Have you ever looked up your business on Google? Have you ever wondered how your business got the little blurb on the right side of the results? And have you ever wondered about that link at the bottom to “claim” your business?
That’s Google My Business. And it’s a pretty key part to local SEO.
If you’re a small business that focuses on being local, then Google Business Profile is something that you need to be on and work to optimize. It’s the best way to make sure your business shows up when people in your area search for a service you provide.
So let’s discuss what this is, why it matters for your business and how to get started using it and working on your local SEO.
What is Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, is essentially your easiest way to get into local searches.
Take a minute to run a Google search for something in your area. What do you see? You probably get a map at the top of the search results page and the listing of three businesses. Now search for a local business directly. When the results show up, you probably see a lot of their information on the right hand side.
That is all done with the help of Business Profile. At its core, Business Profile is a free account you can claim for your business and enter in information and photos about your business. And based on searches, reviews and other criteria, you’re probably going to show up on the map for a lot of searches.
Plus, it makes it easy for your customers to leave reviews that prospective customers and clients are going to see and help rank your business higher. And you can even add offers, photos and updates.
It’s really becoming a must-have for any business, no matter how big or small.
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Why your website needs to be on there
If your business relies on local customers, you are going to need to show up on local searches. If someone searches for something related to your business in your geographical area, you should be showing up in those searches.
While there are certainly ways to accomplish this through organic SEO, the path of least resistance is to create a Google Business Profile account for your business. And the best news is that this is free.
Business Profile allows you control over the information to show about your business. You can show off photos of your building, products or what you do. You can set the hours you are open. And you can put in contact information, like a phone number and website address. And that’s without having to worry about Schema and hoping Google picks up the info from your website correctly.
And when someone searches for something local, like for instance “web developer Dallas Texas”, the top three or so businesses that are in Business Profile are going to be listed before the organic results. I know for a fact that I receive that nice bounce since I’ve started using it.
Plus, when someone is using Google Maps and runs a search for keywords related to your business, you’re going to appear as a result there as well. There’s no such thing as appearing in too many places.
Simply put, using Google My Business for your business is going to give your Local SEO a nice kick to get it going.
Does this help your own website?
Directly, probably not, insofar as it doesn’t really do anything to your website. After all, while it will help your business show up in local results, the meta box that appears for your business just has a small link to your website. And that’s about it for your website.
But, that is a link that people will click on when they see your results in maps or the top part of a normal search. And if someone is intrigued about your business and what you have to offer, they’ll probably click on that link.
Plus, it’s a really good headstart for your Local SEO. With your business’ location now in Google, you’re going to start to see your website appear in searches that apply to your area, like “web developers Mansfield, TX” and so on.
So there are some ancillary and SEO benefits to using Google My Business.
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How to get started with Google Business Profile
The good news is that getting started with Google Business Profile is pretty easy. So here’s how you can get going with it right now.
First, you want to sign into your Google account or create one if you don’t have one. Next, go to business.google.com and hit “Start Now”.
Then enter in your business name, address and if you deliver to your customers (like being a plumber or something like that) or not.
Finally, you’ll need to verify your business. You can do this one of four ways: mail, phone, email or bulk. Personally, the phone or email options are the best route to go.
And there you go. You’re all set up with Google Business Profile. Of course, there’s so much more you can do with it, including adding hours of operation, photos, your website and a lot more. And we’ll go over that in more detail in another post.
But once you’ve gotten this far, play around with it and see what you can do. And start to take control of your local SEO.