Local Marketing During COVID
Looking to increase your search visibility within the local area of your business?
Creating and optimizing a Google My Business Profile, paired with a sufficient website is a great way to increase local search visibility.
The benefits of local Search visibility have been amplified by the recent COVID Pandemic, which has led many communities throughout the country to rally to support local businesses upon their reopening.
Why is an Optimized Google My Business Listing Important?
Most Digital Marketers and SEO Professionals are quick to agree that an optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing is the first stepping stone towards increasing web traffic to your site.
Never heard of Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool from Google that helps business owners manage their online presence across it to increase your visibility within your local market.
Your GMB listing is one of the most impactful variables in your business local visibility.
Optimizing it will yield your website significant results and is a sure way to increase your visibility within your local market.
One example of how GMB allows you to easily increase your visibility can be seen below.
This example shows a search query of “New York City Pizza” with the listed results of optimized local GMB profiles.
As you can see, being included within a local listing is critical to search traffic and visibility your businesses website will receive.
In addition to being listed within the local search results, when a new GMB listing is created, a Google Maps location is generated that synchronizes with Googles Search for even more searchability within the engine.
What To Know Before Making a Google My Business Listing
Before creating your GMB Listing, there are some basic things to note.
First of all, Google My Business is FREE.
Another key point is that a fully optimized GMB listing does not replace a website that has been optimized for SEO, but compliments it.
Think of your GMB listing as a first impression to your customers as a business listing on the world's most popular search engine.
The information provided about your business is displayed within Google Search, Google Maps, and on Google+.
If you have already used other tools from Google for yous business, you may already be listed within GMB.
In this case, you may just need to update some details to optimize your listing.
GMB is essentially the combination of Google Places for Business and the Google+ Pages Dashboard, which were previously the ways to manage your business’ appearance within Google.
Creating Your google My business Listing
Before creating your Google My Business listing, it is important to do a Google Search to ensure that you do not already have a listing.
If you have been in business for a while, Google may have created a listing for your business.
If this is the case, you simply need to claim the listing for your business to be able to edit the information.
To begin creating your listing, visit this page and begin filling out the information asked.
Once you begin filling out the information you will be notified if a listing has been created for your business.
Continue filling out the required information and ensure that it is accurate and grammatically correct.
This is going to be a first impression for several of your local customers, so it is best to avoid typos and errors.
Pro Tip: When selecting a category for your business it is best to find the closest match, as there are several categories to choose from.
A key question that Google will ask is if your business delivers good and services to customers at their location.
This is valuable for many businesses that operate daily out of different locations rather than their listed brick and mortar location.
Some examples of which include
- cleaning services
- construction companies
- pest control, and
- other service based companies
Be sure not to forget to leave out this important information if it applies to your business!
Verifying your Listing
Once you have submitted your information to Google, you will then need to verify that it is your business.
This step is important in ensuring that your business listing will be visible and perform as well as possible.
The most simple way to verify your business listing is by mail.
If you choose this option, Google will mail you an envelope containing a verification code to thee address you have listed for your business.
This helps Google separate false listings and inaccurate information that will confuse its users.
Verifying your business is an essential part of creating your GMB account, as your account will not be visible without providing verification.
The verification process usually takes less than a week.
In most cases, as soon as your business listing will be set live as soon as you provide Google with the verification code within the envelope.
Additional Optimization Tips
It is important to make use of all the resources that Google provides within GMB to ensure your listing is fully optimized.
Although many of these tips may seem basic, they go a long way in separating your business from your competitors.
Local search results favor the most relevant results for searches.
Google will assume that a business with a complete listing is more relevant than a business who leaves customers guessing on things such as what your business does, where it is, and when it is open.
Provide Accurate Business Hours
Making sure your business hours are both accurate and up to date are important for a couple of reasons.
The first being that it is a key piece of information that Google will look for to see if your profile is complete.
Even more importantly, it tells your customers when you are open!
Be sure to update your hours on your GMB profile whenever they change, as your customers will likely “Google” your business before coming in to check whether or not your are open.
Include Relevant Keywords
Google uses many factors when displaying local search results, one of them being keywords relevant to your business.
Apply as many SEO keywords as possible within your business listing to gain an edge in the local rankings.
Need help with SEO? You can always contact us for a consultation.
Adding Photos To Your Listing
Adding photos to your Google My Business Listing is a great way to give a first impression to your customers.
You have the opportunity to add high quality pictures to your profiles that will be displayed within the Google Search Engine Results page.
Data shows that businesses with photos on their listing have 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and a 35% higher click through rate to their website than businesses without photos.
Photo Optimization Tips
Logo: Google recommends that businesses use their logo to help customers identify your business.
Cover Photo: Cover Photos help showcase your brand’s personality. You may have seen cover photos featured on top of a brands Google+ page. They are usually displayed in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Featured Photos: Use additional photos to showcase what makes your business stand out from your competitors. These can be products you sell, the interior design of your location, or highlighting your great staff. Use these photos to display where you add value for your customers.
Be sure your photos meet Google's Preferred Criteria Listed Below for the best results:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: 10KB - 5MB
- Resolution: 720px x 720px
Monitoring your GMB Data
“Insights” is a useful tool by Google that allows for a different way for business owners to understand how their customers are interacting with their GMB listing. This data shows business owners:
- How customers find your listing
- Where customers find you on Google
- Customer actions within the listing
- Direction requests to your business
- Phone call actions on your listing
- Photo views
Be sure to routinely monitor and update your business listing in response to the data you are receiving from Google.
As always, if you need further assistance with optimizing your Google My Business Profile, feel free to contact us.