How to optimize your Google My Business listing: expert advice

A Google My Business profile is essential for local SEO. It’s free and will allow you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services.

Even large queries with high volumes now show local results, something small business owners can capitalize on.

We asked SEO experts for their advice on setting up and optimizing GMB ads.

The connoisseurs are:

Greg Gifford:

GMB is incredibly important, but it’s going to lose importance now that they remove all location information from GMB listings.

There will now simply be a social interface (on a social network that no one uses). But – the GMB dashboard still provides the information to Maps and the Knowledge Box for a business, so it is still vitally important to claim your location and fill in your information.

Kevin Gibbons:

The increased visibility Google has given to Google Local listing results on mobile means that Google My Business is essential for local SEO.

If you search on a mobile device, you’ll see that organic results are now displayed under the fold (you have to scroll down to see them) and only the top three local Google results are shown – so due to the real estate page that local Google can tap into, there are huge traffic opportunities to be listed for competitive searches.

Max Holloway:

GMB is extremely important for local SEO. Without it, you won’t appear on any local map listings in the SERPs that Google shows for the vast majority of local queries.

Raj Nijjer:

Critical. It is the centerpiece and fundamental of any local campaign! You just don’t exist if you don’t create a Google my business page for your local business.

What are the most important things businesses can do to optimize their Google local listings?


It is absolutely important that the number listed is a local number and that it matches the number displayed on the landing page to which it links.

It is very important to use the real name of the company and to choose the right categories as well. Beyond that, I suspect nothing else will matter after the change.

Kevin Gibbons:

I wrote a guide about it last year which should be a good place to start, but to select some of the key points I strongly suggest:

  • First, claim your ad, because often a lot of people don’t.
  • Make sure your information is up to date (previously you might not have accepted credit cards).
  • Check your hours of operation and phone number as they often change over time or the business has new owners or managers
  • Check the professional images you use and consider updating them or downloading higher resolution versions.
  • Check that no one has made any changes to your ad and changed the companies’ website to their affiliate link, you’ve seen it too!

Max Holloway:

When it comes to choosing your categories, be specific. You have a much better chance of ranking for “Fresh Produce Grocery” or “Organic Butcher Shops” than for generic terms like “Store” or “Grocery”.

You should also add photos of the business or its customers and the people who work there. As well as opening hours and any other useful information such as parking spaces.


Raj Nijjer:

It starts with getting the right NAP (name, address, phone) and then creating quotes (lists) on all the other sites like Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The category is also important so that the consumer can find you. More recently, Google announced its surface level ranking methods.

Adding more information about your business always contributes to click-through rate. My advice has always been to create the website well and then copy all the information into GMB like description, times, menu, photos etc.

It is absolutely essential to have the same NAP information on your website, especially with tags your website therefore speaks the same language as Googlebot.

What advanced tactics can businesses use to improve their local visibility?

Greg Gifford:

Advanced tactics? Stick to the basics … have awesome content, a stunning link profile, and consistent quotes …

Kevin Gibbons:

  • Choose an image or logo that will make your ad stand out and attract clicks
  • Check popular times of the day and use paid social media or AdWords to attract more visitors during the hours when your business is open but you’re not as busy.
  • Encourage local reviews and social checkins from your customers.
  • Encourage visitors to upload photos of your location / business.
  • Use services like Yext to create relevant quotes to build your business profile and physical location.
  • Consider employing a Google Certified Photographer for a Indoor Street View Tour of your business is something we did this recently for our own office which helps to show a more personal side to the company.

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Max Holloway:

To really improve your local ranking, you will want to create citations for your local listings, these can be on the Local Business Listing (LBL) website, other websites, or even your own website, that is. that is, in a store search section.

Another important ranking factor is to encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your GMB ad. Your star rating is also displayed on the map for searches, so a high rating can also improve your click-through rate from SERPs.

When this feature was first introduced, it was scammed very easily; adding a large number of positive or negative reviews would have a huge impact on your ranking, and you might see small businesses on the outskirts of London ranking for the terms of “Hairdresser London”. Fortunately, this has now been fixed.

To further improve your local visibility, you will want to create pages about the services you offer in certain places and theme those pages appropriately, usually along the lines of [service] in [location].

If you notice that some of these pages are struggling to rank well, you will need to start linking to them. Often, links from other local sites can have a greater impact on rankings than more generic or high authority sites, because Google will place more importance on their locality than most other factors (in terms of local rankings).

Raj Nijjer:

First, Prominence – reviews and exposure. Google wants to translate the popularity offline to online. Getting positive reviews is essential these days, so it is essential that business owners work with their best customers to get positive reviews that mention their products and services.

Second, duplicates – since there is no master record, editors constantly compile and recompile data, which creates duplicates. Many of these duplicates have the wrong name, address, or phone number. It can really hurt your ranking! Removing these duplicates is a MUST because Googlebot is a machine and it cannot deduce which list is the correct one.

Finally, I call this approach the CAN principle.

  • Consistency – having the same NAP data on directory sites and search engines. This is something that I evangelize at Yext.
  • Accuracy – correct your Nap data in the local ecosystem to make sure it is consistent. Also, get rid of duplicate listings which can hurt your ranking as it confuses Google.
  • Number – have authoritative quotes (lists) on as many quotes as possible. There are over 50 sites where you can create a citation for your local business and many other specific vertical sites.

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