Google My Business is one of the most valuable ways for Businesses to improve their online visibility.
Claiming your Google My Business profile should be one of the first steps you should take to increase your Businesses online presence.
Google My Business can increase the likelihood of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general and can play an important role in local SEO strategy. Claiming this free listing on Google allows you to include information about your Business like your address, phone number, business hours, photos & description.
What is Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool from Google that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes your business name, location, opening hours, services & products & monitoring and replying to customer reviews. Your listings offers everything you need for potential customers to find and use your services, buy your products or visit your business.
How Do I Claim My Google My Business Listing?
If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business listing, this should be the first step. You can do so by visiting here. From here you can create an account and claim your Business. After you have filled in your details you will need to verify your account. This will prove to Google that you’re the owner of the Business listed at the given address.
For most businesses, verification means requesting, receiving, and reading a postcard from Google with a verification code. This can take up to 20 days to arrive. Once received you will need to log into Google My Business. Select the location you want to verify & select “Verify now.” In the Code field, enter the five-digit code from your postcard and click “Submit.”
Your listing has now been verified and ready to edit your business information, respond to reviews, and add photos.
Improve Your Local Ranking on Google
Local results appear for people who search on Google for businesses and places near their location. These are shown on a number of places across Google Maps and Search. Google will try to show you the kind of nearby product, service or location you are searching for with some suggestions. You can improve your Businesses local ranking & chances of appearing by using Google My Business.
To maximise your chances of appearing on Google search results you should ensure your listing has both complete and accurate information about your Business. Google favors the most relevant results for each search. Business listings with complete and accurate information are easier for Google to match with the right searches. To Improve your Google My Business listing you should complete the following steps:
- Verify your location – This gives your listing the best opportunity. According to Google verified businesses are twice as likely to be considered reputable by users.
- Ensure your Business operating hours are accurate – Ensuring your operating hours, including special hours for holidays and special events,are accurate lets potential customers know when you’re available. It also gives Customers confidence that when they travel to your Business location, it will be open.
- Manage and Respond to Reviews – Interacting with customers by responding to reviews they have left shows that you value their opinion and feedback. Quality and positive reviews about your Business will improve its visibility.
- Posts – Posts allow you to connect with existing and potential customers via messages posted to your Google My Business Profile. They allow you to promote sales, specials, events, news, and offers.
How Google determines local ranking
According to Google, local results are based mainly on relevance, distance and prominence to determine rankings. Combining these factors, Google finds the best results for your search.
Relevance determines how well a Google My Business listing matches what someone is searching for. Having complete, detailed & clear business information on what you do can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches by potential customers.
Distance refers to how far each potential result is from the location search term used by a user. If a location isn’t specified in the search, Google will calculate distance from what it already knows about their location.
Prominence relates to the activity of your listing such as reviews, events & local content. Google has stated that “Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. 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”
Keeping your listing updated with new photos, posts and managing reviews is essential. Your website’s position in rankings can also be a contributing factor to this so ensure your site is optimised.
It is critical that once you activate and claim your Business that you keep it active and don’t forget about it. This is an error made by many Business owners. However in order to get the most out of your Google My Business listing and to get good rankings, you must have also applied SEO best practices on your site as well. Keep updating your profile with relevant information and keep your information accurate. If your listing isn’t performing as well as you would like, keep putting in the work and the results will come.