Local SEO- Google My Business Listing Optimization Guide 2020-2021

If you’re looking to optimize your Google My Business listing, this guide is for you. Many brick and mortar store owners think SEO is not for them and it is difficult. But did you know that 18% of local smartphone searches resulted in a one-day purchase (as of 2019)? 64% of consumers used Google My Business to find contact details for local businesses in 2019. In this COVID-19 crisis, it is very important to get your company online.

You can use Google My Business to manage your location on Google Maps and online reviews. The process of optimizing Google My Business listings starts with setting up a Google My Business listing (if you haven’t already). To create and refine your Google My Business listing, do the following:

#1 – Create a GMB Listing

Go to Google My Business’s Page and click on Manage Now.  

You will see a form. Fill in all relevant fields. You want to make sure that all of the information you provide is correct and that your profile is as complete as possible.

Even if you don’t have a physical store, you can still make a GMB list. In the last option, just select “Yes” which means “I deliver goods and services to my customers on their website.”

You will then be asked to select your service area. Select the appropriate option.

#2 – Choose a Relevant Category

You need to select your business category so that Google can decide which searches your Google listing belongs to. You cannot create a category yourself with Google. Therefore, if you cannot find a specific category for your business, choose a general category that always describes your business.

#3 – Enter Contact Details

Once you have selected a category, you will be asked to enter your business details. Enter your work phone number and website URL (if you don’t have a website, select I don’t need a website).

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#4 – Verify Your Business Listing

You need to verify your account to gain complete access to your listing.  There are three ways to do so. One is by submitting the code mailed to your business address. 

Second, it’s over the phone. If your company is eligible for mobile verification, you will see phone verification at the beginning of the verification process. You will receive a code on your mobile phone that you have to enter in GMB.

Third, check your email. Just like with the phone verification, you will receive a code in your Google account that is linked to GMB.

But wait, it’s not that. You should also optimize your listing to get the most out of Google My Business. Let’s see how to tweak it.

#5 – Ensure Your Business Information is Up-to-Date

First, make sure your name, address, and phone number are correct. If you recently changed your work phone number, you will need to update it in the GMB. Also, your information should exactly match what is currently listed on your website. Be as specific as possible when it comes to categories. For example, if you sell gourmet products, choose a delicatessen instead of the traditional food option.

To edit your listing, open Google My Business and click on Info on the left column. You can then edit the business name, address, category, service areas, opening hours, contact number, and description. 

#6 – Add More Information About Your Business

Use attributes to highlight your company’s capabilities in ways that may not be possible in the business category you selected.

Does your hotel offer free WiFi, parking, or laundry service? Does your garage have a public washroom or salon? The attributes can highlight these additional services.

To add attributes, open Google My Business and click on Info on the left column. Scroll down, and you will see Highlights. Click on the edit (pen) sign and start adding the attributes.

Additionally, add a profile picture to let users know that it’s your official account. A cover photo can be used to showcase your business’s exterior or interior. 

To add photos, click on the Photos on the left column. You will see options to add Logo (profile photo), cover, and video. Click on Choose Photo on each one of them to add an image.

#7 – Earn Reviews and Respond To Them

Google loves reviews. The more opinions you have, the better you rank. Reviews signals account for 15.44% of rank importance. Plus, people trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends. 60% of customers go to Google My Business for reviews of a local business.

So it’s important to get feedback from your customers. Even Google My Business says, “Remind your customers to leave reviews.” It is also important to respond to reviews. More than half of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews online within seven days.

Bad reviews are also helpful. You can use them to fix the problem and turn the bad review into a good one. Here is a great example of a negative answer.

You can thank your customers who leave a positive review to show that you care. Here’s an example of a perfect reply. 

To respond to reviews, open Google My Business, and click on Manage Reviews in the menu (at the left-hand side).  You will see all the reviews along with a reply button in each. 

8 – Add Posts To Share Business Updates

Last but not least, add posts to share content about your business. It could be anything from an upcoming sale to a new product in your store. 

here is Bridge african technologies excellent example for a brand leveraging Google posts to promote their brand. 

To add a post, open Google My Business, and you click on Create Post at the top of the Homepage. 

After clicking on Create Post, you can choose if that’s a product, event, offer, or something new in your store. You can then add text, images, price, description, and call-to-action button. 

You can even add call-to-action buttons on your posts such as buy, learn more, reserve, and get an offer. 

Note: Google posts disappear after seven days, so it’s important to be timely and hyper-specific when creating an event or offer related posts.

CONCLUSION:

Optimizing your Google My Business listing is important in order to keep track of your competition and reach a large number of local searchers. Make sure your information is current and correct.

Include as much information about your company as possible. Make sure you upload a high-quality profile photo and cover photo. Questions and answers also to customer reviews. Also, create posts to inform users about new products or offers and to entice them to visit your company.