While this may be a no-brainer to any marketer or business owner experienced in SEO, you can’t underestimate the importance of your Google My Business (GMB) listing for local searches. According to Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey Results, factors to do with your GMB listing account for almost 20% of your local listing score, so paying attention to your listing is definitely worth the effort.
If you haven’t heard of GMB listings before, along with your businesses’ proximity to the searcher, the content in your GMB listing is key in getting your business into Google’s Local Pack. The Local Pack is that list of usually three businesses and their placement on a map that can appear at the top of the Google search results page when you perform a search for businesses near you. If you want to see an example, try typing “plumbers near me” into a Google search and you’ll see something like this:
As you can see, the Local Pack is prime real estate on the results page, so getting your company listed there will definitely improve your chances of being seen. Whether you’re setting up your GMP listing for the first time, or you already have one but aren’t in the Local Pack, here are four things you can do to improve your chances of getting better results in local searches.
Consistent address and contact information
As I stressed in my post on the importance of citations in local searches, you need to make sure your business address and contact information appear the same on your website, GMB listing, Facebook and Twitter pages, and anywhere else you may list your contact information online. Google wants to make sure that your address and contact info are current, and one way to do that is to compare that information across all other sites it has indexed containing that information. If you moved your business location but didn’t update your GMB listing, stop reading and go update it now.
Choose the right business category
One way you can make classifying your business a bit easier for Google is to make sure you select the right business category when you’re setting up your GMB listing. These are pre-defined categories, so find the one that is closest to your business that people will likely use when searching for your business.
Put your product or service keyword in GMB Business Title
This is a tricky one, because putting too many keywords in your business name in your GMB listing (keyword stuffing) can have negative effects. However, including a single, relevant keyword in the name of your business as it appears in your GMB listing can improve your ranking drastically.
Include your business hours
Google is trying to deliver the most personal experience to its users as possible, so they’re putting importance on bits of information in the GMB that people really find useful, like hours of operation. If your business operates with standardized hours of operation, make sure they’re reflected in your GMB listing. If you don’t but your competitors do, consider adding them. And just between you and me, I’ve heard that setting your hours of operation with earlier start times and later closing times than your competitors will improve your ranking, but you didn’t hear it from me…
There are many more factors that can help you improve local search results, but that’s a start. For more factors to improve local searches, check out Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey Results here.
What have you done to improve your local search results? Let me know in the comments.
Rob Parker is a data-driven marketing, design and user experience executive consultant with over 20 years of experience. With his company, ACME Marketing, he helps small, medium and enterprise-level businesses gain value and customers by developing solid online and offline marketing and user experience strategies and techniques. He is a unique mix of marketing strategist, UX architect, designer, data analyst, writer, usability expert and perceiver of consumer habits and psychology. Rob combines user and market research with data analysis and his experience as a designer and content writer to make recommendations to increase your rankings on web searches and attract customers (SEO), as well as how to increase conversions on your website (CRO).