Fine-tuning your client’s Google My Business Page is imperative for successful local SEO. Before making any changes, familiarize yourself with Google Guidelines and revise them regularly so that you are up-to-date always with any modifications that Google might make.
If you client doesn’t have a Google My Business Page and wants to rank higher in local SERPs then you would be wise to set one up.
Go to www.google.com/business and follow the directions to the letter. Read below to find out why!
Be aware that duplicate listings in Google My Business Pages will drastically undermine your local SEO campaign and lower your client’s ranking.
Remember too that you may need to wait up anything from 3-5 days before you see the changes you make reflected on your client’s live page.
So to start of your local SEO campaign, log into your client’s Google My Business page and:
Find out which URL your client prefers to use and amend all others to read the same. For most service businesses or physical businesses with just one outIet this means using your website home page as the URL. Check if any other business URLs are associated with this account and delete or amend them.
For example, if you have many outlets in different locations, it works best for local SERP rankings if you can create a unique landing page for each outlet which you can use as the appropriate URL on Google My Business Pages. For example: www.mybusinessname.com/toronto; www.mybusinessname.com/montreal, etc.
However, you need to be sure that there is absolutely no duplication between landing pages as this will lower your local SERP rankings everywhere!
You also need to be sure that your overall web site is well-structured so that any organic authority from your site is passed on to all location landing pages.
You many find multiple listings that you didn’t know about which you need to delete, leaving only the most important listing agreed on by your client.
This type of duplication is most common in businesses where each employee has their own personal profile or if the business has changed location.
It is very important to your Google SERPs ranking that there is only one listing associated with your client’s business name and phone number.
This is easy to say but not so easy to figure out. You need to use your client’s principle keyword(s) to search both on Google Search and on Google Maps and then compare the results.
If you client’s business doesn’t show on Google Search but ranks in third place on Google Maps then the chances are that some kind of penalty has been imposed. You may need to call in an expert in penalties to help to resolve this satisfactorily.
This means your client’s email address should read, for example, clientname@business name.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will reinforce your client’s position as the principle administrator of both the business and the site.
Go to gmail help to find out more about how to create an email address that uses your client’s business domain.
You have to claim and verify your client’s page by postcard or by phone before it will go live – and it is essential to do this if you want to maximize the full potential of your Google My Business listing.
To claim and verify the account, open the page, click on the About tab, scroll down to where you see Is This Your Business , click on the Manage This Page tab and follow the on-screen instructions.
Be aware that it can take a few days to verify by postcard.
For more information on how to verify your business go to: support.
Check your client’s online business name is the same one used in the real world. It is imperative for good SERPs to use just one business name, address and phone number and that they remain consistent online and in all social and media.
You are also allowed to use a one word descriptor that describes your client’s business – but don’t use keywords (eg, My Restaurant Downtown or My Furniture Business Delivery but not My #1 Local Restaurant or My Best Furniture Business).
Go here to find out more about Google’s Local business information quality guidelines.
Make sure you use the same address as the US Post Office and double check it for 100% accuracy. Don’t include any extra information here (eg, names of cross streets) as this may confuse the search engines. If you need to use a suite number, then put this on the second line.
Be aware that virtual offices, UPS boxes and PO Boxes do not work well for local SEO. The whole point is to physically locate you in a distinct and real neighborhood. So use a real location that the US Postal Service can recognize.
Go to here for more information on Google’s Address Entry Guidelines.
Be sure to put your local land line phone number as the principal telephone contact and include the local area code.
Free-of-charge 800 numbers and mobile phone numbers should always be listed second.
You can easily change this information on the Google My Business dashboard.
When you sign up for Google My Business pages you will be offered a choice of a wide range of categories that you can use to describe your business.
Make sure you choose the most apt primary category that describes your business and perhaps one or two others that are also appropriate – but don’t exaggerate or sign up for categories just for the sake of it. This will confuse the search engines and may affect your ranking.
Accurate and concise is the best way to go. And it helps if your primary category is closely related to your main keyword. All this helps the search engines get a very clear picture of what type of business they are dealing with.
Above all – be sure to describe your business, not what you do. So, for example: “Italian restaurant”, not “pizza, pasta and gelato”; “Photographer”, not “Photos of events”, etc.
This means to be sure to create a public email address that uses your business name as its domain (rather than gmail.com or yahoo.com, etc). You can easily do this on Google My Business dashboard. In other words, make the email address read “email@example.com”
Use 250-400 words (longer, rather than shorter) to describe your business in simple, easy-to-understand language that will tell you customers exactly what you do. Run your text through a plagiarism checker to make sure it is 100% unique (try www.smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker/). Give information – don’t just boast about being the best!
Be sure to enter all the information Google asks for in all the fields. Do not leave any field unanswered – you are looking for 100% completion if you want to fully optimize your local SERP rank.
Photos make all the difference, particular in the Google carousel and when customers come to search. Get the best photographs you can that really show your business how it is and in the best possible light.
If you don’t have good photos – then go and get some! No excuses!
Don’t just rely on Google map pins in place of photos – they don’t grab the eye like a good photo does and you may get overlooked in favor of your more colorful competition.
Don’t miss this information – it is vital that clients know when you are open and they can get what they want. Be sure to be accurate or this could haunt you after if you get a bad review when a customer shows up at the stated opening times and finds you closed.
It is good to post regularly to your Google My Business page. The more often you post, the more topical you page will be. However, even just once a week will help keep your page current.
Try to be consistent and regular in your postings – better a little and often than a lot once a year!
Add a picture with a caption, introduce new products, include a new client testimonial – there are lots of ways to show the world that you are out there and that your business is thriving!
Virtual tours are great for letting potential customers walk round your business and see what you really look like. It costs a little extra to set up the virtual tour with a Google Trusted Photographer, but it is well worth while in terms of increasing your public profile and giving authority to what you do.
To find out more about creating a virtual tour, take a look at this virtual tour information link.
This may sound like a lot of steps but if you work your way through them one by one we are sure you will reap fine rewards in terms of improved local SERP rankings and greater visibility.
Let us know how you get on!