If your local business serves a specific geographic location, then you should be implementing Local SEO practices to make it easier for your potential customers to FIND you!
Local SEO and Google My Business (GMB) are very important for your local business. Whether you have a brick and mortar storefront or have a service-based business (like a mobile hair dresser), you want to be found!
According to Google, 46% of searches have “local Intent”, meaning people were searching and wanted the results to show up for a specific geographic area.
People use cell phones constantly and this is having a significant impact on how we search. People are using voice search and instead of opening the search bar, they may go directly to their Google Maps App and search.
You want your business to come up in as high in that search as possible and even try to get into the Google 3-Pack. This is the top 3 results from a Google Search that has Local Intent. This is where you want to be and the first key to improving your business’s rank is with GMB.
Some business are much harder than others to get into the Google 3-pack. Search for your specific category on Google and include “near me” and take a look a the results. Do the top 3 businesses have lots of reviews and do they post often? If so, it may be hard to knock one off unless you have some paid ads that will place you there.
However, if the top 3 have few reviews or a low star level for reviews and they aren’t posting regularly, then there is an huge opportunity for you to get to work on your GMB account and get to the top of those results!
The first step is claiming and optimizing your GMB account. This opens the door for you to update and correct information Google has. For instance, some businesses may find that there is already a GMB profile for their business, but they can’t access it. What if the business hours are incorrect? You may have some unhappy customers come by when you’re closed, but GMB says you’re open.
What about those reviews? You need to be able to respond and thank the positive reviewers and also the negative reviewers. You have an opportunity to rectify the situation and improve how people view your business by how you reply to negative reviews.
If your business has a GMB account and you don’t have access to it, there’s an option to Claim it. You want to do that sooner rather than later!
If there is no listing for your business, take the time to set it up and remember to complete ALL of the information.
Google My Business is a Social Platform
You rarely hear about Google+ anymore, and one reason is that it’s gasping it’s last breath. Google has moved up it’s shutdown date to April 2019. Google+ has been one area that Google missed the mark with. Not to worry, they seem to be putting all of their efforts into Google My Business!
This is why you need to claim, optimize, post weekly and regularly check your GMB listing. Don’t let it sit there with incorrect information for long. If Google sees that you have bad information on your listing, you’ll come up lower in searches. Google wants to show results that are relevant and correct!
Over the last year and a half Google has been rolling out major updates regularly.