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A Guide to Optimizing Your Google My Business page
Think about the last time you used a search engine to find a local business. After you hit “search,” be honest—did you go past the first page of results? If you’re like 75 percent of consumers, you’re probably shaking your head no. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that when small or local business owners come to Blue Corona, they are concerned with how their business ranks in the local listings (otherwise known as Google’s local pack).
The good news is that there’s a sure way for you to get your company to rank at the top of the local pack, and the secret lies in your Google My Business Page (GMB). Below you’ll find a guide to help you get the most out of your GMB page and the local business listings.
Or, you can just have the experts doctor your GMB listing for you! Get in touch with us and we’d be happy to do a FREE analysis of your GMP page and your website.
What Is Google’s Local Pack?
When a consumer enters a query with local intent (meaning you Google something “near me,” “in [CITY],” or “local”) Googles spits out the top local listings in the are in what’s called a local pack:
OK, Great. How Do I Get My Business to the Top of the Local Pack?
With Local SEO.
Local SEO: Your Ticket to More Local Business
What is local SEO? Local SEO helps businesses promote themselves online to local customers within a geographic area. The difference between local SEO and organic SEO is the intent. Thanks to advanced machine learning and AI, Google can pick out search queries that have “local intent,” meaning the searcher wants search engine results with local companies.
Google is the most used search engine on the web, period. The exact percentage of users is difficult to pin down, but it’s usually cited as somewhere between 66 – 80%, depending on the study. This means that if you want your business to be seen by more people, you should actively work to increase your ranking on Google. Using Local SEO best practices to break into the Local Pack is a great way to accomplish this.
The Local Pack listing alone accounts for approximately 44% of clicks by users of Google, primarily with traffic to the business name and the website link. Local SEO and organic search are tied together, so the better your organic SEO strategy is, the better your Local SEO standing should be.
The first thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is claim your Google My Business page:
A correctly claimed and optimized Google My Business page will allow you to show up in the “Local Pack” of search results, which are based on the following factors:
- Your website structure. By making sure your site has an XML map, title tags, meta descriptions, and other site structure essentials, you make it easier for your site to be crawled. In turn, this will result in improved rankings and an easier time of getting into the local pack.
- Your website’s mobile-friendliness Mobile search isn’t going anywhere. On the contrary, in 2018 52.2% of all worldwide online traffic will be conducted on a mobile device. Make sure your local SEO is mobile friendly.
- Your website’s association with local directories. When these sites update online business listings, you want to make sure your own site’s information is correct and you’re in good standing with users. Local searchers love using directories to find services near them, so be sure to use them to your advantage.
- Your proximity to the searcher. Local means local. The closer you are to the search, the higher chance you have of appearing in the local pack.
- Social media profiles with consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP). Yes, your social media profiles help local SEO, as long as they’re regularly updated and have the correct information.
- An optimized Google My Business page (see next section for details).
Your Google My Business Ranking and Local Search SEO
You should have already claimed your Google My Business Page. If not, go do that now—I’ll wait.
Claimed your GMB page? Good, your company’s better for it; not only will claiming and optimizing your GMB page help your standings in the local pack, but it’ll also help your potential clients:
- See your location. When a searcher wants “pizza near me”, that isn’t the same as “pizza in my greater metropolitan area.” By having your location listed, you can attract local customers. When you’re close to the searcher you rank higher on Google maps as well as the in search results.
- Find your contact details quickly. When someone wants an answer or service fast, the last thing they want to do is spend precious time looking for your phone number. Earn leads faster by displaying the correct phone number.
- See your business hours. Don’t lose out on searchers who scroll past your Google My Business listing because your hours of operation aren’t listed! Let them know you’re open for business!
- Discover reviews written by others. Searchers trust reviews, so put your best foot forward and show off what your past customers have to say about you.
- Find directions to you. Your GMB Page makes it easy for searchers to get directions directly to your business with the click of a button.
- See photos of your business and your work. Searchers trust built out profiles with professional looking logos, photos, and videos more than those Google My Business profiles without them.
- See your posts and offers. Google posts were implemented in 2017, meaning small businesses could promote their specials, coupons, offers, and news with both existing and new customers.
The Basics of Google My Business Page Optimization
With all of this information in one place, potential clients will get a better gauge of what you do. So how can you make sure your GMB page is working at its full potential? By doing Google local business listing optimization. To do that, check and make sure you have the following:
- Regular Google+ posts
- All business locations accounted for with connected GMB pages
- Consistent NAP (see more below)
- A large number of 4 and 5-star reviews (see more below)
- Your business’ categories
- Your business’ description
- Your hours of operation
- If you offer online booking, add the “booking button” feature
Below, I’ll get into cleaning up your NAP and how to generate more reviews.
Clean Up Your NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. This information will be vital to users because it is the easiest way to determine if a business is local! However, businesses that have been around for a while may not have consistent NAP data across the internet. Make sure it’s consistent across every listing and you’ll have better Local SEO. Google pulls the NAP listings from many online directories, sources, and citations (including your social media profiles) when determining which companies to list for geo-specific searches. Long story short, a consistent NAP is crucial.
For small businesses, online reviews are one of the best ways to get genuine customer feedback and an online version of “word of mouth” referral. Additionally, online reviews can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results for online searches with specific locations (also known as local search engine optimization). Once you correctly claim and optimize your Google My Business page, your company will stand a better chance of showing up in the Local Pack. How can you get reviews for your business? Learn more here.
Need Help with Google My Business SEO or Getting Your Local Business on the First Page of Search Results?
We’ve got your back. At Blue Corona, we’re well aware of the many moving parts to Local SEO—and those parts change on the regular. We approach Local SEO the same way we approach SEO, by making data-driven decisions to turn your website, and its ranking, into your strongest marketing asset. By evaluating the status of your current Local SEO and then creating a plan of attack, our content marketing specialists can take your website’s ranking to another level.
Ready to change your local rank for the better? Chat with us today to learn how Local SEO can help your company grow faster!
About The Author: Sam is a Content Marketing Specialist in the Maryland Office. When he's not helping our clients increase leads and sales, he's watching the Pittsburgh Penguins dominate the hockey rink or exploring new craft breweries in the DC area.
View more blogs by Sam Campbell