Google My Business Best Practices to Improve Visibility
Google My Business: Optimize your Google My Business Listing to improve visibility and reap the full benefits of Google Search.
When you think of the leading social media networks, Facebook is probably the first to come to mind – and rightfully so. Reports indicate that some 1.4 billion people use Facebook every month, making it the world’s most popular social media network. But business owners shouldn’t overlook some of the lesser-used social sites, including Google My Business.
Formerly known as Google Places, Google My Business is a free service that’s used to display business information across Google Search and Google Maps. The search engine giant pulls business information from these listings to use in its local business listings. So if you run a local business, you should invest the necessary time and energy into creating and optimizing your Google My Business listing.
How important is local search to your business?
Local search comes out ahead of any other marketing technique for local businesses in terms of ROI. At least that’s what BrightLocal’s recent survey reveals:
More importantly, Google My Business ties into all the other Google platform properties such as Google Maps, Google Search and Google Plus. If you want to reap the full benefits of Google Search, then you’re going to need to optimize for Google My Business.
Optimizing your Google My Business account will only take about 10 minutes…
Are you ready to get started? Just follow these Google My Business best practices:
Verify Your Listing
Anyone can “pretend” to be the owner of a business, creating a Google My Business listing under the business’s name. This is why it’s important for business owners to verify their listing. Doing so shows Google that you are the legitimate owner, which prevents other users from modifying your information.
There are several ways to verify a Google My Business listing, including postcard, phone, email and instant verification. Click here to learn more about these verification methods and how to use them.
Choose The Right Categories
Local SEO experts cited proper category associations as the most important signal of relevance in our 2013 survey.
In 2013, local search expert Mike Blumenthal stated:
“Categories are a critical piece of how Google determines the relevance (not rank) of a listing in local search … “
Local Phone Number
Include a local phone number on your Google My Business page, preferably one that matches the phone number displayed on your website. Some business owners use Internet phone services for online profiles. While this may seem harmless enough, it doesn’t offer any real value in terms of search optimization. But if you use a local phone number – with a local area code – Google will connect the dots, making it easier to achieve a top local search ranking.
Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews
Business owners should also encourage customers to leave reviews on their Google My Business page. Each new review adds unique content to your page – content that search engines like Google love. Furthermore, it instills trust in prospective customers, making your job at converting them into paying customers easier.
Check Hours of Operation
It’s not uncommon for local businesses to change their hours of operation. Perhaps you restructured your business, and now you operate under different times. Well, displaying outdated hours of operation on your Google My Business listing could result in prospective customers visiting your establishment when it’s closed – and that means lost sales for your business. Double-check your hours of operation to ensure they are accurate and up to date.