What is Google My Business SEO? It is a Local SEO strategy that gets your business in front of your customers on Google when they are using location based searches like: “Sushi bar near me” or “Hair Salons in Los Angeles”
- 150%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me now”
- 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight”
- 200%+ growth in mobile searches for “Open” + “now” + “near me”
If you own a local business, you want to be found on the first page of Google for these searches and in the Map Pack on Google (the first three businesses on the Google Maps listing). A strong Local SEO for your Google My Business listing can and will transform your business, and if your business has a website, it will turn your website into a customer or lead generation machine.
You and I know why it’s important to show up on the first page. But how important is it?
- The top three results get about 40% of the clicks
- More than 75% of all clicks happen on the first page
- The Google Map Pack gets almost 50% of all the clicks
This is a FULL-SCALE, Google My Business Optimization tutorial (divided into three parts) on the best tips, tactics, and secrets when it comes to Local SEO for your local business.
What does this mean? This is the most complete, up-to-date, how to optimize Google My Business tutorial for 2019. It is one the hottest strategies for local business rankings that many businesses completely ignore.
The goal of this tutorial is ranking your business on Google Maps in 2019, and we will be updating this periodically.
In this three-part tutorial, you’re going to find the same advice I would give to my restaurant clients, beauty & hair clients, and any other retail or service-based businesses that is interested in improving and optimizing their Google Business Listing.
You’ll find a step-by-step how-to guide on optimizing four MAJOR FACTORS Google is looking for, and those factors are:
- Proximity (Part 1) – this article
- Google My Business Profile (Part 1) this article
- Business Website (Part 2)
- Citations (Part 3)
Why am I sharing the secrets of the trade?
Great question! Because hopefully, you’ll implement this tutorial for your business, see the amazing results, and remember me the next time you need additional marketing and advertising services for your local business.
If you’re not 100% sure what SEO is, I really suggest reading these great SEO explanations that I share with my clients:
Moving forward, this is a very comprehensive three-part tutorial, so make sure you bookmark this page as a reference as you start building your business’s Local SEO juice. By the end of this tutorial, you are going to know exactly how to outrank your competition when it comes to Google Local Searches and Google Map listings.
A big bonus is that a lot of the work you’re going to do to get found in the map listings is going to carry over and also help you in the organic listings. So you can be found twice, which basically translates into Local Google domination.
And not only being found on maps, but voice searches like “a restaurant near me” or “a salon near me” are becoming more popular every year, so by really getting your Local SEO on point, you can also be found in those popular voice searches.
So, let’s start “Part 1” of ranking in the most coveted place on Google for a local business, the Google Map Pack. The two major factors we’re going to cover in “Part 1” is:
- Google My Business Profile & Profile Optimization
Factor #1 Proximity
Proximity – How close a user is from businesses related to the user’s search terms – definitely the number one factor that Google takes into account when serving up the right businesses on Google Maps. There’s nothing you can do to improve your proximity to the person searching…
HOWEVER, if you’re being diligent and mindful of all the other factors and get everything else exactly right, you can rise above it in certain searches. Meaning, even if your business is not the closest to the person, you still may show up first if you optimize all the other factors better than your competition.
Factor #2 Google My Business Profile & Profile Optimization
This section is quite long as it goes into a step-by-step tutorial on how to optimize your Google My Business listing profile to help boost your Local SEO ranking for local searches and on Google Maps.
Filling out the Google My Business profile fields are self explanatory, but there are ways to optimize each section for increasing your business’ likelihood of showing up on Google’s map pack.
1) Claim & Verify Google My Business Profile
The very first step is to claim & verify your Google My Business profile. I’m going to assume that you’ve done this already. If you haven’t, please follow the steps provided by Google, then come back and finish the rest of this tutorial.
For those of you who already have a Google My Business profile, let’s start optimizing your Google My Business profile!
2) Optimizing Google My Business Category
One of the major ranking factors in Google My Business is the category keyword for your business. You want to have a really close match between what people are typing into Google and the categories your business is related to.
While most local businesses only select one category, you want to select as many categories as you can that are related to your business. Google will give you the available categories as you type in the keywords in the category section.
3) Updating Your Business Name
After you’ve selected your primary and secondary category keywords, another major ranking factor of showing up as one of the top local businesses on the Google Map listing is actually having your category keywords in your business name.
But before you do, there are two things to remember if you decide to use these category keywords in your business name:
- Make sure you’re not keyword stuffing your business name. You want your business name to sound as natural as possible.
For example, if your business is a beauty spa named “Sandstones,” change it to “Sandstones Health and Beauty Spa” or “Sandstones Beauty Spa.”
- Once you’ve updated your business name with the category keywords, your Google My Business name should be the business name everywhere else on the web.
So, you should update your business name on any web directories like Yellow Pages or Yelp, or your business’ social profiles like Facebook, and even on your own website.
You’re going to need to refer to your business as that full business name you used in your Google My Business. This will create that SEO “juice” that will give Google the correct signals to get your business to the top of the listings.
4) Service Locations
Next, add all the service areas/locations you want your business to show up on if a customer were searching for a product or service you provide. You can add cities, zip codes, and even countries if you want.
Most businesses enter in maybe one or two locations, but try to put in as many realistic locations customers might travel from to visit your business, or the locations you might service or travel to if you are a service-based business. And take note of the highly targeted locations, as you will need this information when you are optimizing the third factor of this tutorial.
5) Service Hours, Phone Number & Website
Next, add the correct business hours. Make sure these hours match the business hours on all other listings like Yelp & Facebook. Remember, consistency is really important to Google and having correct hours throughout the internet is going to help your Local SEO.
Your phone number should also be consistent every where (factors 3 & 4). There are far too many business owners that I’ve worked with over the years who have their cell phone numbers on their websites and a business number on their Google My Business profiles, and other inconsistencies throughout the internet.
6) Service & Products
The next step is adding your services or products and your business description. This is where you can do some serious optimizing to create that Local SEO “juice” that most local businesses are not doing properly.
The key here is to sprinkle in your business category keywords and the areas/locations you added in your previous steps. Keyword “sprinkle.”
- Adding services/products: Naturally incorporating the category keywords and locations into each of your service/product descriptions is going to tell Google that your business is highly relevant for those locations. Do not stuff your service & product descriptions where it does not read naturally, as Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing. And try to add as many, if not all of your services/products. If you have too many, I would add the most popular ones or the ones you want to rank for.
- Adding business description: You have 750 characters to describe your business. Most businesses don’t even use half of those characters. I ALWAYS recommend using as much of it as possible. So here, similar to the services/products, you want to sprinkle in the category keywords and locations.
As a side note, whenever there is a character limit, try to use all of it!
7) Logo & Photos
Next is adding your business logo and photos. This is one of those “secrets” that SEO companies don’t share in their tutorials or how-tos, LITERALLY trade secrets. But, BEFORE you start uploading your photos, there are two things you need to do to your photos:
- GeoTag your photos: This is adding invisible location information and descriptions into the image file.
- Rename the image files so it has your business name, category keyword, and the location you want to rank in.
GeoTagging Photos, Step-by-Step:
Below is a step-by-step on how to geotag your photos, we’ve also added a screenshot below for you to use as reference:
- First visit https://www.geoimgr.com/ and sign up for a free account. With a free account you can GeoTag up to 5 photos a day.
- Upload the photo you want to GeoTag.
- Search for the location in the map section by typing in your business name, or address, or you can just use a city name.
- Enter in an image description and document name. Make sure you add the primary category keyword that you used in your Google My Business profile and the name of the cities you want to rank in.
- Click “Write EXIF Tags”
- Download Image
Rename the Files:
After you’ve downloaded that file, rename the file by adding your Google My Business name, the primary category, and the location you want to rank in.
After you’ve GeoTagged and Renamed your image file, you can now upload your logo and pictures to your Google My Business profile. Google can now read the data that is on the photo and it really just further cements you into your location. You should do this for every photo that is uploaded into your Google My Business profile.
8) Google My Business Posts
You can use the Google My Business posts feature to add any updates, products, events, or offers for your business.
When you create these posts, make sure you use as many characters as Google allows. And, MAKE SURE you’re naturally adding your business category keywords and location information into these posts.
If you’re adding an image to your Google My Business posts, make sure you’re GeoTagging & Renaming your photos properly using the steps provided above.
For more information on Google My Business posts, check out Google’s help page.
9) Google My Business Reviews
To really round out your Google My Business profile, your profile needs to have reviews. It is definitely the icing on the cake when it comes to customers choosing your business over your competitors.
Getting these reviews isn’t a huge ranking factor per se, meaning they’re not going to be the most important factors of pushing you up to the top in the Google Map listings, but you don’t want to be in the top without any reviews.
When your business is listed with your competitors who have reviews, the chances that people are going to click your listing over theirs is slim to none.
One way reviews will help with your ranking are the words that your customers use in their reviews. When customers leave reviews, they tend to use natural keywords and phrases that are related to your business that other customers use to search. So, the more reviews you have with keywords and phrases other customers use, the more “juice” your business will have.
You can always check how your Google My Business profile is performing in two different ways. You can see a brief overview within the last 28 days in the “Home” section of your Google My Profile admin or you can go to “Insights” for more detailed analytics. Screenshots provided below:
End of Part 1
Table of Contents
- Part 1 – Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile to Rank On Google Maps
- Part 2 – Optimizing Your Business Website to Rank On Google Maps
- Part 3 – Optimizing Your Citations to Rank on Google Maps