
This is how they describe call logging:
“You can use call history to keep track of phone calls from your customers on Google Search and Maps. Your calls are all in one place to help you respond to missed calls and stay engaged with your customers.
These calls may make it easier for you to find and do business with customers who find your business through Google. Any calls you get from your Business Profile will start with a short message that lets you know it’s from Google.”
Tip #4—Use More Website Link Options
Depending on your primary business category, there will be different link options available to you.
For local SEO, it’s good to include your specific local landing page as your primary website link. But, your homepage works too. For businesses with multiple locations, use the specific landing page for every location.
Besides your main website, there are multiple secondary link options to get customers to other sections of your website. These are meant for appointment links, booking/reservation links, and virtual care links (for medical). Some are unique to different industries but try to include as many as you can.
For an appointment URL, certain businesses can use Reserve with Google to integrate a specific booking system into their Google My Business account.
One thing to note, Google Analytics might accidentally attribute this website traffic as a “Direct” source instead of “Organic”. To help fix this, you can use a simple code addition to all of your website links on your Google My Business profile. Just add the following code to the end of each of your website URLs:
Tip #5—Keywords Within Reviews and Q&A
One Google My Business SEO attribute that often gets overlooked is the Q&A feature. Similar to the reviews feature, Q&As are crowdsourced by potential customers who ask questions with the expectation that the business will address their concerns.
Instead of waiting for a random person to answer these questions, it’s crucial that the business takes the lead to monitor the Q&A forum and engage with users directly. Be prepared to read the occasional complaint or rant.
It’s a good idea to encourage your customers to provide reviews in Google My Business with your main keywords, services, and products within the body of the reviews themselves. Google actually frequently categorizes and sorts reviews by keyword or service.
Also, your business should provide responses to all reviews and questions from customers—good and bad. This establishes trust and credibility between the user and the brand. After all, authenticity is a key differentiator nowadays. Make sure to include target keywords within these responses as well.
Thankfully, businesses are able to ask and answer their own questions. So it’s important to include popular questions that are frequently asked (or you anticipate will be asked) and answer them yourself. These could show up right on the knowledge panel for your business!
A great way to get an idea of common questions is by checking in with your customer service and sales team. They’re on the front lines working with customers who may already be sharing their insights and feedback with your staff.
If your customers are trying to find your business online, there’s no way you can ignore the advantages that Google My Business can bring to your brand’s local visibility.
To dominate the search results in 2021, you’ll need to consider the hundreds of variables Google takes into account in their local search algorithm and stay on top of all the updates.
I hope these tips and tricks can help you make sense of Google My Business SEO so you can boost your online presence and stay ahead of the competition.