Google My Business And Local SEO: A Match Made In Internet Heaven
One of the most common questions we get during our open office hours (1pm-3pm every Wednesday!) here in Durham, NC is…How on earth can I increase my local SEO standing? These business owners want to rank higher in Google searches among the local population, the most relevant for their business. Most businesses have a ‘Google My Business’ listing at this point, but did you know that these pages are your best weapon in the fight for local ranking dominance? Google My Business listings contribute to local SEO in so many ways and they can make the difference between your company ranking higher than your competition. Let’s find out why.
What Are Google My Business Listings?
For the unaware, Google My Business listings are specific pages dedicated to individual businesses. These listings contain information that the general public search for most including:
- Local Address
- Website URL
- Local Phone Number
- Access To Google Reviews
When someone is searching for your company, they are generally looking for these basic pieces of information. The purpose of a Google My Business listing is for Google to be able to provide this information to its search users in the fastest, most efficient way possible. These pages are now second nature to the average Google search user. Further, the information contained within your Google My Business page is fed to a HUGE variety of Google services like:
When taken seriously, your Google My Business listing can provide information about your company to untold masses, all from one easy-to-manage page.
How Do Google My Business Listings Contribute To Local SEO?
Local results are determined by a combination of 3 things: relevance, distance, and prominence. Google My Business listings are inherently beneficial to local SEO because they provide two of these things: local business information (Relevance) and Google Maps (Distance) integration. This data is instantly fed to the Google search algorithm and populated “intelligently” into all search results.
For example, we all have seen this below:
Here you have a general search for “Durham Web Design” and one of the first things that pops up is an A-Z listing of local companies. Google will determine these Distance listings based on 2 factors:
- The physical location based on IP address
- The city tag used in the search (In this case: “Durham, NC.”)
If you are a company that DOES NOT have a Google My Business listing, there is no way for Google to provide you in these search results. By filling out a Google My Business listing, you are effectively telling Google that you are an active and local company that deserves to be shown in results. Without it you stand to greatly harm your organic SEO potential.
How Can I Improve A Google My Business Profile?
The most important thing you can do for your Google My Business listing is fill it out completely, and always keep it current, especially if you move locations. Google won’t know that you changed your hours, address or phone number, unless you tell them! Don’t be a business that is caught with that outdated information that brings a customer to visit your store, when you moved to a new location 3 weeks ago. This type of misinformation can lead to a negative review, which is also extremely important for SEO! Here are some other tips to help improve your Google My Business Profile.
- Add Photos
- Manage or Respond To Reviews
- Always Verify Your Location
- Inform Users About holiday Hours
All of this done in conjunction together can help provide your business with a stellar Google My Business Profile that will overtime increase your local results.
Other Complimentary Sources Of Local SEO?
There are many complementary sources of local SEO, but none more important than social media.
Recently we talked about which social media site contributes most to local SEO…..spoiler alert…..it’s Google+. A little known fact about Google My Business listings is they all contain a Google+ profile attached to them. These Google+ pages can be a gold mine for local SEO if optimized correctly. Check out our How To Guide on Optimizing Google+ For Local SEO.