According to many local SEO experts, your Google Business Profile or formerly Google My Business (GMB) profile is now considered your new homepage. It is a crucial tool for businesses to optimize their online presence and gain maximum visibility on Google. However, even without visiting your website, potential customers can find vital information about your business, such as opening hours, reviews, and contact details.
It is crucial to view your Google business profile from your users’ perspective and ensure that it stands out from your competitors. However, before aiming for a spot in the coveted map pack, you first optimize your Google Business profile.
If you want to rank in local search results on Google, you must ensure your business appears in the Google Map Pack. This pack offers premium visibility in search results, allowing companies to manage and control all their information.
Local SEO and Google business profile optimization are essential components of any successful digital marketing strategy, and businesses should focus on continually improving their online presence to stay ahead of the competition.
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 thoroughly add all your detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches better.
- 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.
Google uses a combination of various factors to identify the most relevant search results for a user’s query. These factors include the content on a website, the user’s location, and the website’s overall authority. For instance, Google’s algorithms may prioritize a business farther away from a user’s location if it is more likely to provide accurate information.
While you cannot control all these factors, you can take specific steps to improve your business’s chances of appearing in the Google Map Pack. Here are some easy and effective ways to optimize your online presence and provide Google with accurate information:
Claim Your Profile
First, you need to claim your business profile. It’s free to do. Go to Google 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 those locations to appear on the map. Make sure each community has a business profile.
Complete Your Profile
Now that you have claimed your business profile, you must update all the business information. Fill out all the business information you can. Your profile contains lots of information about your business, so 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
Ensure you are monitoring reviews and have a process 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 can get ranked organically in the search results and the Google Map Pack.
You can post straight to your Google Business profile, just like 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, increases engagement, and shows 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 images. Include your building’s interior, exterior, and employees’ 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 including stock images.
Adding your information to online directories provides multiple benefits to your business. It helps you get found easier, ensures all your data is correct across the internet, and helps build valuable links. Some standard websites for business listings include Facebook, Twitter, City Search, and Bing. Don’t forget about review sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, or even local blogs.
For small businesses, Google Business Profile and Google’s Map Pack are two valuable and free resources that can help level the playing field regarding SEO. Although it takes effort to get listed in the map pack, getting there and maintaining the position is achievable and worth the hard work, whether a more extensive digital marketing campaign or just SEO, including business listings and profiles as part of your overall digital strategy, is essential.
These resources allow small businesses to increase their online visibility, reach a wider audience, and drive more website traffic. It is important to note that optimizing your Google Business Profile and staying up-to-date on your business listings across various platforms are critical components of your digital marketing strategy. As a result, it is essential to prioritize these tasks and focus on maintaining consistency and accuracy across all online platforms.
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