What is Google My Business – is it important?

What is Google My Business and why is it important for local search ranking?

Every day people are using google searches to find what they need, whether it’s trying to find a store nearby or a restaurant while travelling. However, there are so many options for consumers to choose from, how does a local business stand out?

Many local businesses struggle when trying to rank on google search results. A very underutilized tool for many small and regional businesses is Google My Business (GMB). 

 

What is GMB?

Google My Business is a free google service that gives businesses another way to grow their presence on the internet. 

With it you can manage your hours of operation, business phone number and email address, and the location where google shows you, as well as lets you view and reply to customer reviews and shows how customers are searching for you on google.

 

Creating your GMB account

How do you get started with GMB? Well, firstly you need to log in to your google account, or create one if you don’t have one at the ready. Once you’re logged in go to google.com/business and find the “start now” button at the top of the screen. This will get you to the GMB account creation page. From there here’s what you need:

First Step – Business name

Google will first need to see if there are any other accounts created with your business’ name, this is to prevent duplicate accounts.

Second Step – Location and delivery

Enter your business’ location, whether it’s an office, storefront, warehouse or if you work from home. Don’t worry you can choose to hide your address if the location isn’t a store for customers to come to. Google needs to know your region so you can appear in local search results. Additionally you can specify whether or not you deliver. If you do deliver you get additional options to specify your delivery range or region.

Third Step – Categories

For this you need to specify the most accurate category to describe your business, this is necessary because Google uses this piece of information to help filter customers to you.

Fourth Step – Contact information

Here you add your business’ phone number and a website if you have one.

Final Step – Verification

There are several options you can choose to verify your business for GMB:

  • By Postcard: For this option you will have to add a contact name for the postcard to be addressed to then it will be sent to your business address. After you receive your postcard you will need to log back into GMB select “Verify now.” and enter the five digit code on your postcard.
  • By Phone: If you are eligible for his option you can choose “Verify by phone.” Afterwards you will receive a verification code via text message, enter this in on the GMB page.
  • By Email: Choose “Verify by email,” then go to your inbox open the verification email sent by Google My Business and click on the verification button.
  • Using Instant verification: For those who already have a verified business with the Google Search Console tool, you can choose to verify instantly via email,but you will need to sign into GMB with the same account used for Google Search Console. (Some categories of business are not eligible for this option.)
  • Using Bulk verification: This is a bit of a special option. Only those who operate more than 10 locations and are not a service business or agency managing multiple businesses are eligible for bulk verification. IF you are eligible then from Google My Business pick a location, click “Get verified,” then choose “Chain.” Fill out the verification form with your information (name, area of operation, phone number, etc.) and submit. It can take several days for your claim to process.

Citations, SEO and GMB

Ranking in search results is dependant on many factors. Among them, citations are one of the most important.

Citations are any reference to your business’ information found on the internet. The core information any citation needs are your name, address and phone number, or NAP for short. These citations can help users discover new businesses and can affect search engine optimization (SEO).

Just how citations can affect search rankings can be shown using 3 main points: quantity, accuracy and quality. How many citations you have, the accuracy of the information present in the citations and the quality of the platform on which the citations are listed all affect the ranking results.

Particularly the accuracy of the citations have an impact on rankings. Having accurate citations causes search engines to trust the validity of the data and improves chances of ranking high, and also aids consumers in discovering businesses. Inaccurate citations will misdirect consumers causing loss of revenue and search engines find them untrustworthy, worsening your chances of ranking.

Now how does using GMB help with citations? Well, having a GMB account automatically produces citations with the information it has available on the google listing it makes. Additionally linking your website on your GMB profile provides a backlink to the citations listed there.

 

Optimizing GMB for Search Rankings

Your GMB account can be “optimized” for better search results by adding as much detailed information as you can to the info section of your account. Having as much accurate information as possible is important in both aiding consumers and how google will end up ranking you. 

Adding as much media as possible to your GMB account also has a major impact on how well google ranks you in search results. {Statistics show that businesses with photos get 42% more direction requests to their locations from users on Google, and 35% more clicks to their websites than competitors that do not provide media.} (<- add hyperlink from 4)

In regards to photos, your GMB cover photo is among the most important to get right, as it is what displays when viewing your listing on google, as well as your profile picture which is what can be seen when you upload new media or respond to reviews on your GMB account.

One of the best ways to optimize GMB on rankings is to respond to the reviews on your GMB profile. Giving appreciative responses to good reviews show consumers your thankful of their business and will encourage further reviews, and giving courteous responses to negative reviews show you take them seriously and may comfort an unhappy customer.

 

How does GMB affect the Local Map Pack and Maps search?

After you create you GMB account Google generates a maps location for it based on the information you entered.

The more accurate your information is on your GMB profile, the higher your chances are for better ranking on Maps search results. That’s why it’s so important to have your GMB profile optimized.

Additionally the media you post on your GMB profile and the reviews you have on it will appear on maps search results.

If you’ve done your GMB profile properly you will have a far higher chance of being listed on Google Map’s Local Pack during a search.

 

How services can help with GMB

Having a service can help even further with making GMB work for you.

Using a service will help to better target things that you normally couldn’t as a local small business, tailoring citations and posts with more specific keywords that search engines pick up and improve ranking results.

You can also have a service manage your GMB posts and reviews for you.

A service can also help provide backlinks and citations to improve SEO for your business.

 

To summarize

Google My Business is a necessary tool for any local business to stay competitive on the internet. Creating a GMB account is free and easy.

Having a GMB account can benefit local SEO and will create a posting on Google Maps. Accurate citations are essential for ranking high in searches. Using a paid service can further benefit your endeavors into internet marketing

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