Years back, looking for a good pizza joint or barbershop in a new locality involved asking people or exploring on foot. With the advent of the internet and most search engine platforms facilitating local optimized search results, searching for local businesses has become easy. On the other hand, it has become easy for local businesses to have an online presence with merely a website and to claim their Google My Business (GMB) profile for free. Like the case with traditional SEO, competition intensifies as more and more businesses are jumping on the local SEO bandwagon. So, you need to frequently optimize your website and your GMB page to make sure you remain on the top of the search results for a specific keyword.
In this article, we look into different practices to follow for optimizing your GMB page for local search. For the sake of providing the best practices to follow, we assume that you have already claimed your Google My Business page, have filled out all the necessary information, and are optimizing the existing content.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business page for Local Search
Understand your GMB profile
When someone searches using a keyword with a location-based intent, Google shows the top 3 business listings around the user’s location based on the relevance to the keyword, in a special snippet called the ‘Snack Pack’ box as shown below.
The purpose of a GMB profile is to complement the brands’ existing website by displaying all relevant information in the snippet, such as:
- The establishment name
- Operation timings
- Overall Customer Rating
- Links to website, phone number, and direction to the establishment
Your GMB profile is not only displayed when someone uses Google search or Google Maps but also on any third-party platform that is utilizing Google Maps API.
Add the relevant categories
Google differentiates between all the business listings in a location based on the category chosen by the brand. It is essential to select the most relevant categories where your brand falls within. If you don’t find the exact category that defines your business, only then opt for a generic category. For certain categories, Google provides sub-categories, and selecting them will be more likely to be ranked for relevant search terms.
Include special Attributes
In addition to the categories mentioned earlier, you also can add attributes that are displayed in the listing. For a restaurant, you can add attributes such as
- Smoking Zone
Recently, black-owned businesses and women-led businesses can also highlight them in their profile. For appointment-based businesses, you can also add the provision to “schedule an appointment” right from the search listing. The attributes are a small change that will help users to get all the information from one source of information.
Always Use High-Quality Images
While browsing Google search results, people are more prone to browse those listings that have high-quality images. This gives them a detailed glimpse of how your establishment looks and how your products look in real life. Upload some panoramic photographs of your neighborhood for people to find your place easily. As per Google, the number of people opting for driving directions to businesses increased by 42% after those businesses included photos on their listings. Such businesses received 35% more click-throughs to their websites.
Encourage Reviews and Respond to them
Reviews are beneficial for any business to grow. Reviews from customers generally give an honest view of a customer’s experience at your business. Others can view the reviews and the average star ratings from your customers and choose to visit you based on the overall response. Asking for reviews is a positive reinforcement as your customers feel gratified to be considered important enough for review. Moreover, make it a point to respond to each review you receive, as it indicates that your business is active enough and cares about its customers.
Optimize your website to be more compliant for search
You need to conduct traditional SEO practices to make sure your website ranks high, and by targeting more location-specific keywords, you can make sure that your website would rank for local SEO as well. Make sure that you are targeting high performing but less competitive keywords and have them included in meta titles and descriptions on the most visited webpages. Focus on creating content centered around local intents and attempt to get linkbacks from other local establishments. Google fetches small snippets from your website for certain keywords and displays them when it matches the search term.
Make use of Google Local Posts
In addition to displaying information about your business, you can publish offers, events, products, and services on your Google listing as Google local posts. Users in their listing can directly view these posts, and so are advantageous compared to social media posts. These Google posts can engage with the customers and keep your presence evergreen on Google. Ensure the posts are factually correct, free of spelling errors, have high-quality visuals (images or videos), and internal links.
List out the services
After claiming your GMB profile, you need to specify the list of services that you offer. As shown below, you can specify the business category and list out the different sub-services that you provide under it. Google treats these services as keywords that your prospects search for.
Constantly Monitor your Listing Insights
While Google Analytics provides extensive information about website performance, you can get similar metrics for your local SEO efforts. Called Insights, local businesses can understand different metrics such as:
- How customers find out your listing
- Total Searches
- Direct Searches
- Search via Discovery
- What action the customer took
- Request directions
- Did they press call?
- Visit website
- View Reviews
- Browse photos
- Where did they search for your business?
- Search view
- Map View
- Total Views
On paper, a well-performing website is optimized for both traditional and local SEO, and you might end up as the first organic search and one of the three local business listings. Just like traditional SEO, the effectiveness of your Local SEO optimization might only be visible after a few months, but the rewards will outweigh the troubles you went through. We at PopOff Marketing hope this article helps you in better optimizing your Google My Business Profile for local search.