Using Citations & Google My Business to enhance local SEO
Google my Business is the premier online directory that enhances local search results — without it, you are missing out on several business opportunities. Google My Business is a great way to reach potential customers, locally, that would otherwise not see your content or website.
GMB can have you pop up in Google Map Searches, which can give your business more ‘real estate’ on the search engine results page (SERP). It can also earn trust from customers by having an online giant such as Google touting your business. Not to mention those star ratings & reviews will help boost your appeal and your SEO. But above all else, the GMB platform is free and easy to use. Below you will find a few tips and tricks for managing your GMB page.
Creating Business Citations
First and foremost, you’ll want to create Business Citations. But you’re probably asking yourself, “what are business citations?” Business citations are any listing of your company and its information, specifically its NAP info (name, address, and phone number), on another site. These can come from anywhere. They can be in sites that review your content, local listings like Yelp or Angie’s list, or even Google’s own listing. Business citations are the building blocks with which you can spread your information across multiple places on the web. The more consistent the citations, the better.
The Importance of Consistency
When you are building your business citations, it’s paramount that they are consistent across the board. The information contained must match up no matter where it’s being pulled from. You don’t want different information showing, like one citation has your business name and phone number while another has a different variation of business name and with an email instead of phone number.
If the citation is uniform, it builds trust with a customer that everything is consistent and the information can be relied upon. This is not only true with customer but Google itself. Google doesn’t want to show its users incorrect information. If your citations vary too much, the algorithm won’t know which sites to trust, and can ultimately get you flagged for poor user experience. And trust us, a poor user or page experience is going to plummet those SEO rankings.
Most small businesses don’t realize this, but GMB is critical to a good local SEO strategy. And like other SEO, the crucial part is the optimization. When optimizing your GMB page, it’s important to sprinkle in some relevant keywords that define your business — a good place for this is in the summary or description sections. And be sure to fill in as much info as possible including location, products or services, contact information, and so on. Remember, Google wants to show their users as complete and full a picture of your company that it can. Giving it the most updated and complete data will assist it in getting your info found on the web.
The Little Things
When we spoke about consistency above, it goes even further than simply uniform information. For example, if your business is on Spokane Drive and some of your listings have the word Drive and the abbreviation Dr, that’s going to count against you. It’s inconsistent. The same goes for the very name of your business. Are you an Inc or LLC? This is important. Some companies will switch from one to the other and then not update their listings. Something as simple as three little letters can throw off the algorithm. Remember. Consistency. Is. Key.
The Google My Business platform is more than just an aggregation of your business info and citations. It’s a way to engage with your customers. If you just repainted a sign on the front door, upload a new a photo and tag it with a fun caption. Keep current! If someone posts a review or has a question, answer it! Taking time to interact with customers will prove invaluable. The more up to date and current you listings are, not just the information but the listings themselves, the more seen your content will be.
Google My Business is a severely under utilized tool. It can bring you new customers, it can provide you engagement with current customers and it can raise awareness of your business online while boosting your SEO. And it’s free! All it takes is the right posts, with the right content at the right time and you’ll see your online profile boom in a matter of weeks. The information is all there, it’s just about how you present it.