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Picture this: you’re at home and tired of cooking, so you decide to order delivery. Most likely you will use your smartphone to type in food-related keywords, then your area (city or county, for example), and then the category of food you’re looking for into Google. When you hit Search, a list of local businesses is generated by Google that includes their:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Categories
  • Business hours

You can also read reviews on each restaurant and see all of your options laid out on a map. From this Google search engine results page (SERP), you can click on the name of each restaurant you would like to potentially order from. You can also click on their individual websites to learn more or order online, or even make a phone call directly from Google. In less than a minute after deciding you want to order delivery, you can have a list at your fingertips of local vendors.

This situation plays itself out countless times per day: people are looking for goods and services within their local area. And now more than ever, they need to know about product availability, store restrictions, or limitations on hours. By improving your location-based strategy using Google My Business, a free tool that allows your business to be found online, you can drive more valuable traffic to your website.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business allows you to manage and control how your business will look on Google’s SERPs. It also helps your website to have a public presence by being listed on Google search engine results pages. Information about your business will also appear in:

  • Google searches
  • Maps
  • Knowledge Graph 
  • Google+
  • Local Finder

You may have noticed on your own smartphone that there are now tools that allow businesses to manage their listings during the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have seen warning symbols about various alerts, as well as testing center centers in your maps that may be close to your business. You, too, can manage your listing so that you can update your audience during the coronavirus crisis.

How do I get started?

Getting started with Google My Business is as easy as creating your free account! It’s always a good idea to run a Google search for your business to be sure that you don’t already have a listing. If your Google My Business listing is already up and running, but you haven’t claimed your listing yet, then you can add or claim your GMB listing here. You will enter your business name and conduct a search. In the rare instance that you conduct this search and it appears that someone else has claimed your business, then you should fill out a Request Ownership of a Business Profile.

If you are filling it out for the first time, here are some tips to help you:

  • Be sure that all details about your business are up-to-date and accurate
  • Keep your text free of spelling or grammatical errors
  • Be sure to categorize your business in the most relevant category

Factors That Affect Your Ranking

Google, as well as other search engines, use hundreds of factors to determine how to rank a website. When it comes to Google My Business, here are some of the most critical factors.

Location, Location, Location

When you are setting up your Google My Business, you will be asked if your business delivers any goods and services to your customers, and within what area. This is extremely helpful to companies who want to reach local prospects! Your location and proximity to your customers have a huge impact on how your local business is ranked. You can’t rank for a local search in an area where your company is not located. While Google has kept how they choose which businesses they show in local search very secret, being specific and detailed on your website and Google My Business account can help your local listings.

Writing content that is locally-focused helps to improve your rankings as well. If your guest posts, on-page content, and alt text for your images all contain keywords that are oriented to a particular area, such as city or county, then when Google is web crawlers index those web pages they will take notice of those details. 

Distinction

This refers to protecting your online reputation, and what sets your website apart from others. You want to have high-quality links in your content, but no more than one link per every 500 words. You will also want to monitor your Google reviews and respond to negative feedback right away.

Relevance

When a user types in keywords into Google, they want results that are related to what they are searching for. Otherwise, the results will be meaningless to them, and businesses like yours won’t ever see the traffic that they are looking for. That’s why it’s important to understand your customers’ intentions when they perform a search to find companies like yours. You can then incorporate these keywords into your content to help drive more traffic to them, and to help Google know more about you.

What is Keyword Research?

Anytime you are talking about search engines, you need to think about how keywords can be used on your website to attract traffic. Keywords are chosen based on findings in the research that we conduct for every campaign. One way to find keywords to help your business is to conduct a search in Google related to your business, and then scroll down to the bottom of the first search engine results page (SERP). There you will see a section called “Searches related to” where you can find keywords to use in your website content, scripts for videos, photo captions, and blog posts.
Give us a call at On The Map Marketing, and let us know what your goals are. We can help you get set up with a Google My Business account so you can start seeing positive results!

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