For small businesses to be easily found by users searching for your products or services, your site needs to rank well in the local listings. While studies show that 28.5% of clicks come from the first organic SERP, and drop significantly after that; the local 3-pack has the highest percentage of clicks overall at 44% CTR.
In order to maximize visibility and increase your opportunity to ranking well, it’s important to own your local listing, otherwise known as a Google My Business page.
Claiming your business profile using Google My Business
A business profile can be added to Google by anyone. A profile is a listing of your business – or a local citation. Any place added to Google Maps is given a profile, because of this you may not have control over your business location. In order to manage your business profile, you’ll need to have a separate Google My Business account for your profile’s page. You cannot manage your business profile without a Google My Business page.
You’ll need to claim ownership over your business profile and once it’s approved by Google, you’ll have a business profile to properly manage the accuracy of information consumers see.
Essentially, Google My Business is a tool used to increase the visibility of your profile. It is important to maintain accurate and up-to-date information on your business profile as other channels including Yelp and Bing get their local business information from Maps and Search as well. If possible, maintaining consistent NAP information through local directories and your site’s location information is essential.
Interacting with consumers on Google My Business
Within GMB, you can manage how your business appears in local searches and Google Maps. You can manage your NAP, images, videos and more – including reviews.
We’ve found that 93% of users are influenced by reviews regardless of whether they’re positive or negative. Therefore, it’s important to have as many positive reviews on your GMB listing as possible.
Through GMB, you can interact with consumers and engage with them when they leave you a review. This is a great way to show other consumers that you’re interested in what users have to say about your products and services. You can also enable direct messaging via your Google My Business page to be contacted directly by consumers.
It is important to know that you cannot turn off GMB reviews. If you have negative reviews, decide with the rest of your marketing team a good strategy to address them as they are likely to impact sales down the line.
Harvard Business Review found that businesses will increase sales and ratings if they respond to reviews, good or bad. Forbes recommends moving the situation offline by providing contact information of a specific company representative. By responding, you have the opportunity to increase ratings and also show potential customers that you care about your consumers experiences.
Optimizing your Google My Business page
Having a well-optimized Google My Business page can attract visibility to your site and is a crucial part of local optimization efforts.
- Add and claim your business's Google My Business page to Google Maps.
- Add a unique and detailed description of your business that encourages people to learn more. Use relevant keywords for products and services to increase rank opportunity for those queries.
- Choose a specific business category to better connect you to consumers. Some category options include grocery store, beauty supplies or fitness center. Use a category that describes your business as a whole. If your beauty supply store offers in-house services like haircuts, create a separate business profile for the services.
- Use high-quality images and videos of your products and business.
- Make sure your NAP – name, address, phone number - is completely accurate for potential local consumers.
- Encourage positive reviews from consumers. You can provide a CTA for after a purchase is made, send a thank you email requesting a review, etc.
You can leverage Google My Business to both increase visibility and your chances of outranking competitors. Manage how your business is seen on search engines and correct as much NAP information as you have control over with GMB.