A Google My Business profile is essential for local SEO. It’s free to set up and will appear in local search results for queries specific to your product or service.
Even large, broad queries now show local results. This is something small business owners can take advantage of.
I’ve been seeking advice from SEO experts on setting up and optimizing my GMB listings.
These experts are:
How important is Google My Business for Local SEO?
GMB is very important, but with all location information removed from GMB’s list, it’s less noticeable.
It simply becomes a social interface (on a social network that nobody uses). However, the GMB dashboard still feeds your business’s map and knowledge box, so it’s still very important to claim your location and populate it.
Google’s increased visibility of Google Local Listings search results on mobile means that Google My Business is integral to local SEO.
If you’re searching on a mobile device, organic search results are now visible above the scroll (you’ll need to scroll down to see them) and only the top 3 Google local results is now displayed. The page real estate that Google Local may occupy has a large traffic opportunity to be listed in competing searches.
GMB is very important for local SEO. Without it, it won’t show up in the SERP’s local map list that Google shows for most local queries.
Deadly. This is the core element and foundation of any local his campaign. You don’t exist without creating a Google My Business page for your local business.
What are the most important things businesses can do to optimize their Google Local Listings?
It is absolutely important that the number listed is a local number and matches the number displayed on the landing page you are linking to.
Using your actual business name and choosing the correct category is also very important. Beyond that, my suspicion is that nothing else matters after the change.
Me I wrote a guide on this last year This should be a good starting point, but to pick out a few key points, I highly recommend:
- Claim your list first, as many people often don’t.
- Make sure your details are up to date (previously they may not have accepted credit cards).
- Please double check our hours and phone numbers as they often change over time or have new business owners or managers.
- Check the business image you are using and consider updating it or uploading a higher resolution version.
- Make sure no one has edited your listing or changed your business website to an affiliate link. I saw this too!
Be specific when choosing a category. You’re much more likely to rank for ‘fresh grocery store’ or ‘organic butcher’ than generic terms like ‘shop’ or ‘grocery’.
You should also add a photo of your business or its customers and the people who work there, along with useful information such as opening hours and parking.
It starts with getting your NAP (name, address, phone number) right and quoting (listing) on all other sites like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Categories are also important so that consumers can find you. Most recently, Google announced a surface-level ranking method.
Adding information about your business always improves your CTR. My advice is always to create your website correctly and then copy all information like description, opening hours, menu, pictures etc. to GMB.
Having the same NAP information on your website is very important. schema.org Your website speaks the same language as Googlebot.
What advanced tactics can businesses use to improve local visibility?
Advanced tactics? Stick to the basics…have great content, kickass link profiles, consistent citations…
- Choose a photo or logo that makes your listing stand out and gets clicks
- Check popular times of day and use Paid Social or AdWords to get more visitors when your business is open but not busy.
- Encourage local reviews and social check-ins from your customers.
- Have visitors upload photos of your venue/business.
- use services such as Yext to create relevant citations Create a profile of your business and its physical location.
- Consider hiring a Google Certified Photographer. Indoor Street View Tour this is something for your business I recently did this in my office This helps show a more personal side to the business.
To really improve your local rankings, you need to create citations for your local listings. These may be on your local business listing website (LBL), other hers websites, or your own hers website i.e. the store finder section.
Another big ranking factor is encouraging customers to leave positive reviews on GMB’s listings. Star ratings also show up on maps in Search, so higher ratings lead to higher click-through rates from the SERPs.
When this feature was first introduced, it was very easy to get scammed. Adding a large number of positive or negative reviews can have a significant impact on your rankings, and your small business outside London may appear in your rankings with the term ‘Hairdresser London’. Luckily this has been fixed.
For even greater local visibility, create pages about the services you offer in a specific location and appropriately theme those pages, typically: [service] of [location].
If you find that some of these pages are struggling to get good rankings then you should build links to those pages. It can have a greater impact on rankings than more general or authoritative sites. This is because Google values locality above most other factors (in terms of local rankings).
First, publicity – reviews and exposure. Google wants to translate offline popularity online. Getting positive reviews is important these days, so business owners should work with their best clients to get positive reviews mentioning their products and services.
Second, duplicates – without a master record, publishers are constantly compiling and recompiling data to create duplicates. Many of these duplicates have incorrect names, addresses, or phone numbers. This can have a big impact on rankings. Suppressing these duplications is essential, as Googlebot is a machine and cannot guess which listing is correct.
Finally, I call this approach the CAN principle.
- Consistency – Keep the same NAP data across directory sites and search engines. This is what I promote at Yext.
- Accuracy – Fix nap data across your local ecosystem to ensure consistency. It also removes duplicate listings that can confuse Google and negatively impact your rankings.
- Numbers – To have authoritative citations (lists) with as many citations as possible. There are over 50 sites where you can create local business citations, plus many more industry-specific sites.