Does your business appear in Google search results? Learning how to optimize Google My Business (GMB), now called Google Business Profile, is the first step to ensure your potential customers and business partners can find your company quickly and conveniently online.
Google My Business is a free tool that allows entrepreneurs to manage their digital presence without doing any extra work on their website. Google developed Google Business Profile or GMB to make it simpler for online users to get the information they need in a single search query.
Through Google My Business optimization, you can display and update your company details with ease, including your location, phone number, website link and promotional assets. More importantly, you can ensure the accuracy of your business data and keep a consistent brand image on search engines.
With more than 30.7 million small businesses competing in the United States, investing in Google My Business search engine optimization (SEO) is integral in establishing your industry authority and driving customer engagement.
Move your prospects and leads down the sales funnel with Google Business Profile or Google My Business optimization. In this post, we discuss why GMB SEO is essential and how to optimize Google My Business. Read on and discover more about how Google My Business SEO can improve your local search visibility and increase your sales.
How Important is Google My Business Optimization?
Economic insecurity calls for a more proactive approach to business marketing. This means establishing a robust digital presence and maintaining customer relationships. Today, forward-thinking entrepreneurs who understand how to optimize Google My Business and leverage it to their advantage are steps ahead of their competitors.
Google My Business optimization service allows you to:
|➔ Attract attention to your brand||➔ Earn consumer trust|
|➔ Boost your local presence||➔ Strengthen your online reputation|
|➔ Provide accurate information to online users||➔ Drive quality leads and traffic to your website|
|➔ Engage with customers||➔ Rank high on search results|
|➔ Build your brand authority||➔ Create and share updates, events and announcements|
|➔ Maximize your chances of appearing on Google’s Local 3-Pack|
In this fierce business landscape, continuous innovation is necessary to defy the competition. Whether you’re managing a traditional brick-and-mortar store or a multiple-location company, Google My Business SEO is crucial to your digital success.
How to Optimize Google My Business: Your Step-by-Step Guide to GMB SEO
Google My Business SEO creates a valuable impact on your local SEO efforts. It allows you to highlight your business on relevant search results, increase your brand recognition and attract high-intent customers.
Is your GMB profile structured for digital success? Learn how to optimize images for Google My Business, write compelling GMB descriptions and showcase your unique value proposition. Follow these simple steps to optimize your GMB listings:
1. Complete your business information
Your GMB profile serves as one of your primary customer touchpoints. As such, you must ensure online users can find the information they need when they arrive on your GMB page. Doing so encourages online users to take the desired action, whether it is to visit your storefront, make a phone call or explore your social media channels.
A comprehensive business profile includes your:
• Company name
• Contact number
• Website link
• Business category
• Link to Google Maps
• Working hours
• Questions and answers (Q&A)
• Company photos
• Customer reviews and ratings
• Related searches
• Among others
PRO TIP: Ensure your contact details and other brand information are consistent with your website content. At a glance, your target audiences must be able to tell that your business profile is 100 percent legit and accurate.
2. Use a local number
Your business’ primary contact number plays a crucial role in lead acquisition and conversion. Naturally, customers who couldn’t find your phone number online are likely to move on to your competition. Don’t let this be the case for your company.
Make your brand more trustworthy by placing a local number on your GMB profile. Doing so demonstrates that your business welcomes customer interaction. It also simplifies the call process, potentially increasing your phone calls and conversions over time.
PRO TIP: Use a local phone number under your business’ direct control and ensure it is displayed on the landing page linked to your GMB listing. More importantly, do not provide a contact number that redirects customers to other phone numbers or landing pages. In this way, you can avoid Google penalties and prevent customers from dropping the call.
3. Maximize GMB call tracking features
Google allows you to access accurate call metrics by adding a GMB call tracking number without affecting your name, address and phone number (NAP) consistency. Call tracking features permit listening to recorded calls, tracking call volume, managing dropped calls and assessing the quality of leads generated.
Under the phone number section, you can include your primary phone number and place two additional phone numbers. Follow these simple steps to add your GMB call tracking number:
• Add your call tracking number to the primary phone field
• Place your main business line in the additional phone field
Using your main business line as an additional phone number ensures your primary contact number stays connected to all your other business listings across GMB and the Local Search Ecosystem.
PRO TIP: Leverage the personal-level data you acquire from GMB-oriented phone calls, such as call durations and recordings, to explore your lead and conversion opportunities. By evaluating your call transactions, you can improve both your organic SEO and pay-per-click marketing campaigns.
4. Choose a specific business category
Google My Business category is one of the most significant factors in local search algorithms. Selecting the right primary and secondary GMB categories helps ensure your business shows up on relevant search results.
There are more than 3,900 GMB categories available. Google’s guidelines stipulate that your primary business category should be your specific niche market. The more specific the category, the lower the competition and the higher the chances of landing at the top of Google search results.
Remember, you can’t create your own category. So make sure to choose the nearest possible category to your business type. If there’s no specific category that describes your area of expertise, settle on more general classification.
PRO TIP: The key to choosing the right category is research. Don’t guess. Use the right tools to determine related groups based on what your competitors are using. More importantly, choose a category that describes your business and not your services or products.
In addition, although you can select one primary category and up to 10 secondary categories, we recommend that you stick to a few specific, highly-relevant classifications.
5. Write a comprehensive, engaging GMB description
Once you’ve got your GMB listing up to speed, the next step is to fill in your business description. The GMB description field is where you can share useful information about your brand. It allows potential customers to determine whether your company provides the solutions they need.
Here are some guidelines in writing a comprehensive business description:
|• Spark curiosity||• Provide misleading information|
|• Highlight your unique selling points (USPs)||• Include links or URLs|
|• Talk briefly about your customer approach and unique strategies||• Write prohibited content (i.e., hateful, profane, sexually explicit or anything offensive in nature)|
|• Use 1-2 high-value keywords||• Incorporate sales pitches or offers|
|• Utilize descriptors (i.e., personalized, trustworthy, all-inclusive, etc.) throughout the content||• Keyword stuffing|
|• Use all caps|
PRO TIP: GMB descriptions have a 750-character limit, so you need to ensure your business description effectively conveys your brand message. Talk about your mission and goals, main brand offerings and unique value propositions.
6. Upload high-resolution images
A common question among marketers is how to optimize images for Google My Business. Now, uploading photos on GMB entails more than selecting professional images. Photos improve the performance of your GMB listings. As such, you need to ensure that everything –from the format and image quality to alt tags– is SEO-optimized.
An article published by Search Engine Journal shows that businesses with high-resolution images on their GMB profile receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions on Google Maps. Additionally, these companies receive 35 percent more click-through rates (CTRs) than other GMB profiles.
The most important images on your GMB page are your brand logo and cover photo. Use the same images on your website to increase your brand awareness and build customer trust. You may also place additional photos, such as images that show your staff in action, storefront and other features that highlight your USPs.
Keep in mind the following guidelines on how to optimize images for Google My Business:
|• Format: JPEG or PNG||• Duration: Up to 30 seconds long|
|• Size: 10KB to 5MB||• File Size: up to 100 MB|
|• Minimum Resolution: 720 x 720 pixel||• Resolution: 720p or higher|
PRO TIP: A good image is well-lit, in focus and has no alterations or excessive filters. Aside from the quality, ensure your uploaded images have proper keywords. Don’t use generic file names like IMG_123. Instead, rename each photo with a specific description. For example, thrive_camp_2020.
Here are more tips to boost your GMB SEO:
• Avoid using stock photos
• Curate and leverage user-generated content (UGC) — studies show that UGC posts receive 28 percent more engagement rate than standard brand images
• Ensure photos are properly cropped
• Optimize metadata before uploading
7. Post relevant content on your GMB posts section
Leverage the Google My Business Posts section to share your news updates, promote your special deals or showcase your products. This is a fantastic way to boost your local search visibility.
There are five post types available that you can add on your GMB profile:
❑ What’s New –This type serves as a microblog post where you can share business updates, relevant blog posts, customer reviews or testimonials. Each What’s New post has a 1,500-character limit. Maximize this opportunity to engage the readers and explain your latest offerings thoroughly. You may also choose to upload a 30-second video, GIF or up to 10 images to accompany your post.
❑ Products — Leverage this post to highlight your latest brand offerings and position your best products in front of your target customers. You may include a fixed amount, a price range or even leave the area blank.
❑ Offers — Use this type of post to promote your unique offerings, such as discounts and sales. Offer posts include a bright yellow tag to draw attention. Remember, always include the promo validity and coupon codes to entice more online users to participate in your offers.
❑ Welcome Offer — This was released to allow businesses to convert followers into customers. Welcome Offer posts are only visible to people who follow your business in the Google Maps app. In this post, you can promote exclusive offers and freebies to your followers.
❑ Events — This type serves as a promotional tool where you can post details about your latest webinar, conference or any event you’re hosting. Keep in mind the 58-character limit for the title and 1,500-character limit for the event post. More importantly, be sure to add the correct event schedule (start/end date and time) to avoid confusing the readers.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to add call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your GMB posts, so online users can easily navigate your content.
8. Monitor your GMB Q&A section
The Google Q&A section is designed to allow customers to interact with brands and voice out their concerns. This is an opportunity for your company to amplify your local exposure and build out your GMB profile.
PRO TIP: Engage in the Q&A section promptly. Provide useful, accurate insights and respond to all questions and concerns politely and professionally.
9. Generate positive Google reviews
Reviews are the backbone of local SEO. They speak volumes of the quality of your service and customer support. More importantly, Google reviews and ratings boost your brand authenticity and strengthen your online credibility.
A survey conducted by Dimensional Research shows that an overwhelming 90 percent of respondents value online reviews in making purchasing decisions. This means to improve your GMB SEO, you need to ramp up your review generation and review response publishing practices.
PRO TIP: Utilize reputation management software to streamline your review regeneration and review monitoring. A review monitoring tool is one of the best ways to reach out to your best customers and encourage them to leave positive remarks on your GMB profile
Besides encouraging your customers to provide reviews, it is also your responsibility to respond to positive and negative customer feedback. In this way, you show both search engines and online users that you prioritize brand experience.
10. Add links to your social media profiles
Google My Business allows you to attract leads and traffic not only to your website but also to your social media accounts. Maximize this feature to attract new customers to your social media profiles and establish your credibility.
PRO TIP: Ensure your business information is consistent throughout your GMB profile, website and social media accounts. Doing so simplifies the verification process. Additionally, always keep your social media pages up-to-date.
11. Avoid Google penalties
Google does not tolerate fraudulent activities. These may result in account suspension and removal of all your business information from search results. Of course, you don’t want this to happen. Be sure to read Google’s guidelines for GMB listings to avoid acquiring penalties.
Steer clear of:
• Using misleading redirects
• Keyword stuffing on your name field and GMB posts
• Multiple local listings for the same location
PRO TIP: Follow Google’s guidelines and stick to white-hat SEO strategies at all times. There is no sense in getting on the wrong side of Google anyway.
12. Optimize your website for search engines
Most marketers forget that Google My Business is designed to guide your customers’ online journey and point them to your website. As a result, they make the mistake of prioritizing GMB SEO over their website. This is wrong.
Good SEO practice is maintaining the balance between GMB and website optimization. You need to ensure both platforms are well-optimized for search engines and online users to attract high-quality traffic.
PRO TIP: Incorporate relevant keywords on your website, mainly on your title tags, meta descriptions and page content. In addition, add structured data to your website and ensure your website copies are geo-modified.
13. Update your business information regularly
This is one of the most crucial aspects of the ongoing Google My Business optimization service. You need to ensure that every time you change something on your website or social media pages, it is reflected on your GMB page. In this way, you maintain the consistency and accuracy of your business information.
PRO TIP: Build and implement a standard way of writing your NAP. Remember, inaccurate business information drives customers away and automatically results in lost profit.
Strengthen Your Google My Business SEO and Acquire A Steady Stream of Leads and Traffic
The Moz Local Search Ranking Factors study places GMB signals as the top ranking factor in Google’s Local Pack. Do your brand’s poor Google My Business optimization practices keep you from reaching your target customers? Maximize Thrive Internet Marketing Agency’s SEO and Google My Business optimization service and ensure your customers’ online journey ends with a purchase.
Our SEO experts stay abreast of the latest market trends and Google algorithm updates to create outstanding customer experiences that delight at every touchpoint. We keep your customers engaged on their preferred channels and ensure your brand information is continuously updated across Google and other online platforms. Contact us today to find out how our digital marketing agency can help achieve your goals.