New year, new name. Google My Business has morphed into Google Business Profile with some changes in terms of access options and current web portal support. We expect that the platform will continue to evolve but one aspect remains very much the same: it is a critical tool for local SEO.
In fact, Google My Business optimizations are one of the most important steps you can take to boost your visibility, search engine performance, and, ultimately, your bottom line.
And yes… the name “Google My Business” or GMB, remains in popular use. It may be a while until the prosaic “Google Business Profile” catches on!
Google Business Profile - a.k.a. Google My Business - Optimizations
When it comes to local SEO guidelines for 2022, optimizing your Google Business Profile is at the top of the list. Speaking of the top of the list, GMB is also the single most important ranking factor for the Local Pack.
These are the three businesses that appear at the top of the results pages, complete with a star rating, address, phone, hours, and, in some cases, snippets of reviews and other pertinent information (in the case of restaurants, for example, it may be “take-out,” “delivery,” “dine-in”). These three results drive 15% - 30% of clicks for any given local search.
To get here or at the top of the organic results, start with Google My Business optimizations after you have added or claimed and verified your business:
- Nail the Prime Category
What do you do? In what space is your business? Google offers an extensive field of over 3000 categories from which to choose, with more added all the time. It is important to choose the category that most accurately represents your business.
For example, you may run a restaurant. Is this enough information for Google and for searchers? No, so you get more specific (e.g. Asian Fusion Restaurant or Lithuanian Restaurant).
There are some factors to keep in mind, though. Say you’re the proud owner of that Asian Fusion Restaurant. If you want to post your menu, offer online ordering, or take reservations, you will need to choose “Food and Drink” as your category. Learn more about categories here.
Choose Additional Relevant Categories
Google allows you to choose up to 10 other categories after your primary category. More is not always better, though: select only those categories that are relevant to your business and which will help searchers find you.
- Craft an Accurate, Detailed Profile Description
When it comes to your Google Business Profile, creating a compelling business description is a must. Make sure you:
- Incorporate strategic keywords. This allows customers to be sure that you are what they’re looking for, and the right keywords will help your organic search rankings.
- Describe benefits. What makes you different - and better! Tell searchers why and how you are the solution to their questions, needs, or challenges.
- Keep it short and sweet. Now’s not the time to wax poetic: get right to the point. A great deal of local search is done via mobile. Searchers are on the go, and they don’t want to wade through “extra” in order to get the information they need now.
- Exclude links. Google prohibits links in business descriptions. Don’t worry: you’ll have ample other opportunities to incorporate link-building strategies.
- Don’t sell. Again, Google gives a hard no to descriptions that include sales or offers.
- Make Sure Your NAP Is Consistent - and Everywhere
Imagine searching for a business and getting three different phone numbers and two addresses. Confusing, right? You’d likely just find a competitor who has one set of info and call it a day! It is imperative that your NAP (name, address, phone number) are accurate and consistent. This is another ranking factor. The backlink to your website should be consistent in your profile.
When Google (and searchers) see that your NAP is consistent, it tells them that you do, in fact, exist and are legitimate. While you’re at it, take a look at your entries in local directories, the contact information on social media, About content on your website, etc., which are all consistent and up to date.
On a related note, listing your business with local directories also increases your ranking with Google.
- Always Complete Your Profile
Fill in all the blanks! Do not leave anything out of your profile; it must be complete. At the same time, take the opportunity to verify that all critical information is accurate, current, and consistent across platforms. For example, your pandemic hours may have been severely curtailed but now you are opening back up. Make that update and any others necessary.
- Connect with Current and Prospective Customers
Your Google Business Profile, or GMB, is a great place to share offers, announcements, sales, new products, or upcoming events with current and prospective customers. You can post text, photos, or videos, which will appear to users in the “Updates” or “Overview” tabs (mobile) or “From the Owner” section (computer).
Get a Local SEO Audit
Is your Google Business Profile working as hard (and smart) as it could for your business? Do you follow current best practices and local SEO guidelines for 2022? Don’t guess. Find out with a local SEO audit. THAT Agency provides the information and insight you need to optimize your strategy - and win over both Google and your customers.
Contact THAT Agency to learn more.