Picture this.

Let’s say you’re looking to get your car fixed. Since you don’t have a regular mechanic and don’t want to go to the dealership, a friend offered a recommendation.

Here’s the problem: you can’t find the garage when you look up their address online. Not because they don’t exist, but because they haven’t claimed their Google My Business listing. They have a website, but they’re not showing up on a map, which makes you instantly suspicious.

Sound familiar?

Now let’s say you’re on the other side of the equation. Let’s say you’re the garage that a customer can’t find. Your loyal customers know who you are, but you won’t get any new customers through online traffic since they either can’t find you or aren’t convinced you’re still in business.

And since Google currently holds 90.46% of the search engine market worldwide and receives 63,000 searches per second on any given day, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase business.

What is Google My Business?

If you’re brand new to SEO (search engine optimization) Google My Business is a great place to start.

Google My Business is a free service provided through Google that allows you to manage how your business appears through Search and Maps results. To be clear: it doesn’t replace your website, but it does complement it.

Your website is your digital storefront. Google My Business is like signage–it establishes your presence on the largest search engine in the world. This, in turn, helps to establish your brand identityby showing yourself as a trustworthy business.

Why You Need It

One in two people who conduct a local search (i.e. car repair near me) visits a store on the same day. In other words, when people look for products and services through Google, they’re usually very close to making a purchase.

This is the perfect time for your business to come on the scene.

With Google My Business, it’s easy for customers to find essential information about your business, like your physical location, contact information, and operating hours.

It also dramatically increases your search visibility. When you conduct a local search with a specific location, like Marin County, California, you’ll notice a high-visibility map showing three businesses that match your search. You’ll see their name, essential information, average rating, and location on a map.

Create Your Google My Business Account

Let’s start by creating your Google My Business account.

For most businesses, the first step is to conduct a Google search to ensure you don’t already have a listing. Type your own business name into the search bar. Here’s the good news: if your business has been in business for a few years or more, chances are good that you already have a Google My Business listing.

All you need to do is claim it.

Once you’ve claimed your listing, you can manage it as though you had already been managing it for several years. Head over to the Google My Business page for adding and claiming listings. Enter your essential information (name and address) to check for a pre-existing listing.

There’s also a chance that someone else has already claimed your business. It might seem counterintuitive to claim a business listing that isn’t yours, but there’s a competitive advantage to doing so. Here’s what to do if you need to reclaim your listing.

Make sure that all of your business information is complete and accurate. At a minimum, you’ll need:

  • Your business name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number

You should also let customers know where you are on the map (drag and drop a pin to your exact location), select a business category, and let customers know if you deliver.

Optimize It

Establishing the basics will already give your business a traffic boost. But if you really want to take advantage of Google My Business, it’s time to take it one step further.

To do that, you’ll need to optimize your listing.

Include Keywords

Google uses a variety of signals to decide how to rank search results. And just like a traditional website, Google uses those signals on Google My Business listings as well.

As such, one of the simplest ways to optimize your listing is to include relevant local keywords.

Since Google My Business focuses on local search, you’re best served by focusing on local keywords. Unlike regular keywords, local keywords are geographically-specific. They include cues to tell the search engine that your location is relevant.

For example, “hair salon near me” or “pizza in Tampa” are both local keywords–they tell the search engine to focus on the user’s geographic location or to pull relevant results for a location specified in the search.

As with other keywords, always be sure to use the keywords naturally. So naturally that the user doesn’t notice them there. If your listing is a garbled list of keywords, Google will view the listing as spam.

Don’t Forget Great Photos

As the old adage goes, a picture’s worth a thousand words. In this case, a picture’s worth way more search traffic–businesses with photos receive 45% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses without photos.

However, keep in mind that a few good pictures are more valuable than many mediocre pictures.

Let’s say you’re a retailer. Which would a customer be more likely to visit: a listing with a storefront photo and logo or a listing with up-close photos of your displays? In the latter case, the customer knows what to expect when they walk through the door.

Ready to Increase Business Traffic?

Google My Business is just one of the many ways that you can strengthen your online presence. Of course, it works best if you know how to navigate it.

All too often, we talk to businesses who understand the value of digital marketing but don’t have any idea where to begin. That’s why you need an expert in your corner.

Ready to increase business traffic? We’re ready to help. Get in touch today to start the conversation.