Having your local business listed on Google has become expected by most people nowadays. Making sure it’s up to date and optimized is essential.

This tool helps local businesses by allowing them to decide how they appear in searches and helps them gain more authority in rankings.

If you aren’t using Google My Business Optimization, you could be missing out on customers.

Best part is, it’s free.

In this post, we will cover how to optimize your Google My Business listing for your local SEO efforts. You can expect to learn the following:

What is a Google My Business Listing?

Screenshot example of a google my business listing that has google my business optimization
Google My Business is a tool that allows you to edit and manage your Business Profile on Google. Your Business Profile is what Google calls your Google Business Listing.

This is what you see in Google Maps and in local searches. It typically has a company’s hours, links to their website, contact info, and other relevant information.

You probably use businesses’ Google profiles all the time to look things up like directions, phone numbers, or the hours they are open. And if you have, you know how helpful and convenient it can be.

Don’t you want potential customers to be able to easily figure out how to do business with you?

How will a Google Business Profile benefit my business and my search rankings?

Aside from a Google My Business listing being the social norm for businesses, using Google My Business Optimization can help grow your business by:

  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Making it easy for people to contact you
  • Adding your businesses location in Google Maps
  • Streamlining the process of users becoming clients
  • Showcasing reviews

Just like how Google indexes and ranks websites, they do the same for Business Profiles. So, in a similar way to using keywords on websites, you can use keywords in your profile to help you rank better.

Google wants to make sure that they are showing your Profile to the right consumers. An optimized profile makes it easier for Google to do that.

How do I set up a Google My Business listing?

To set up your Google Business Profile you will have to link it to your Google My Business Account. Your account is how you manage and update your Business Profile. You can sign up for an account here. After you have signed up you will be prompted to verify your business.

Getting a Google My Business listing verified

Most local businesses get verified by mail. Google mails you a verification code that you enter into your profile to verify your business.

Once you are verified you can start filling out your profile. You will want to fill out any information you can that pertains to your business and would make a potential customer’s life easier. Things like:

  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Physical addresses for Google Maps
  • Hours of operations
  • Logos or photos of business

Having all those things added to your Profile not only makes the lives of people interested in your business easier but also acts as the groundwork for optimizing your Profile.

How do I optimize my Google Business profile?

Screenshot to show the Info tab of the Google Business Profile Manager
To start optimizing your Profile you will need to be logged into the Google Business Profile Manager. From there you can go to “Info” and fill out the following sections.

  • Category – Here you will want to select any industry categories that relate to your business. You can set your primary category and additional categories. This helps customers find your business based off your industry.
  • Business Location – You can use the address you want customers to visit or you can select “No location; deliveries and home services only” if you don’t have a physical location for customers to visit.
  • Service Areas – Add anywhere your business delivers to or services. This will help Google show your profile to those who can benefit from using your business.
  • Services – List any and all services you offer. If you have fixed pricing, you can add in prices along with the services. This helps Google learn what your business does and how it can help people searching for services you offer.
  • Business Description – Here you should describe what your business does and why people should choose your business over your competitors. Your business description is also a crucial spot to add in some keywords if you have done any keyword research. If you don’t know what keywords you should be using, we can help you with that, just reach out!
  • Attributes – Attributes are intended to help your business stand out. You will want to think about your business and what makes it special. Maybe you’re veteran-owned or women-owned. If you’re a restaurant maybe you have outdoor seating or free WiFi.

Managing reviews and questions

One of the things that makes your Google My Business so helpful is it offers a place for customers to leave reviews or ask questions. These can also be seen by anyone visiting your Profile.

Having good reviews helps google establish your authority in your industry and helps reassure customers that you do awesome work! You are going to want to respond to all reviews, even the negative ones.

Google understands we are all human and regardless of what you do, you will eventually receive a negative review.

So, commenting on it offering an apology and a solution to remedy the upset customer’s dilemma helps show google that you do honest work and you are actively trying to make sure every customer is happy.

Answering questions on your Profile not only shows Google that you know what you are doing but could help a customer find the answer they are looking for even easier. This can help you build trust with a client before they even visit your website.

The more positive reviews and answered questions on your Profile the better. In your Profile Manager, there is an option to generate a link that directs anyone who clicks on it straight to your reviews to leave a review.

This can be really useful to send to any clients you know are happy with you.

Using posts to help boost your traffic

Screenshot of using the create post in Google Business Profile Manager to use Google My Business Optimization
Posts are a great way to give customers a glimpse into what your business is up to. Consistent posts help show Google that you are an active business.

You can use posts for all sorts of things like to announce the launch of a new product or spotlight a new employee.

There are usually 4 different kinds of posts: Offers, What’s new, Events, and Products. However, Google has an extra option added called COVID-19 Updates because of the pandemic.

  • Offers – These posts are perfect for any sales or specials you might have going on. You will have fields to enter in things like an offer description, coupon code, links, and terms and conditions. You can even schedule them to start and end at a specific date and time.
  • What’s New – What’s new posts are perfect for giving customers insight into your business. You can think of these as your more typical social media posts. Things like behind the scenes, finished projects/case studies, business updates, and blog articles are all great topics for What’s new posts.
  • Events – Event posts are perfect for, you guessed it, events. Events could be things like a sale going on at your store or maybe a webinar you’re hosting or speaking at. You will be able to add start and end times and dates just like with an Offer post. You will also be able to add details and a button if you want.
  • Products – As you can imagine, this would be a good place to list any products you have for sale. This can be especially helpful for e-commerce or any online store. You will be able to name it, select a category, add a price (optional), a description, and a button.
  • COVID-19 Update – While this option is temporary, it certainly has stuck around a lot longer then anyone anticipated. This is a good place to inform any customers about any changes in your business related to COVID-19. This post option gives you a description box and a button to link clients to any related information.

As I have mentioned in this post before, Google looks for consistency. So staying consistent in your posting is crucial in helping build your authority and attract more customers. Some Profiles post every day, I would recommend no less than once a week.

Reach out today if you need help using Google My Business Optimization to increase traffic

Managing reviews, answering questions, and posting once a week can seem like a lot to do. Let us at Hood West Design help you manage your profile so you can stick to doing what you do best, running your business! Contact us today to get started.