Google My Business – Beginner’s Guide

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Google My Business is the platform for Google local businesses that was formerly known as Google Places or Google Local (part of Google Plus). Today however it is a completely standalone platform that anyone with a Google account can sign up for.

SEO on Google Maps can be very powerful and bring quite a few leads, without any financial investment – just by proper actions and encouraging users to give criticism.

What can a Google Maps listing give us?

  • The business will appear in the Google search results when performing a search from a place close to it or indicating the desired place of business in the search (for example: “Restaurants in Denver”).
  • The business will appear on Google Maps.
  • The business may appear on the side of the results or at the top of them with an image and additional details (Google’s knowledge graph) – also for the business name, and in rarer cases also for generic search.
  • You can add reviews from surfers and thus attract more people to get to the place.
  • A business does not necessarily have to have a website (although this is desirable in order to be able to link to it from its profile).

Example photo:

Google My Business in The US

In the US – it’s necessary and there are businesses that really live on it. In fact, most of the US SEO activities in such areas are focused on the local results of Google Maps / Business. As a result, an extensive industry has developed around it: services that falsify reviews, fake address services (in order to verify business time), index listings in order to reinforce mentions and citations, and more and more (more on that below).

The main reason this is so in the US is that everything here is big and it is a huge country so it is not possible (and there is no point) to promote a business at a national level on generic expressions that will not lead to relevant leads and so all promotion work is done locally – sometimes neighborhood.

In addition, when it comes to placements, Google USA is dozens of times ahead of any other Google and knows how to more accurately attract searchers’ locations by zip code and geographic area and give them the best local results it finds.

Google Maps SEO With Posts

Posts on Google are a bit like posts on a Facebook business page, but they only appear if someone enters the full profile of the business by clicking on it in the search results. This is a relatively new feature that has come into use sometime in recent months (around the second part of 2017).

This is how it looks in the results:

Reviews

Good reviews are also of great importance, as positive reviews not only increase the chances of web surfers contacting the business, but have an impact on Google rankings.

Google controls reviews so writing fake or addicted reviews in advance can be problematic and such comments may or may not be blocked at all. Despite this, it happened to me several times that they wanted to leave me legitimate (and especially encouraging) comments but Google also did not approve them for some reason. The best alternative is to encourage customers to write authentic reviews. You can even create a special link that will direct the customers to add a review.

Another thing to know: You can add comments to reviews through the business profile page if you have verified it as explained above.

Start here https://www.google.com/business/. Now you need to fill out a basic form with details like business name, address, zip code, city, phone, and website as well as category.

It is important to pay attention to the last section of the form because here you determine whether it is a business that has a physical location or it is a business that provides service in place of the customer (e.g., technicians). If you are such a business, you do not, of course, indicate your address, but your service area with a separate option after the business is already registered.

Another important thing: since it is not possible to actually add a description to a business and the categories are not always specific enough, it is advisable to write its essence in the title. For example, “Divorce Lawyer”. Incorporating keywords in the title as well as in the description of the business will help you integrate into the local results that Google sometimes displays for relevant searches.

Next, you can add a profile picture and a title picture (similar to Facebook).

Now you have to wait to get the verification code in regular mail. In my experience in most cases, it takes 2-3 weeks, except for problematic cases like inaccurate addresses or other cases. Once you have the verification code, you simply enter it on the profile page, and soon the business will start to actually appear in Google results.

Google Maps SEO / SEO in Local Results is different from traditional SEO, although there are some identical elements. However, it is an extremely powerful tool that can make a business successful online.

First of all, if you have not filled your profile to the brim with photos, videos, etc., it is very worthwhile to do so. This will not only make your business more credible in the eyes of Google but will also make it look more attractive in the search results. So do not skimp on information – add pictures about the business, inside and out, add as much information as possible, ask for recommendations from satisfied customers and increase the attractiveness of the page as much as possible.

Second thing: worth dwelling on so-called NAP – English acronyms for a name, address, and phone. These are the most important details of the business that should appear on its website in a prominent place, usually at the bottom of it or a contact page.

But it is not enough to add these details to your website, and they should also appear on other sites as well. These are usually index sites or other local sites, and also sites like Facebook. In the US these can be websites like Yellow Pages and also specialized portals like portals of professionals, lawyers, various unions, and so on.

Mentioning the business elsewhere (Citations) also has weight only in terms of the credibility that Google attaches to the business – after all, an old and reputable business will have more mentions than a new business that still needs to stand on its own two feet. (Although Google tries to verify the information as much as it can, it sometimes happens that it displays business information that no longer exists). These mentions do not have to include a link to the site itself, which makes it possible to list them even in the free packages that do not cost money. The only thing that is important to keep in mind is that the business will have a permanent link within the website where it is registered (a link that Google can crawl and store in its index).

Upgrade the business record with a virtual tour of the business

In order to get the most out of the Google Maps SEO process, you can add a virtual tour to your business. We previously published an article about Google See Inside – a service that allows you to shoot and edit a virtual video in the business itself, similar to the idea of ​​Google Street View. Only certified photographers who have received approval from Google can take such photos – more information can be found in the guide.

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