Google My Business – What Is It?
Google My Business is an easy-to-set-up dashboard where small business owners can manage their presence on Google’s search engine. When someone searches for local services on Google, information related to local businesses such as a phone number, an address, their reviews, website link, etc., are pulled from their verified Google My Business page and populates in the search results. Kind of like a library’s card catalog system where each card contains an individual’s business location and service information. If you don’t set up an account, and register with Google then Google cannot provide your businesses information to individuals searching for your services.
Google My Business was formerly known as Google Places but in recent years Google has changed its format into what is now known as Google My Business and as such, has become a very influential factor in determining the ranking of businesses in its local SEO page rankings. A completely filled out, current, and regularly maintained Google My Business account is essential in the goal of attaining top placement in Google search engine results because a Google My Business page that is fully optimized and current can have a huge impact on a business and we’re not just talking about web traffic either. Google My Business sends customers through your door, as well as your website, as it directs traffic to both your website and your brick and mortar location. That’s why creating or claiming your Google My Business page for your business and each of its separate locations and keeping it updated and maintained is absolutely critical. Click here for a step by step guide on setting up/claiming your own Google My Business page
There’s More To It Than Just Set Up
Gone are the days when merely setting up a Google My Business page was adequate. Businesses today should strive to update their Google My Business pages (as well as all Google Product Profiles such as YouTube,. Google Plus, etc.) At least once a week with Specials, Posts, Blog updates, Photos, and again, responding to Customer Reviews.
These practices will also aid in helping to improve your organic SEO rankings as well, due to the fact that a properly maintained Google My Business page will contain a lot of information about your business and should have plenty of links back to your archived blog posts as well as your websites individual service pages. Missing out on these opportunities to increase traffic to both your website and your store simply because should not be a part of your marketing plan, moving forward.
How Google Determines Local Ranking (straight from Google)
According to Google, Local results are based primarily on 3 things relevance, distance, and prominence. These 3 factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results or vice versa.
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed information about your business will help Google to better understand your business and match your listing with all relevant search inquiries.
This factor takes into account how far each potential search result is from the location of search term at the time it is being searched for? In other words, Google determines where you are when searching and desires to provide search results relevant to your proximity. In the instance that a user doesn’t specify location information in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
The term Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world; this same prominence is often reflected in local search results as well. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
However, Prominence is ALSO based on other information that Google has about a business from across the web such as local citations, directory listings, social media profiles, blog articles, and of course other Google products themselves such as Google Plus pages and YouTube channels. The more reviews you have, the higher your average star rating is, and whether or not you have responded to your reviews are all determining factors in your Google ranking. The better you look to Google, the higher up in the rankings Google will rank you.
Google My Business Posts: What Are They and Why Do I Care?
Once logged in to your Google My Business account and you are looking at your dashboard – When you look on the left side of the screen you will see “Posts”.
From there, you’ll have the option to add a new a wide variety of new Posts. A few of the ways that Google has introduced so far, as ways that businesses can use these new business posts are
- Announcing new promotions or daily specials.
- Promoting visibility of new and upcoming events.
- Highlighting some of your newest products or feature best-sellers.
- Taking reservations, attracting signups for a newsletter, or selling products directly.
Upon deciding to create your Post, you’ll encounterer several options, you can use any, or all of them to complete your post. A few options are the ability to add an image, a title, and up to 300 words of text. This is best utilized when you use the space of 300 words to announce your service or special and use as many different keywords as possible. As these posts are searchable and become immediately eligible for inclusions in Googles SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages). You can also add a call-to-action button with a variety of different options, including “learn more,” “reserve,” “buy,” “sign up,” or “get offer.”.
A Few Need to Knows
Listed below are a few of the best practices that we employ when creating Google My Business posts either for ourselves or for clients
- Do not use sales-y or overly promotional language. Google explicitly forbidsthe use of gimmicky type language such as “BOGO 75% off!!!” These posts aren’t the place to spam advertisements = They will be removed by Google.Instead, use these posts as an opportunity to organically inform your customers, and other internet browsers about the latest happenings in your business, the same way you would in a blog or a social media post.
- Include as much information as possible for each Post. Google gives you multiple fields to fill out, so try to fill out all of them. Visible, catchy, concise headlines attract the most users’ attentions, and a bright, well-focused image will also help your post to stand out. You’ll also want to include plenty of descriptive content as well. The more the better (up to 300 words). Google doesn’t give the exact word count out specifically, but it’s probable that this is the information it crawls to determine the relevance of your post in its various keyword queries.
- Be timely and personal.Google gives preferential treatment to businesses that use Google My Business posts as ways to advertise time-sensitive information, such as temporary offers, upcoming events, or seasonal specials. You can edit or delete your Posts at any time. It’s also a good idea to be as personal as possible, appealing to local audiences with small business charm.
- Don’t neglect your local SEO plan.This isn’t explicitly stated, but our experiences have taught us that your Google My Business post rankings will be correlated with your other local business rankings. Accordingly, if you want your posts to be visible, you should continue employing all other methods available to you to improve your local SEO that means attracting more links, producing high-quality local-specific content on a regular basis, and of course, collecting positive reviews from your customers AND RESPONDING TO THEM.
We know this is a lot to take in, but we cannot express strongly enough the importance of creating and keeping current, a Google My Business page for your business. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss implementing a Google My Business strategy for your business please do feel free to Contact Us Here. or at 239-245-0942