With so many people searching for products and services online nowadays, businesses are looking to take advantage of this using SEO. However, many companies may find SEO too challenging, especially if you are ranking for generic keywords. With the level of competition on generic keywords, you’ll probably never rank your business on the first page.
So what do you do?
It is where local SEO comes in. The more you focus on local rankings, the easier it is to attract local customers. If you are a business operating from a large city, this will grow your brand significantly. One of the best tools for ranking a local business is Google My Business.
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What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is the local platform when a customer is looking for a local business near them. You can create organic listings for free and has your business’s reviews, ratings, website links, and phone numbers. It also has a map link that customers use to locate your business.
The importance of ranking using Google My Business is unavoidable. Nowadays, most customers search for local businesses. It can be used for enterprises offering both products and services and helps you get an excellent online reputation in your local area. The statistics show that almost half of all people are looking for local businesses through online searches.
How to set up your Google My Business listing
The best part of setting up Google My Business is that it is entirely free. All you need is a local address to receive a postcard from Google, and you are all set. Here are some steps to follow when setting up your Google My Business listings:
Add your business to Google My Business
Go onto the Google My Business page and click on ‘add businesses. If you do not see your listings, then you will have to create a new account. If you already have a listing, you should not make one using the same business name; otherwise, Google will suspend your listing.
Add your business name
The next step is to add your business name to Google. You should make sure that it matches the original name of your business. Try and avoid making any additions or changes to your actual business name; otherwise, Google may penalize you for it.
Add a category to Google My Business
There are thousands of business categories on Google My Business — allowing you to choose categories and subcategories that match your product/service the best.
Choose a location
The next step is to add the physical location of your business. Make sure to add the correct address with zip code because it is where Google recognizes you. You can choose to hide your address if you work from home or have a physical office.
Select the areas you wish to target in Google My Business
This step is crucial as it helps you expand the reach of your business. You can select the surrounding areas you provide services so that y. It will allow you to get more customers from the surrounding areas. This process is perfect for service businesses and those that do delivery.
Add contact details and do the verification
Once you select all the required fields, you will have to add your contact details. Add a local number to represent your business in the local area. You can also add an email so that customers can send you an email for a quote. Your Google listings will also have a link to your website.
The last step is verifying your account. You can either receive a phone call or have a postcard delivered to your address. Once you get the five-digit code, you should enter it on the listings page, and it’ll verify the listing.
Optimize your listing
Creating your account on Google My Business is the first step, but you need to optimize it if you want an edge over the competition. The first step is to add a shorter name for your business. It helps with SEO and also attracts more customers.
You can also add other categories under the dashboard section. These categories allow you to represent your business against broader search terms that are relevant to your business. Under the ‘ask questions’ section, you can have the option open for customer queries. Make sure to answer these professionally as they impact the image of your business.
Add highlights to Google My Business
Add a few highlights to your business to show that you stand out. You can think of a variety of competitive advantages. Some businesses may be wheelchair friendly, while others might offer 24-hour service. Adding these highlights helps you gain a competitive edge through your listings.
You can also add keywords to help define your listings. This process is easy to do if you have SEO experience. Otherwise, it is better to outsource the optimization. A simple tip is that you should never use too many keywords in your listings. Start from 5 and slowly add on new ones every month. Remember, organic SEO takes time. Rushing it will only result in the suspension of your listings.
Get genuine positive reviews
If you want to optimize your listings, then having good reviews is very important. You can ask your loyal customers to leave a review. You can also send customers a link for reviews after each job. It is especially helpful for service businesses, but every business can benefit from it.
Drive sales with local SEO
There’s no point in trying to compete with corporations on generic SEO keywords. The best way to go around this is to target local customers. By optimizing your Google My Business listings, you will promote your business as the authority in your local area, which allows you to beat up the regional competition.
Final Thoughts on Google My Business
Google My Business can be a useful addition to your marketing efforts if utilized correctly. Though, I would not solely rely on it for promoting your business.
What are your thoughts on Google My Business? Do you think it is a valuable tool for local SEO? Let us know in the comments below.