People say your Google My Business profile is your new homepage. Users can often find important information about your business without even visiting your website. Have you looked at your profile from your user’s point of view? How does your business profile look compared to the competition? But before you get into the map pack, you need to make sure you optimized your Google Business profile.
If you want to appear in local search results on Google, you need to be in the Google Map Pack. Not only does it provide premium visibility in the search results, but it’s an opportunity to manage and control all your information.
A quick search for ‘Nashville Home Builder’ returns these results below:
All things being equal, I might call or check out Frank Batson first because of their reviews.
Local results are based primarily on three factors: distance, prominence, and relevancy. Let’s break those down a little further:
- Relevance refers to how well a local Google Business profile matches a user’s search query. You want to make sure that you fully add all your detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and so it can better match your profile to relevant searches.
- Distance considers how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, it’ll calculate distance based on what’s known about the user’s location.
- Prominence refers to how ‘well-known’ a business is. That’s determined based on the information Google knows about the company from across the internet, including links, articles, and directories. For example, famous hotels, landmarks, or well-known name brands are more likely to be prominent in local search results
A combination of those three factors helps Google find the best match for a user’s search query. For example, algorithms might determine a company farther away from your location is more likely to answer your questions than one that’s closer and rank it higher in local results.
You cannot control all these factors, but you can take steps to help your business appear in the Google Map Pack. Here are some easy ways to set your business apart while providing Google with correct, accurate information.
Claim Your Profile
First, you need to claim your business profile. It’s free to do. Go to Google My Business and enter your business name. Then click on ‘Create A Business With This Name’ and complete the registration process or click on the drop-down if your business name appears to claim your business or request access.
If you are a home builder with multiple locations or communities, you want all of those locations showing up on the map. Make sure each community has its own individual business profile.
Complete Your Profile
Now that you have claimed your business profile, you need to update all the business information. Fill out all the business information you can. Your profile contains lots of information about your business, so make sure and complete all the detailed information. There are even special features like setting holiday hours.
Did you know that reviews on Google factor into local search rankings? The more positive ratings and reviews your business has, the more it can boost your local rankings. Business reviews, or 1st party reviews, live in your profile. These are considered the most trustworthy. You can also receive alerts when you receive new reviews.
Respond to reviews
Make sure you are monitoring reviews and have a process in place to respond. You should respond to all reviews, even the bad ones. Responding shows your prospects you are responsive, attentive, and care about your customer experience.
Your keyword ranking positions in search results are also a contributing factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) matters here too. With a localized SEO strategy, you are able to get ranked both organically in the search results and also in the Google Map Pack.
You also have the ability to post straight to your Google Business profile just like you can on your social media channels. Posts can include helpful information such as events, special offers, or announcements. Calls to action are also built so you can have someone call or email straight from your post. Regular posting is helpful and increases engagement and shows that you’re active. When posting to your business profile you can even share it on your other platforms. Posts typically live up to 7 days.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure you are adding photos to the profile as well. Ensure your profile has various high-quality photos. Include your building’s interior and exterior, your employees, and the most popular products/services. Photos help customers find and locate your business. Adding photos helps make your business personal and stand out, but you’ll want to avoid include stock images.
Adding your information to online directories provides multiple benefits to your business. It helps you get found easier, ensures that all your information is correct across the internet, and helps build valuable links. Some of the standard websites for business listings include Facebook, Twitter, City Search, and Bing. Don’t forget about review sites, such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, or even local blogs.
Google My Business Profile and Google’s Map pack are two excellent, free resources for small businesses to level the SEO playing field. Getting in the map pack is achievable. It takes hard work to get there and stay there. No matter if it’s SEO or a larger digital marketing campaign, business listings and business profiles should be a part of your overall digital strategy.