Signals from Google My Business (GMB) listings are the most influential ranking factor for local search results. Potential customers use the information provided to learn about your business and decide if they contact you or convert. Take advantage of the free and easy to use platform for local visibility. Here’s how to get started.
Claim and Verify Your Listing
First you need to get your listing on the map. To do this you need to either create a new listing or claim one that already exists. You will then need to confirm your ownership of the business. Google can send you a PIN verification code or recognize ownership using a few of methods:
- Sending a postcard to the physical address of the business
- Call or text the listed phone number
- Send an email to the email address associated with the account
- Verifying your business in Google Search Console
If you don’t verify via Google Search Console, just enter the PIN provided and you’re good to go.
Fill Out Your Business Listing
Now it’s time to add information to your listing. Providing accurate information will help customer locate and contact your business. The information on your listing will also help differentiate your business from competitors. There are plenty of features to take advantage of to completely optimize your listing like adding appointment URLs and services, but there are a few critical pieces of information you must include.
Your businesses name, address, and phone number (NAP)
Add your business’ current contact information and don’t be tempted to keyword stuff your business name. You will still need to add an address if you travel to customers, but the address will be hidden on your listing.
Primary and additional categories
Choose the right category for your business. Keep in mind that only the primary category gets added to your listing, so make sure you choose the most applicable one. Additional categories, while not public, can help your business show up for relevant searches.
Add your current business hours and make sure to update this if your hours change. This is vital information for customers who are trying to call or visit your business. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than showing up to a business that is closed when their business listing says open.
Add Your Website
Add your business’ URL so customers can learn more about the company and the services or products offered. Businesses with a single location should link to their homepage. Consider linking to location pages if your business has multiple locations.
Customers love looking at photos, in fact, Google announced that “businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving direction to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.” Take advantage of this opportunity by loading up your listing with great photos.
Manage Your Reviews
When a business is listed on Google customer can easily leave review if they are logged into their account. These reviews show up in a tab on your business listing along with a star rating. Reviews also help build trust with customers, Brightlocal revealed that 73% of consumers trust a business more when they read positive reviews. There is also evidence that Google reviews help ranking and SEO. Actively reaching out for and responding to reviews will create trust with your customers and send positive signals to Google so make sure to take advantage.
Look at GMB Insights
See how customers search for your business with using insights from GMB. View whether customers find your business from a direct or a discovery search. Direct searches involve customers searching for your business name or location and discovery searches are from people searching locally for generic categories (such as urgent care near me). GMB insights will also tell you how many customers visited your website, requested directions, and called you within a given period of time. Leverage this data to your advantage to help further optimize your GMB listing and website.
Monitor Your Listing
Google loves community input and allows anyone to suggest an edit to your listing. While this is meant to be a helpful tool to keep information accurate and up-to-date spammers can take advantage of this function to add incorrect information and lead customers away from your business. Just be sure to check your listing regularly to make sure all information is correct.
Keep these tips in mind when creating a GMB listing and stay on top of new updates and releases from Google to keep your listing optimized.