Google My Business is a great way to increase your presence within search results, making it easier for consumers to find the businesses best related to their needs. Within Local SEO (Optimizing for Local Search Results), Google My Business is one of the key factors to ranking your business or website higher.
When searching for a service Google My Business listings are the first thing you see displayed within search results. In this resource, we will take a look at some of the most common problems related with GMB optimization and suggest some tips to get started and improve your Google My Business listing.
1. Bad Listing Claiming
Skipping this first step is what ultimately affects more local consultants trying to optimize a business.
I cannot stress enough just how important this is:
Sign up and verify your business. There are multiple methods to verify your business and website. Request a Pin, which is sent on a postcard to your address to complete the confirmation process.
Confirm via phone. You’ll be given a unique pin to enter into your Google My Business account.
Alternatively, you can verify your account with your email. Once this is verified, Google will recognize the legitimacy of your business listing and will start to rank your business higher in the search results.
2. Adding Correct Business hours
Not adding the correct business hours will force google to label the listings incomplete. As a result it will not be featured inside the 3-pack.
So Add your daily business hours, opening and closing times and change your holiday periods.
Opening and closing periods tend to shift from year to year, make sure customers know when you’re open for business and avoid negative experiences, such as a customer travelling to your business just to find out it is closed.
3. Listing the right category for your business
Selecting the wrong category might make the business less visible because you’ll have to compete with large businesses that are not actually your direct competitors.
Proper category associations are one of the most important foundational ranking factors within Local SEO. Picking the right category can be difficult, especially now that Google no longer allows custom categories, meaning you will have to select from a predefined selection.
For the best results, pick the category most relevant to your business’s services and try and limit the number of categories you select to 2 or 3 instead of using the full 10.
4. Add photographs
Having no images is a huuge mistake, since images and videos are the two highest converting mediums.
Adding photographs of the outside and inside of your business is a great way to help customers identify your business while searching, they may have seen your business before and will be able to find you quicker than without reference.
This also helps give a good first impression to new customers finding you through search, sending a clear and positive message.
5. Add a 360-degree view or a “virtual tour” of your business
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t add a 360 degree photo into the GMB profile. Almost all modern smartphones are capable of creating 360 photos.
Using the new 360-degree or virtual tour is another great way to show your customers your business, letting them experience it before leaving their homes.
This works exceptionally well for businesses such as restaurants and hotels, setting the atmosphere before your customer arrives.
6. Ask for reviews
Reviews are one of the main ranking factors to consider when using Google my business. Not having any campaign that stimulates users to leave reviews is a big mistake.
Ask for reviews from your customers and try and encourage and promote positive ones by doing great work, reviews are a great indicator of how much trust to place in a business and when a customer can see multiple positive reviews they can rest assured they are going to receive a good service.
Incurring negative reviews and not keeping up to date on how your business is presented over search listings can be a big mistake, especially if you spend a lot on marketing.
7. Respond to the reviews
This is the golden rule of GMB optimization. Whether you’re a hands-on manager or yor the management is done by the client, you need to make sure that no reviews is left unanswered.
Getting reviews isn’t the only way to help improve your Google My Business listing, responding to reviews is a great way to increase customer engagement and one of the best ways to recover from a negative review is a well thought out – constructive response, showing customers, your business not only thinks their opinions are important, but you’re always interested in improving customer experience.
8. Use the Posts feature
Post features are no longer the new-how thing. They are almost mandatory, as every successful GMB marketer is using them.
Google has introduced a feature called “Posts” for Google My Business. The feature lets you create a single post to add to your Google My Business listing, with an image, an attachment and a button to interact with.
This feature is a great way to increase your ‘real estate’ within search results. Posts typically last one week so make sure to update regularly. If you set the post type to an event then the post will last until the event has run its course.
9. Merge duplicate accounts and listings
Another critical mistake is to maintain and optimize duplicate accounts and listings. This equals more work, and will most likely lead to a google penalty.
When setting up a Google My Business account, there are sometimes duplicate listings for the same business. The best course of action to take is to claim and merge or delete the other listings, so there is only one listing for your business.
10. Consistent Citations
When considering how to rank your business within the listings, Google will crawl citations from other business directories for more information. The main factor it looks for is consistency.
Not having a consistent fleet of citations is a serious mistake, since this is about the only requirement that Google looks at when validating a business.
If you have listings with Bing or Yelp, make sure that your address and other details are 100% consistent across the broad.
That’s it for now.