Google provides many tools for businesses to help them grow and manage their online presence. These tools include Adwords for SEA — Analytics for traffic — Search Console to monitor websites — Shopping for online store websites and price comparators and Google My Business for your online reputation and local SEO. These tools provide everything you need to succeed online, but you still need to know how to master them! In this article, we will review the features of Google My Business with Semji and learn why, and how to use it.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free service created in 2014. Its aim is to provide users with a short but detailed directory of local businesses. Based on the query entered and the user’s location, business listings are displayed at top right of the SERP. They include the business address, its trade, opening hours, contact information, photos, user reviews, a graph with busy times and an FAQ with the most frequent questions and related searches.
A great opportunity for your local SEO
Before this, businesses used to work on their local SEO in 4 different ways:
- a Google Address page aimed at telling Google what information was in Maps and directing organic search results.
- a Google + Local page on which you could find reviews, photos, videos and information on the business (address, opening hours, description, services, products etc.).
- a content marketing strategy, with content information on very specific locations.
- Adwords adverts on location-based queries (very expensive).
This local SEO technique became irrelevant as soon as Google My Business was launched. Designed for professionals, this interface is a new way of communicating and presenting yourself to the search engine. Google My Business can help you greatly improve your ranking on the SERP.
Google judges business according to 3 criteria:
- the level of relevance between the business and the user’s query
- the distance between the business and where the query was made
- the business’ reputation.
An excellent way of building your online reputation
Through reviews, brands are free to communicate with their clients and build their online reputation. This interactive section is a new way for online users to make their opinion of a business based on user reviews. By letting consumers speak, Google pushes brands to constantly improve their level of service.
This reason partly explains why greater credit is granted to businesses with up-to-date information.
When Google My Business was launched, it seemed that Google wanted to increasingly become a response engine, and not simply a search engine. To provide users with the most relevant results based on their tastes, habits and location — now a reality more than ever. The success, power and growth of Google My Business only confirms this.
Have you registered your business on Google My Business? 97% of users go to Google to find businesses near the — so it’s about time you add your business!
4 tips to create an SEO-optimized business listing
Contrary to what you might believe, a large number of businesses have not yet created their Google My Business listing — negatively impacting their local SEO. If you’re reading this article, you’re already one step ahead. So here are 4 tips on how to use the tool to its full potential and stay ahead of the curve.
Add your services to your business listing
In the beginning, limited to restaurants and cafés, to share their menu online, the “Add and edit services” feature is now open to most businesses. It’s incredibly efficient as it allows you to display your services in your listing. Don’t hesitate to share as much information as possible with online users so they know why they should come to you and not your competitor.
Add a full description of your company
Since April 2018, the tool lets you add a full description on your business listings. This information can now appear in the local knowledge graph or directly on Google Maps. Now, users have even more information to make their choice among the different businesses — a great opportunity for you to stand out!
However, be careful, your description should not exceed 750 characters and no URLs are allowed.
Rely on the power of attractive photos
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, the best way to show a genuine and attractive image of your business is to add a few photos to your Google My Business. According to Google, business listings with photos get 42% more queries on how to get there on Google Maps. Google My Business will undoubtedly drive more traffic to your website — up to 35% more clicks, compared to businesses with incomplete profiles!
A logo, cover photo and additional visuals will help you build your brand’s online identity. Users will be able to have a better idea of who you are and what you offer. Don’t hesitate to highlight your differences, how you work, your team and even your premises etc.
Pictures must be: JPG or PNG format, size between 10 Ko and 5 Mo, 720 px by 720 px resolution.
This feature related to Google Posts lets you share important information with your audience:
- special offers,
- launch of a new product,
- event dates,
- Booking information etc.
Google Posts are like a news flash: they must be short and clear to get users to act.
To create an efficient Google Post, think about the aim of your post, prefer quality photos, a catchy title (58 characters max, your brand name), some details (1,500 characters max – don’t hesitate to shorten days and times) and a CTA! Don’t think of Google Posts as a promotional tool only, but more as a tool to share the latest news with your audience (a too commercial tone is discouraged).
After having designed several posts, don’t hesitate to study the statistics of each one to identify which work best. You have access to 3 sets of data:
- the number of views,
- the number of clicks,
- the percentage of modification of each post.
To easily and quickly manage your business listings, use the Google My Business app! Web users will be happy to find up-to-date information when searching for your business.
The importance of Google My Business for your local SEO
Local SEO is a small part of the great world of SEO — but its potential is no less great! Getting organic results from the SERP is a very good thing, but increased visibility at a local level is even better! A local SEO strategy will allow you to target as closely as possible user queries and expectations.
The figures speak for themselves: after doing a location-based search on a smartphone, 1 out of 2 users visit the business during the day. You don’t want to miss out on this!
The best SEO weapon for your local ranking
The growing importance given to local ranking goes hand-in-hand with the increase in mobile browsing and searches. It is the result of increase user activity and their need for instantaneous results.
The SEO optimizations to make on your My Business listing are the same as those you should do on an article or webpage: title, description, text, categories etc.
If your company is located in the heart of Paris, but you provide an abundant or generic service/product, it will be difficult to rank among the first results if you are only relying on a Google My Business listing — as detailed as it may be. However, if you’re in a village with little competition, you will stand out with a perfectly SEO-optimized listing.
If your business has several locations, you must create a listing for each location, no matter how close or far apart they are. This is the challenge of local ranking: increased visibility and standing out of the crowd to online users close to you.
Improve your SEO strategy with more data
Google Posts already shares a lot of data with you on how to improve the reach of your next posts and to better identify the messages that convert the most.
Google Insights gives you precious information on the behavior of your prospects after looking at your My Business listing. You can access the following data:
- the number of times displayed
- queries for itineraries to your business
- number of calls from the listing
- number of times photos have been viewed
- visits to your website
- how web users have found you (direct access or discovery)
You can cross-reference this data with Google Posts to see its efficiency over a specific period.
For an even greater analysis, you can aggregate this data with that of other tools. However, be careful when reading the results after cross-referencing data from different sources.
An important challenge for your online reputation and communication
Today, Google My Business is the best and most powerful digital business card that a business could have. The majority of purchase intents start with an online search and Google My Business pushes the limits of customer/brand relationship. This trigger is very efficient in getting a user to visit your store.
Read positive reviews: there’s nothing more reassuring for a user looking for THE right business to contact. The opposite is also true.
But, how do you manage negative reviews? The best strategy is to answer to online users with the right solution to their complaints. Do not ignore them! It’s important to show that you take negative reviews into account and that you’re looking for ways to constantly improve so as to keep your customers happy.
Look at local ranking as another tool in your marketing strategy that will help your business grow!
Still not convinced by local SEO for your strategy?
Still can’t see the potential of local SEO for your business? Here are some elements to help you understand how to use local SEO strategy to boost your brand:
- your geographical area in which your business is located: the ultimate winner is when located in a dynamic business district, itself located in a mid-sized town with competitors that have poor rankings.
- how long your brand has existed for: Google favors precedence and prefers brands who have been on the web for more than 3 years, compared to newcomers.
- an appetite for web marketing: has your business been doing regular online marketing actions in the last 6 months?
- your web marketing budget and how much you work on your local SEO.
- So, do you meet at least one of these criteria? If the answer’s yes, local positioning has real advantages for your brand, so let’s go!
So, do you meet at least one of these criteria? If the answer’s yes, local SEO has great potential for your brand — so go for it! Google My Business is a powerful tool to increase your visibility, reputation and both online and offline foot traffic. Free, easy-to–use and powerful — there’s no reasons not to use this tool!
In the context of a nation-wide search, it will be much more difficult to rank your website at the top of the SERP, but with location-based searching, it will be much easier to stand out… and attract nearby customers! Google My Business is the most promising marketing tool for local businesses.
A powerful tool for your local SEO strategy, Google My Business can make a GREAT difference.