Google My Business was launched in 2014 and has become hugely important to businesses for local SEO, especially since Google Plus was discontinued in April 2019. Let us take a look at what Google My Business is, why it is so important, and what you can do to optimise your page to get the best results from it.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool from Google that helps you tell your target audience all about you and your fantastic products and services. More than this, it’s a way of engaging with your customers to keep them updated with news, offers, photos and more.
You can even have conversations and take bookings for your business directly from GMB. I look at Google My Business now as an extension of our clients’ websites and, if optimised well, can really play a part in driving customers straight to that business.
It’s a Google product afterall, which gives you a clue that Google will value the page and weigh it against your competitors. The key is to make sure that your GMB page is working for you, not against you.
Claiming your Google My Business listing
If you haven’t already claimed your free listing, go to business.google.com/add and enter the name and address of your business and select it from the search results. You’ll then see a message indicating whether someone else has verified the listing, otherwise, you can claim and verify the listing yourself. Click ‘Request access’ and fill in the form and submit. Easy as that!
How to optimise your GMB page for maximum reach
On the left hand side of the dashboard, you will see a tab named ‘Info’. This is where the general optimisation and information for your business can be found.
Within the Info tab you can include:
- Company Name
- Categories for your business
- Service Areas
- Opening Hours
- Special opening hours (Christmas, Easter etc.)
- Products (Beta)
- Company Description
- Add Photos
- Short name
- Telephone numbers
Basically anything you want to do in Google My Business can be done through here.
6 top tips to boost your results…
1.) Make the most out of the ‘categories’ for your business. You don’t have to just select one category. If you go through the different options there are plenty of overlaps within this section and you can select multiple categories for your business. Make sure the ‘Primary Category’ is the most relevant, but my advice is to select as many as possible for your business.
See the full list of available Google My Business categories here.
2.) For ‘Service Area’, cast the net as far and wide as you possibly can… and be specific! Name the towns and counties you service. It sounds basic but don’t overlook this. Google doesn’t know unless you tell it and I’ve seen this one thing alone make a world of difference to the results.
3.) The company description goes without saying but it needs to be optimised with keywords relevant to your business. It also needs to detail everything you do, covering your key products and services. You have 750 characters to make it count so don’t waste any space with anything that isn’t essential. For instance, you’re probably better placed adding targeted keywords around your products/services and locations than spending a whole paragraph talking about awards, the team or your history. Save it for the website.
4.) GMB already allowed you to include your services to your page, however it has now also rolled out a Beta trial for ‘Products’ as well. If you sell physical products it is worth taking advantage of this neat feature. You can categorise your products by range or type and display all your products together along with a description, price range and image which will feed through whenever the page is displayed in the SERPs.
5.) Google My Business’ latest feature release is called ‘short names’ which is a unique short name for your business which users can then find you by and is really useful for sending out when asking for GMB Reviews. You can now have your very own personalised short URL. The URL structure to your Google reviews is simply g.page/[shortname]/review. It’s now easier than ever to send people directly to your page! This will be great for marketing materials, emails, business cards etc.
6.) Last but certainly not least, keep it updated with fresh content regularly. Google loves content! Whether it’s offers, products, photos or events, Google gives you all the tools for this and the posts only last 7 days before they expire – so again another clue from Google that it is a good idea to keep updating this each week.
For photos you can also set logos, cover images, videos, 360 tours and more. I have found in particular that by adding fresh images regularly to clients’ pages we have been able to give the pages a boost with just that small change, so well worth keeping an eye on. This is one that always gets neglected over time.
So there you have it, everything you need to get started on Google My Business and make it a success. It’s free, it’s Google and it’s fairly easy to get right. What’s not to love?