Google my Business SEO is only second to Website SEO when it comes to Local Business SEO according to 53 Local SEO Experts. In this Guide, you would learn how to optimize Google My Business to supercharge your local seo.
- 1 Google’s Official GMB Optimization tips
- 2 Google My Business Reviews
- 3 Stop ignoring Google My Business Analytics
- 4 GMB Reputation Management
- 5 Optimize Google My Business for Voice Search
- 6 Google Snack Packs Optimization
- 7 What not to do with your GMB listing?
- 8 User Experience > Optimization
- 9 Google My Business Uploads on Steroids
- 10 Relevant NAP citations = more Google My Business visibility
- 11 Google My Business SEO : Conclusion
Google’s Official GMB Optimization tips
It is sad that almost nobody cares to go through the official guidelines from Google to optimize Google My Business listing.
According to Google’s official guidelines, you must put in complete information about your Business.
Accurate Contact details, open hours, responding to reviews & uploading photos are the four primary
How Google determines Local Ranking?
Google specifically states 3 major factors that goes behind Local Business Ranking :-
Relevance is all about Google trying to match the user’s query and intent to your business listing. Exactly why it is so important to provide complete details about your business on GMB. Write descriptions, list your products and make sure to leave correct contact details.
Distance is simply the distance between a searcher and your business. You can utilize this feature by including nearby places into your GMB listing service areas.
Prominence is nothing but Branding. According to Google, the search engine tries to reflect places which are more popular in the offline world as well. For example, Museums or popular Food Chains.
The easiest way to trigger the prominence algorithm of Google is to focus on your Brand queries for your Business. The higher the monthly search volume of your Brand Keyword, better will be your Local Search Ranking.
Google My Business Reviews
GMB Reviews are the #1 Ranking factor of a Google my Business Listing. In this section, we would discuss how to get authentic google reviews and use them to your benefit as a local business.
(My SECRET Strategy) All Reviewers are not Equal!
You would already know about Google Local Guides. It is an official program from google where you can get various rewards for reviewing local businesses and tourist places.
I used this same strategy to find out a highly targeted set of people who were both my potential customer as well as a Google Local Guide.
Here’s how to differentiate between a normal Google Account and a Local Guide account :-
It is easy to find out these Local Guides as they are always found reviewing other local businesses or places. All you have to do is to find an overlapping zone between your services and their interest.
Your Next step will be to reach out to these people manually and offer them a Free Service. Almost nobody says ‘NO’ to a Free Service.
Once you are done providing the service, ask for an Honest Feedback using the techniques I will teach you in the next segment of this Guide.
How to get more google my business reviews?
The easiest way to get more GMB review is to offer something for Free.
If you have a Product, offer them a free trial and then ask for their feedback.
If you are a Service provider or Consultant, offer them some of your services for Free.
Here’s how I generate Honest Google My Business Feedback for my Google My Business Page.
- Locate a Business Owner or an Influencer who might need a Logo or some help with their Social Media Management
- Pitch them like I do :-
Hi [enter First Name],
I came across your Website/Instagram Profile [enter URL] and realized that you don’t have a Logo.
We are offering a free Logo designing service for a limited period of time.
Reply back to this mail if you are interested.
India’s First Conversion Focused Digital Marketer
Make sure you don’t send more than 50 Emails per day. Also try to change the Body of the Email slightly every time you send a new one.
Once you have delivered them the logo, ask them for a Review the way I show you in the next segment.
The Best kind of GMB Reviews & How to Earn them?
As I had discussed earlier, the best kind of Google My Business Reviews are the ones with honest feedback.
But, we all know, Google’s ranking algorithm is keyword driven.
Thus, here’s how you should pitch your existing customer for a Review which would also contain your target keyword (for which you want to rank):-
Hi [enter First Name],
I hope you liked our Free Logo Designing Service (or any other service).
If you could leave us an Honest Feedback about your Logo Design on Google, we would give you a free 1 week trial of our Social Media Management Services.
You can find out about our SMM service here.
Let me know if it interests you.
P.S. :- I will share a step-by-step method to make it easy for you to leave a Google Review.
India’s First Conversion Focused Digital Marketer
How many Reviews are enough Reviews for GMB?
Basic rule of thumb is to get twice the number of reviews your competitor has on their GMB page.
If you are into a highly competitive industry like mine (Digital Marketing Services), you should make Review collection and generation a regular routine for your business.
Preferably, don’t put any upper limit to the number of Reviews you should get for your Google my Business. Since it is one of the most important ranking factor behind Local SEO, the more you get the merrier.
Stop ignoring Google My Business Analytics
Businesses I was handling were generating good number of leads from my Optimization techniques.
In the last one week I started noticing patterns in the Google My Business Analytics.
Customers would call only during afternoon between 12 PM – 1 PM. I am yet to figure out the meaning behind this data.
But, one thing was clear. We simply cannot ignore the data gathered from Google My Business Analytics.
GMB analytics is available inside the Insights tab of your GMB page.
GMB Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management in itself is an Industry. Some of the businesses are even using Artificially Intelligent Platforms and Tools to track their Brand Mentions on Social Media.
If you are a small business, you should at least focus on Google My Business reviews and reply to each and every review that you receive.
One of the common misconception around Google Review responses is to stuff the reviews with Keywords for higher ranking.
Google does take keywords into consideration for GMB seo. But, not in review responses. The algorithm is not so dumb that it won’t be able to differentiate between user generated review and your response.
Thus, stop keyword stuffing your Review Responses.
How to respond to a 1 star review on google?
Since childhood, we are conditioned to believe that we should always fight criticism.
But, when it comes to Business, negative reviews are great.
Not because they help you improve.
But, customers who complaint actually want to become a loyal customer.
They are giving out signals to become lifelong customers only if you address their issues.
Simplest way is to respond to your 1 star review politely.
Here’s how I respond to 1 star google reviews on my client’s GMB page:-
Hi [name], I can totally understand your problem and would like to help you solve it as well. Can you please share your problem in detail over [official email id]
Assure them that you would go any extent to solve their grievance.
How to respond to a 3 star review on google?
3 Star Reviews are the Best kind of Reviews.
These are the ones who are most honest about your business.
If you can convert these feedback into feed forward, nothing can stop you from crushing your competitor.
In reply to a 3 star review on google, ask them for a 1-to-1 phone call or Email conversation.
Hey [name], Thank you so much for leaving an honest feedback about our service. We are really trying our best to improve everyday. Would you mind if I get on a call with you to further understand your feedback. Rest assured, we would reward you for your time.
Try to understand more about their feedback.
Ultimately make the necessary changes and let them know about the improvement.
How to respond to a 5 star review on google?
5 star reviews on google is your best bet to generate more 5 stars.
Whoever gives you a 5 star, reply to them saying that they can use a 10% off on their next purchase.
Hi [name], Thank you so much for loving our service and even leaving us a review for the same. To acknowledge your love, we provide you a 10% discount on your next purchase. Just leave us an email with a screenshot of your review 🙂
In future, whenever someone would land on your GMB profile, they would try to give a 5 star rating so that even they can enjoy a discount.
SWEET LITTLE HACK!
Optimize Google My Business for Voice Search
Everyone is doing a podcast these days.
Heck, even my parents are using Google Assistant App to find a doctor.
As a local business, the quicker you optimize for voice search, the better.
Local Business Schema – Why are you not using it?
I know, Schema is dreadful. It is full of weird code and we have no clue where to put it.
Should I put it in the header.php of my Website?
Or, maybe, I should install a plugin. Simple!
I used to feel the same way. Until one day I realized that you can simply put Schema into your page as a HTML code.
But, dibakar, isn’t it full of coding?
It isn’t. I am not a coder, trust me.
Here’s the code for a LocalBusiness Schema with type Restaurant :-
“name”: “Pat’s Crab Shack”,
“streetAddress”: “900 Linton Blvd”,
“addressLocality”: “Delray Beach”,
“name”: “Mike Jones”
Already scared? No need to.
It is more like the fill in the blanks you did during childhood.
Just replace the parameters like Restaurant with your business type, Pat’s Crab Shack with your Business name, etc.
Once you are done, copy paste this either inside your header.php (which can be found inside Appearance -> Theme Editor if you are using wordpress).
Or, you can copy paste this into the Classic HTML editor of a WordPress Page/Blog which is dedicated to represent your local business address / contact us page.
Why does it matter? Look at this screenshot of my About Page on Google :-
Did you notice something? It shows my Birthday, Gender and even my Location directly on Search Page!
This happened because I used a Person Schema on that page and now it shows a rich snippet 🙂
Think how much this kind of a result for your local business would help you.
Why to add google my business reviews to website?
Adding Google my Business Reviews on your Website can have multiple benefits.
Firstly, it helps Google to realize that you website is associate with your Google My Business Page.
Secondly, reviews can serve as testimonials for your potential future customers.
If you visit my Website pages, you would see a floating Google Review button on the left bottom of almost every page.
My website is on WordPress. Thus, I used a plugin named Everest Google Places Reviews.
It is a premium plugin. But, you can use free plugins like Google Reviews Widget.
Embed Google Map on your Website
Another great way to optimize your website for local voice seo is to embed your business location Map on your website.
Steps are quite simple. And you don’t need any plugins.
Watch this video tutorial and if you still need help, let me know in the comments below
Google Snack Packs Optimization
When I first heard the word Google Snack Pack, I thought it has something to do with Recipe Blogs.
Later I realized, the collective local business list found on Google is called Snack Pack.
Here’s how it looks like when I search “Digital Marketing Agency” within my locality.
Why Click Through Rate of Snack Packs matters?
Click through rate or CTR is basically a ratio of people clicking on your business listing vs total impressions your listing is receiving on Google.
In simple words, it is a measurement of judging how many people are clicking on your business listing vs your competitor’s listing.
If your CTR is high, needless to say, Google will show your Business to more number of people searching for similar services in your local area.
What not to do with your GMB listing?
Everyone talks about the best practices on Google My Business.
But, nobody stops people from doing the worst practices.
Yes, you can actually ruin your GMB listing if you don’t follow the official guidelines of Google.
The Perils of Over-Optimization
Keywords are an important factor for the search algorithm of Google.
But, Google hates it when you are keyword stuffing on your GMB profile.
If your target keyword is best restaurant in [city], then please don’t stuff your business description with the same target keyword 40 times.
There is not magic number for optimal keyword usage. But, as long as it feels natural, you can use it.
Fake Reviews : Where to draw the line?
Fake Reviews are on the rise. You can see them everywhere.
According to Jamie Pitman‘s article on Bright Local :-
- Fake Reviews tend to have repeated Exclamation Marks (!! or !!!)
- Fake Reviewers make specific requests like “please”,”bring back”, “offer more”, etc.
- 61% Amazon Electronic Product reviews are Fake.
Now, what exactly counts as a fake review?
In my opinion, buying Reviews in bulk from GMB service providers can be termed as a Fake Review.
What isn’t a Fake Review?
- When you ask your customer to leave an honest feedback about your services.
- When you manually reach out to real people relevant to your business and offer them a free trial & get some feedback.
- When you provide some additional discount to your existing customers for leaving an honest google review.
I guess you got my point. Real reviews are the one which are honest feedback about your local business, product or services.
User Experience > Optimization
User Experience is the topmost priority of Google.
And, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
On Google Maps, detail description of your business, adding the products and services you offer, etc. can enhance your user experience.
In fact, if you don’t follow any of my optimization advice and just focus on User Experience, you would win the game in the long run.
Turn on Messaging / Get a Quote
If you download Google My Business app, you could turn on the messaging service on your GMB listing.
The only condition is to continuously reply to your customer’s messages within first 24 Hours.
If you fail to reply to your customers, Google would take back their messaging feature from your Googly My Business Page.
Add custom designed Products & Services
You have customers.
But, not all of them are 100% identical to each other.
Business Giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon are continuously trying to provide a personalized experience to their customers.
You as a Local Business can do the same.
Segment your audience into layers.
For example, I can segment my audience based on industries.
I can create a custom made product for Doctors.
Another product for Hoteliers.
Heck, I can even create products based on Localities.
The further you can segment your audience, more it will help with your Google my business seo.
Claim your Free Website on GMB
If you are a lazy person just like me, chances are you have not claimed your GMB free website.
But, you know the weird part?
As soon as I created my Free Google My Business Website, it ranked on the 1st/2nd pages of Google Search Results for my Brand Keyword!
If you know it, digital marketers normally spends months creating backlinks to a website before it can show up on Google for some terms.
And here we are, ranking on Google 1st page just by claiming a Free Google Listing.
Bottomline, go and get your free website ASAP.
It is available inside your Google My Business dashboard under the Websites tab (below services).
Google My Business Uploads on Steroids
Everyone knows that GMB has an upload feature.
But, almost nobody used it to improve their local rankings.
Here are few tips which you can follow to improve your Google my Business SEO.
Geo-Tag your pictures (always)
Did you know that Google gives more preference to Business listing which has photos geographically tagged to a location?
And you could Geo tag your Business 5 photos every day for free from tools like GeoImgr
Upload more helpful Videos
Let’s accept the reality.
Videos are better than any other form of communication.
70-80% of website traffic now goes towards Video.
And guess what? Most people don’t even know that they can upload videos inside their Google My Business Page.
Despite being a YouTuber myself, I don’t upload videos on YouTube!
Upload Videos and your customers would feel way more connected to you.
Videos are the best way to gain someone’s trust.
Trust = Sale = Brand Loyalty.
Update Google Posts Regularly
Almost nobody is using Google My Business posts.
Not you, not your competitor and not even me!
Now, think about how different you would look if yo start uploading Google Posts on a regular basis.
Your CTR would go through the roof.
And, as I had discussed in the previous section :- High CTR = High Ranking.
Use a Branded 2 color scheme for graphics
With Marketing moving more towards an omnichannel approach, color schemes are the best way to maintain your brand consistency.
Honestly, I don’t understand Branding at all. I am yet to figure out the power of Branding.
But, I have observed that one my competitor uses a 2 colour scheme whenever they upload a new post on Google My Business.
Soon, I will follow their footsteps and you should as well.
Relevant NAP citations = more Google My Business visibility
NAP stands for Name Address Phone Number of your Business. After Google Reviews, NAP is the most important factor which can improve your Google My Business Listing’s visibility.
Why Consistent NAP is important?
NAP strategy works only when your NAP is consistent across every platform.
This is important because Google bots would identify your business only when it can relate your Business Listing with the details provided in your Google My business page.
The more consistent your Name Address and Phone Number, higher will be your Local Ranking of GMB page.
Avoid Nofollow Business Listing Directories
This might come to you as a shock.
If you are not an SEO, probably you won’t even know what is Nofollow.
Basically, nofollow are linkouts from a Website which has the attribute rel=nofollow in its <a> tag.
According to a study done by Neil Patel, Dofollow & High Domain Authority backlinks are the most rewarded backlinks you can build for your website.
In other words, if you would spend time in submitting in Business Directories. Better to spend that time and energy to create Dofollow Backlinks instead of Nofollow Backlinks.
City/District > State > Country (Always)
I see this mistake with almost every small local business. They start listing their Business on each and every business listing website available on Planet Earth.
Why would you want to list your Business on a Business Directory from UK when you clearly don’t serve anyone living in UK?
First, try to list your Business in your City specific Business Directories.
An easy way to find such opportunity is to search on Google like this
Business Directory [Your City Name]
Once you have listed your business in all your city specific directories, try searching this :-
Business Directory [Your State Name]
Here is a great list of Dofollow Business Listing Sites in India
For all other countries, I would recommend WhiteSpark’s Top Local Citation Source by Country.
Google My Business SEO : Conclusion
Honestly, a lot of work, strategic planning and execution is required to search engine optimize a Google My Business Page.
Luckily, you can consult with Local SEO Experts or even opt for a done for you Local SEO service.
We provide both Local SEO consultation & Google My Business SEO services.
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help with your local business ranking.
P.S. :- This Guide is a part of our Definitive Guide for Local SEO