How to use Google My Business effectively
While you’re no doubt aware of the importance of improving your Google ranking, you may not know that Google My Business can provide your business with a feature-rich listing to put you above your competitors. Here’s how to use Google My Business to effectively market your business and improve your SEO…
What is Google My Business?
You may already be familiar with Google My Business, but even if you’re not, you’ll recognise a Google My Business listing. Simply Googling a term like ‘wedding venue’ will bring up several local listings, complete with information. For example:
These businesses appear higher up in the search due to information that Google is able to pull from their profile, and which the algorithm identifies as being relevant to both the user’s search terms and location.
If you Google a business, then you’ll also be able to see a more in-depth Google My Business profile. This lists information such as the business address, opening hours, contact details and reviews.
Both these geo-located and in-depth listings can give wedding businesses a real advantage in terms of SEO, as it gives customers extra information about your company without them needing to click on your website. This means that those visitors who do come to your website will be more relevant to you, and your bounce rate will reflect this positive change.
How does Google decide which businesses to show?
When it comes to local search results, there are three main factors that influence rankings: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Relevance is all about how well your business listing matches what the user has searched for. The more accurate and complete your Google listing, the more likely it is that Google will be able to identify relevant searches and show your listing to the right customers.
Proximity relates to the geographic location of your business. When customers search for wedding services, Google uses their location information as well as any location terms in the search, e.g. ‘wedding photographers Buckinghamshire’, to decide which listings to show. Making sure that Google has a verified address for you is the best way to ensure that your listing appears for relevant searches.
Prominence is a measure of how well-known your business is across the web. This is the same metric helps determine how you rank for regular searches, too. Google looks for evidence that you’re a legitimate business that others are happy to discuss and link to, and so it takes into accounts things like links, reviews, directory listings, blogs, and social media mentions.
How to set up Google My Business
It’s free and easy to set up a basic Google My Business account. You’ll need a Gmail account to start, preferably attached to your domain name. Simply go to google.com/business, click ‘Manage Now,’ and Google will guide you through the process of adding your information.
Once you have the basics filled in, Google will then need to verify your business, often by sending you a code through the post. Once this is done, you’ll be able to access more in-depth and advanced Google My Business features to help flesh out your profile.
The key areas to ensure that you include are your hours, your contact information and a description of your company. This will help Google start to pick up vital information to start showing your listing on relevant searches.
One thing to note is that anyone can suggest an edit or add photos to your business listing. It’s important to monitor your listing closely to ensure that all the information is accurate.
Keeping a close eye on your listing also means that you can respond in a timely manner to any negative reviews, and thank any positive reviewers.
Advanced Google My Business features
Google have been steadily adding new, more advanced features to help expand your profile and give you extra promotional options. This includes adding products or services that you offer, answering Frequently Asked Questions, and giving customers the option to message you directly from Google.
Posts are a great promotional tool for sales, offers, or events. Simply add a post, being sure to add relevant photos or links, and it will appear in the bottom of your Google business profile when users search for you. You can set up events specifically to show dates and times.
Even if you have no specific offers, you can use posts to share more information about your business, such as behind the scenes glimpses or examples of recent weddings you’ve worked on. Doing this not only keeps your profile up to date, but provides even more vital keywords for Google to scan when deciding how high to rank your business.
Just as you can track Google Analytics for your website, you’ll be able to see Insights for your business profile. This shows you how users are interacting with your profile, and what key terms they searched to reach you. Monitoring this can give you an idea of what key terms you’re ranking for, and how you can continue to improve both your Google My Business profile and your overall SEO.