Estimates say that 30 to 60 percent of searches are made with local intent (depending on niche), and at least half of these searches lead to an action – either a phone call or a visit to local business found.
This represents a huge market for local business providers. Any businesses not found on local search risks missing out.
Thus it is vital that every local business has an optimised Google business profile set up.
This involves several of Google’s services / products. Specifically
1. optimizing organic landing page or website which ranks well
2. PPC (adwords) paid search results tied in to one’s Google My Business profile
3. and of course an optimised Google My Business (GMB) profile giving a prominent listing in Google Maps
Although it is listed last your Google My Business profile can be set up relatively easily at no cost, so this is the absolute minimum you must do.
Setting Up Google My Business (GMB) for Best Results
There are a few things to watch out for though when setting up GMB to be sure of getting the most out of it.
Name, Address, Phone (NAP)
The most important attribute of local search is known as NAP (name, address, phone)
This is mandatory information that is needed to create and/or verify a Google My Business listing.
The NAP enables customers to recognise, find and contact your business.
Being rather pedantic though Google insists that this information should be consistent and accurate everywhere your address it is cited on the web (e.g. on your GBM, on your business website, and other website directory citations and websites).
The reason being is that Google uses these citations to cross reference the accuracy of its results.
Inaccurate citations reduce the trust in your business locations accuracy.
In fact incorrect business information is actually negative ranking factor. It can harm your rankings!
So best to get it right and get it consistently right!
This can even be down to the minute detail of always using the same address format eg if you list your address 23 Smith Street on your website don’t go listing it as 23 Smith St in other places. Keep it EXACTLY the same in all places.
This is also very important.
When a search for a local provider is carried out it is filtered by distance from the searcher AND whether is open just now. If you don’t put your opening hours in then you are not telling Google what it needs to know (never a good idea )
Also, after location, opening hours are the next most sought after information that people want.
Photos and Other Information
By adding your logo and some other relevant images to your Google My Profile listing you are giving Google even more data to display about your business.
This helps make it stand out and will increase the click through rates of your listing.
Lastly – but not least – online reviews play a very important role in local search results
When faced with a choice of ten or more local providers the one with the optimised images AND the best reviews usually gets clicked on. And more than that reviews builds trust with the prospective customer.
According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local company – and 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
You should encourage your customers to leave (good) reviews for you on your Google listing and also on other directory listings such as TrueLocal and Yelp.
Where To Start
Given that a properly optimised listing can help massively improve your business visibility and traffic it is of great value to any local business provider. But it can be a bit daunting when trying to figure out where to start.
A good place to start is to download the free Google My Business Quick Start Guide available at no cost here https://www.seoaustralia.online/. It will take you through the steps required.