Whether you’re the owner of a large business or a budding entrepreneur who just started your small business, knowing a few SEO tips to help your brand rank among your competition is highly important. Larger marketing agencies can charge you substantially for the simplest SEO tips, so we strive to help you save on your marketing budget whenever possible by sharing SEO tips whenever we can.
Time is a hot commodity as a business owner, so we’ve created this simple tutorial on how to properly set up and optimize your Google My Business profile to help boost your brand’s SEO and overall ranking against the competition. Google My Business is an internet-based service created by Google to help customers and clients more easily discover the products or services they’re looking for online. Specifically, Google My Business was designed to connect directly with Google Maps and is used primarily for GPS directions.
Google My Business is an easy-to-use, free tool that gives business owners more control over how their customers find and view them online. This Google service both helps customers discover your business and learn about your brand’s story while providing a way for your fans to engage through reviews.
Should Every Business Have a Google My Business Page?
The quick answer to this is no. Google My Business is primarily for businesses that have a brick-and-mortar location or a building that customers can visit to do business. You might also need a Google My Business page if you don’t have a location but only do business in a specific location. For example, if you’re a photographer who only does business in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounding cities, it’s a good idea to have a Google My Business profile to help customers locate the services you provide in that area.
On the other hand, if you have an eCommerce business that is nationwide, but you’re headquartered in a particular city, you wouldn’t necessarily need a Google My Business page. Remember, Google My Business is specifically designed to help localized customers or clients find services in their area or a storefront they can visit. If you don’t expect or desire for your customers to visit your headquarters (which is likely your home or a warehouse), it makes no sense to have a Google My Business page in this scenario.
For those looking to boost SEO for a nationwide online store, there are other ways to rank in search engines. We can discuss those options later, but some primary options are through Wikipedia, backlinking, and blogs that rank organically. We’ll write more about this later.
Things You Should Have for Your Google My Business Page
We highly recommend that you have a website for your business listing. Frankly, to own a business and not have a website causes your business to look disingenuous and sketchy. Even if you have a free web page for customers to visit, that’s better than not having any sort of website or landing page at all. It’s important to build trust with potential customers, and you need to look like a serious and legitimate business just as your competition does.
A Designated Location.
As stated earlier, you only need a Google My Business page if you have a physical storefront location or you actually do business in a designated area. Do NOT create a Google My Business page for a headquarters like a warehouse if you don’t want customers showing up there. If you’re an online business that only sells online, there are other strategies you can use to rank online.
That being said, if you are a travel photographer who is interested in doing photography nationwide, you don’t want to make the entire United States your business region. This sends red flags to Google’s algorithm and causes the software to rank you low in the listings. Instead, you can list on your website that you serve nationwide but make your listing specific to the area you work in most. There are other ways to advertise your travel services in this scenario that we’ll discuss in later tutorials.
A Logo and Company Images.
Your Google My Business page allows you to post your company logo and company images. It’s a good idea to add some of your photos to help your page stand out among your competitors because they are usually doing the same. Don’t leave your images section blank! Not adding images creates distrust in potential customers and makes it seem as if your company is hiding something. Keep things professional and provide some branding materials that show your potential clients who you are.
A Business Phone Number.
If you’re a local business, you need to have a phone number so your clients can reach you. We recommend using something other than a personal home or cell number. This is for your personal safety and it helps keep your business and personal life separate, something your family will surely thank you for! There are plenty of call forwarding services available that allow you to create a business number with a local area code. We recommend Google Voice as a great option for creating a business phone number. If you want to learn how to set up your own Google Voice phone number, check out our article and video about how to do this here.
Do You Need a Physical Address to Set Up a Google My Business Page?
The best answer to this is yes and no. To set up a Google My Business page, you will need to have a valid mailing address at the very least, but you don’t have to have a public address listed to create your profile. If you’re a service business that doesn’t have a physical location for customers to visit, you can still create a Google My Business profile that doesn’t list an address, but you will need to have a mailing address for Google to confirm your identity. If you have a storefront location, you want to list this address on your public profile so customers can more easily discover you on google.
How to Set Up Google My Business
Step 1: Navigate to your browser’s Google search bar and type in “Google My Business.”
Step 2: Click on the Google My Business website. Click on the “manage now” tab or the “sign in” tab to sign into or create a Google account.
Step 3: Enter your exact business name as it appears on all other platforms. Remember, Google’s algorithm prioritizes businesses that show consistency. Make sure that all your business profiles show accurate and consistent information.
Step 4: Here you should enter a label that best describes the kind of business you are. For example, you can say “photography,” “makeup artist,” “plumber,” and these would all be good options. A good way to figure out what label best suits your business is to search your competitors’ listings to see what they use.
Step 5: Enter your location’s physical address by hitting yes. If you don’t have a physical location for customers to visit, hit no.
Step 6: Enter your business address and then hit next. You’ll be asked whether you serve customers somewhere other than your physical location. Hit yes if so and no if not.
Step 7: Enter your company phone number and web address. If you don’t have a website, it’s highly recommended that you get one.
Step 8: Hit finish to move to the next phase, which includes filling out and optimizing your listing.
Keep in mind that Google will request a valid mailing address and will send you a postcard with a verification code. Your Google My Business page will go live after you’ve received this postcard and entered the code into your profile.
How to Optimize Your Google My Business Page to Rank High
If you’re looking to rank on the first page of Google using your Google My Business page, it’s important to fill out your profile’s info strategically. Optimizing your Google My Business page is mostly simple and easy to complete, and the results are well worth the time you’ll spend doing this properly so don’t skip over these steps!
To edit your profile’s information, navigate to your Google My Business dashboard and select the “info” tab in the left sidebar. Your profile page should look like this.
You can edit sections by clicking on the pencil icon near each subject.
Step 1: Add additional business categories if necessary.
If your business does more than one thing, you might want to list a second and third category. For us, it made sense to add “marketing consultation” as our secondary category. Avoid adding more than three categories as Google views this as keyword stuffing.
Step 2: Fill out your hours of operation completely and add your holiday hours if you know them already.
Make sure your business hours are listed accurately. Failure to do this correctly could result in unhappy customers and negative reviews.
Step 3: Be sure to fill out your services section and any of the top products you have for sale.
When filling out your services section, separate types of services with headers. Make sure you add a detailed description and URL to the website page where visitors can learn more about that service. Avoid stuffing the description sections with keywords. The description should read as a full sentence and clearly describe each particular service offering.
Step 4: Google may provide attributes that match your business.
Go ahead and select the ones that fit your company but avoid adding ones that don’t. The worst thing you can do is select something like “veteran-owned,” when your company is not. This can create serious distrust in your community and be detrimental to your business success.
Step 5: Aside from the services section, the business description is one of the most important elements of your Google My Business Profile.
There is no way around this. You must fill out this section as it could mean the difference between gaining a client or sending them running to a competitor. Keep your description simple with no more than two or three well-thought-out sentences. Include your business name and main city of business. Avoid stuffing keywords in this section. Your description should be easy to read and clearly describe the kind of business, services, and products you provide.
Step 6: Finally, add a few business photos.
If you don’t have any candid shots of your business yet, you should at least add a company logo. This makes your profile come to life and builds trust between your business and potential clients. When adding photos, make sure you add a brief description of each photo that includes your business name to help your images rank in Google image searches.
Well, that’s about it for setting up and optimizing your Google My Business Page. Pretty simple, right? Optimizing your Google My Business page is an easy step to ranking on the first few pages of Google. However, while optimizing Google My Business is a key element to ranking on the first page of Google, remember that there are many other elements that go into ranking number one on search engines. We’ll discuss other ways to boost SEO in future articles!