We’re extremely dedicated to helping small business owners improve their SEO. For those of you who aren’t aware of how important search optimization is, I suggest checking out our article about the best SEO practices for ranking higher on Google. In this article, we’re going to be talking about Google My Business. It’s a very important tool that’s available for small business owners who want to improve their local search engine ranking.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a completely free tool offered by Google that lets you manage your online presence across Google search and Maps. Have you ever searched for a business and seen their operating hours, address, phone number, email, and other helpful information right on the search results page?
Google My Business essentially allows you to customize how your business appears to people who Google it. You can enter in information that you think is important for customers to know. You’re able to put in your social media links, phone number, email address, operating hours, and more. Plus, you can even respond to people who leave a public review of your business.
Why is Google My Business important?
If you run a small business that relies on local customers, then Google My Business is very important. It helps you with local search engine rankings and it costs absolutely nothing. When people who are nearby search for certain keywords on Google, your business is more likely to pop up if you’re using this tool.
Moz, a company that sells SEO related products, did a study on which factors contribute the most to successful local SEO. As you can see from their article on local search ranking factors, Google My Business is the biggest contributor to successful local SEO, followed shortly by links, and then customer reviews.
How does Google My Business work?
Using Google My Business is quick and easy. Start by making a Google account or sign into your existing one. Next, claim your business. After you fill out all relevant contact information such as your email, business address, phone number, etc., you’ll get a postcard from Google (yes, an actual, physical postcard). The postcard will be sent to the business address you entered and it’ll have a unique code for you to enter online.
They send out a postcard to verify that you do in fact own the business you’re trying to claim on Google. Could you imagine if they didn’t do this? If anyone could claim a physical business listing and edit it. Gosh, that wouldn’t be good.
So once you’ve got your listing set up, you’ll get access to a wide range of analytical tools that will allow you to monitor important things. You can see the amount traffic you’re getting, how many website clicks you’re getting, and other important analytical information.
How does Google My Business rank businesses?
When it comes to ranking businesses on Google My Business, Google uses 3 broad factors to determine how high up your business will rank. The 3 factors are:
- How relevant your listing is to the person searching it
- How far away from the person is from your business
- The amount of traffic there is on your particular listing
In order for your business to get ranked highly, you need to have a high traffic listing and your business needs to actually be close to the person who’s searching. This prevents businesses in New York showing up for someone who is searching for local businesses in Virginia, for example. Google isn’t transparent about how they calculate distance, so it’s difficult to tell how far away your business can be before it stops showing up under a certain keyword or phrase.
Why is Google My Business important for small businesses?
The main reason why this tool is incredibly important for small businesses is because it’s the small businesses that often have issues getting listed on Google. Larger businesses usually have websites that rank higher in Google, and their websites make it easy for customers to find a nearby location, phone number, and hours of operation. Small businesses usually don’t have this luxury, therefore they have to hope that people will find their business listing.
How to make a good listing
Alright, now that you have a good idea of what Google My Business is and why it’s important for small businesses, it’s time to go over how to make a solid listing.
1. Make sure you use your exact business name
When registering for Google My Business, make sure your business name is the exact one that appears on all your legal documents. Occasionally, you’ll find a small business that mistakenly registers under a slightly different name than their legal one. This can create confusion and make their listing less effective.
2. Make sure you use accurate photos
When you make your listing, you’ll be given the option to put pictures on it. Generic photos are boring. You’ll want to use pictures that give your customers an accurate idea of what your business looks like from the inside and out. A blurry photo of your storefront will not be effective. Make sure you use some quality photos of your business. Hire a local photographer if needed.
3. Make sure all your information is accurate
This is probably the most important thing to remember. Make sure that everything you put in your listing is correct. You don’t want to make a mistake and put the wrong phone number or email address. If a customer calls you and doesn’t get a response, they’ll likely call the next business that appears. Double checking your contact information will be worth it.
We hope you found this Google My Business article helpful. Listing your business on there will improve your local SEO, so be sure to do it!
If you need help or have questions, Google has a list of frequently asked questions. Comment below what you think about Google My Business.