Google My Business
Local Search and the impact of Google My Business (GMB)
Importance of Google My Business listing, and where on the internet you should update your business information
Google's latest algorithm updates add to the local search influence on your SEO, and no other software has the power to affect a company's local ranking more than Google my Business. If you want to see tangible and immediate local search improvement and to rank your website higher, create or update your Google My Business.
Google's local search ranks your business based on significance, distance, and prominence while Google My Business listing plays a vital part in boosting your rankings for local search. Although Google My Business profiles are now the most influential factor in local search results, most companies establish a Google My Business listing, verify it through Google and then forget about it. The latest Google algorithm update has only increased the importance of having a fully optimized GMB profile which could rank you higher as you generate new business.
Regular updating of GMB listing, as offered at MacEQ included with Gold ad plan, would help
1- rank higher with local authority publishers,
2- bolster your appearance in Google Maps results,
3- increase visibility and conversion.
GMB service is free of charge. So take the time to update your GMB, or have MacEQ keep your GMB updated. You will soon find out that no other marketing tool next to Google Ads, offers as good a value and as great of an ROI in providing local exposure for your website as Google My Business.
First, you should figure out whether or not you already have a GMB listing. Even if you don’t recall having created one, an employee or a consultant might have created an account for you, and creating another one would not be approved by Google. So do a search of your business in Google search and in Google Maps to see if a profile appears for your business. If so, you’ll need to claim and verify it as your business. If not, first create a new one, for which you’ll need to prove your ownership – Google will contact your business and you’ll need to confirm your request as the owner of the business. Once verified, you could update the information or add images to further enhance your Google My Business. Once you have access to your GMB, fill out all relevant information including your opening times, adding holiday hours. Then update your Google My Business with new posts every week/month to ensure it is accurate and kept up to date while providing another strong link to your website.
Of importance to Google when verifying your GMB is to make sure that your business name is recorded as it was registered. If you enter tricky keywords, you’ll be at risk of violating Google’s guidelines. So enter your business name accurately, and write an enticing description for your business in line with Google’s guidelines. Choose a relevant category that accurately described your business. Through a feature called ‘Services,’ you can add products and services to your business and help the categorization process from both a search engine as well as the user perspective.
Use GMB as a starting point and continue to create consistency in your name, address, and phone number throughout the web. Check other directories, publishers, and map sites, (authority publishers). Mistakes are common and staying accurate can make a big difference to your local rankings. Below you will find a list of 70 authority publishers. To rank highest with Google check your NAP (name, address, phone) with the main ones, then proceed to update as many local publishers as possible. For a marked improvement of your organic ranking, update them as soon as possible.
Google My Business, Amazon Alexa, Apple, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Superpages, Yahoo!,
2findlocal, 8coupons, ABLocal, AirYell, Allonesearch, AmericanTowns, AroundMe, Avantar, Banks.com, Bizwiki, Brownbook.net, ChamberofCommerce.com, CitySquares, Credibility Review, Cylex, DexKnows, eLocal, EZlocal, Factual, Find Open, GetFave, GoLocal247, HERE, HotFrog, iBegin, iGlobal, Insider Pages, Kudzu, Local.com, LocalDatabase, LocalPages, LocalStack, MapQuest, MerchantCircle, My Local Services, n49, Navmii, Opendi, Pitney Bowes, Pointcom, pr.business, ShowMeLocal, Soleo, Telenav, The Internet Chamber of Commerce, TomTom, Topix, Tupalo, USCity.net, VotefortheBest, Waze, Where To?, White & Yellow Pages, Yalwa, YaSabe, YellowMoxie, YellowPageCity, YellowPagesGoesGreen, Zomato,
Images and video
Another overlooked aspect of your GMB listing and one that can make a very noticeable difference to CTR (click-through rates) are images. Images will help build an overall positive representation of your business so upload a logo, a picture of your premises if applicable, and any other photos which could help promote your business effectively to GMB. Do not add all the images you have at the same time, but go back to GMB periodically adding your images. Ensure your pictures are professional, appealing, and kept up to date as you prompt a customer into a buying decision.
Follow Google’s recommended image format specifications. “Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.” -Google.
Format: JPG or PNG
Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
Resolution: minimum of 720 pixels tall by 720 pixels wide
Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, without significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality. You can also add videos to a listing.
Video: Video content is very popular, but many companies do not take advantage of this option as it is very new (introduced in 2018). Maybe it is time you differentiate your business from the competition. Your videos will appear in the photos section -don't forget to follow Google’s video guidelines.
Google reviews are vital and positive reviews affect nearly 70% of consumers' buying decisions. So even if you are doing a great job of customer service, don’t just sit back and wait for the reviews to pour in. A gentle nudge towards the review section is still the best way to encourage reviews. However, raking in those reviews isn’t enough. It’s also good practice to respond to reviews, especially negative ones. Even if a review seems unfounded, keep your cool and respond in a calm and collected manner.
Once you start your GMB, you will begin receiving emails from Google to update your posts. Google posts are a very prominent yet underused feature of Google My Business profile and work in a similar way to your posting on social media. Posts are displayed as mini-updates in a carousel as part of your knowledge panel, but as they expire after seven days, they are a great tool to advertise your sales. You can add media, some copy, and a link to your website. It’s always a good idea to check how the image you are adding display correctly on both desktop and mobile and don't forget to check Google Maps to make sure your image is not cropped to irrelevance. You can use Google Posts in four ways: What’s New?, Events, Offers, Products. The ‘What’s New’ post type could be populated with exciting announcements, general updates, and your latest articles. Don’t forget to add a call to action to your posts to encourage engagement.
Track your GMB updates
it’s essential that you monitor any proposed changes. It could be a well-meaning customer clueless about the changes they are submitting so track and monitor your posts. Google promotes user-generated content (allowing users to answer questions about your business). Make sure that you’re keeping an eye out for user updates and check for accuracy, in short trust but verify.
You could get to know how many conversions your GMB is generating in analytics or on Google search console. GMB's Insights section contains valuable information and covers whether your GMB profile was viewed on Search or Maps, as well as customer interactions such as website visits, direction requests, and phone calls. You could even verify how successful your photos have been in comparison to other businesses like yours. These comparison graphs are great for comparing your business against competitors to see where you may be falling behind on the optimization front. It also enables you to do a bit of testing to find out which photos work best for views and click-throughs.