Without a doubt, Google My Business is one of the biggest missed opportunities for local businesses.
- It is free
- It provides you the opportunity to show up near the top of page 1 on Google in a competitive market
- Believe it or not, it does not even require your business have a website to show up
Google attempted to create a social media platform years ago to try and compet with Facebook. User adoption did not go over so well so Google turned their focus onto businesses. They integrated this platform with their maps and this turned into a big success,
Since the name has changed over the years, you’ll hear it reffered to as
- Google +
- Google Plus
- Google Maps
- Google My Business
It is still an integral part of that social media platform and there has been some user adoption. You will find a community that likes using Google plus. In this case though, we are looking at this online profile as more of a directory listing. A directory listing in the largest and most used search engine in the world.
First, an understanding of why this listing is so important. Since searches online for businesses or services end up having mostly local intent, Google developed a verifiable system to confirm actual businesses. It can thereby provide a reliable source for it’s users.
So that there is confidence that the business address is correct, they will actually send a postcard in the mail with a code that needs to be entered into your profile. Even businesses that work out of their home can uses this because you can hide your address once confirmed. The team at Google just wants to know that the address is legitimate.
One of the the reason that the listing is so powerful is that you can tell the search engine about your business. When you put information on your website, no matter how great you are at SEO, The search engine is trying to match the term that someone is searching for to the most relevent page. It does not see your website as a business. It cannot tell the difference between your fishing store and someones term paper on the book “The Old Man And The Sea”,
Do not misunderstand. Search Engine Optimization is one of the strangest marketing tools today. But when someone has the intention of finding “fishing store nashville, tn”, Google is going to be far more likely to place that local listing at the top of the search results.
Now the question becomes, “how do I do that?”
Believe it or not, these listing can become optimized. Just because there are over 20 fishing stores in doesn’t necessarily mean yours will be the one that makes it to that three pack on page 1. That term three pack is derived from Google’s guidelines that 3 listings will show up together with the the map on page one when a search is conducted.
If you click on the bottom for “more places”, it will take you to the map section where you will find the extened list of bsuinesses that also met the search criteria. Whether you are in forth place or ninth does not matter. Most people will not go past the three pack on the first page.
These listing within the maps are sorted by most relevant to your search. They take into account the trust that Google has in the listing. The location of your computer or phone is even taken into account. Yes, they usually know where you are.
So what can be done to Optimize this listing? – Answer: Lots!
Fill out as much as possible. The more data that Google has, the more it can understand your business. Remember, the algorithm knows your website as just that, a website. It doesn’t understand that it represents your business. This is your opportunity to tell Google about your company.
Citations are a big piece of the puzzle. To learn more about these, go to our post about NAP Listings.
Add your address to your website if possible. The search engines will match your Google My Business listing to your address on the website.
If your business has multiple locations, create a page for each location and then use the location pages for each respective listing. so if you have a location in Detroit, the Google plus listing should use a URL like domain.com/detroit or something like this. If all of your listings for all locations are the main Domain.com, you’ll find it to be a less effective strategy.