If you run a small business and are looking to attract more customers, then a free tool from Google is probably the first thing you want to look at implementing into your marketing and SEO strategy. Setting up and optimising your Google My Business listing allows your business to stand out in the search engine results pages and be closer to the top of Google than your website may naturally rank. This blog post will give you all you need to know about getting your GMB listing optimised for Google Map Pack and what you need to do ongoing to keep it there.
What Is Google Map Pack?
The Google Map Pack is the bunch of listings that you will see in the top section of almost all Google searches. It has anywhere between 3 and 5 Google My Business listings and a map of their locations. It is usually the first organic results a user will see, as in the first websites to show up without paying for an advert.
The results will always show the user the businesses matching their search term that are local to them, hence their importance in local SEO. It can be the case also that even if your business website does not rank very well in the organic results - your GMB listing could rank much higher, meaning you have a chance to steal traffic away from your competitors.
Why Is Having a Well Optimised GMB Listing Important?
The easiest way to show you how important optimising your local SEO using Google My Business would be to show you official stats from Google themselves:
· 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
· 86% of people find the location of a business using Google Maps.
· 88% of consumers view online reviews as trustworthy.
· "Near Me" or "local..." Searches have grown as much as 900% in the last five years.
With those figures in mind, it is easy to see how having a listing at the top of search results pages is an essential factor in local SEO. Google listings allow the user to see everything they need to know about you all in one place:
· Who you are
· Where you are
· Customer reviews
· Contact details
· Details of services
The easier you make it for people to find you and find out that you offer what they are looking for, the better your chances of attracting that potential customer.
How to Rank in the Google Maps Pack
If you already have a Google My Business listing, great if you don't, then the first thing you will want to do is get one set up and verified. Once your GMB listing is in place and confirmed, you are going to want to follow these steps:
#1 Optimise Your Listing
Getting all the correct information onto your GMB listing is relatively easy, as Google give you prompts as to what is needed. You want to ensure that all the information you add to the listing is correct, as this will form the cornerstone of your local SEO. Your listing will need to contain all your NAP information (Name, Address, Phone number) and links to your website.
It is VITAL that your NAP information is up to date and correct, as this will determine where your results show up in the relevant search results and as customers will use this to find you. You may also be tempted to set up several Google My Business listings in various locations to reach a wider audience, using fake address details or virtual offices. Under no circumstances should you do this. It is against Google's rules and could lead to your GMB listings being removed and your entire website being de-listed within the Google search engine.
You will also need to ensure that your business matches the categories provided by Google. Google is constantly updating these, and whilst they might not always closely match your business, it is best practice to choose the closest to it, then edit it as new ones become available.
Finally, be sure to add images to your GMB listing; they help you stand out and help with other forms of Google searches such as image searches, etc. They play a vital role in local SEO but are often overlooked.
#2 Get Reviews
Reviews on your GMB listing play a critical role in how high up the rankings the listing will be and will need to be tackled twofold. Firstly you need to get reviews on your listing, but also the frequency of the reviews will count too. Testing shows that a well-optimised listing with a regular flow of reviews can outrank a competitor's listing with more of them.
The best way to get Google reviews left for your business is to ask your customers to leave their thoughts and provide them with a link. This is easy for online transactions as you can include the link on an email or SMS; this can be harder for in-store purchases. If all of your customers purchase your items or services in-store, you need to develop innovative solutions such as sharing links on social media or a business card.
#3 Optimise Your Website
Every part of your online presence needs to be optimised if you want to stand out from your competitors. Your website also plays a massive role in your local SEO strategy and needs to be just as optimised as your GMB listing.
Having all of your NAP details listed on your website helps Google tie everything together. The same for social media; they all need to have your name, address and phone number details. Other aspects of your website include localised landing pages, how to find you details on your contact page etc can all help with local SEO.
How to Utilise Google My Business for Local SEO
Once you have your listing set up and running correctly, focus on ensuring that the details remain up to date and capturing as many reviews as possible from customers. Frequency is as important as review count, so remember to be asking as many customers as possible.
Your Google My Business listing forms the cornerstone of any good local SEO project and can reap benefits more far-reaching than expected. It can also rank higher than your website, which is always a bonus! If you need any help in getting started with local SEO or getting your Google My Business listing up and running then be sure to give us a call and we can help!
Here at E2E, we are experts in small businesses and how they operate and here to take the strain from your shoulders when it comes to getting an online presence that works for you. We are a team of dedicated small business specialists who know precisely what it takes and have the tools, the skills and the passion for helping your business succeed online.
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