How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing [Updated May 1, 2018]
Posted by sherrybonelli
Updated May 1, 2018
An important first step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business’ Google My Business (GMB) listing. Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. Qualifying local businesses can claim this free listing on Google and include information about their company, like their address, phone number, business hours, and types of payments accepted.
Additionally, over the past several months, Google has added some great features to Google My Business that companies should take advantage of that enhances your Google My Business listing and helps to grab viewers’ attention — and can increase how you rank in local search results.
If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.
Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. What most businesses don’t realize is that there are a variety of other features Google gives you that you can use to optimize your Google My Business listing and several reasons why you should frequently check your business listing to ensure that its accuracy stays intact. Want to know more?
Complete all the information Google asks for
There are a variety of questions Google wants you to fill out to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have valuable basic data that will make it easier for potential customers to find more information about your company. And if you don’t fill out that information, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can suggest a change (or “edit”) to your business listing — and that includes your competitors.
When a searcher clicks on your GMB listing they see a “Suggest an edit” option:
When someone clicks on that option they can literally edit your Google My Business listing (and make some pretty dramatic changes, too):
And these aren’t just “suggested” edits — these user-generated changes can actually be made live on your listing without you even being notified. This is just one reason why it’s very important that you log in to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing.
If you log in to Google My Business, you can switch back to the “Classic” dashboard here:
In the classic dashboard, you might see “Google Updates” notifications.
If you see updates, these are changes that Google made to your business listing because either their algorithm found new information about your business (perhaps from another directory/citation site or a change they found on your Google Map) or a Google user submitted an edit that was published. (Yes, when people make “suggested edits,” they are not really “suggestions” -– the changes are often made live without you ever getting a notification or the opportunity to dispute the change!)
When you click on “Google Updates,” you’ll see a box that allows you to “Review Updates.” It’s here where you’re given the opportunity to remove incorrect information that may have been made by a troublesome Google user.
Now, Google supposedly sends out emails to the owner and others managing your Google My Business account when changes are made, but oftentimes those people never receive notifications about changes to their listing. So beware: you may (or may not) be notified by Google if changes are made to your listing. (For example, your business category could be changed from “criminal attorney” to the generic “lawyer” category, which could negatively impact your search rankings.) That’s why it’s extra important for you to log in and check your listing frequently (especially when, quite literally, some businesses have had their address and website URLs changed in their GMB listing by nefarious users.)
If you see a change that is incorrect and you have difficulty changing it (like a bogus review, for instance), create a new post explaining the situation in detail in the Google My Business forum and reach out to one of the Google Top Contributor volunteers for help.
Also, it’s important to realize that Google encourages people who are familiar with your business to answer questions, so that Google can learn more information about your company. To do this they simply click on the “Know this place? Answer quick questions” link.
They’ll then be prompted to answer some questions about your business:
If the person knows the answer to the question, they can answer and then they’ll typically be asked another question. If not, they can decline.
Now, some business owners have cried foul, saying that competitors or others with malicious intent can wreak havoc on their Google My Business listings with these features. However, Google’s philosophy is that this type of user-generated content helps to build a community, more fully completes a business’ profile, and allows Google to experiment with different search strategies.
Just remember, after you get your Google My Business listing verified, continue to check your listing regularly to be on the safe side.
Once you have your GMB listing verified, now is the time to optimize your listing. (This is where you have a greater chance to outdo your competition!)
Google My Business Posts
Google Posts are almost like “mini-ads” or “social media posts” that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps).
To get started with Posts, log in to your GMB dashboard and you’ll see the Posts option on the left-hand side:
You can have fun with your Google My Business Posts by adding an image, a call-to-action (CTA), and even including a link to another page or website. If you’re using Yext, you can create GMB Posts directly from your Yext dashboard.
Not sure what type of Post you should make? Here are just a few Post ideas:
- If you’re having an event (like a webinar or a seminar about your chiropractic practice) you can set up an event Post with a date and time, then add a link to the registration page.
- Do you have a sale going on during a specific time? Create a “sale” event Post.
- Does your latest blog post rock? Add a short description and link to the post on your blog.
- New product you want to feature? Show a picture of this cool gadget and link to where people can make the purchase.
- Want to spread holiday joy? Give potential customers a holiday message Post.
The possibilities with Posts are endless! Posts show up prominently in your business’ Knowledge Panel, so don’t miss this opportunity to stand out.
TIP: To grab a searcher’s attention, you want to include an image in your Post, but on Google Maps the Post image can get cut off. You might have to test a few Post image sizes to make sure it’s sized appropriately for Maps and the Knowledge Panel on desktop and mobile devices.
Want to have even MORE fun and potentially help your local SEO? Try adding relevant emojis to your Post. Google is beginning to index emoji-relevant search results. (In fact, you can now search Google by “tweeting” an emoji at it!) Additionally, people — especially younger people — are beginning to search (typically on their mobile devices) with emojis! So if a person is searching for “[pizza emoji] + nearby” and you own a local pizza restaurant and use the [pizza emoji] somewhere on your Google My Business listing — like in a Post with a special offer on a pizza order — you might have an SEO edge over the other pizzeria competitors in your city.
Not sure how to add emojis? If you’re using a Windows computer, you can add emojis by pressing the Windows key + the “.” OR “;” key at the same time on your keyboard. The emoji list of characters will appear and you can select the emoji you’d like to include (but don’t get carried away — one emoji is enough):
When people search using Chrome on their smartphones with an “emoji + near me,” you might be surprised by what they find:
You got it! Google knew that I was looking for a great burger joint around my home! (Pretty cool, huh?)
Disclaimer: This strategy is still new and we’re not certain how adding emojis to your GMB listings impact these “emoji search results,” but if you have a related emoji that is pertinent to your business, you should definitely test it! (But don’t overdo the emojis — it gets obnoxious and doesn’t look professional if you go overboard.)
Posts stay live for seven days or “go dark” after the date of the event. (However, the old Posts still appear in your GMB listing — they’re just pushed down by the new Posts.)
If you’re forgetful, Google …
You can read the full article at Moz Bloghttp://seopti.com/how-to-optimize-your-google-my-business-listing-updated-may-1-2018/http://seopti.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/moz-logo.pnghttp://seopti.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/moz-logo.pngSEOMOZ