December 11, 2017 | By:

3 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar business or a home-based business without a physical storefront, it’s crucial to have a prominent online presence in today’s digital age. Nowadays, search engines are the primary source for local business information. In fact, 60% of mobile device users in the US search for local product and service information on the web—just like how people search for business information from the yellow pages back in the day.

In addition to having a business website, listing your business to Google My Business can help people find you easier through local Google search results. Google My Business streamlines your business information across other products that Google also offer: Google Plus, Google Maps, and the organic results of Google Search.

All you need to do to get started is to claim and verify your business in Google My Business and take the following steps to optimize your listing for local SEO:

1. Confirm that the information is accurate

The most basic and essential step is to confirm that the business information stated in the Google My Business listing is accurate and correct. According to Google, “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.” Enter as much data as you can; the more complete your data is, the easier it is for Google to match your listing to organic searches.

  • Business information basics – Your business’ name, the country it’s located, the address (including the city, postal code, and state/province), and business phone or contact info should be consistent with all other listings you have and with the information in your website.
    • Business Name – Make sure it isn’t in all caps and doesn’t have legal terms (e.g., Corp., Inc.,etc.)
    • Address – Do not use PO boxes, and make sure you phrase them consistently (e.g., “St.” vs. “Street”)
    • Phone Number – Do not use vanity numbers (e.g., 1-800-PIZZA), and make sure it’s a local number
  • Category – The category tells people what type of business you have. Unfortunately, you can’t create your own category, so it’s best to choose one from the list that is close or still accurately describes the nature of your business.
  • Business hours – Business hours tell people when your business is available. Include your regular hours to your listing, as well as your special hours for holidays and special events.
  • Website – Providing a link to your business website brings customers further into your sales funnel. If you’re a small business and don’t have a website yet, Google My Business also offers a simple one-page website builder that you can use for free.
2. Include photos and a 360-degree view of your business

Visual presentations of your business greatly improve your Google My Business listing. According to Google, business listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest and conversions.

  • Photos – It’s recommended to add at least 3 to 5 high-quality photographs of your business, such as photos of your products and services. When adding photos to your listing, make sure to rename the photo’s file name using your keywords; this is an essential SEO step to optimize your photos.
  • 360-degree photos – It’s also a good idea to include a 360-degree photo of the interior of your business. This serves as a “virtual tour” of your business place that your customers can view online before they even decide to go to your physical store. To get started, you need to hire a Google-approved photographer and have them come to your business and take photos.
3. Encourage reviews from customers and manage reviews regularly

Input from your customers in the form of reviews are valuable in improving your Google My Business listing.  In fact, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

  • Encouraging reviews – Google has made it easy for business owners to share a link to customers and encourage them to write a review for and rate your business. It’s important to remember, however, that Google doesn’t allow soliciting or asking reviews from customers by offering incentives in return. While Google doesn’t penalize you for reviews that go against their review policy, reviews of these nature may be removed.
  • Managing reviews – You can’t make everybody happy, so negative reviews are expected. In this case, it’s important to address negative reviews promptly by replying to them and making the necessary measures from this feedback to improve your business.
  • Editorial summaries – Snippets from customer reviews are algorithmically selected by Google to show as “editorial/review summaries” or a short introduction of your business in your Google My Business listing. You have no control over the editorial summaries that appear in your listing, but it’s recommended to monitor your reviews regularly for seldom inaccurate descriptions.

After the above points are well taken care of, it’s important to keep your business information updated especially when there are changes to your business, such as a new location, new business hours, and new product offers.

Google My Business is a powerful and free tool to boost your local SEO ranking, especially when used properly. If you need help with maintaining your local SEO, or if you’re interested in working with a digital marketing agency for your SEO needs, give Ilfusion a call at 888-420-5115, or shoot us an email creative@ilfusion.com.

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