A Google My Business page is an excellent way for any business or at least a local business to gain more visibility. It is officially known as a ‘Business Profile.’ If you are a business owner, you need to remember that creating a profile does not give you any management over it. However, you will want those editing and management capabilities for the profile to work as both a lead generation and SEO tool.
So, the question is, how do you get management rights over your profile? Well, that also requires creating a free Business Profile and a separate Google My Business account for the profile. Sounds confusing? That’s because it is!
Having a Google My Business account is the only way you can claim ownership of the business profile. That means getting management rights and unlock many powerful yet free features that help you get visibility.
What is Google My Business (GMB)?
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again, Google My Business is a tool that allows you to optimize your Business Profile created on Google. However, you need to be clear about what Google defines as a business profile.
Google defines a business listing as a profile. You will see the Business Profiles of various businesses appearing on Google Maps, mainly local search results. In other words, creating a profile is the same as adding a business to Google Maps, which anyone can do, even someone who isn’t associated with your business. Google only requires the location, name, and category of the business. Once it’s confirmed as not being a duplicate, the profile is created for the location. Consumers can then leave reviews, ask questions, answer questions and add photos. Also, the profile may get populated by information pulled in from the web.
You can have a business profile without necessarily having a GMB account. However, you can’t manage the information displayed or the reviews collected. That’s why Google My Business is essential. You will need to create a Google My Business account, which allows you to access, customize, enhance and build your profile.
How is Google My Business Used for Ranking Locally?
Now that we’ve established that Google My Business isn’t your business profile but a tool used to enhance your profile, which in turn means better visibility and a more effective presence. There are four methods of using your Google My Business account to enhance your Business Profile so that it ranks better and is a better marketing tool.
Engage with Consumers
Now there are numerous ways in which consumers can directly interact with your Business Profile. The Google My Business account can be used to engage with them. You can respond to reviews, answer any questions they might have, enable direct messaging and even set up alerts. You can also use the GMB account to publish posts of your Business Profile, very similar to how you’d use Facebook or any other social media platform for that matter.
Highlights Your Business
The Business Profile, by default, has minimal information about the business. However, using the Google My Business account dashboard, users can add information like business hours, a backlink to the website, products, attributes, pricing etc., all of which make your business unique. Furthermore, you can also make edits to everything, like if your business timings changed or if the nature of your business changed.
Get Valuable Insights
The GMB dashboard can help you gain valuable insights into who your audience is and how well you’re doing locally, at least in search results. Click on the analytics tab, and that will show you all the queries customers are using to find your business profile; it shows terms used both on Google Search, Google Maps and a breakdown of what actions were taken on the listing. You’ll also see how well your photos are performing compared to that of the competition.
Do Local SEO
Similar to how Google has an algorithm for raking websites and ads, it also ranks Business Profiles. The Google My Business dashboard can help you add keywords to the Business Profile and perform various other optimization tasks to improve local rankings.
How is GMB Used for SEO?
The most significant issue, from an SEO standpoint with a Google Business Profile, is that it is dynamic. So, not only does it change form based on the platform it’s serving, but Google is known to prioritize sections of the profile based on the term that’s being typed to search for businesses like yours. The good news is that Google will bold type keywords within your profile relevant to the search term. So, the person searching can quickly see how your business matches what they want.
However, you need to have information to prioritize and keywords to embolden in the business profile. That’s where optimizing the Business Profile comes in.
Using Relevant Keywords
GMB SEO can get pretty complex, and it’s beyond the scope of this article. However, similar to optimizing your website, it would help if the terms you’re trying to rank for appear in your GMB. The keywords can be used in your business description and response to reviews or answers to questions. But you’d need to incorporate them naturally.
Have Quality Information
Your business profile should be both accurate and complete because it has a significant impact on rankings. Make sure that you add things like special hours, attributes and contact information.
Finally, Google My Business should be used to build trust with the algorithm. Ensure that your information is updated and accurate as the business evolves. Ideally, you should have a steady stream of organic reviews coming to them, and you should respond to them. Adding photos and publishing posts signals to Google that your profile is active.
At Hookedonmedia, we create GMB pages for our clients, which are then optimized to improve their rankings. We also build citations which helps improve map rankings. While you can do it yourself, there is a great deal of complexity involved, and a lot can go wrong. That’s why we handle this as part of our local SEO strategy for clients.