How To Improve Your Google My Business Ranking
Whether you run a small coffee shop or a large manufacturing plant, you should be utilizing Google My Business (GMB) to improve your online visibility. What follows is a guide to GMB and improving your Google My Business Ranking.
What Is Google My Business
GMB is a free tool offered by Google that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google search and maps. By setting up a GMB listing, businesses can provide information about their products, services, location, and hours of operation to potential customers. This information can then appear on Google search results, Google Maps, and other Google-owned platforms, helping customers easily find and connect with your business. GMB is particularly useful for small businesses, as it allows them to create a digital presence and be found by customers without needing a website. It is also a valuable tool for larger businesses, as it helps them manage their online reputation and track their performance on Google.
How Does GMB Determine Local Ranking?
Google determines your business profile’s placement through several ranking factors, but there three bogs ones to consider. A combination of these three search ranking factors helps the search engine find the best match for a user’s search query.
- Relevance: Relevance is key. How is your business relevant to the keywords used in search queries? You want your profile to be as detailed as possible so that the user seeking a service finds your business. Ensure your address is listed correctly, and your categories and relevant keywords are up-to-date.
- Distance: Distance takes business location into account and how far each potential search result is from the location term used in a search. For example, someone searching for a tire shop in Miami is unlikely to utilize one based 2 hours away.
- Prominence: The third major ranking factor is prominence. How well-known is your business? This is where organic search results and SEO strategy come in. If your business has a major presence on the search engine, it is more likely to appear first in the Google My Business search window.
For example, Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure rank near the top if you search for amusement parks in Orlando. They are nationally known businesses with a strong online presence. However, as seen below, Fun Spot America Theme Parks, a lesser-known business, is the top result. This is due to a strong optimization strategy and well-managed business page with positive reviews from “Local Guides,” considered high-quality reviewers.
Improve Your Google My Business Ranking
Improving your Google My Business ranking can be a valuable way to increase the visibility and credibility of your business on the internet. By optimizing these elements, you can improve your GMB ranking and attract more customers to your business:
Complete and Optimize Your Profile
Completing your Google My Business profile is a fairly simple task. You will want to enter all the relevant business information you need to promote yourself. This includes:
- Business name
- Business Phone number
- Business Address
- Business Website
- Business Hours of operation
- Business categories
While much of the list is self-explanatory, choosing your categories is a particularly important step in optimizing your Business profile for several reasons.
- They help Google understand the type of business you are and what products or services you offer. This information is used to show your business in relevant search results and on Google Maps.
- They help customers find your business when they search for specific products or services on Google. For example, if a customer searches for “pizza restaurants near me,” businesses that have been categorized as “pizza restaurants” will be more likely to appear in the search results.
- Choosing the right business categories can also help improve your local search ranking. Local search ranking refers to the position of your business in search results when a customer searches for a specific product or service in a particular location. By accurately representing your business categories, you can increase your chances of ranking higher in local search results.
Types of Business Profile Categories:
- Primary Category: Describes your business as a whole; this is a specific niche you want to fill. Specificity is important here. As mentioned in the above example, if you are listing your business as a restaurant, try listing it as a “Pizza Restaurant”. This way, your business is filed under the exact category you are looking to rank for as a business owner.
- Additional Categories: Your Google Business Profile allows you to fill out additional categories. Sticking with the pizza restaurant example. This is where you’d choose “Italian restaurant,” “Pizza Delivery,” etc. This helps any, and all potential customers find your business profile by casting a wider net using secondary categories.
Make Sure Your Business is on Google Maps
With the current layout of Google’s SERP, you simply cannot afford to have your business profile not appear on Google Maps. Nowadays, Businesses get 26% of their views from Google Maps-based results (Via Publer.Io).
Add your business to Google Maps
- On your computer, sign in to Google Maps.
- You can add your business in 3 ways:
- Enter your address in the search bar. On the left, in the Business Profile, click Add your business.
- Right-click anywhere on the map. Then, click Add your business.
- In the top left, click Menu > Add your business.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to finish signing up for your Business Profile.
Once you follow these steps, your business should be visible on Google Maps.
Claim Your Business Listings
Verifying and claiming your business listing on Google My Business is a simple process that can help improve your online presence and visibility on Google Search and Maps. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by going to https://www.google.com/business and clicking on the “Start now” button.
- Enter your business name and address in the search fields, and click on the “Search” button. You’ll see your business appear in the search results if your business is already listed. If it’s not listed, click on the “Add your business” button.
- Follow the prompts to enter your business information, including the category, phone number, and website.
- Choose how you’d like to verify your business. There are several options available, including receiving a postcard in the mail with a verification code, verifying by phone, or verifying through email or an instant verification method (if available).
- Once you’ve received your verification code, enter it into the appropriate field on the Google My Business website.
- After your business has been verified, you can start managing your listing by logging in to your Google My Business account. From here, you can add or edit information about your business, respond to reviews, and upload photos.
By verifying and claiming your business listing on Google My Business, you can help ensure that customers can find accurate and up-to-date information about your business online. This can improve your online presence and visibility and make it easier for customers to find and connect with you.
Make Sure To Add Photos To Your Business
Photos can drive 35% more clicks, according to Publer.io. This has a direct impact on rankings; the more people click your Business profile, the more it gains relevancy – this is known as a behavioral signal. The more people begin clicking on links, the higher Google’s My Business rankings will grow.
While you should always make sure to have at least a cover photo, be aware that the average for successful businesses is to have at least 11 photos (according to Brightlocal).
You want your images to have an impact on conversion rates. People are visual by nature, and a fantastic photoset of your business and/or products can help potential consumers on the search engine convert and make the leap to becoming a customer.
The below example comes from The NightGarden, an immersive visual experience presented by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami. As you can see, they have loaded their GMB with breathtaking shots of the NightGarden setup and light shows that take place during the event. The eye is immediately drawn to the colorful photos, piquing the interest of those who come across them.
Utilize the Google Q&A section
You should be utilizing the Google Question & Answer section, but how? This feature can be a great way to provide information to potential customers and interact with them. Here are a few tips for using the Q&A feature effectively:
- Monitor the Q&A section regularly and respond to any questions that have been asked. This will help you to address any customer concerns and provide information about your business.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews and to ask and answer questions in the Q&A section. This can help to create a sense of community around your business and to provide valuable information to potential customers.
- Keep your responses helpful, accurate, and professional. This will help to build trust with customers and improve your business’ reputation.
- Be timely with answers. Nothing looks worse than leaving a question unanswered for long periods. This shows your company has a certain attention to detail that some competitors may otherwise lack.
Automate Your Content & Post Regularly
When it comes to Google My Business ranking, content is king. You should be posting and sharing content on your GMB page. Posting regularly sends positive ranking signals to Google in the same way that adding photos does. By utilizing relevant and engaging content on Google My Business, you can help improve your online presence and attract more customers to your business.
- Post content specifically related to what you do. Here at Pacific54, we share blog posts related to marketing strategy as they are posted. Consider taking this approach. Share any blogs or news related to your business on your GMB page.
- New product or service announcements. If you’re rolling out a new product or service, like an online school or brand new customer service center, share that announcement on your business profile.
- Are you closed on certain holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Day? Post an announcement about your updated holiday hours on GMB. Your customers will find this extremely helpful.
We live in the age of AI and automation. So how can you utilize this to help maximize your results on Google My Business rankings? The answer is simple, automate your GMB page. Using third-party platforms like Oneup or NapoleonCat, you can fully automate and schedule your posts on GMB, much like any other social media platform. This technology you should consider so that you’re not left in the dust and don’t have even more daily tasks than is necessary to run a GMB account.
Respond to Customer Reviews & Understand Reviewer Authority
You should always respond to Google customer reviews. However, you should be cognizant of the fact that not all reviews are created equal. Take, for example, two separate 5-star reviews. One of which is simple five stars with no text, and the other, is a well-thought-out review citing your excellent service and convenient location. Google will prioritize the review that hits certain keywords. If you have excellent reviews praising the service or product your business offers, you will rank higher.
While you should respond to all reviews, pay special attention to important reviewers like “local guides”. As mentioned above, these are considered to be high-quality reviewers whose opinions hold more weight than that of someone who has posted 2-3 reviews in their entire history on Google.
How to Respond to Online Reviews
While there isn’t an exact science to responding to Google reviews, here are a few best practices and ideas that you should work with as guidelines for crafting your responses.
- Thank the customer for their feedback, whether it is a negative or positive review. Let them know that you appreciate their business.
- Acknowledge any concerns and apologize for any inconvenience they may have experienced if it is a negative review.
- If there is an issue, offer to resolve it, either by providing a solution or inviting the customer to contact you directly to discuss their concerns further.
- Be professional and courteous, and avoid getting defensive or becoming argumentative.
- If appropriate for a bad review, consider giving the customer a discount or special offer to show that you value their business and incentivize them to return.
- For positive reviews, consider sharing the review on your social media profiles or website to help spread the word about your business.
Here is an example of The Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida responding to a positive review.
Let Pacific54 Improve Your Google My Business Ranking
While we’ve given you the tools to set out and improve your GMB rankings, some things are best left to the pros. Pacific54 is a full-suite digital marketing agency based in Miami. We set out over a decade ago with one thing in mind, helping clients succeed.
We have a demonstrated history of handling our clients’ Google My Business profiles and improving their rankings through hard work, knowledge, and excellent use of practices.
Improving your Google My Business ranking is just one of the many things we’re capable of as an agency. Contact us today and find out how Pacific54 can help you! Let’s talk.