Google My Business SEO To Maximize A Business’s Local Visibility
August 18, 2023
Summary: This blog post highlights the significance of Google My Business SEO and its role in maximizing local visibility for businesses. It touches on key points such as the importance of GMB, the three crucial factors [relevance, distance, prominence] Google considers to show business listings, effective GMB SEO strategies, and methods for tracking and measuring success.
The way people find and search for brick-and-mortar businesses has dramatically changed over the years. Now, it is primarily digital. According to the SEO Tribunal, 97% of people learn more about a local company via the Internet. In addition, 46% of all inquiries on Google are specifically searching for local information. It has thus become crucial for businesses to create a Google My Business account and be found locally.
What is Google My Business (Or Google Business Profile)?
GBP is a free platform to help businesses go online and make it easier for people to find it on Google Search and Google Maps. It acts as a digital shopfront or service area that can be personalized with photographs, offers, posts, opening and closing hours, and so on. Businesses can also show their contact information, address, and web address.
As Google so succinctly puts it, GBP allows businesses to take charge of the impression they can make on prospective customers. If done correctly, it can be an indispensable tool to ensure your local business gets found when users search for related products or services.
It’s important to note that businesses don’t need a physical address or location to create a GBP account. Even service-industry businesses, like plumbing or marketing services providers, can create an account. Furthermore, hybrid businesses with a physical storefront and an option for online services can create an account and showcase their offerings using the attributes of Google My Business.
Here’s what a GBP listing looks like –
The listing looks great! However, how can businesses ensure it gets found or appears in search results whenever prospective customers search for related products and services or even the brand name? What kind of search queries users type and on what platform?
Before doing so let’s look at the factors that Google considers to show a business listing.
Factors Considered by Google to Show Business Listings
According to Google, three factors are the most important: relevance, distance, and prominence.
- Relevance: A business’s appearance in local search results is influenced by how well its information matches what users are searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information improves relevancy.
- Distance: Google considers the proximity of a business’s location to the user’s search location. If users don’t specify a location, Google calculates distance based on available user data.
- Prominence: Prominence reflects a business’s popularity and offline reputation. Factors like online reviews, ratings, links, and so on contribute to a business’s prominence in local search results.
Rankings are determined by multiple factors. Google hasn’t employed any method where businesses could pay or request better rankings. Google’s ranking system aims to ensure fairness to all businesses. However, certain SEO practices can surely improve rankings.
GMB or GBP SEO Practices
Here are a few GMB SEO best practices to improve relevance, distance, and prominence.
SEO Practices for Relevance
Accurate Business Information:
Business owners should ensure that all the details provided, like the business name, address, phone number, web address, operating hours, and so on, are accurate and aligned with the business identity. For instance, a restaurant must provide the accurate address, opening and closing hours, booking numbers, etc.
Use Relevant Keywords:
Adding relevant keywords to the GMB listing has a positive impact on its visibility in local search results. The business description and posts are ideal places to include these keywords naturally. Here, relevance is the key. For example, a bakery can use relevant keywords like “artisanal pastries,” “freshly baked bread,” and “custom cakes” in its business description to attract users searching for these items.
The category helps Google understand the business’s nature and match it with the relevant user searches. It’s crucial to select the category that best describes the primary products or services offered by the business. For instance, a pet store called “Paws & Claws” should select categories like “Pet Store,” “Pet Supplies,” and “Pet Food Supplier” to accurately reflect their core offerings.
Highlight Unique Attributes:
Attributes showcase unique features and services that differentiate a business from others. Whether it’s being women-owned or offering specific amenities, highlighting such attributes can attract customers with specific preferences. For example, an eco-friendly cafe, “Green Bites,” can use GMB attributes to highlight features like “Eco-friendly Practices,” “Organic Ingredients,” and “Recyclable Packaging” to attract environmentally conscious customers.
SEO Practices for Distance
Local Content Optimization:
Creating location-specific content on the business website is an effective way to improve relevance to local searches. Mentioning the city or neighborhood names in the content, blog posts, and meta tags helps send signals to search engines that the business caters to a specific area.
Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information across various online directories and platforms reinforces the business’s location. This consistency builds trust with both users and search engines.
Google Maps Integration:
Embedding Google Maps on the business website allows users to easily find the exact location of the business. It provides a convenient way for potential customers to get directions, enhancing the overall user experience.
For businesses with multiple locations, creating individual location pages with unique content for each one is advisable. Each page should have specific details about the address, contact information, operating hours, and offerings of that particular location.
Incorporating location-specific keywords in the website content and GMB listing is vital to target local searches effectively. Use keywords that reflect the geographic area the business serves to improve local search rankings. For example, a plumbing service can include location-specific keywords like “emergency plumbers in [City Name].”
SEO Practices for Prominence
Positive Reviews and Ratings:
Reviews and ratings influence not just the rankings of the GMB listing but also the customer perception and the click-through rate. Businesses should encourage existing customers to leave positive reviews when they are in the store or through email or WhatsApp marketing.
Authenticity is key, especially when reviews are concerned. Customers are intelligent and can identify manipulating reviews with ease. Ensure the reviews are from existing customers. In addition, respond to positive as well as negative reviews. More importantly, acknowledge the negative feedback and take swift action in addressing customer grievances.
High-Quality Photos and Videos:
High-quality visuals showcase the business and products or services, creating a positive impression on potential customers. More importantly, appealing images and engaging videos humanize the brand and make it more attractive to users. For example, a fashion boutique can upload professional photos of its latest fashion collections and create videos showcasing trendy outfits and accessories.
Regularly posting updates, promotions, and events on the GMB listing keeps the audience engaged and informed about the business’s latest offerings. Google Posts allow businesses to share time-sensitive information directly with users. For instance, a gym can use Google Posts to announce upcoming fitness classes, special discounts, or health tips for its members.
Backlinks and Citations:
Earning quality backlinks and citations from reputable websites enhances the business’s online authority and prominence. These external references signal to search engines that the business is reliable and relevant.
Remember that GMB SEO practices can vary based on the business type and target audience. Consistently monitoring the GMB listing’s performance through Google My Business Insights and adapting strategies based on data analysis will help refine the approach and improve local search visibility over time.
Measuring and Tracking GMB SEO Success
Understanding Performance Metrics:
Monitor the performance of how the GMB listing performs using Google Analytics. Analyze metrics such as the number of calls, direction requests, discovery searchers, etc., to gain insights into how users are finding and interacting with the listing.
Tools for Monitoring Local Rankings and Traffic:
In addition to Google Business Profile Dashboard, there are various SEO tools, like Semrush, Ahrefs, and UberSuggest, available to track local rankings and organic traffic. Regular monitoring helps gauge the effectiveness of Google My Business SEO efforts and make data-driven optimizations.
In conclusion, GMP or GBP SEO is a vital aspect of any local marketing strategy. With the right approach, businesses can enhance their visibility, attract more customers, and outshine their competitors in the local market.
If you’re a business owner looking to improve your GMP profile and integrate a Local SEO strategy, connect with us for Local SEO Services.