For local searches Google now features their Local 3-Pack listing that is above Google organic listings. So of course those are the ones getting all the clicks. It is a great equalizer for small businesses trying to rank in their town if they know how to take advantage of it. These days If you are a small business with local customers this would be even more important than optimizing your website in my opinion.  SEO pros often use the abbreviation GMB when talking about Google My Business listings.

Here are the ten steps to optimizing your Google My Business Profile for local search success in 2019.  

  1. Claim and verify your listing – Somewhere around half of Google my business listings are unclaimed. Don’t let yours be one of them. To check and claim yours look up your business on Google and click on the “own this business” link at the bottom. If it is already claimed you won’t see that button..Google will mail you a postcard with a 5 digit code in about a week.  Enter those numbers in Google My Business to claim and manage it. You cannot edit the listing if you don’t manage it. Once the listing has been claimed you can add other users like your local SEO consultant so they can help you optimize it. You may need to also verify your phone number with Google.
  2. Accurate NAP (Name Address Phone Number) and make sure these are an exact match at any other citation sources like Yelp, Manta, Yellow Pages etc. Adding your business to more online directories is also helpful in getting your Google My Business Listing to show in the 3 pack 
  3. Pick the right business categories – You can add up to 4 but make sure you start with the most important one. That will be your primary category and will have the most weight. Here is a list of GMB business categories. bit.ly/2qbJB27  All 3942 of them, courtesy of pixelcutlabs.com
  4. Fill out your business description  – Make sure your include your keywords and location in your GMB business description. You have 750 characters to work with, so no need to skimp and write a one sentence business description here. 
  5. Add SEO optimized photos to your listing. Go to photos on the left and once you are on that page you will see image categories of Interior, Exterior, At work, Team and Identity across the top.  Add at least 5 photos in each category. If you don’t have enough, it may be time to schedule an office photo shoot. Try to make it a mix of photos to help your prospects understand you and your business better. After the initial 5 photos it would be better to add additional photos periodically. Each image shows how many times it was viewed so you can use that to add similar photos. 
  6. Add your services and take the time to describe them fully using the best keywords for each.
  7. Fill in all the rest – Do your best at filling in all the rest of the blanks like business hours, opening date and and anything else.  Google is always adding or removing sections. They have recently added a products section but it is listed as (Beta)  A highlighted section of vereran or woman owned business recently appeared in a new section in the dashboard. Check back every so often to make sure there are no new opportunities to leverage.  
  8. Write a new Google post every week Use an optimized image and a call to action button like learn more that points back to a specific related page on your site.  If you add a new blog post on your website you can write a paragraph summary on Google posts, add an image and then add a button that will take people back to the rest of the post.  
  9. Cultivate and answer reviews – Click on the Get more reviews button to get a link to send to your happy customers so they can leave a new Google review. Answer all reviews whether they are positive or negative,  If you have a one star review or two try to answer those in an appolegeting way explaining the circumstance, Remember all reviews and responses are public. The number of reviews and the star ratings are a ranking factor if you were not aware.
  10. Check out Insights – Your Google My Business Insights holds lots of good knowledge in there that you can use to help you improve things in the future.  If you don’t understand anything related to your Google My Business listings or SEO feel free to drop me a line.

My company: 1ON1 SEO Training offers personalized one to one SEO classes either online or in person.  The basics of these classes are to teach you to be a search engine optimization expert yourself while we’re optimizing your website together. If we do decide to work together and you have a local business then optimizing your Google My Business listing is going to be one of the first things that we’ll cover. Learn more at https://1on1seotraining.com