What You Need to Know About Your ‘Google My Business’ Listing
As the internet increases global connectivity, SEO is actually becoming more and more localized. Enter almost any product- or service-related keyword into Google and one of your autofill options will be “…near me.” Click and search and you’ll wind up with page after page of results prioritized according to geographic location, all topped off by a few featured listings and a corresponding map. Those highlighted listings are the most-optimized Google My Business pages for that niche or industry, making it crystal clear why you need to spruce up your GMB if you want to outrank the competition.
Step One: Claim and Verify
On Facebook and Twitter you have to create your brand’s page from scratch, but on Google you may need to claim one that already exists. To find out which boat you’re in, head over to Google My Business and click on “Start Now”. Google’s interactive platform will guide you through the sign-up process and you’ll either find your business on the list and request ownership or input the necessary data to create a new page.
Both approaches require verification, and Google offers five ways for you to prove your identity. Only a business’s owners or owner-authorized representatives can verify a GMB listing but they can later designate almost anyone to manage it.
*Note: With a few exceptions, you can only create a Google My Business page if you have a brick-and-mortar location.
Optimizing Your Listing
A thorough GMB listing is important and accuracy is paramount.
- Format your address using USPS guidelines. Those are the same standards Google looks for and deviating could affect your ranking.
- Don’t get cute when choosing your listing category. Being specific ensures the right people will find you, and in lead generation, quality almost always trumps quantity.
- Be just as meticulous about your location. If you’re in a suburb, avoid the temptation to say you’re in a bigger city. Proximity is a ranking factor and it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than get lost in a sea of similar businesses.
- Check back regularly. Google allows users to contribute information on things like whether you serve beer or have parking. You’ll want to catch and correct mistakes quickly.
Google allows customers to leave reviews on businesses similar to those left on Yelp or TripAdvisor. By responding to all reviews, good or bad, you’re protecting your brand’s standing and demonstrating that you take feedback seriously. If the reviews are negative, you get to offer your side of the story or an apology; if they’re positive, you get to bask in the glory of a job well done and showcase your win for the world to see.
Incorporating Content Marketing
The advent of Google Posts has given business owners yet another way to highlight everything from product launches to special events. You can publish news directly from your GMB account, add photos, and even tack on a call to action. Best of all? It’s free. Get the most bang for your non-existent buck by avoiding one-off content and instead viewing Google Posts as another piece of your overall content marketing puzzle.
With GMBs, Google has given business owners a gift. You can now piggy-back on the visibility and functionality of the most popular search engine in the world and advertise your business to anyone looking for the product or service you provide. And all it costs you is a little time at your computer’s keyboard.