Google My Business, is it worth it?
When you need to find something in your area – a taco place for lunch, a lawn care service for your yard, or a place to pick up a new T-shirt – where do you start your search? If you’re like most people, you turn to Google or another search engine.
That’s why it’s vital for your business to have a strong local search and SEO strategy as part of your local marketing plan, so you don’t miss out on potential new customers. And that’s why this blog post will guide you through everything you need to know about Google My Business and local SEO.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is a free Google tool that helps businesses manage their digital presence on all the different Google sites. Since a Google search can lead potential customers to a search engine results page, local business listing, and/or Google Maps, having accurate and updated information about your business on your Google My Business account is important.
How Do You Optimize Your Listings on Google?
Google My Business is definitely the most important element of your local search strategy. To optimize your listings on Google, you will want to take the following steps:
- Create a Google My Business account and verify it so Google knows your business is legitimate. Your business may already have an existing account if it’s been around a few years, so in that case, you will just need to claim it.
- Update your GMB listing in the Google My Business dashboard with information like your business location, hours, phone number, website, and other relevant information customers might need. You should also add attractive photos of your business and products.
- Encourage your best customers to share reviews. Having lots of positive reviews from happy customers helps potential buyers feel confident they can trust your business and encourages them to stop by and make a purchase. Proactively asking customers if they would mind leaving reviews helps build your credibility instead of waiting for them to do so independently.
- Be authentic and fast when responding to reviews. As reviews come in, you won’t want to let negative feedback sit without a response for too long. And thanking customers promptly for positive reviews is a good practice as well. You could use the Google My Business app to respond to reviews right away wherever you are to stay on top of them.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile
Optimizing your Google My Business Profile ensures that Google knows your business is good to promote to their search engine users. And that means you will likely get more searches for your business as the algorithm starts to drive more visitors to your site. In fact, this is where the rest of local SEO and search comes in.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a type of SEO specifically designed with searches in your local area in mind. Some SEO strategies are good if you want to be seen in a wide geographic area, but you need a more targeted strategy if you’re a local business owner. After all, if you run a lawn care service in Pittsburgh, you don’t need to be found by search engine users in Los Angeles – but you do need to be found by people in your area.
That requires a slightly different approach than general SEO, which is about setting your site and content up to be found by search engines and their users. Your Google My Business listing is the most important part of your local search strategy – you need to keep it up to date and consistent with your website so potential customers can find and visit you easily.
And local SEO is a very effective way of bringing customers in the door. In fact, 88% of consumers who do a local search on their mobile phone call or visit a store within a single day!
Local SEO Tips: How to Build Your Online Presence
If you want to make the most of your local search traffic (and you should), here are the best tips for optimizing every part of your online presence.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
More and more searches are now done on the go and on smartphones, so ensuring your business website is mobile-friendly is essential for getting lots of traffic. Recently, Google has made the mobile experience a bigger part of search engine rankings. That means building a mobile-friendly site is more important than ever to get local customers in the door.
Create Local Content
Content marketing strategies often focus on creating content that appeals to a vast audience, but local content creation should focus on topics that are relevant to your community instead. Your business can become a local authority in your industry that provides value to your customers and search engine users alike. You can share content like local industry gatherings, news, behind-the-scenes peeks at your business, and more.
Develop a Social Media Presence
Building a social media presence is a smart move for local business owners. It builds your credibility with Google and also your brand awareness with potential local customers. You can post images of your latest products or offerings or write posts about your latest services and news. It’s all about sharing what makes your business unique.
Build Inbound Links
Inbound links, meaning links from other websites to yours, are essential to ranking highly in local searches. That’s because they tell Google that your business is legitimate and trusted. Making a concerted effort to gain inbound links will help your business get more search traffic. You can gain these links by writing guest posts for local news sites or local industry websites, sponsoring or partnering with an event or local charity, and networking within your community.
We Can Help You Win at the Local Search Game
Too many local business owners neglect their online presence and SEO – and that’s a mistake that’s keeping them from growing. But taking it all on yourself can be overwhelming. Working with a digital marketing agency like Content First Marketing can help you get your local search strategy right and get more customers in the door.
Schedule your free business review today to learn more!