With the majority of the population using online tools to find what they’re looking for, it’s evident that local search for businesses has become increasingly important.
If your business is not already appearing in Google’s local search results, you can be sure that your competitors are. Google My Business (GMB) is a directory that provides a free service that enables you to appear in local search results for queries that are relevant to your business offerings. As a business owner, it’s extremely important to have.
The claiming/verification process is quite simple. Just go to google.com/business and follow the steps. Google will send you a postcard along with a PIN to your physical business location. From there, you simply log in and enter the PIN provided.
Once you’ve claimed your business, be sure to cover all of the following areas to optimize your listing as much as possible:
1. Include all company information – This includes photos of your business (both interior and exterior), photos of your products (if applicable), company logo, hours of operation, phone number, website address, parking locations, payment options, etc.
2. Encourage positive reviews – Ask your customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB listing. Having positive reviews on your GMB page is crucial because these reviews show up on Google when someone searches for your business. According to a recent survey, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Seven out of ten customers will leave a review for a business if asked to do so by the business, so take advantage of this and ask the question.
Reviews are also given star-ratings, so a GMB listing with many positive reviews will achieve a higher star rating, increasing the likelihood that a visitor will visit your establishment and improving your click-through rate. As a good standard of practice, try to respond to reviews – whether positive or negative.
3. Have a strong social media presence – When searching or investigating a business, many people turn to social media to see what others think about the business (again, highlighting the importance of positive reviews). Not only will it help to lure in potential customers, but it will also increase your business’s visibility and help your overall “SEO score” with the search engines.
For more helpful tips on local search optimization and how Google maps can help you, click here.