How to create your Google My Business profile
To improve your local SEO and local exposure, it’s important to set up your Google My Business listing properly so that when users type in keywords related to your business, you show up and make a good impression!
A whopping 56% of on-the-go searches (mostly made on mobile phones – so make sure your website is mobile friendly!) have local intent. People looking for products, business hours, and business locations are twice as likely to convert after a local search. As a local business, you need to be visible to tap into this.
For most local queries, or queries with local intent (e.g. ‘pizza restaurant near me’ or ‘DIY shop in Tower Hamlets’, the search results include listings from Google Maps. As a result the process starts with claiming and taking ownership of your Google My Business Listing(s). If you don’t have a physical shop or address, you can still have a Google My Business profile – you just need to be making in-person contact with customers. If you’re hybrid (i.e. you have an address and you go out to visit customers as well) or if you’re a service-area business like a plumber, electrician, or home-visiting spa or beautician you can also get a Google My Business listing.
Once secured, the listing should be carefully optimised and maintained to help increase the likelihood of ranking in local search queries. Use the following tips to get the most your of your Google My Business Listing:
- Verify your Google My Business listing(s) – don’t use a personal Google account to verify, use one for the business that can be shared and doesn’t get lost if a team member leaves.
- Select the most relevant categories and services for your business.
- Provide a well optimised and engaging description of the business.
- Use keywords appropriately. Don’t spam.
- Link to your website – use the location page if you have multiple locations and make sure that you test the links!
- Complete your contact information – and double check to make sure it’s all correct.
- Ensure address details are consistent everywhere.
- Use a local phone number.
- Make sure your Google Map pin is positioned in the right place – sometimes it can be a bit off so check the accuracy otherwise people might get lost.
- Include opening hours and keep these updated for things like bank holidays.
- Include high quality images and video content to increase engagement. Pixelated, blurry or questionable images might put people off so be very selective.
- Encourage reviews from your customers and interact with them!
- Don’t ignore bad reviews – answer swiftly and professionally – potential customers will be reading your reply as well as the review so you have an opportunity to rectify the problem with the reviewer and explain to anyone else reading.
- Review and respond to questions from your customers. You can also add your own FAQs and answer them directly to pre-empt customer queries. If you get the same questions over and over, it might be worth answering them in your website copy.
- Utilise the Posts feature to promote offers and engage users.
In addition to your Google My Business Listing, your website’s content should be optimised to maximise local exposure. Ensure that your NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) – are prominent on your website. Ensure that time(s), address(es) and phone number(s) are ALWAYS consistent. – Make sure they are in crawlable HTML (not embedded in an image or an inaccessible format) and are consistent across all pages on your site (exactly the same wording and format).
Put your NAP at the top of your Contact Us page and in the site-wide master header or footer so that humans and bots can immediately and clearly identify these key features of your business. Mark up your NAP with an address schema (or ask your tech SEO or developer to do this) to further assist search engine comprehension of your data.