Google My Business and your local SEO strategy
OK, my web design business is a new one, my domain name and website very young. Climbing the ranks of search engine result pages is a struggle for any fledgling website. I’m based in a small regional town in NSW, Australia, but there’s competition — there’s a myriad of web designers in my region, plus the savvy operators in cities miles away who appear on page 1 of a local search. What to do?
I listed with Google My Business as soon as my website went live.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free business listing in Google for verified businesses. After your business has been verified, the chance of your business appearing in Google’s Local Pack, at the top of a Google search results page, should increase. Being listed in GMB will contribute to your organic rankings as a local business. I have a young website with a new domain name. I’m trying to gain SEO strength. So my thinking is along the lines of I’ll scratch Google’s back, and get a leg-up the search engine results page ladder for my new business website.
Your business will also be marked on a Google map. You’ll also be able to create promotional posts that work like mini ads, and upload photos to your listing. More about this later.
First step — verification authorisation, your business details
To get started, visit https://www.google.com/mybusiness.
You’ll get to a step to verify that your business is situated where you say it is located. As part of this step, Google will send a postcard by snail mail to your business address with a verification code that you need to enter. Depending on where you are in the world this can take a few weeks. If you're lucky, you may even get an options to gain verification via phone — so Google will call you to verify your business.
Also enter your business information — address, contact details, business type, opening hours etc.
Second step — verification
Once you receive your postcard with the verification code, enter the code into your My Business listing setup page. So, now you’re on your way.
But still not there. More patience is required: your business won't be listed on Google Maps instantly, but you will get there.
Why it's important to complete all questions about your business
What happens if you don’t enter all the important business information Google asks for? Someone else could jump in and fill out your business details for you!
How can this happen? In your business listing that appears on a Google search results page, there’s a link to ‘edit your business’. Anyone can go in and make a change to your business details and that could be hazardous. Google’s reasoning for allowing anyone to edit your details? This practice encourages:
communal contributions including notices if a business is no longer active where the listing states that;
business owners to focus on great service; listings that.
What this potential user-generated commentary or additions about your business means is that business owners need to log in regularly to their My Business profile to make sure all details are correct.
What if someone has tampered with your details? You should be able to correct any false user-generated additions. However, you may not be able to eliminate all the contributions that others make. But you can add a disclaimer to counter any negative or incorrect contribution.
What this does all this mean? Once you get your Google My Business listing, continue to check your it regularly to make sure all your details are correct. And posting regularly to your GMB listing will show your account is active, and Google will love you for it.
Your posts are like free ads
You can add posts to Google My Business. These posts are like free ads for your business that appear when users type in your business into a search engine results page.
Posts and links could be any of the following, but not limited to these:
Events or training courses
Your latest blog
Multimedia works well because we all appreciate visual appeal and posts with photos get noticed more. Post images of your local area, what you do, what you offer. Tag them specifically with your town or location: When it comes to choosing your categories and tags, be specific. You have a much better chance to rank for “fresh grocery store[your town]” or “organic produce [your town]” than for generic terms like “shop” or “groceries”.
OK, your posts don’t stay up for long. They expire quickly and Google reminds you that it’s time to post another. ‘What so soon? It was only a few days that I put that post up!’ But no real dramas if you don’t get another up in time. I’ve come to appreciate the reminders … my last blog post could go up. Why not?
My rationale with following through with this is that it beats spending money on Google Adwords. I get into a groove with it and keep posting. If I miss a beat, what the heck. No worries.
Why is GMB worth it?
Google My Business listings contribute to your local SEO power.
The set up and posting takes time, yes. But it’s worth it. Once into the swing, and you see your SEO improving, so you'll see the value in this work.
This post is my own but I want to say thanks to Sherry Bonelli for her thorough MOZ post about 'How to optimise your Google My Business listing'.