Google My Business SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the art of optimising your Google My Business profile so it ranks higher on search results.
If you don’t already have a Google My Business account for your company I suggest you set one up. Simply having a GMB page will mean you can appear on Google Maps and on local search results.
Make sure to verify your Google My Business account or you will not appear in results. They will send you a verification code in the post during the set up process.
This is the goal. This is where every business owner dreams of ending up. The top of search results:
This box is often the first thing that pops up during a search. This shows the local search results and is normally the first place people look for anything.
Did you know? These results only show Google My Business pages! Not website pages. (Although your website does play a factor on your profile)
Now as you probably already guessed this result can change based on many factors, one of the largest being location. Usually the business closest to the person performing the search comes up first. Obviously this is something you can’t really change. But that doesn’t mean you should give up.
In the example above notice how I searched for “book keepers newport”. Now I am currently no where near Newport so Google is clever enough to realise that I’m looking for Bookkeepers in Newport and not “book keepers newport” near me.
But why does this matter? Well even if someone is in Newport, they will still likely use a similar search term. Unless they are looking for something right next door, such as the nearest takeaway, they will search an area. People tend to look for the best business within a certain area. This is very important to keep in mind. As it also means it’s not enough to just come up on top, you want people to actually click on your profile.
So if we look at the example above, which of the three would you rather click? Most would choose Entity Bookkeeping. This is because they have reviews, unlike the other two. This is why getting people to review your business is so important! It builds that trust you will need to get more customers. People need to know they are dealing with a legitimate business before they even consider contacting you.
Also reviews are a ranking factor for your search position. So it’s a great idea to contact some past customers and see if they will leave you a good review. Make sure they are all genuine though! Google is smart, it will notice if they are not genuine and will penalise you for this.
So how would we get into this desired top three position?
Fill out everything on your profile!
It seems obvious but fill out all possible aspects of your profile. The more relevant content you have, the higher you will rank.
Probably the most important factor of Google My Business SEO is actually one of the simplest, your business information. If you go onto your business info section there will be several fields to fill out:
(Note: There may be different options depending on your type of business)
If you are missing any of these then a business that has taken the time to add this will come out on top. Make sure you fill out these fields and give as much information as possible.
One thing you should keep in mind when filling this out is keywords. This word or phrase should be something you think people will search for when looking for your business. Remember earlier when I said people will look for the best business in an area. The name of this area is something you should consider using in your profile. In the example above we can see the top two results have the term “Newport” in their name. This is not by accident, this is probably why they are the top two for this particular search.
Now don’t go overboard with this, remember real life people have got to read this too, not just Google. So try and keep it concise and easy to read, sticking to just one area is usually best too. Also don’t be misleading just to get more traffic, aim for long term results with customer satisfaction in view.
Keyword research isn’t just something limited to your website SEO, it plays an important part in your Google My Business SEO too. Your profile is something people will search for after all, so you want to optimise it right?
Now besides your area you will also need to figure out what other keywords you would like to include in your profile. There are several tools you can use for this such as ubersuggest or SEMrush. If you are in a competitive niche this can be more of a challenge to do. My advice would be to start with less competitive keywords. (For example instead of “Car Service” try “Car Body Shop” or “Car Bodywork Mechanic”, depending on your niche). Also many tools don’t detect how many GMB profiles there are for that particular keyword so always remember to Google it just to be sure.
IMPORTANT: Check that the box with the GMB profiles appears when you search for your keyword. Google does not recognise every search as a local search. Make sure you check this for any keyword you wish to use. There is no point in using it at all if the local search results don’t appear. Just Google what you want to use, if the map comes up with local businesses you are good to go.
It is important to note that there may not be a category relevant for every keyword. Make sure you see what business categories are available to help decide what you should focus on.
Once you have found your keyword, use it! Put a healthy dose of it wherever you can in your profile, just make sure it still looks appealing from a human standpoint.
Sometimes a bit of trial and error may be necessary, but remember to wait at least several days for the changes to take effect.
Just like you do with your social media accounts, you can post to your Google My Business page. These posts can even show up in the search results itself so is worth doing! If you do this regularly Google will know you’re still in business and therefore more likely to keep you at the top. If you download the app it can also give you helpful reminders when you need to make another post.
Adding photos to your profile will make it far more attractive to potential customers. GMB even gives you helpful categories for photos such as “At work”, “Team”, “Identity” and “Videos”. Adding photos and videos to your account will help potential customers to know you are a real business and build a relationship with them right off the bat.
You can add specific products and categories here so people know what you are selling. Make sure to add a nice, accurate picture of any products you sell. As well as add the price (or price range) and description.
Your primary category is important here. Try and get it similar to your target keyword. You can add multiple categories so when people find you they can see the other services you offer. You can also add sub-categories to each service category to help customers get an idea of what you can offer. If people find what they are looking for it’s much more likely they will get in touch.
How many reviews do you need to start ranking higher?
There are many different opinions on the answer to that question. Most people say around five reviews is enough to start showing higher in results, but that can change based on many factors. Plus Google likes to mix things up, so aim high.
It is better if you can get your customers to write a personalised review, rather than just leave a rating with no comment. These reviews can be just as good as word of mouth. Reach out to satisfied customers at the right time and in the right way and you might get the perfect recommendation that will give you more customers for years to come. Try to be personal and genuine as that usually comes across best.
Also with reviews you can (and should) reply to them. Make sure your customers know you appreciate the effort of leaving a review. Businesses that care about their customers get more customers. Fact.
Did you know people can ask questions on your GMB profile?
However you do not always get notified of this, so you may want to keep checking just incase.
But did you know, you can ask questions on there as well!
It might seem silly answering your own question, but remember everyone who sees your profile can see the answer to it as well! This is useful if you get asked the same things a lot and can provide the answer. It can also be a good opportunity to highlight something specific about your business.
This section is a Google search of your business. It is important that your website comes up here.
Don’t have a website yet? Check out our guide on how to get started with a website
If you have not optimised the SEO of your site then it will potentially list another business website here. That means that all your effort could just be helping your competitors! Don’t give them that chance. Make sure at least one page of your website is optimised for your business name and the website in general has some of the keywords used in your Google My Business SEO. Also it would be great if your social media accounts displayed here as well, so make sure you keep active on these and increase your following.
Like most things, the more effort you put in to something, the more you’ll get out of it. The same is true with Google My Business SEO. If you fill out every single detail, post regularly and get customers to engage with you, you will achieve higher results.
It’s also important to know that visitors can actually suggest changes to your profile and Google may approve this without warning. So keep on top of it, make sure it is all still up to date.
Also make sure you listen to the suggestions that keep prodding you through the app. Remember they are from Google, they are the one that created (and constantly update) the algorithm to appear in search results. They are constantly working on providing a better experience for your customers, so always keep that in mind.
Don’t go crazy with thinking about how it all works and get bogged down in keyword research. Remember even if your profile is perfect, you won’t be at the top of every single search.
Instead focus on your visitors, think of things from their perspective. But most importantly, be genuine and keep your customers happy.
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