Local SEO Success: Google My Business SEO Checklist

Table of Contents

If you own a local business, you know that maintaining a powerful online presence is an ever-evolving landscape. You also probably know that local search and SEO are more important than ever. In fact, last year 98% of people used the internet to search for information on local businesses. But it can be hard to know how to effectively navigate local SEO and your digital brand because the landscape shifts quickly.

To help, below we’ll walk you through what local SEO is and how your online presence – in particular, Google Business Profile Optimization – can help you stand out so that people find and select your business when searching online.

What Is Google My Business?

As the stat above showcases, when potential customers look for businesses in their area, they turn to online search engines like Google to do their research. This is where a Google Business Profile (also known as a Google My Business account or GMB) can make the difference in whether they choose you or your competition.

A Google Business Profile is a powerful tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence. Think of your GMB profile like your digital storefront on Google Search and Maps. It is where potential customers can find all the essential info about your business, like your name, address, phone number (NAP for short), website URL, and business hours.  By optimizing your business profile, you can improve your local SEO and reach more potential customers.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s rewind a bit.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO – or search engine optimization – is the process of optimizing your online presence to attract customers in your local area. You can think of it as the secret sauce for getting your business noticed by people searching for similar businesses nearby. 

Local SEO efforts focus on getting your business to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for searches local to your geographic area. Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best results possible for their search query. So, when someone is searching online with local intent, such as “good Chinese food near me,” Google will show local results, especially Map Pack results, higher than others.

This is where if you’re a local business, you’ll want to invest in a local SEO strategy that lets both Google and potential customers know you’re a reputable business that fits their needs in their specific area.

What Should a Local SEO Strategy Include?

An effective local SEO strategy will be multifaceted and include:

  • On-Page SEO: Optimize your website for local search by including relevant keywords in your website content, title tags, and meta descriptions.
  • Local Backlinks: Build backlinks to your website from high-quality local directories and businesses.
  • High-Quality Content: Produce and post high-quality content that is relevant to your local audience and provides value.
  • Business Listing Management: Create consistent and accurate business listings, including identical name, address and phone number (NAP) across all applicable websites.
  • Optimizing your Google Business Profile: Your Google Business Profile is the foundation of your local SEO efforts. Making sure your profile is complete and accurate is key. This means including your business name, address, phone number (NAP), website URL, business hours and much more. We’ll dive into more details below.

Local SEO is a valuable strategy that can help you attract more customers, increase brand awareness and improve your business’s bottom line. Now that you understand what it is and why it’s important, you may be wondering how a Google Business Profile fits into a local SEO game plan.

Is Google My Business Considered SEO?

Your Google Business Profile (aka GMB), in and of itself is not considered a standalone SEO tool. Rather, it is an integral part of a comprehensive strategy.

While it’s not a direct ranking factor in the search algorithm, it plays a significant role.  Because local SEO focuses on optimizing your online presence to attract customers searching for businesses in their area, your Google Business Profile is particularly important. It provides Google with the authoritative information it needs to display your business in relevant local searches.

Does Having a Google Business Profile Help with SEO?

We touched on it quickly above, but the resounding answer is yes. A Google Business Profile can significantly help your local SEO efforts. Your business profile will:

  • Increase your business’s visibility in local search. When potential customers search for businesses like yours, your Google Business Profile will appear in the results.
  • Improve click-through rates. Stats show that Google Business Profiles often have higher click-through rates than organic search results. This means more people are likely to visit your website or call your business.
  • Enhance your brand’s reputation. A well-maintained business profile can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers, past clients and referrals.

Do Google My Business Reviews Help SEO?

Google reviews are crucial to creating an optimized digital storefront, showcasing customer experiences and fostering trust with potential customers. Positive reviews can significantly boost a business’s credibility and attract new customers.

Google recognizes the importance of customer feedback. Therefore, it incorporates reviews on your Google Business Profile into its complex SEO algorithm. Reviews impact SEO in several ways:

  • Local Search Rankings: Google heavily relies on Google Reviews to determine the relevance and trustworthiness of local businesses. Businesses with a plethora of positive reviews are more likely to appear in the coveted “Map Pack” section at the top of local search results.
  • Organic Search Rankings: Google Reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, but they also influence organic search rankings. A steady stream of positive reviews signals to Google that a business is well-regarded and relevant. This in turn can potentially boost its organic rankings.
  • Engagement Signals: Google considers user engagement metrics, such as time spent on a page and click-through rates, when determining search rankings. Businesses with a large number of Google Reviews tend to attract more engagement, which can positively impact their SEO performance.

As you can see, Google reviews are an indispensable tool for businesses seeking to enhance their SEO efforts. By actively encouraging and managing Google Reviews, you can establish a strong online presence, build trust with potential customers, and ultimately achieve your SEO goals.

Do Google My Business (GMB) Posts Affect SEO?

One of the features of your Google My Business (aka Google Business Profile) account is the ability to create posts. Posts are short snippets of content that can be used to share updates, promotions, and other information.

Over the past few years, Google has increased the importance of GMB posts in its search algorithms. This means that posts can now directly impact a business’s SEO through a few different ways:

  • Increased visibility: When a business creates a GMB post, it is displayed in the business’s knowledge panel on Google Search. This can help to increase the visibility of the business in search results.
  • Improved click-through rates: A relevant and engaging GMB post can encourage users to visit the website or call the business. This can lead to increased traffic and conversions.
  • Enhanced local ranking: Google takes into account a variety of factors when determining local search rankings. These factors include engagement with Google Business Profile posts. This means businesses that create and share high-quality GMB posts can improve their local ranking.

So, Is Google My Business Worth the Effort for Local SEO?

Yes, Google My Business is definitely worth the effort for local SEO. Claiming and setting up your Google Business Profile is a direct signal to Google that your business is relevant to local searches.

When you create and fully optimize your profile, you’re telling Google that your business is located in a specific area and that you serve customers in that area. Additionally, an optimized Google Business Profile can help your business rank higher in local SERPs.

Google uses several factors to determine which businesses to show in local search results. The three main ones are relevance, distance and prominence.

  • Relevance refers to how well a Google Business Profile matches what a user is looking for. You can showcase to the search engine your relevance by thoroughly completing every section of your profile. Google states, “Add complete and detailed business information to help Google better understand your business and match your profile to relevant searches.”  Your goal should be to fill your profile with as much relevant information as possible.
  • Distance is how far each result is from the location term used in a search. If the searcher doesn’t include a location, Google will use the information they have about the user’s location. Ensuring your business location and address are correct will help here.
  • Prominence is how well-known the business is. This is an area where optimizing your profile can have a big impact on your rankings. As we mentioned earlier, more Google reviews and positive ratings will significantly help build your business’s prominence.

Your optimized Google Business Profile plays a vital role in all three of the above. We cannot overstate the fact that your business profile is one of the top ways to improve your local SEO results.

How Can I Improve My GMB Profile?

Now that you understand how impactful an optimized Google Business Profile can be on your local SEO efforts, you may be wondering how to get started? Once you have set up your profile, you’ll want to ensure it is fully optimized by:

  • Completing your profile: It’s important you fill out every part of your Google Business Profile. The more details you include, the better Google can match you to local search queries and the more you’ll stand out to prospective clients.
  • Choosing the right categories: The rule of thumb is to first select a category that best represents your business. You will set that as the “Primary” category. You then want to include any supplementary categories that are relevant. Most businesses have at least 2 to 3 additional. Selecting appropriate categories can make the difference in outranking your competition in search results.
  • Adding photos: Photo and video content can cover a variety of subjects, from team photos to behind-the-scenes content to educational videos. You will want to add as many photos as possible. Stats show that profiles with 100 or more photos get 512% more clicks than profiles with less than 100.
  • Encouraging and responding to reviews: We highly recommend that you encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business account. It’s also just as important that you respond to every single review you receive, both positive and negative.
  • Posting regularly: To fully optimize your profile, you should post at least once a week. Posting is a great opportunity to engage with customers and, as noted earlier, it will enhance your local SEO efforts.

What is a GBP Audit?

A GBP audit is an assessment of your Google Business Profile to identify any areas for improvement. It can be your secret weapon for identifying areas where you can improve your local SEO strategy and have a more powerful online presence.

If you’re interested in learning more about a Google Business Profile audit, you can reach out to us at Optimize5. You will walk away with a comprehensive plan to look great online to both prospective clients and Google.

Conclusion

Knowing that Google dominates the online search landscape globally, there’s no doubt that taking advantage of its business profile tool will positively impact your local SEO strategy. 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. An optimized profile will help your business rise to the top of these searches. You want to do everything in your power to not leave potential business on the table, and your Google Business Profile can make the difference in doing that.

Are you ready to take the next step in rounding out your local SEO strategy with an optimized Google Business Profile? Schedule a free 30-minute online brand review to find out exactly what’s needed to make your business shine online.

Subscribe
To Our Newsletter

Get Updates And Learn From The Best

Do You Want To Boost Your Business?

Schedule Your 30-Minute Online Brand Review

Optimize5 - A Strong Digital Foundation | A Business That Grows
Phone - (626) 247-4240 | Email - team@optimize5.com

FOLLOW US

© 2024 All rights Reserved - Based in Arcadia, CA

Book Your Free 30-Minute Online Brand Assessment

Do You Want To Boost Your Business?

Schedule Your 30-Minute Online Brand Review