Improving Local SEO with Google My Business

In the world of retail business, awareness is key. People can’t stop in or give you a call if they don’t know your business exists. You might get customers who find you by chance as they’re driving around town. But most anyone who is looking for what you have to offer in a brick-and-mortar store will likely start off with a Google search. That’s where the power of local SEO comes in.

Whether your business has one retail location or many, getting the attention of potential customers who are in your neighborhood should be one of your priorities. Fortunately, our favorite search engine, Google, has made it a little easier for businesses and their websites to compete at the local level with Google My Business.

Despite the action-sounding name (“I’m going to Google my business…”), Google My Business is a free listing for businesses that appears in Google search results and on Google maps. You might recognize what’s known as the local three-pack listings when you search for a restaurant or other retail location on your desktop computer using Google or the long list of nearby possibilities when you use Google maps on your mobile device. Those listings are from Google My Business.

Local SEO example of a listing of pizza restaurants under a Google Map

The individual listings themselves provide some basic information to help the searcher make a decision. While Google tends to modify the information available on a regular basis, at the time of this writing a searcher instantly had access to the business name, the overall review rating (and number of submitted reviews), the business category (we searched for pizza), the distance from the searcher’s location, business address, and business hours for the day.

For some categories, you get a photo pulled from the Google My Business listing. For others that might not be so competitive – accountants, for instance – you get the option to visit the website or get directions (on Google Maps, of course).

Clicking or tapping on the listing reveals a gold mine of information, beneficial to the searcher as well as to the business. Each listing offers customers helpful information such as your address, business hours, phone number (click-to-call on mobile), link to your website, directions to your location, reviews, photos, and more.

The beauty for your business is you get to control this information. With a verified listing, you can update your business information to provide current hours, great photos, and the appropriate contact information to lead customers to your door or to your website.

The Local SEO Advantages

If you’re still not completely sold, think about this: According to the 2020 Local SEO Ranking Factors report, Google My Business is the best way to local SEO success. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

And here’s another reason. If you own a chain of pizza restaurants, chances are you face a lot of local competition in the search engine results pages. Pizza lovers may or may not find your website within the slew of other pizza restaurants from a basic web search. But the local SEO power of Google My Business can help to change that.

We know the Google search engines rely on more than 200 different factors when ranking websites in the search results. Google My Business listings operate a little differently. They focus on three primary factors:

  • The relevance of your business to the search of the customer – Does your category and other information match what the searcher is looking for.
  • The distance of your business from the searcher – Closer businesses tend to get rated higher.
  • The listing activity – Is it up to date with hours, photos, review responses, etc.

The top listings for Google My Business aren’t necessarily the top organic listings in the search results pages. So Google My Business could get your business and your website some exposure that you may not have gotten otherwise.

What can you do to improve your local SEO and help move your listing to the top of the pack?

  • Verify your business listing. This shows that the business is yours and enables you to make changes to your listing.
  • Make sure your listing is 100% complete. Google has a handy little grading scale to let you know if you’re missing something.
  • Stay involved with your listing. Reply to reviews, keep your hours up to date (don’t forget about holidays!), and add photos to keep your listing current.
  • Promote each location. If your company has multiple locations, create a Google My Business listing for each and match it up on your website with a landing page specific for each location.
  • Keep it local. Don’t use the corporate 800-number or post office box address in your listings. Use the local phone number and address for each location.

 

If you want to learn more about the advantages of Google My Business to your local SEO or need some help getting up and going, give us a shout. We have years of experience with single and multiple-location local SEO and would be happy to help your business.

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