GMB is a powerful marketing tool, especially for growing online presence and foot traffic for local businesses. 46 per cent of all searches on Google have local intent. That means millions of people search Google every day for nearby places to buy goods and services. GMB is a way to leverage this huge search volume to attract potential customers to your establishment or site.
However, you have to optimise your GMB profile to target the relevant search keywords, locations and audiences. Here are five simple tips for doing just that:
1. Add multiple categories
The business category is one of the most important GMB ranking factors. The category directly describes your business to Google and potential customers. Google may also use it to assign your business a place label on Google Maps.
GMB has over 3,000 business categories to choose from. You can add up to 10 categories on your GMB profile to describe your business, but only one primary category. Add as many of these as possible to identify your business and broaden its visibility scope.
2. Use all 750 characters for your description with keywords
On your GMB profile, you’ll find a section labelled 'Add business description' under the 'Info' menu. There, you can write a summary of your business, highlighting what you do; the brand’s story, history and mission; service area; and unique identifiers. You should basically explain the key features, services or products that set your business apart.
Google brought back the business description feature in 2018 after scraping it for a couple of years – probably to work on ways to flag spammy descriptions. GMB only allows a description of up to 750 characters, but that’s enough text to cite several keywords and create a touching narrative.
3. Optimise your website
Your Google My Business and website’s local ranking should go hand in hand. So be sure also to optimise your site to target local prospects in your service area. Here a few things you can do to help your GMB profile and e-commerce site dominate local searches in your niche.
- Add relevant, location-based keywords in the site's metadata, title tags and media captions.
- Create dedicated pages for every product or service and location.
- Populate your blog with local news, stories and events.
- Enhance mobile user experience.
- Get citations and backlinks from authoritative, locally established sources.
- Match your site’s NAP (name, address and phone number) to the GMB profile.
4. Add lots of photos
You can upload a maximum of 25 photos per location on a GMB listing. Google recommends adding at least three exterior photos taken at different angles and times of day, another three interior photos showing common areas or facilities, pictures of popular products, and a few staff photos.
Generally, images have a higher click-through rate than plain text and are way better at engaging and compelling customers. Plus, photos build up customer expectations, give directions and help showcase offered services and products more vividly.
5. Get lots of reviews
According to a 2018 study, 97 per cent of customers read reviews, and about a quarter of them consult reviews when purchasing online. Positive reviews help build the brand’s credibility and customers’ trust, ultimately resulting in more conversions and sales.
Encourage and remind your customers to leave reviews on Google after every sale. Also, keep track of your reviews and reply promptly to any questions on your listing. Doing so shows customers that you care about their opinions, suggestions, queries and overall experience.
Google’s listing is one of the first places where most shoppers go to when searching for products, services and businesses online. Don’t leave anything to chance when filling out your GMB profile. Include as much relevant information as possible and ensure the profile is optimised for the right niche, industry, location and audience.