No matter if your website has been around awhile or you’re just starting out, if you're just beginning your local SEO, Google My Business is the best place to start. Upwards of 50% of prospective customers that conduct a local search such as, “windshield repair near me,” actually visit the business that same day.
Therefore, when people perform searches on Google for local services and goods, it's extremely important that your business information is as accurate, complete, and optimized as possible. So in order to help you with your Google My Business endeavor, we’ve put together this guide to assist with creating your perfect listing.
When it comes to SEO these days there is a much greater emphasis on local search and as such, you have to ensure that your business is represented accurately and consistently online. When it comes to your NAP (Names, Address, Phone), the consistency becomes exponentially more important.
Having experts in this area can be extremely lucrative when you consider that over 40% of businesses encounter inaccurate listings and over 25% experience duplicate listings, both of which can adversely affect your local SEO campaign. Starting with Google My Business and tracking the locations where you subsequently submit your business info can greatly assist you with monitoring your consistency and making required edits in the future.
Create a Google My Business Account
The only requirement for using Google My Business is that your business isn’t operated 100% online and that you have actual face-to-face contact with at least some of your customer base. GMB is easy to use, completely free, and takes just a short time to setup.
- Create a Google Account or sign in to your exiting one.
- Navigate to google.com/business.
- In the upper right corner, select “Start now.”
- Enter your company name.
- Enter the company address, ensuring that it is completely accurate.
- Check the box for “I deliver goods and services to my customers” if applicable.
- Check “Hide my address (it's not a store) Only show region” if you work from home or an address that you don’t want publicly shown.
- Select your Delivery area.
- Select your business category. For this area you should remember that you’re basically informing Google what type of customers should see your business listing and you should choose the most accurate category possible.
- Add your business phone number or website, again taking your time to ensure accuracy.
- Choose a verification option.
Verifying Your Business With Google
While Google actually provides several different options for verifying businesses, chances are you’ll only be eligible for 1 - 2 choices.
- Phone - Option is only visible if/when your company is eligible.
- Email - Option is only visible if/when your company is eligible.
- Instant verification - Available if you’ve already verified your business with Google Search Console.
- Bulk verification - You may be eligible if your single business operates more than 10 locations and you're not a service business or an agency managing locations for multiple businesses.
Postcard - As this is the one option that all face-to-face businesses are eligible for, here are the required steps:
- Ensure that your business address is correct.
- You can optionally add a contact name for the postcard to be addressed to.
- Click “Mail.”
- Once you receive the postcard, log into Google My Business.
- Select the location you want to verify if you have more than one, otherwise simply select "Verify now.”
- Enter the five-digit verification code from your postcard into the “Code” field.
- Click “Submit.”
Optimize Your Local Listing
After you’ve verified your company with Google My Business, it’s time to add some meat to your profile for more local SEO.
- Log into Google My Business and click the listing you'd like to work on.
- Select “Info."
- Fill out the appropriate information.
You should take the time to add as much accurate information and media as you can, including your business hours and days of operation, a profile and other photos, your service area, website address, day/year opened, and additional features such as free wi-fi or wheelchair accessibility. Remember, accuracy and consistency matter tremendously and since anyone can “suggest an edit” on your listing, you want to discourage random changes by ensuring that your listing is as correct and up-to-date as possible.
Areas Of Opportunity
Your GMB description and service areas are prime “real estate” for keyword-rich content and the content shouldn’t be taken lightly. The description not only tells Google and potential customers about you, it is often the snippet used on the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) and can be the difference between a click-through conversion or someone moving on to a competitor.
Over 90% of customers polled have said that their spending decisions are influenced by online reviews and as such, monitoring your customer reviews is extremely important. Potential clients will not only look to see what other people are saying about their experiences, they’re looking to see how you handle negative reviews. You can’t please all of the people all of the time and it’s vital that consumers see you address, engage, and attempt to resolve disputes.
A good best practice is to at least set a specific day each month, at a minimum, that you log into GMB to respond to reviews and check the accuracy of your NAP and other information. This also gives you a chance to regularly upload new videos and photos to your listing as this not only helps keep the listing updated and accurate, it provides fresh content that can help draw in and further entice potential customers.
The All-Encompassing Solution
As you now know, Google is but one major piece in the local SEO puzzle, and 51 Blocks has the expertise to manage your digital marketing campaign and ensure that your business listing is accurate, located on quality providers, and managed professionally. Contact us today to find out how we can customize an SEM campaign for your business that will increase sales, conversions, and your ROI.