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How to Use Google My Business Effectively

Google plays a significant role in the success of hundreds of online businesses and companies today. Gone are the days where large tarpaulins and newspaper ads influence your physical store’s sales and customers. Now, you need to establish visibility in the world wide web, specifically on Google, for your business to thrive.
 
Most online enterprises know that to gain targeted visibility, your company must:
 

  • Create social media campaigns.
  • Create and optimize their website.
  • Do SEO or search engine optimization techniques to rank high in search engine results pages.
  • Develop media relations.

 
These are just four of the many methods out there that you can use to broaden your virtual reach. But as the market becomes competitive, you also need to step up your game.
 
One way to do that is to create a Google business listing or a Business Profile by making a free Google My Business account. Yes, you heard that right. It’s free!
 
Here is everything you need to know about Google My Business and how you need it to optimize your Business Profile.

 

What are Google My Business and Google Business Profile?

To be clear, Google My Business and your Google Business Profile are two different things.
 
Your company’s Google Business Profile refers to your business listing on the website. It is the one that appears on Google’s search engine results page and Google Maps whenever an individual searches for your company.
 
ANYBODY can create a Business Profile; it could be the business owner, a random internet stranger, or an automated business listing generator. Google just needs the business’s name, location, category, and voila–a Business Profile is made.
 
Once a Business Profile is up (whether you know about it or not), consumers can then leave reviews and comments about the business, ask questions, answer queries, and even add photos. Further, it can include any information that Google pulls in from websites across the world wide web.
 
For business owners, having a Business Profile without their knowledge can be quite horrific. Anyone can put anything in there, even misleading information and answers. Prospective customers and loyal ones may search your business and see the unruly information and photos on Google. One look at it, and they may decide to look for another store that seems more legit and responsive.
 
So, how can you solve this nightmare? By creating a Google My Business account. A Google My Business account will give you access to your Google Business Profile. You can customize, enhance, and optimize it to boost its visibility and effectiveness.
 
As with traditional SEO, your listing should include specific keywords and phrases so Google can pick those up and feature your business on the SERP’s first page, preferably at the top. 
 
Google search showing Google profile on listing

4 Ways to Optimize Your Business Profile Using Google My Business

Now that you can access everything in your Business Profile using Google My Business, it’s now time to optimize it to convert more customers and boost your ranking. Here are four smart ways on how you can do that.

 

 1. Complete Your Business Profile

Consumers search for a specific business or shop because they want to know more about it. So, do them and your business a favor by meticulously filling all and every section of your Business Profile.
 
This includes your store’s basic information like its name, address, contact details, website, and operation hours. Some sections need more time to complete, like your products, services, and pricing, while others need to be updated on an ongoing basis like posts, reviews, and questions.
 
A complete Business Profile allows you to rank higher in local Google search results. Further, it lets customers know more about your business. It will serve as a basis for them to choose your store over hundreds of others because they saw the 5-star rating other consumers left on your Profile.

 

 2. Perform SEO

Besides websites and pages, Google also ranks Business Profiles. Use the right keywords and phrases to fill your business info, and Google will place you within its top 3 results once users search for a targeted keyword.
 
Here are some smart tips on how you can perform local SEO for your Business Profile effectively:
 

  • Make targeted information. All information you put in your Business Profile is important–your “from the business” description, answers to user queries, review responses, updates, and posts. So, make it worthwhile by incorporating relevant keywords (that you want to rank for) into these sections.
  • Provide quality information. Complete your Business Profile and make sure to provide quality information on all of them. Keep everything up-to-date and accurate. Tell Google that your business is active by frequently publishing posts and recent photos through Google My Business.
  • Build trust. You can build trust by rendering excellent services and encouraging your customers to leave an honest review.


 

 3. Get Reviews and Respond to Questions

Customer reviews highly impact the choice of other consumers. A business listing with 4-star ratings and great reviews will likely get picked rather than those without reviews.
 
Google also knows this; that’s why they also consider customer reviews and ratings in ranking Business Profiles. 
 
So, start encouraging your consumers to leave a review and solid rating. You can do that by:
 

  • Simply asking them to. Research suggests that 62% of customers will leave an honest review when asked. So don’t hesitate to do so through email, text, or in-person conversation.
  • Make it convenient by sending the review link to them or posting it on your social media accounts and website. You can also generate a QR code and post it in your physical store.
  • Respond to reviews, even to the negative ones, so customers will see how transparent you are as a company. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to include relevant keywords in your responses.
  • While you’re at it, make time to answer user questions and queries. Bring them the information they want because, more likely than not, it’s one of their deciding factors in choosing a store.

 

 4. Review Key Insights

Lastly, do not forget to check the Insights sections in your Google My Business dashboard. It provides you with the analytics part of your Business Profile. There, you can view customer actions (e.g., the number of users who visited your website or clicked for directions) and local SEO performance.
 
Further, you can see what keywords or queries were typed by users to find your business listing. Also, you can view how your photos and profile are faring against other competition.

 

What to Look for in an SEO Provider

SEO Is Essential for Your Business

Around 90% of people only go through the first page of Google search results. What does this mean? It means if you can find an SEO company that knows what they’re doing, they have the potential to help your business reach new heights.
 

How to Find the Right SEO Company

Finding the best SEO company can be more complicated than it appears at first glance. The first page of Google is full of companies that claim to be the “best SEO company in x location.” 
 
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a company that lives up to its promises and without breaking Google’s rules with bad SEO (which would ultimately hurt your business). 
 
So here’s how you can find the right SEO firm for your business:
 

  • Rather than relying on Google to make your pick, talk with your friends and business partners to find the best SEO firm. 
  • After you’ve narrowed down your choices, evaluate whether you’ve set clear goals.
  • Next, create KPIs  (key performance indicators) to measure those goals.

 
Choosing a firm that knows how to effectively communicate regarding your KPIs is crucial for a long-lasting and effective partnership.
 
The most important thing though is don’t mistake SEO for a buzzword. SEO is a process that can make or break your brand. So it’s essential to find the right SEO company. Let’s go into more detail about how to do that below:

 

 1. SEO Is Not Easy

SEO is difficult, which means it’s often misunderstood. This misunderstanding can lead to less knowledgeable people talking about it in abstract terms – as if it’s magic. If anyone claims that they have a unique insight into Google’s algorithms, or if they heavily emphasize the mystique surrounding SEO, then they are probably not honest actors. 
 
Good SEO practices require the following three things:
 

  • In-depth knowledge of how the search engines function
  • Attention to detail
  • A willingness to adapt and make constant changes. This is necessary because Google’s algorithms shift on a near-weekly basis.

 
Also, taking shortcuts such as cloaking, purchasing links, and stuffing in keywords will result in search engines demoting your site. These techniques are known as Black Hat SEO and they violate the search engine’s rules. When Google’s bots learn that someone is utilizing these methods, they lower the website in the search rankings, decreasing the amount of organic traffic the website receives.

 

 2. Layout Clear Goals and Choose a Firm That Can Help You Accomplish Them

First things first, don’t hire an SEO firm if your only goal is “increasing organic traffic.” Organic traffic can come in many different forms, so increasing it doesn’t automatically mean your revenue will increase. Ranking for unrelated search terms won’t do your business much good, either.
 
To avoid any unintended results, you and your team should plan out exactly what you’re looking to achieve with SEO. Here are some common goals: 
 

  • Do you want to boost your product sales by ranking for specific keywords? 
  • Or are you trying to reduce your website’s bounce rate and increase conversions? 
  • If it’s about increasing ad revenue, then would you prefer to have a wider audience or a more tight-knit community that spends more time (on average) on your website? 
  • Or perhaps you want to build your own social media following, create sponsored content, or engage in other activities that go beyond just SEO.

 
Regardless of which SEO firm you choose, be sure that you know what you’re looking for and the services you’ll need in order to succeed.
 
Woman sitting down on smartphone

 3. Find an SEO Firm That Aligns With Your Goals

After you’ve laid out your objectives and limited your choices to just a few firms, you’re almost there. You must ensure that the company you work with can clearly map out your progress along the way. In other words, what is your definitive end goal for ranking for those particular keywords?
 
Before settling on an SEO firm, it’s essential that you and the company are both on the same page with your KPIs. These metrics can be applied to nearly any part of your business. They can also refer to different aspects of SEO. For instance, a business with the latest product will have different goals than an older business with a more established customer base.

 

 4. Prioritize the Right KPIs

Speaking of KPIs, they can go much further than is necessary. Basically, it’s easy to get lost in all that data if you don’t narrow down your focus. And you don’t want to waste time and resources tracking the wrong KPIs. Therefore, it’s essential that the SEO firm understands the most valuable metrics for your business and condenses the data into easily digestible information. 
 
Here are some KPIs that are important for most businesses:
 

  • Page loading times
  • Website cleanliness (Google Bot crawling)
  • Ranking of different keywords
  • Conversion rates
  • Organic traffic

 

 5. Ensure That Your SEO Firm Is a Good Communicator

While you should have access to the same tools that they use to measure KPIs – Google Analytics, SEMRush, Google Search Console, etc., you still probably won’t have the time to analyze all available data. That is why you should work with an SEO specialist team you can trust and easily communicate with.
 
There is more to KPIs than that. Basically, there is an abundance of data that’s easily available to you, so it’s easy to get lost in it and waste time tracking the wrong KPIs. What this means is that it’s essential for your SEO firm to understand what metrics are most important for your business. That way, they can present that information to you in a way that’s easy to digest.
 
Remember that SEO is a long-term process, which means you could be working with this firm for many years. Even if you intend for the partnership to be a short or temporary thing, meeting your organic website traffic goals will still take patience, time, and a good working relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

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