Google My Business gives website owners access to free tools that help promote their business online and be found on Google Search and Google Maps.
The Google My Business information increases visibility in search results for branded searches, and allows users to find contact information and get directions directly from the search results — without actually going to the website.
With so many important features, we thought we’d identify the best ways to optimize your Google My Business listing to help your brand stand out on the web.
Verify your Google My Business listing
Verifying your Google My Business means a better experience for the user and it ensures to Google the validity of your business and location, which is crucial for ranking in organic search results.
There are many ways to verify your Google My Business page: by postcard, phone, email, instantly through Search Console, or even bulk for multiple locations.
Ensure that your NAP is consistent
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It is crucial that all three listed in your Google My Business Page are up to date and consistent across other directories. This is critical for users to be able to find the right business and other accurate information about your company, but also for Google site crawlers to identify the connection between various listings you may have built online. One thing many business owners overlook is to check that the maps listing is correct and that the pin is displayed in the correct physical location.
Solicit and respond to Google reviews from your customers
Google encourages businesses to ask for reviews. There are lots of great ways you can ask for reviews for your business:
- Add a “Review Us on Google” link to your email signature
- Grade.us tool for sourcing direct review links for your local business
- Ask your customers! (in-store or online, via email)
- Don’t forget to reply to your reviews — both positive and negative!
If you aren’t sure how to respond to a positive or negative review, take some time to go through these guidelines on best practices for responding to online reviews.
Select the most appropriate category/categories for your business
Google recently expanded the Category section in Google My Business, allowing you to select multiple categories for your businesses. This is one way to show up for various product or service-based keyword searches, provided your website also reflects these services.
Depending on the type of business you operate, your category may also be used to assign a place label to your business.
Tips for selecting the appropriate category include:
- Use as few categories as possible to describe your overall core business
- Choose categories that are as specific, but representative of your main business
- Do not use categories solely as keywords or to describe attributes of your business
Insert your regular business hours… and holidays, too!
One of the most important features of optimizing your Google My Business page is ensuring you have added the correct hours to show potential customers when your business is open, and when they can visit your location.
Although many businesses may add their regular hours, they often neglect holidays or other events where special hours should be added. By adding special hours, you relay this important information to your clients without affecting your daily regular hours in the process.
Add photos that showcase your business
Photos are a great way to showcase your business’s products and services to potential customers across Google Search and Google Maps. Make sure the photos you choose are high-quality, and highlight different areas of your business before uploading them to your listing.
There are many types of photos to add to your Google My Business page, including your company logo, cover photo, profile photo, and additional photos that allow you to upload business specific images to help you differentiate yourself from the competition.
Define your business description
Recently, Google My Business updated the process for editing business descriptions:
“The Introduction/Description field is no longer editable in Google My Business. It only displays to users in Google+, and may still be edited there. Editing of attributes, coming soon to all Google My Business views, will be an improved way to describe your business to users on Google Search and Maps.”
Although this can no longer be edited within Google My Business, you are still encouraged to visit aboutme.google.com and edit your story as the changes there will still show up across Google services such as Drive, Photos, Google+, and others.
As an add-on, mark up your onpage info with structured data
The Knowledge Graph is Google’s system for organizing information about millions of well-known “entities”: people, places, and organizations in the real world. Google’s algorithms merge information about entities from many data sources. For some types of information, though, the best source of data is the entity itself.
Specifically, companies and people can now customize their own data in the Knowledge Graph by adding structured data markup to their official website (Google may show this information, but this is not guaranteed). The following types of data may be customized:
- Company Contact Numbers
- Social Profile Links
In relation to your address, contact info, business type, and photos, Google My Business info is still the most authoritative source. Contact markup on an official website will not overwrite data provided via Google My Business, so it is important that the information listed in your Google My Business listing for your business is accurate.
Out with the old, in with the new
With Google+ pages, links, and reviews recently removed from search results, a lot has changed over the past year. It is now more important than ever to ensure your Google my Business page is fully optimized, accurate, and up to date to provide users with the best experience when searching for your products or services online.