“You need to be on Google; it’ll help you with your SEO!” While organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always a great thing to have with your website, if you’re a local business, restaurant, etc., there may be one platform that you’ve been completely ignoring: Google My Business. On top of maintaining other local SEO based platforms such as Yelp and OpenTable, Google My Business is one of the most important platforms to leverage for local search.
What is this?
Google My Business is a platform Google has been pushing to empower local businesses. If you have googled a business and noticed a card to the right with the name of the business along with a map, phone number, hours, reviews, and more, then you’ve seen Google My Business. This card can improve your local business with search, helping people find where you’re located and a robust collection of other features we’ll discuss below. First things first: How do you even get on Google My Business?
The first step is to claim your account by providing Google your business’ information and clicking “Start Now”. While you can update some information immediately, Google will limit you until you verify your listing (via a code sent by phone, text, mail, etc.) Once verified, you’ll be able to make changes that will reflect on Google for people to see. This is the beginning in leveraging your Google My Business account to gain some traction with local SEO.
Populating Your Profile
While a great first step, populating and engaging with the platform and being consistent will lead to more results than just having a profile. For any local brick and mortar business, adding your location, hours, website URLs, amenities, and highlights are all things you can do to immediately get some traction. The next step is to populate your account with photos, starting with a profile, cover, and photos of your actual location. Take it a step further by adding an entire 360-degree tour through your business.
Restaurants can really leverage Google My Business by adding their menus, so when people search they can better see what you have to offer. (Note: Google will also pull menus off your website to show in search, so make sure all posted menus are updated and accurate). You can also add photos of menu items, which will really help people to see what type of quality food you have (remember: people eat with their eyes first – especially online).
Recently, Google My Business introduced “Posts”. Posts let you highlight events or photos of things you have going on at your location. This helps showcase fresh content on your Google My Business profile when potential customers are searching for your business.
Pushing to acquire more reviews (great ones, of course) are an important part of Google My Business. Google loves to see that you are acquiring great reviews, and this is also a plus for any customer that is looking to visit your business. Interacting with customers on a public forum shows Google you are engaged with your customers, which will reflect in your search engine visibility and trust score. It is also some of the best offline marketing (through word of mouth) your business can get.
Insights are where Google My Business shines. This section is packed with analytics which helps you carve out a solid marketing strategy or refine your current one. Some of these analytics include peak traffic hours, area code that people are searching for your website, and actions customers take from your Google My Business account (calls, link clicks, etc.).
Although we all know Google is a powerhouse with services that can really round out your digital marketing footprint (Google Merchant Center, Google Ads, Google Search Console), getting a start with Google My Business helps you build a strong foundation.