Every business owner knows that if they want to be visible, they need to be where their target audience is. Right now, almost everyone is on the internet. With over 3.5 billion Google searches a day, it’s time to hop on the SEO bandwagon if you haven’t already.
If you have a physical location you’re trying to promote, local SEO will be your best friend in attracting customers. After all, what’s one of the first things people do when looking for a place of business that’s close by? They google it.
However, if you’re not optimized for the web, your store won’t even show up on the map. So what’s a person to do if she doesn’t have a decent amount of quality backlinks but needs their business to be up and running as soon as possible?
Enter Google My Business.
What is Google My Business and why should you use it?
Google My Business (GMB) is a dashboard that helps organizations gain visibility on the Google search engine. By creating a listing for your business, local customers will be able to discover you when searching for establishments in your industry. But beyond being free and easy to use, why exactly should you use it?
For starters, having a GMB listing means you’ll show up on Google Maps as well as Google’s local listings. Even if you rank organically as one of the top results in major keywords related to your field, the local results will dominate the majority of a searcher’s screen, especially if viewing on a mobile device.
People will spend the most time on the first results they see, so if your business doesn't have a GMB listing, you can lose out on a huge source of traffic. GMB also improves user experience by providing a Knowledge Graph about your company.
It’s becoming a rarer occurrence that people will go directly to a business’s website when Google can pull up the most relevant information for you without having to do too much digging. Although a few more clicks to get from point A to B are by no means burdensome, they are an inconvenience that can be costly when we live in a world where convenience reigns supreme.
What are you waiting for?
Now that you know why you should have a GMB listing, it’s time to make one. As mentioned before, GMB is free to use, so there’s nothing holding you back from taking advantage of this tool.
First, go to the GMB homepage and click “Start Now.” You will then be taken to a map page where you can fill out information on your business, such as the name, location, phone number, and category. Once you’re done, click “Continue.” Afterward, you will have to verify your company’s information. A verification postcard will also be sent to you to make sure your business address is correct.
Do this as quickly as possible since it will take a few days for it to be all said and done. When everything is completed, you’ll be able to access your GMB dashboard. There, you will be able to upload pictures and your company’s logo as well as edit any of your information. After this, you’re done and well on your way to enjoying the local traffic GMB can bring you.
Finish up with some optimization
Your local SEO work isn’t over just by setting up a GMB listing. Although you’re taking a huge step in the right direction, there’s still quite a bit of optimizing left to do to reap the most rewards. One of the best things you can do for your business is to answer all the questions that are prompted by Google.
This listing will make your company much easier for potential customers to find. That being said, a great housekeeping habit to take up is to regularly check your GMB dashboard to make sure no one changed your information. One of the downsides of GMB is that anyone, even competitors, has the ability to edit your information.
Until this issue is resolved, it’s better to be safe than sorry and check your GMB listing often. Also, make sure to utilize the Google Posts feature found on the left-hand side of your dashboard. Posts act like ads that can be found in the Knowledge Graph and Google Maps sections of your GMB listing.
You can include images, links, and a call-to-action to your posts and can write on pretty much anything. Just think what you’d want your customers to know about and create a post on that. The shelf life of posts without a due date is seven days, so to make the most of your airtime, make sure to add attention-grabbing photos that are sized correctly. If not, they can get cropped out, prompting fewer people to investigate further.
Google My Business also provides other UX functions such as booking and messaging, but one of the biggest things that will drive people to your listing is the number of online reviews you have. By encouraging customers to leave reviews and replying promptly to them, people surfing the web will more likely trust your business and become a customer. It also shows that you care about the people who shop with you and that your company isn’t entirely about making a profit.
Local SEO and advertising are vitally important, especially if your business has a physical location. With billions of internet searches happening each day, you can be losing out on a ton of traffic if you’re not optimized for the web.
If you have little experience with SEO in general, it can be an uphill battle to get your website ranking in a timely manner. That’s where Google My Business can help you out. GMB literally puts your business on the map and helps local searchers make their way to you. With the aid of some optimization, your local SEO can be world class.
About the author
Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time. She covers a variety of topics and prefers not to settle on just one. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her in the outdoors or curled up with a good book and a mug of butterbeer. She is still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter. You can chat with her on Twitter @MuggleMagnolia.