Google My Business (also known as GMB) is a free platform to help you control your business information on Google’s search network. Optimising a Google My Business profile is also your gateway to improving your local search results on Google.
What is local search?
A local search is someone who is looking for a business in close proximity to their location. Search Engine Land reports an incredible 82% of mobile searches are for local results, with 78% of all local searches leading to a sale within the following 24 hours. You could say it’s pretty important to ensure you appear in those local searches.
Google My Business is how you can tell Google you’re a local business providing xyz product or service, open from this time to this time. If Google sees you’re the best result for those products and services in your area, they’ll most likely put up your GMB profile when they’re searched for.
Where does a Google My Business profile display?
Once your Google My Business profile is correctly completed, you may be shown in Maps for nearby location searches, in search results, put your images in Google Images, and more. If you need to see how to setup a GMB profile, we show you how here, otherwise get in touch and we can do it for you.
How to Optimise a Google My Business Profile for Better Local Search Results
Get Your Basics Right First
In search engine land, your basic business information, such as your name, address and phone number (known as NAP) are one of the top ways you’re identified. If you’re putting out different numbers, name variations or addresses, Google will get a bit confused and you’re less likely to be shown in search results.
Here are the crucial pieces of information you should provide and ensure are up-to-date and consistent, not only on your GMB, but everywhere they’re shown online:
- Business name.
- Phone number.
- Trading hours.
- Website URL.
Complete Your Bio
Here is where you can start to be a little more strategic. You get around 750 characters to share what your business is about and why you’re so great. However, this is a great opportunity to get in some keywords.
A keyword is word or phrase that tells search engines what a page is about. It’s not 100% known if keywords affect Google My Business profiles, but we can tell you we’ve seen some improved results by optimising our own.
When explaining about your business, mention the areas you service or where you’re located, what you provide or offer, any specialised areas and whatever makes your business unique. If you’re a 24/7 petrol station on the Gold Coast, you put that in your bio. Maybe you are an award-winning restaurant in Townsville known for your tomahawk steaks—mention that! With any luck, when people search for those things, up your GMB profile will pop.
Add Your Products & Services
Imagine Googling for emergency plumbing services in your area and there appears a Google My Business profile for a business telling you they provide this service. By filling in your products and services, you can tell people what you provide and how much they expect to pay, so in a glance, they see you fit the bill.
People won’t need to scroll through Google to find other options as there you are, front and centre (too the right, normally) telling them what they need to know. Plus, it tells Google exactly what solutions your business provides.
Utilise Your Photos
Google searches are pretty much a white screen with blue, grey and green text, and maybe a few boxes here and there. By putting images on your Google My Business profile of your store, products, services, vehicles, happy customers, staff, etc. it will make you stand out from the normal layout.
Not only that, but these images will go into your gallery for people to browse and in Google Images. Be sure to name your photos what they are. For example, if you have a photo of your office, name it Localsearch Office in Robina.
We recently underwent an experiment to test how important posting on a Google My Business profile is for increasing Discovery results. If these stats don’t scream how important posting on Google My Business is, we don’t what does.
Increasing posts from 0 to 1 per week: Discovery results increased by 3% over roughly 4 weeks.
Increasing posts from 1 to 3 per week: Discovery results increased by another 2% over 3 weeks.
Increasing posts to 3+ per week: Discovery results increased by 11% in 1 week.
Our website visits and calls also increased.
What sort of posts should you publish on Google My Business?
Google lets businesses publish the following type of posts:
- What’s New.
There are a variety of buttons, call to actions and features for each. You should be posting any new products or services, offers and discounts (when they occur), your latest blogs, videos you create and more.
Fill in a Few Questions & Answers
On your Google My Business profile, there is a space for people to ask you questions, which you can answer. However, you can also add your own questions with an answer.
When deciding what questions to put, think about your most common questions people ask when they first contact you. Then, provide them with as much information as you can in the answer. People will be able to see this on your profile and know those crucial answers before they even call or email—plus it saves you time.
Encourage People to Review You on Google (& Other Places)
Google My Business will pull reviews from several sources, including Localsearch, Seek and Facebook. They will display your star rating and how many reviews you’ve received on that platform.
Reviews are often the make or break for people searching for businesses online. Don’t be too concerned with hitting a 5-star rating, although having 4 stars should be your goal. You can always use a reputation management tool if you want to attract more positive reviews effortlessly, while making unhappy customers satisfied before they leave you an online review.
Cover image source: Alice Duffield on Unsplash