The Google My Business concept and results have been around the search engine results page for quite some time. Frustratingly for those within the industry, the name and platform that these results come from have changed over the last number of years. As of the time of writing this, they are currently referred to as Google My Business, which references the 3-pack map results in some search queries with geo-modifiers (or even some searches without).
I wanted to write this post as a way to introduce you to GMB and the methods for Google My Business Optimization and ranking. While a lot of the factors are consistent between the GMB and pure organic search rankings, it’s good to know what can set you apart.
Correct Business Data – Everywhere
It’s really important that you keep all references of your business as consistent as possible. Specifically, your business name, business address, and business phone number. You should decide on a consistent format and keep it consistent regardless of where you use it.
For GMB rankings, consistency is important. Here is an example of what I mean. These two business citations are both the same business but appear very different to Google:
123 Main Street, Unit 5
ACME Industrial, Inc
5-123 Main St
I’ve used different formatting for the name, address, and the phone number. You need to decide on how you’re going to represent your business on the web and be consistent. The appearance of your business name, address, and phone number is what people in the industry commonly refer to as the business NAP.
I should stress the importance of defining your format based on your Google My Business profile and then use that elsewhere. This will ensure that the correct format is on your GMB profile.
Optimize your Google My Business Profile
Similar to on page seo, your Google My Business profile also needs to be optimized. Here are some ways to optimize your profile quickly:
- Include Keywords within your name and description when possible and natural.
- Add data for all available sections including hours of operations.
- Be sure to select all appropriate categories for your business.
- Include relevant and appropriate rich media such as images and videos.
In a nutshell, have a complete profile and don’t shy away from being obvious about what your business does.
Get real reviews from real customers
Reviews are great not only for overall rankings and visibility but also for click-through from the search engine results page. Be sure to ask existing and past clients to leave real reviews in order to help promote your GMB profile and listing.
Be found around the web – local citations
Local citations, or instances of your business’ name, address, and phone number found around the web act similar to how links help organic rankings. They indicate to Google that your business is well established or popular. Getting citations on local websites in your local market is even more beneficial, but having listings in the popular directory websites like Yellowpages and Yelp will also help.
Move close to town?
If you’re trying to increase visibility for a popular city keyword and you live way outside the city in the suburbs, you’re going to have a much more difficult time ranking than someone right downtown. The reason for this is because Google uses the radius of the address from the geo modifier or the location of the user to display not only the best results but also the closest results.
Chances are however that you will show up for someone searching within your suburb or for a user that is located there.
Other important ranking factors
Domain authority, number of high quality links, and website relevance to the keyword(s) are all important ranking factors. A balance between GMB-specific factors and overall website metrics is important for the best results.
If you have any questions about Google my business optimization or would like to leave your comments and takes on things, please leave a comment below.
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