Setting up your Google My Business account is a great first step to getting traffic from local search.
But to maximize your results from Google My Business, you can take several steps to optimize your listing to help drive even more traffic from local search.
Optimizing your listing may take a little time to do, but is not difficult. Any business that wants to be competitive in local search should do these steps.
Here are some simple steps you can take to increase the effectiveness of your Google listing.
Business Name and Basic Information
For the business name, Google wants business owners to enter their actual business name and nothing else. Avoid using taglines, location information or mentioning products in your business name unless they are an actual part of your business name.
Some SEO practitioners believe that adding keywords into your business name will help you rank better.
However, note that listing your keywords in your GMB name is not required to rank. A quick search for keywords like “pizza” will show that several of the ranking businesses don’t have the keyword in their name.
Instead, be sure to include your keywords in your business description and on your website’s title tag and text.
Fill out your other business information including business hours, address, website and phone number. Select the right business category so that Google will rank you for the right terms.
Google might also provide other options, like menus, where you can enter information specific to your type of business. For business name and information, the most important part of this section is to fill it out as completely and accurately as possible.
Google allows 750 characters for the business description, but only 250 characters will show up in the short versions when display space is limited. Be sure to write a compelling description in the first 250 words that can stand on its own. But also use the remaining space to create a longer description if you feel that it can help.
Business descriptions should not contain self-promotional language or offensive or inappropriate content. Avoid talking about special promotions that you are offering at the time. You are also not allowed to use links within your description.
Instead, take the time to write a description that accurately reflects what your business offers and highlight key selling points.
Do a quick search and look at what other businesses have written for their business description. Think about how you can write a description that stands out from the rest.
According to Google, businesses with photos see 42% more requests for driving directions and 35% more clicks on their website link than businesses without photos.
Uploading high quality photos and videos can make your business look more appealing to potential customers. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or video editor. Sometimes even cell phone photos can do the trick.
Google recommends that photos should be at least 720 x 720 pixels and saved in jpg or png format. They should also be no larger than 5MB in size.
If you are an agency or marketing manager, there is a tool called LocalPics that will automatically send text message reminders to business owners to send pictures. The business owner can upload the pictures to LocalPics and they will automatically get uploaded into their Google My Business account.
Let’s take a look at the types of photos you can upload:
Your cover photo is important because it is the most prominent photo shown on your business profile. This image is also used in thumbnails, so be sure to pick an image that makes you stand out from competitors or makes people want to click on your listing:
Your profile photo is what shows up on your avatar when you post a photo or reply to a customer review. A business owner might choose to upload a high quality photo of themselves as the profile photo or a high quality image of the business logo.
Be sure to also upload a variety of other photos to represent your business. Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
- Photos of the exterior of your business
- Photos of the interior of your business
- Photos of your most popular products
- Photos of happy customers enjoying your products
- Photos of your team or employees
Add as many high quality photos as you need to fully convey your product offerings and what your business does.
If you have a lot of photos or multiple business locations, you can upload photos using a spreadsheet.
Google also allows you to upload videos to a Google My Business profile.
Adding a video can be a great way to engage your customer, showcase your location or demonstrate your product. Some video ideas might include giving a tour of your location, having the business owner share a message, filming happy customers or showing off some of your products.
Videos can be a maximum of 30 seconds long and 100 MB in size. They should be 720p or higher in resolution.
Most local businesses don’t have videos on their Google profile, so it’s not really required. But taking time to create and upload a video can be a good way to stand out.