We’ve all heard it by almost every marketer or business owner who has a website in general, “You need to be on google, it’ll help you with our SEO!” While organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always a great thing to have with your website, if you’re a local business, restaurant, etc. there may be one platform that you’ve been completely ignoring – Google My Business. Local SEO is one of the most important platforms to leverage for local search, on top of maintaining other local SEO based platforms such as Yelp and OpenTable.
What is this?
Google My Business is a platform that Google has been pushing and empowering for local businesses (connected with maps and search). If you ever google something, and you see a card to the right that has the map with the location of the business, the hours, the name, reviews, and more, then you’ve seen Google My Business. This can help empower your local business with search, helping people find where you’re located, as well as provide a robust amount of other features we’ll discuss below. First things first: How do you even get on Google My Business?
The first step is to claim your account. After giving Google your information when you click “Start Now” you have successfully claimed your Google My Business account. While you can update some information immediately, Google will limit you until you verify your listing. To verify, they will have a variety of ways to help you, such as phone call or sending a postcard with a pin to enter. Once verified, you’ll be able to make changes that will reflect on google for people to see. This is your beginning to really empower your Google My Business account and to gain some traction with local SEO.
Populating Your Profile
While a great first step, populating and engaging with the platform and being consistent will lead to more results then just having a profile in the first place. For any local brick and mortar business, adding your location, hours, website URL’s, amenities, and highlights are all things you can do to immediately get some traction. The next step is to populate your account with photos, starting with a profile, cover, and photos of your actual location (Take it a step further by adding an entire 360 degree tour through your location).
Restaurants can really leverage Google My Business by adding their menus, so when people search they can find what’s there (Google will pull menus off your website to show in search, so make sure both are reflected and accurate). You can also add photos of menu items, which will really help for people to see what type of quality food you have (remember, people eat with their eyes first).
Google My Business recently introduced this year “Posts”. Essentially macro posts, you can highlight events, or just photos of things that you have going on at your location. This can help by showing fresh content on your Google My Business profile when potential customers are searching for your business.
Pushing to acquire more reviews (great ones of course) are an important part of Google My Business. Google loves to see that you are acquiring great reviews, and this is also a plus for any customer that is looking to visit your business. Being able to interact with customers on a public forum allows for them to see that you’re engaged with your customers and can empower your search engine visibility and trust score. This isn’t even to speak about all the additions to offline marketing and word of mouth that It can bring.
Insights are where we really think Google My Business shines, it’s packed with analytics it can really help you carve out a solid marketing strategy or refine your current. With analytics such as peak traffic hours, area code that people are searching for your website, showing actions (calls, link clicks) that customers take from your Google My Business account.
Although we all know of how much of a powerhouse Google is, with other services that can really round out your digital marketing footprint (Google Merchant Center, Google Adwords, Google Search Console) getting a start with Local SEO and Google My Business can really help you build a strong foundation.