How to Become Best Friends With Google My Business

This is the first installment of the five-part series written by our partner Whitespark called How to Win at Local Search in 2019. 

Having a Google My Business (GMB) listing is critical to showing up for search results in the local pack, local finder, and Maps.

If you don’t have a listing, you won’t show up. In the past two years, Google has increased the number of features available in GMB, which means you can’t simply fill out your business information and leave it. You need to fully optimize and actively manage your listing, and incorporate all of the available features into your marketing strategy if you want to standout in results and outrank your competition.

Another important reason you need to stay on top of your listing is that Google is sending less traffic to websites from local results. Local pack links in the past sent searchers to a business website, now they are directed to the local finder (click on “More Places” from pack results). The local finder has all of the information a person needs and “for many businesses, it has become the single most important internet presence in terms of attracting new customers.

To take control of your GMB listing you will need to check all of the following boxes:

1) Fill Out Everything

Ensure you have a fully optimized listing. Fill out all of your business information, hours, description, details, website, everything.

2) Primary Category is Very Important

Category selection is critical – the primary category you use, does impact your rankings, get it right. You should also add as many additional categories that are applicable to what your business is, but it must be relevant to your business.

3) Photos! (They are a conversion factor)

Add tons of photos and add videos if you have them. If possible, it’s a good idea to add 5-10 photos a month to keep things fresh.

4) Utilize Questions & Answers

Pay attention to the Questions and Answers feature. People expect answers, and this is a crowd sourced feature which means anyone can respond. As a business, it’s important to engage with questions and provide reliable and trustworthy answers. You can even seed questions by using your own current FAQ’s from your website. Pro tip: Liking a question will help it show for branded searches in your Knowledge Panel.

5) Starting Making Posts

The Google Posts feature acts like a micro-blog on your GMB listing. When you publish a post it shows up in Local Finder results, Maps, and for branded searches in your Knowledge Panel.

There’s a study that shows using Google posts can increase organic rankings over time, and engagement signals, they also help drive conversions. You can use call-to-actions in your post (like book, buy now, sign up) and create videos. Start using posts now, it will give you a competitive advantage because most businesses are currently taking a nap on this feature.

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Stay tuned next week for Part 2: Convert Searchers into Customers with Reviews.

Written by: on January 8, 2019

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