A strong Google My Business listing is a crucial part of your local SEO strategy. Without one, you’ll really struggle to be found in Google’s Map pack. Your organic rankings may also take a hit, too.
What position and how often you show up in Google’s Map results depends on several things, including relevance to the search, distance from the searcher, and the quality of your profile. That means if you don’t have a complete and well optimized GMB Profile, there’s a good chance you won’t appear at all.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile needn’t be complicated, however. Here are some simple steps to get you started.
1. Claim your profile if you haven’t already
You can only optimize a GMB profile if you have one in the first place. If you haven’t claimed your business’ profile yet, get started by visiting google.com.business, claiming your page and verifying your account. Once it’s claimed you can move on with optimization. If your business is brand new, you might not have a listing to claim. In that case, you’ll need to create one first. Don’t worry, it can be completed in a couple of minutes.
2. Fill in all your profile information
The more information you give to Google, the likelier it is it will show your business in search results. That’s because it will be able to understand exactly what your business does, where it does it and how good you are at it.
You’ll need to fill in everything including:
- Your business name
- Category (what type of business you are)
- Opening hours
- Phone number
- Your website
- Your attributes (other services you offer to customers such as WiFi or outdoor seating
3. Add photos and possible a virtual tour
You’re going to want to upload high-quality photos of the outside and the inside of your business so that potential customers can get an idea of what you’re like. Make sure to include images of your logo, your products and your service. Customers can add their own images to your business, but it’s good to use this as an opportunity to properly brand your profile.
If you want to go one step further, you can hire a Google-certified photographer to take photos and use them to create a 360-degree virtual tour. Google says that business with virtual tours generate twice as much interest as those who don’t.
4. Get as many high reviews as possible
Reviews are one of the biggest local ranking factors. Not only do large numbers of positive reviews improve your business’ reputation and encourage searchers to choose your establishment over a competitor, they can also help you show up more often in searches, too.
Some customers will leave reviews on their own accord, but most customers will need a little nudge. Don’t be afraid to ask customers for a review. Make it as easy as possible to leave a review, too, by generating a link and emailing it to all previous customers.
When customers do leave reviews, make sure you respond to them regardless of whether they are good or bad.
If you complete every step on this list, you’ll be well on your way to having an exceptional Google My Business profile and increasing your local digital presence.