A Google My Business listing is an essential part of SEO for any business, especially when it comes to local search. It is a free and easy to use tool, but many business owners are overlooking it and missing out on the opportunity to appear in local search results for queries related to their business.
For local searches the top three results are usually displayed above the natural search results which means there is a great opportunity to appear high in the search results and as a result gain extra traffic to your website. Your Google My Business contains all your core information and displays it in search results, maps searches and Google+. This means that your business can be found by users on all devices and makes it very easy for people to get in touch with you directly without even having to visit your website to find your contact details. An example of how useful this can be is somebody in a new city looking for somewhere to eat. A search for ‘places to eat’ yields a map centered on their location with relevant results as well as the top three Google Business listings. From here it is possible to see the style of restaurant, ratings and distance from your location. Clicking one of these top three results takes the user to the business page of the restaurant where they can see a wealth of information about the restaurant including photos, virtual tour (if available), directions and a click to call option.
Setting Up Your Google Business Listing
- Navigate to Google My Business and click START NOW. You will need to be logged in with a Google account to continue to set up your business listing. If you do not have one already there is an option to set on up from this page.
- Carefully enter your business details and select the category that most closely matches your business. Ensuring your name, address and phone number (NAP) are consistent and accurate across all your directory listings is a crucial part of local SEO.
- Once all your details are entered you will need to confirm you are authorised to complete the listing and then click to continue which will create the Google+ page for your business.
- Once your business listing is complete the final stage is to verify your business information is accurate. You need to do this before you can manage your business information and listing on Google+, Maps and search. There are several verification methods and Google will decide which one is most suitable for your business. Sending a verification code by postcard to your business address is the most common. It can take up to two weeks for the postcard to arrive so make sure you claim your business listing as soon as possible. Whilst you are waiting for the verification postcard do not make any changes to your listing as this will result in a further delay.
- From your Google My Business console enter the verification code from the postcard and you will then be able to edit your listing.
Optimsing Your Business Listing
Once your listing is verified there are several areas in which you can improve it. The more information you provide the more useful it will be to searchers.
- Check your information again ensuring it is correct and matches EXACTLY the information on your website.
- Add opening hours as this can be very helpful for customers.
- Look for any duplicate listings of your business and if you find any request that they are removed as this can be detrimental to your search ranking.
- Add high quality photos that help to promote your location, products and services.
- Ask your customers/clients to leave you a review. Google sees reviews as a very important quality factor when it displays results in search.
- Add more business categories which helps you to be found in more searches. Be as specific as possible to ensure your listing appears in the most relevant search results.
- You will now have access to your Google Map listing enabling you to embed a map on your website.
- Consider adding an indoor virtual tour for your premises to provide an engaging way for customers to see inside your business before they visit. Swerve Media are Google Trusted Photographers and can provide this service for you.
Get in touch with for a Free Local SEO audit to ensure your Google Business listing and much more are fully optimised.