Using Google My Business to improve local SEO

January 18, 2022

All business owners, especially small business owners, with a website are looking for ways to show up in search results.  During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to keep your Google business profile up-to-date for your customers.  There are easy SEO tactics to rank higher as a local business, but an essential key for local SEO is your Google My Business profile.  What exactly is Google My Business, and why is it so important for local SEO?


What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is Google’s way of giving you full control over how your business will look and perform in the search engine.  This profile is an essential tool to modify how your site appears in organic search results, the Knowledge Graph, and Google Maps.  It is well known across the industry that Google My Business is one of the biggest drivers of local SEO success with reviews coming in a close second place.


Some of your business information you can manage include, but are not limited to, NAP (Name, Address, Phone) details, opening hours, photos, etc.  Now, with the pandemic still impacting the business world, there are unique options offered relating to COVID-19 to let your existing and potential customers know what protocols you have in place.


Additionally, there are other options like managing and responding to reviews customers leave behind.  As mentioned above, reviews are a crucial factor for your local SEO rankings.


How to get started with Google My Business

Getting started is easy!  All you need to do is make an account and claim your business.  After you submit all the requested details, you will get a postcard in the mail from Google, which is pretty cool!


The postcard is going to have your verification code so Google can verify your business address and you as the owner of the business.  


Once your business is verified, you can fill in the rest of the details you couldn’t prior to verification and begin viewing stats from your listing.   The stats provided from your Google listing will give you insights on how many impressions, clicks, phone calls, or subscribers you’ve received over a period of time.


As a friendly reminder, Google My Business won’t solve all your SEO problems.  Be sure to have your website properly optimized for local SEO.  It’s also important to make sure your business information is the same everywhere it is listed.  It will negatively impact your search result ranking if your business phone number on your Google listing is different than the phone number listed on your website or on Yelp or anywhere else the number is listed.

Ranking factors

There are plenty of factors Google My Business uses to determine rankings for businesses.  The three most important ranking factors are:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence


Relevance

Relevance relates to how well your business or listing fits the search intent of the user.  The determining factor is if your focus is identical to what the user needs, or are you a little too vague about what your company does?  Being vague doesn’t rank well, so you should be as specific and clear as possible.


Distance

This may be the sole purpose of local SEO, so it’s a big indicator when ranking local businesses.  It’s not very likely to rank in a local search for “web design near Philadelphia” while your company is located in Wilmington, DE. 


To help you rank locally, it’s beneficial to create content that supports your claim of being local.  Therefore, it’s helpful to create local-oriented content around your company or business on your website.  Google uses what it knows about the location of the user searching for businesses like yours and presents the most relevant local business.


Prominence

Prominence revolves around the activity around your listing.  Activity around your listing includes things like the number of reviews, events, local content, posts, updates, etc.  Much like a social media page, no one likes to see a lack of activity from a business on their pages.


Optimize your Google My Business listing

Once you have claimed your listing, you can use the following tips to optimize your My Business account for success.  Be sure that the information you add matches the information across your website and anywhere else it may be listed.  Mismatching your business information can dramatically hurt your rankings and listings.

  • Your listing should include your actual business name
  • The category you choose should be as accurate as possible
  • Include as much data as possible
  • Check your phone number
  • Make sure your operating hours are accurate and up to date
  • Upload high quality, relevant photos
  • Try to link back to your website from other high-quality websites
  • Make sure your My Business listing matches with the content on your website
  • Keep your listing information up to date at all times


It’s important to understand that your Google My Business listing will require maintenance and attention.  Nothing frustrates a customer like out-of-date business information.


Local SEO doesn’t stop with Google My Business

It doesn’t matter how awesome your My Business listing is, if your website doesn’t have local content relating to your business location then your ranking is going to suffer.  The key is to have consistent information across several platforms which is why it’s important to make sure your business information is always up to date.

Learn more about SEO tactics and strategies

Drive traffic to your website with SEO! Includes a FREE full SEO report on your current website detailing your current organic traffic and where you rank for current keywords.

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