How to Boost Your Website Ranking with Google My Business
For every serious online business, being listed in the Google my Business (GMB) directory is something to be taken seriously. It will work for your local business listing and help your Search Engine Optimization and search engine rankings
Google My Business is free and if you are interested in building business through directories, GMB should be the first directory we expect you to look at. In this blog, we’ll explain how My Business works, and how to make it work for your business.
What is Google My Business, and how does it work?
Google My Business is actually more than a simple listing site like every other you will most likely have come across on the web. It’s actually an SEO management system which reaches across all of Google’s products, including Maps, Shopping, and general search functions.
Users need to sign up for a My Business account. This verifies the business on Google’s directories, lets users connect with customers with review feedback, and provides the option of adding photos to Google listings.
My Business also includes powerful analytical tools, helping businesses to understand who is searching for them, where they come from, and how they search. This allows members to monitor their marketing campaigns – a very handy tool for anyone who is interested in local SEO.
But how does My Business affect SEO more generally? Let’s look closer
How Google My Business can boost your search ranking
1. It’s a major influence on local SEO
Attracting visits from local users is essential for many retailers and service providers, especially now that most people search for products via smartphones and other portable devices.
Google recommends that using Google My Business listings will give your business greater visibility especially with mobile phone users.
Using Google My Business will help your business feature more prominently in Google Maps searches, along with Local Finder and Local Pack queries. Moreover, Google also tends to award My Business members higher relevance scores for searches based around specific locations.
Being a member can also help to get ahead of your competition. Around 50% of companies have failed to create a My Business account, so those who optimize their own should be having an advantage over those who do not.
2. My Business helps you to understand your audience
Another huge benefit of using My Business revolves around the analytical tools that Google provides. Members don’t just list their location, phone number, and website. They can also track data about the type of people who are consulting their listings.
Google My Business allows you to see where people are coming from, helping to ascertain whether your audience is mainly local, or more disparate. You can also access the specific search queries used by visitors, information that you can then use to craft better content to attract high-value customers.
You can also see whether marketing campaigns have increased traffic or not – helping to decide which tactics have worked, and which need to be modified or abandoned.
4. Google My Business Reviews help to drive SEO performance
Reviews can be a huge SEO benefit for Google My Business members, and not simply because they persuade customers that you can provide the services advertised.
Businesses with a large number of positive reviews are more likely to rank well on Maps and Local Pack searches, as Google uses reviews as shorthand for relevance. This works particularly well if reviews are kept current, so actively soliciting reviews is a good idea.
Reviews themselves also include keywords, and if these keywords figure in customer queries, they can help to boost your SEO ranking. As LocalSEOGuide put it in its 2017 SEO ranking factors study, “If you aren’t focusing on a review program and working on testing how to get keywords, cities etc in reviews you are going to be far behind.”
5. Combine slick listings with high-quality content for SEO success
Google My Business listings are important tools for companies who want to win the local SEO war, and they may have major benefits for general search rankings as well.
But we also noted in passing that My Business works best in conjunction with keyword research and content marketing. If you use Google’s analytics to understand how people are reaching your profile, you’ll be in a strong position to craft content that boosts visits even more.
Google's Recommendations to Boost My Business Listing Performance
Google has provided a guide to users on how to fully get the best out of Google My Business. Google says you can improve your business’s local ranking by using Google My Business and goes further to make the following recommendations for the best performance:
Improve your info.
This is particularly important for businesses who have issues with being found on Google My Business. If your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area, Google recommends you improve the information on your listing you have provided to Google.
To maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business. Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.
Enter complete data
Google says local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches. Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, category, and attributes. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes.
Verify your location(s)
Verifying your business locations is important for your listing. Google says it gives your business the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products, like Maps and Search.
Keep your hours accurate
Entering and updating your opening hours, including special hours for holidays and special events, lets potential customers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that when they travel to your location, it will be open.
Manage and respond to reviews
Google My Business does not only provide an easy and effective way to get user reviews, it also helps you to manage and interact with your business reviews. You are able to relate with your customers by responding to the reviews that they leave about your business and you can easily understand how customers feel about your products and services.
Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews. When you get positive reviews from satisfied customers, it helps you grow your business, its rankings and visibility.
Google says adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services, and can help you tell the story of your business. Accurate and appealing pictures may also show potential customers that your business offers what they’re searching for.
How Does Google determine local ranking
In the exact words of Google, here is how Google determine local rankings:
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn't specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.
There's no way to request or pay for a better local ranking on Google. We do our best to keep the details of the search algorithm confidential to make the ranking system as fair as possible for everyone.
Things to Avoid
Just like every other information required to boost our ranking with Google, there are don't you must avoid. Here are some of the things you should not do with Google My Business.
Don't stuff only keywords in the title: If you have multiple keywords, just focus on the main one and keep the secondary ones for your website’s pages. Do not try to stuff your listing with all your keywords. Google hates keyword stuffing.
Don't list outdated information: Usres find it very frustrating when they search for a location on Google to find some information and find the phone number, but it’s either out of order or nobody ever answers it.
Google doesn’t want its users to end up having bad experiences from using its site, so that’s why it’s possible to suggest changes.
Don't Create fake locations: In order to rank in multiple cities, companies that offer online services often create multiple listings. This goes against Google’s TOS (terms of service), unless you have a real physical location in those cities.
Reviews, Questions and Answers
You must avoid these mistakes in managing your reviews.
Don't ignore clients or argue with them: Ignoring the reviews is a really bad thing. Even if the review is short, try to respond to it even if it is ust to say “Thanks!”.
Don't add fake reviews: If you add fake reviews, you can either get dropped down from the results or even be banned by Google.
Don't add negative reviews to competitors: If you think you can run down competitors with negative reviews, it is just a waste of time. It is better if you invest your time into building your brand.
Photos and Videos
Photos can guide users on where they are going and where your business is located. When the exterior is displayed, it helps users identify the location. Here are a couple of things you should not do with photos.
Do not add fake images: Don't try to manipulate users or Google. They both hate manipulation
Do not post pictures of clients without their approval: Respect the privacy of your clients and do not post their pictures without their express approval. It could get you into trouble.Try to add photos of your location without clients being captured if you don’t have their approval!
NAPW (Name, Address, Phone, Website)
Do not be inconsistent: If your citations and info around the web aren’t consistent, Google will get confused. Don’t list some opening hours on Google My Business, and different opening hours on your website. Same should go for your citations. Make them consistent. If you have multiple locations, it’s fine, but make sure you also use the city name in your Google My Business title so that Google can correctly differentiate the listings.
Google My Business can give you some visibility advantages both for local searches and the general ranking in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). GMB should therefore be taken very seriously.
Complete all the information Google asks for There are a variety of questions Google wants you to fill out to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have valuable basic data that will make it easier for potential customers to find more information about your company. And if you don’t fill out that information, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can suggest a change (or "edit") to your business listing — and that includes your competitors.
Google is always looking at the engagement searchers and you, as the owner, are having with your Google My Business listing. The more interaction, the better your chances of ranking higher in the local three-pack and organic rankings in general. That means you need to keep optimizing your Google My Business listing.
As new features come out, plan on using them to keep your GMB listing fully optimized.