It is widely understood that one of the best tools for boosting your search engine optimization or SEO is to take advantage of Google My Business. Google designed GMB for businesses to grab the attention of people who are searching for a business in a specific geographic area. Google My Business provides you with a way to put your business name at the top of the search results.
However, it’s not always a simple matter to know exactly how you need to customize your GMB profile to end up at the top of a search query. The real question is what Google considers most important in your profile to rank you at the top. What can you adjust to give you the results you want?
This is exactly what we will answer by considering the eight most important local factors for ranking when customizing your account at Google My Business.
Look over these 8 powerful tips and then connect with our team at The Click Depot. We are the experts at SEO services and especially with Google My Business. Call us at 855-960-9395 or contact us online.
Google My Business – Eight factors that will boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Google My Business search engine results are like other types of SEO in that they are affected by a mix of factors. You can use these factors to get the best results on your journey to the top of the listings. We have identified eight important factors to push your company higher in the search results.
Verify Your Location
It is possible to have a GMB profile but not actually control it or even know it exists. Clearly, this is not a good situation.
You might never have done anything to create your GMB and still have a high chance that you have a GMB profile for your company. In the case when Google Maps discovers the name and the address for your company, Google will automatically make a GMB profile for it. Not only will it create a profile, but it will add it to the map.
That allows people to find your location, but it does not help at all with your SEO. To rise to the top of the search results, you need to claim your company profile. Google will require to provide verification that you are the owner. This verification usually happens by mail.
Basic business information that is accurate and complete
Setting up your profile for Google My Business boils down to one objective. You will need to provide basic, accurate company information. This includes things such as the business name, company phone number, physical location, and hours of operation.
Make sure you do not cut corners on this step. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to rise in search engine results. When completing your GMB, you will see each blank box requesting information. Be sure you provide as much business information in each box as possible. It is a simple equation – the more you give, the higher you will rank in the results.
However, it’s not only quantity that is needed. Be careful that you only provide accurate information. Providing inaccurate business information is often penalized by Google and might push you down in the search results.
NAP information that is Consistent
Accuracy and thoroughness are only part of the battle for ranking. Consistency is important as well.
Google’s web crawlers are always on the prowl – seeking out information. Their software takes into account all the info it discovers about your business. If it sees that your business name on your website is different than the one on your GMB, it might lower your ranking. If you are “Bob Smith Heating and Air Conditioning” on GMB, you shouldn’t refer to yourself as “Bob Smith’s HVAC” on your website or elsewhere.
This might seem petty but the reason consistent names, telephone numbers, and locations (referred to as NAP info) are important is that it might confuse web visitors, causing a low User Experience (UX). Nothing bothers Google more than a low user experience.
Accurate Search Relevance
Search Relevance is another of the factors that Google considers when ranking your business. Google does not want to rank you when users search for unrelated businesses.
For most searches this is obvious. Google will not rank your HVAC company at the top of the search results if someone searches for a plumber. However, it’s not always that simple. You (Bob’s HVAC services) might offer electrical services even if that is not in your name or description.
There is a way to combat this situation. Take advantage of Google’s “Categories” feature. In this example, you would choose “Heating and Air Conditioning” as your primary category but also choose “Electrical Services” as well.
How Close To The Searcher Are You
Google created GMB to be used with local search rankings. This means that it considers where the searcher is located when performing the search. If someone in Boston is searching for HVAC, Google does not want to show them an HVAC in Houston.
This reduces the number of people that Google will show you to, and it’s actually better for you that way. You don’t want to be wasting your time talking to someone who is halfway across the country. GMB is designed to connect you with people located inside your target audience.
Volume of Reviews and Responses
Google does not actually know anything about how you provide your services – how good you are. That is why Google also depends on customer reviews when deciding how to rank you. It considers three attributes about your reviews: How many there are, how good they are, and your responses.
It is easy to understand why quantity and quality are important. Google needs to see that you have at a minimum, a handful of reviews. Of course, it likes to see those reviews be on the positive side of the ledger. It wants to see that people have enjoyed working with you. A positive experience. The responses are something that only can come from you. Keep an eye out for reviews and respond whenever possible. Be polite and thankful for any good reviews. Even more importantly, give helpful and genuine responses to any reviews that are negative.
Photographs are a highly effective tool in connecting with potential customers. Because of this, Google can be significantly influenced by photos in its decision to rank you higher.
A profile that does not have company photos can look stark and unfriendly. Photos can build trust. When potential customers can see what your company looks like on the inside as well as the outside, they tend to feel more comfortable choosing you.
The most effective type of photo is when you use an actual picture for your main profile. It is much more inviting than the map location image which is Google’s default image.
Prominence in the Real World
Prominence is another word for how well your business is known. While this might be a vague metric it is one of the most important ranking factors. Google has announced to the world that prominence actually has a great impact on search rankings.
Google uses several methods to determine how well-known your business is in the real world. We can easily understand why Walmart or Target would rank higher than Bob’s HVAC. The question is how a small business can combat this situation and get to the top of the rankings.
For a small business, this can seem like an impossible challenge. However, take heart, because it is not impossible. You can improve how Google evaluates your prominence. We already covered reviews – which will help you with your prominence score.
Another thing that Google looks at for evaluating your prominence is how many legitimate websites link back to your website. These are called Backlinks and are important to Google. As such, they need to be important to the business owner who wants to rank high in local Google search results.