It is critical for anyone to choose the right tool for a job/business. The 3-pack on Google Maps is really profitable for you and your client. An important first step for any location-based strategy most seasoned SEO professionals start is by creating a Google My Business (GMB) listing which is completely free. Getting on GMB listing can increase your chances of showing up in Google Maps, organic rankings and Google’s local pack. Since many people are struggling with this, I have mentioned some simple yet best actionable ways to rank high in the GMB.
What is Google My Business (GMB)?
GMB is an easy-to-use, free tool that helps businesses to manage their online presence and appearance both in the Google Search Engine Result Page’s and Google Maps.
On a mobile, the GMB listing will be displayed on the top of organic results. On a desktop, GMB listing will be displayed to the right of the organic and paid search results.
1. Optimize your Google My Business (GMB) Listing
It may sound like a no-brainer, but completing the NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) list accurately is highly important to rank. It is important to make sure that your map, address, phone number, business hours, email address, website details, etc.., are filled up and are exactly the same as it is mentioned on your website. This makes potential customers find your business in an easier way.
2. Be Accurate On Category
The category should be accurate. In GMB listing, you have a primary category and you are allowed to list several subcategories. Your primary category should match up with the main keywords that you are trying to rank. Fill out the second category with related categories. This is a way to increase impressions for other keywords.
Note: If you have a listing that is irrelevant to your business, you will show up to irrelevant people. People start clicking on it and realize that you don’t have what they want; they go back to search results. Google gets to know this and it drops your rankings. Hence, an accurate listing of the category is important.
Google loves people who upload images. Hence start uploading your profile photo, store’s exterior photos, interior photos, cover photos, product pictures, brand logos, team photos, and etc.., Adding pictures to your business is a great way to humanize your brand. All the images should follow the below guidelines:
Format: PNG or JPG
Size: At least 10 KB to a maximum of 5 KB
Resolution (minimum): 720px * 720px
Quality: Well-focus, well-lit pictures representing reality.
As I told you, Google loves you only when everyone loves you. When a customer or friend visits your place, ask them to search for your business in Google Maps. Once they find your business, there would be an option for them to upload photos (Photos > Upload photos); ask them to click pictures and upload. Google loves when customers interact. It praises and compliments you by ranking you high!
4. Business Description
Earlier, a business description used to be a part of a local listing, but it was removed in the year 2016. It has further been reintroduced in March 2018. Since Google reviews your business description, it is very important to write a business description that adheres Google’s guidelines. A business description can contain a maximum of 750 characters in length, but only 250 characters show up in the knowledge panel.
To rank high, include important information like keywords, city name and etc.., at the beginning of the business description.
Tip: Write what you offer, what makes your business different, a bit about your history, and anything you think might be useful to your customers.
Path: GMB>>Dashboard>>Info>> Scroll down >> Business description.
Your Google reviews are most likely the first thing somebody notices when they search for businesses like yours. Reviews can help you rank and improve your CTR in the search results page. 84% of people trust online reviews. So, you need to have lots of good high-quality positive reviews. User behavior and CTR are the two large ranking factors of Google. Ask your satisfied customers to review your place on Google. If you are asking your previous clients for reviews, then make sure you don’t ask them all of them at the same time. Having reviews at the same time may sound uncanny to Google. Place your Google Maps review link on your invoices, business cards, and email signatures. This is technically wrong, but this is an easy way for your customers to review your business. You can attract more customers and you don’t want to miss this.
Tip: Make sure to earn a good review but not bribe someone to leave you a good review.
Check out this link on how to get more Google Reviews for your business.
6. Fix Your On-page
When you are trying to rank high on Google Maps, on-page SEO is a must. Having a mobile-friendly website with the high loading speed and an SSL certificate installed along with the presence of all on-page SEO factors is a must for your website to rank high in Google My Business listing.
Click here to check the most important On-Page SEO Factors.
Posts in Google My Business are like mini ads displaying on your business listing. You can use them to promote seasonal offers, new product launches, events, unique products, and etc.., like whatever else you may think is credible to your business. This powerful marketing tool is being used by very few businesses today. Posts can really make your listing stand out as you can use images, Call – To – Action (CTA) and even add a link to your website.
Tip: When you are trying to include an image in the post, the post image can get cut off in Google Maps. Hence make sure to test a few Post image sizes so that it approximately fits for Maps and the knowledge panel on desktop and mobile devices.
There is one more interesting thing here. People started to search with emojis. For example, if there is a person who is searching for nearby pizza shops in this way, ‘[pizza emoji]+ near me’; and if you have a post with the pizza emoji in it, then your business shows up. This way, you can overcome your competitors and be able to rank!!! So cool right! Adding emoji to your post is very simple. On your keyboard, press the Windows key along with “.” Or “;” simultaneously. You will have a list of emojis, include the one that suits your post and publish the post. You are done!!!
1. Include only one emoji. Never overdo it as it gets obnoxious.
2. When you are posting a post in GMB, the best dimensions for the picture that you upload should be 590px * 445px and it has to have a maximum of 300 words.
Path: GMB Dashboard >> Posts (to your left)>> Create Post.
8. Q & A
This feature enables interaction between you and your potential customers. Engagement and interaction are highly important to rank in your business. Monitor this activity if you are serious about your online reputation, as anyone can answer your customer’s questions.
9. Service Menu
This was initially launched to give restaurant owners the option of adding their food menu as a part of their Google listing. Now, this has been extended to services like electricians, beauty services, digital agencies, florists, and etc.., Businesses can add their list of services in this section.
Path: GMB >> Info >> Services. The service menu is visible through GMB only on mobile phones.
Tip: If you own a service business with a set of prices, I’d recommend you to update them on a regular basis so that your customers stay tuned with all your services.
It is estimated that by 2021, 82% of all the internet traffic will be video related. Videos are highly powerful that almost 85% of all Facebook videos are watched on mute. Your ideal video should be 30 seconds long and should contain details like your business place, people who work there, and etc.., Never publish a video from the stock library. A decent video shoot from your mobile phone suffices. A picture is worth a 1000 words and a video is worth a 1000 pictures. That’s the power of a video! So hurry to shoot up a video for your store!!
GMB guidelines for a video are:
Duration: Up to 30 seconds long.
Resolution: 720p or higher.
File Size: Up to 100 MB.
Path: GMB >>Photos >> Add video.
11. Direct Messages
This is another great way to interact and stay in touch with your customers. Direct messaging gives a personal touch to your customers thus improving your business as Google always watches engagement.
Path: GMB Dashboard >> Messaging >> Set up your phone number and a welcome message.
12. Website Builder
If you have no website and you are on a tight budget, then this one is for you. GMB provides a free web page to promote your business. Without any coding skills or fancy graphics software, you can design a professional-looking website in just a few minutes. Multiple pre-defined formats make the web building process very easy.
For more details on how to build a website builder using GMB, click here.
Follow these strategies to rank high in the GMB listing. It is also necessary for your business to have a high social presence which matters a lot in terms of ranking. Install the Google My Business app on your phone, and turn on the notifications tab to get updated with the things like new reviews, messages, and etc.., that is happening on your GMB page.
Be Cautious: Anyone can edit your GMB page using the ‘suggest an edit’ option. Further, they can even answer the questions in the Q & A section. Hence as a business owner, it is very much important for you to check and maintain your GMB page.
New features come out every time; hence plan on using them to keep your GMB listing fully optimized.