Not only does Google My Business help with SEO efforts, it also creates a unique online presence and engaging customer experience for your business without investing heavily in a website. Depending on your business, many searchers may not even visit your site and solely rely on information provided to them by Google’s search results page. This is called a zero-click search, which according to this study may now account for over 50% of searches. You can also use GMB to easily create buttons and links on your site that will open a new tab with directions to your business, or you can embed it in a sharable blog post like this:
Local SEO and Google My Business (GMB)
If your business has a physical location, you’ll want to set up a Google My Business profile. GMB will have the biggest impact on businesses that want to rank locally. When someone performs a search for “furniture store near me” Google takes into account and puts high trust in the verified location information entered into Google My Business profiles. Without a GMB profile, Google must rely on the structured data on your site, sometimes guessing at a business’s location and what industries to categorize it under.
Straight from Google’s “Improve your local ranking” post:
“When someone searches for a business or place near their location, they’ll find local results across Google, in places like Maps and Search. For example, you can probably find local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. We try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit. To improve your business’s local ranking, use Google My Business to claim and update your business information.”
Managing Google Reviews
It has been verified that Google uses company reviews as a ranking factor, but maybe not in the way you predicted. Aside from having the highest-rated business (which IS important), Google will take into account how consistently you are interacting with the users who leave reviews. Google wants to create the best user experience possible, so respond to reviews that users leave about your business.
“When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. […] More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’ local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so search engine optimization (SEO) best practices apply.”
Google My Business Categories
GMB helps Google’s search engine understand and index a website more accurately. Another factor it takes into consideration is business category. Once you have established primary and secondary categories in GMB, Google will begin to relate your website with searches relevant to those industries. Searchers won’t always type in your target keywords, so it is important to give Google as much data as possible to relate your website with relevant searches.
Ranking Locally with Google My Business
It should be clear now that Google references the location, hours of operation, consumer reviews, and more in a GMB profile for local searches. If you would like to rank locally, it is imperative that you maintain your Google My Business profile with accurate and complete information. This is especially true for mobile SEO, which now encompasses over 50% of local searches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, with many businesses temporarily closing, searchers are relying more than ever on the accuracy of a GMB profile.