***Head on over to our Ultimate Local SEO Guide for insanely actionable strategies on optimizing your Google My Business Page in 2016 and a step by step walkthrough on how to rank your local business in Google****
Optimizing your Google My Business Page is the very first step that we at TheSiteEdge take to begin a business’s Local SEO campaign. A lot has changed since last year and 2016 will present an even further need to make sure your Google business page is completely filled out both accurately and creatively.
With Google dominating the local search engine market with a 65% share, it’s more important than ever to make sure your business stands out in results. Google My Business gives local businesses that opportunity to show searchers what their business is all about. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your Google My Business page is accurately completed. It’s so simple to do, but people still tend to get it wrong. Let’s take a look.
Local search results are more valuable than ever with Google’s new 3 Pack that appears on many local search terms:
Look familiar? This new 3 pack above shows up even above other organic Google results now on local search terms. Losing 4 listings in the map pack is a big deal and means it’s up to you to be competitive with your SEO! And this is why your Google My Business page is more important than ever as the first step to success.
It’s always surprising to me the staggering number of businesses that don’t fully complete their profiles on Google My Business. They’re missing out on some serious potential customers! Take a look at this quick guide on how you can properly optimize your page:
Access Your Google My Business Dashboard
I’m going to assume your business already has their business verified, so I won’t go into that, but if you want exact steps on how to verify your business visit google’s help page here.
Head to Google.com/business to head over to your business dashboard. Login and you should see a screen like this:
The Google My Business Dashboard gives you all sorts of insights such as impressions and traffic within the last 30 days, Reviews left for your business by customers, and gives you the ability to share on your attached Google + account and Youtube accounts.
Hit Edit in the top right hand corner and it should bring you to your Business info page. This is the key to your Google My Business success.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Page Info
When you’re all said and done the business info bar at the top of the page should reach 100%. Make sure you aren’t stopping before then.
Fill out all of the required business information listed below:
When putting your business name in, make sure you are using ONLY your real business name. Do not put in additional words that you think will help your SEO. So for our business, we just put in “TheSiteEdge” – Note we don’t use spaces between the words for our brand name, but it’s likely your business does use spaces. It is key to make sure your name stays consistent not only here, but across the web.
Your address and areas you serve should populate automatically from originally verifying your business information. However if you need to change anything, hover and click to change. If you are a local business that serves a more tight knit geographical area, make sure you keep the geographic area small so your results are focused to those areas.
Make sure all of your contact information is inputted correctly. For best practices, make sure you use a local number for the phone number. For your webpage, put your actual website address. If you actually don’t own your website such as some doctors, lawyers and real estate agents, make sure you put the website URL of your personal profile page rather than the homepage of the entire showcase site.
This is a big one. Categories seem to be the #1 mistake that businesses make that can drastically hurt search rankings. In our case for example, we do web design and online marketing, so we want to rank for all terms related to those things, not just for web designer.
Listing Multiple Categories is a good thing. It is not spammy if you do it correctly. List as many relevant categories as possible that describe your business. And choose the MOST relevant as your primary category. Rank them in order of importance for optimal results.
Our final categories ended up being these 3.
List your normal business hours on this particular section. Remember, if you have seasonal hours you will need to come back in and change them when necessary. I know, I know, it’s a pain but definitely necessary!
The introduction is a chance for you to talk about your business and describe the different services that your business does. You can also take advantage of linking out from your introduction to different parts of your actual website. For example, in our introduction we have a link to our web design page, our SEO page, and hosting pages.
Unfortunately, these links don’t provide any value any more as far as rankings go, but they do help potential visitors find their way to the proper places of your website.
Moral of the story: Be Detailed and Include Hyperlinks!
Click “Done Editing” and you are done writing information on your page.
Manage Your Photos
Let’s move onto managing your photos – head back to the main dashboard and click on “manage photos”
The Business Photos section of Google My Business has several sections. The first section called “Identity Photos” is easily the most important. There are 3 photos you need to upload: A Profile Photo, A Logo Photo, and a Cover Photo.
In our case we wanted our profile photo and logo photo to be our logo, but many times the profile photo should be more relevant to actual work you do at your business. Why are these photos important?
Because these photos are what people will see in the search results, and many times will be the deciding factor on whether someone will click on your Business listing!
For Example, this is what our picture looks like amongst the results for the keyword “Mobile Friendly Web Design”:
Once you have all 3 different photos uploaded, you can then select your preferred photo that will show up in similar search results above by doing clicking the 3 vertical dots next to the words “What are these?” (See below)
Select which photo, either profile, logo, or cover you want to recommend google show in search results and on maps.
If you have a business that is all about the ambience and you want visitors to understand what it’s like inside, make sure you put quality interior photos up. Restaurants are good examples of this.
If you want customers to know what your place of business looks like from the outside, this would be the place to put recognizable photos so they can find it.
Photos at Work
Capturing the work atmosphere of your business or displaying some of your services in action would be a good idea in this section. You can also show some of your work completed etc. Let your audience know what it is you do.
This section would be great to put pictures of your employees and team members and letting your audience know who they are!
Any other photos you feel the above sections couldn’t encompass would go here. Remember, the more photos the better!
By following all of the above steps listed to get your Google My Business page up and running, your business should start showing up in local search results for the services and terms related to what your business does. However, if after doing all this you still don’t see that your business is showing up in local results, it could mean a few things:
- The keywords you are looking for may not show local listings first. This is still true for many local keywords in Google, however this is changing everyday as Google’s search algorithm is gravitating towards more local user friendly results.
- The more likely scenario: Your competition may be more competitive than you think. There are a number of local search factors that can affect the listings. Having an optimized Google My Business page is step 1 of many. If you want to understand why you’re still not ranking and how to get into those top results, that’s where hiring Local SEO professionals like TheSiteEdge would come into play. We’ll be able to look at the problem and discuss solutions to move your business up in the local search rankings. Or maybe you’d just like a little more direction for yourself? Then check out our Local SEO Guide 2016 for actionable tips and strategies
Got questions or comments? Leave a comment or send us a message!