For local SEO, a Google My Business profile is extremely crucial. You can create the profile for free and it ensures your business gets found in local search results for the keywords that you use to optimize your profile. Also, getting your business on GMB increases the likelihood of your business showing up high in organic rankings, Google Maps, Local Pack and Local Finder. So, it makes sense to optimize your Google My Business profile, especially since 46% of all searches on Google are local searches.
Here are the things you can do to optimize your Google My Business profile and ensure your business can be found by your prospective customers:
Claim and Verify Your GMB Listing
Your local SEO strategy should begin with claiming and verifying your GMB listing. You can do this for free, but does involve a process that you need to follow. First, create a Google business account and then enter the name and address in the search box to see if there is a listing already for your business. If yes, you need to claim it. In case there is no listing, just click on Add Your Business and follow the steps listed.
Thereafter, you need to verify the listing to demonstrate to Google that you are the rightful owner. Google will send a postcard to your business address with a code. This takes about two weeks but is worthwhile. After entering the verification code, you will be able to manage your GMB profile effortlessly.
Enter All Required Information
Once you finish verifying your GMB profile, it is time to fill the requisite information. Make sure you fill the required sections in entirety so that your prospective customers can find you easily when doing a search for the product or service you offer. Also, in case you don’t fill in all the sections, someone else can end up doing it.
When customers visit your GMB profile, they see a Suggest an Edit option. If they click on this option, they can alter the information that is entered. So, ensure that you fill in the right information and periodically revisit your GMB profile to ensure no edits or unwanted changes have taken place.
Source: Suits Social
Upload Google My Business Posts
It is prudent to remember that Google My Business is not a replacement for your business website. Rather, it is meant to complement your existing website to enhance you online visibility. Similarly, you can use Google My Business Posts to boost your online visibility. These are mini ads that will appear in Google search in your Knowledge Panel and Google Maps.
Source: Luna Metrics
Use these posts to engage your audience by adding images, call to action and even a link your website. Use Google Posts to let potential and existing customers know about an event, promotion, special offer, a new product or even a new blog post. These posts will be available online for seven days after which they disappear. You will get a reminder from Google about making a new post. You can use TribeLocal, a web-based local SEO tool, to make this an easy experience. You can create Google Posts and manage your GMB profile with the help of TribeLocal without any hassle.
You don’t want to miss adding Google Posts to your GMB profile as they help in improving search engine results ranking.
Enable the Messaging Option
For a local business, building and nurturing relationships are important for local SEO and customer loyalty. So, use the messaging option to connect with prospective customers. This option allows them to send phone messages to you. It is a great way to capture mobile phone users who are looking for products or services on the go.
Presently, just mobile phone users performing a search on Chrome can sent text messages, but it is a worthwhile option to have for local SEO.
Make Full Use of Questions and Answers Feature
There is no doubt that potential customers will want to know something about your business, product or service. This option allows them to directly ask you their questions and clears their doubts.
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Make sure you answer questions posted by prospects quickly, as just like Suggest an Edit, any person can answer the questions on your behalf. This way, you won’t have to worry about the accuracy of the answers and also ensure your prospects and leads get the right information quickly, clearly and concisely.
Encourage Customers to Post GMB Reviews
Be sure to ask your customers to post reviews on your GMB profile. You can manage the reviews with TribeLocal. Just make sure you respond to every review, be it positive or negative.
The 2017 Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal states that 97% consumers read online reviews of local businesses and 85% have faith and trust in these reviews. Hence, getting reviews in an ethical manner from your customers is a good thing for your business. These reviews will be available with ratings in Google Maps and Knowledge Panel search. So, go for it.