How To Optimize Google My Business For Local Search
When searching for a product or service you will most likely have come across a Google My Business listing.
But what exactly are they? Let’s have a look at local listing for the search term “Solicitors Preston“:
The local listings are often accompanied by a map with location points and various information about the business in question.
These local listings are super important for small and large businesses alike and include plenty of useful information for your potential customer:
- Google review rating.
- The nature of the business.
- The address.
- Opening times.
- Contact information.
- Link to websites and directions.
The businesses that are ranking in the top 3 position will be receiving the maximum number of impressions and awareness.
If you select the more places options you’ll see that there many businesses listed there. So how to we go about trying to get into the top spots? We’ll get to that shortly.
Google My Business Statistics
You might be wondering why it’s worth bothering with Google My Business.
The guys at Bright Local have done a fantastic, in depth analysis into Google My Business.
They analysed 45,000 anonymous businesses and came up with some staggering results:
- The average business is found in 157 direct searches each month, and 852 discovery searches. This totals an average of 1,009 searches per month.
- 34% of local businesses are seen in more than 1,000 discovery searches per month.
- Car dealerships receive the most direct searches each month, while hotels have the highest discovery searches per month.
- Discovery searches grew 6% between Q4 2017 and Q4 2018, while Direct searches grew 38%.
These statistics show that there are plenty of opportunities for discovery and clicks using Google My Business.
If you haven’t already we’d recommend to go ahead and read the full post as it is very in depth: https://www.brightlocal.com/research/google-my-business-insights-study/
Let’s jump right in and look how you can optimize your listing and try to get to the top.
Setting Up Your Google My Business account
From this point on in the blog post we will refer to Google My Business as “GMB“.
If you don’t already have your account setup then follow these easy steps to get started.
It’s worth checking that you don’t already have an account setup. You can try searching for your business name on Google and see if you can find it in the places list. If yes then you can go straight to Optimizing Your GMB Listing.
Otherwise to get started go to: https://www.google.com/intl/en_uk/business/
From here you’ll want to click on the “manage now” button.
From here you’ll be asked to sign in using your email address and password.
Once you’ve signed in you will be presented with a dialogue asking you to search for your business. If you’ve already done this you can go ahead and click “Add Your Business To Google”.
The next few steps will walk you through adding your basic business information:
You’ll be asked some basic information in the next few steps, including:
- Your business contact information and website address.
- Your business type and service area.
If you have a physical location we would strongly advise to have your address shown as it will help with your ranking.
Don’t worry if you can’t fill out some of the fields; you can always go back and change them when you’ve finished.
When you click “finish” you will be presented with an address box for verification purposes. We strongly advise you to do this right away as you won’t be show up on Google or be able to make changes until you do.
When you enter an address Google will send you a verification code to activate your listing. It will include instructions on how to enter the code online and verify your business.
Google are really quick at sending these out and it usually takes just a few days.
Let’s get down to business with how to optimize your GMB listing.
Optimizing Your GMB Listing
Once you are verified and logged into your listing you should see a menu on the left hand side that looks like this:
We’ll run through item in the list in turn and how to optimize them.
If you use Facebook or other forms of social media (and you should be) you’ll be familiar with posting.
You can do the same on GMB and we would advise to try and post high quality content as often as you can.
You can post offers, news and services here and draw more attention to your page.
Take a peek at how it looks on Google when you create a post:
This is a post from our own blog.
These posts will appear under your business listing but will expire after a certain period of time. Google will notify you when this is the case.
The info section provides fields for you to input your most important business information. Here’s a quick overview of the sections and how to optimize them:
- Location – the physical location of your business. This will help your profile rank locally, in your area.
- Service areas – if you offer a service outside of your physical area you should include it here.
- Opening times – You can put your normal weekly hours here alongside special hours (bank holidays etc). We’d highly advise to keep these up to date.
- Phone – Include all your contact numbers so customers can get hold of you. These are prominent on mobile phones so make sure they’re right!
- Website address – If you have a website you should put it here.
- Products – If you sell products online you can easily get exposure for them here. Just fill out the details and put a link back to the product on your website. Easy.
- Services – You can display additional services that your business offers here. Use keywords associated to your business for maximum ranking power.
- Add photo’s – This section is very important for your brand. You can add your logo, cover photo’s and exterior photos of your business. We highly recommend doing this to help you stand out.
There are other sections to fill out, which will help you strengthen your profile.
Google also provides tips on your dashboard for areas you can improve.
The insights section will show you how all your hard work is paying off.
You can see how many customers discovered you and which actions they took.
It’s worth checking back here regularly to see how you are progressing and for potential signs of improvement.
The reviews section is also important and you should strive to generate reviews wherever possible.
The reviews themselves help your page to rank and will show up on search so try not to get negative ones!
So here you have a simple guide on setting up your GMB page for success. A few key takeaways to remember:
- Try and use keywords wherever possible. These will help customers discover you.
- Post as often as you can. Fresh content will help your page stand out.
- Keep your details up to date. The last thing you want is a frustrated customer.
We’d love to hear in the comments if you know any other ways to improve your Google My Business page?