GMB – GoogleMyBusiness & Google Maps Local SEO Guide: Boost Your Rankings & Visibility
Every local business wants to rank for local SEO, also known as the Google 3-pack, the GMB search results or the Google Maps pack. Here are some easy steps on how to get it done, along with changes you’ll need to make to your website, along with a few action items, which need to be completed outside your website; that’s right, there are many things you need to do inside and outside your website, which will make your GMB listing more powerful.
- Claim your listing (click on the Claim Your Business Listing and login to your GMAIL account, to claim your Google My Business account, and verify ownership of your Business Profile). To claim your GMB listing, simply click on the “Own this business?” hyperlink.
- Fully complete your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), and be consistent about how you use it on your website, and in any other directories or citations listings. Ideally, your GMB business name should contain a keyword, as this will have some impact on how you rank in the Google Maps results for related target keywords.
- GMB Description: You can create a GMB business description up to 750 characters, but only the first 250 characters will show up in the Knowledge Panel. However, it is debatable as to whether keywords are weighted in this section and have an impact on your business’ visibility in GMB. It is recommended to highlight your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) in this section. Reviews are weighted, albeit only slightly, within Google’s ranking algorithm for local businesses.
- *Images: When you take photos on-site, Google knows where you took them and this info is included in the META data, which will give you a boost, to alter an image’s META data and optimize it, you can use GEOIMGR. Want to take your GMB listing to the next level? If an image says a thousand words, then a video says 1000 words at 24 frames per second! You can also do a 360 degree virtual tour of your business.
- Add maximum amount of Service Areas (regions served), and maximum number of categories, which should match target keywords in each of your website’s respective page Titles and H1s.
- Add Services / Products to your GMB listing, including full descriptions for each one; maximum 300 characters each.
- Google Shortlink or Short URL, allows you to create a nickname or short handler for your business, which you can use and leverage to create your own unique GMB review URL, which you can share with your happy clients to facilitate your process to gather more reviews – GMB Review URL: g.page/your-business-name/review
- Get more Reviews; as many reviews as possible, since Google lightly weighs the quantity and relevancy of your Google reviews. This is an easy shortcut to getting more reviews. Your Google reviews will heavily influence your GMB listing’s CTR, and as a result, its positioning. *Reviews (ask right after you complete the service). Make sure that gathering more Google reviews is a part of your business process, and ask them to include certain keywords that are important and relevant to your business.
- Questions & Answers (you can activate this feature via the GMB app), but make sure to carefully survey this section and that it is free from abuse. Also make sure to deliver prompt responses so as to avoid upsetting your potential (and existing) customers.
- Create Posts regularly (types of posts available: What’s New, Event, Offer) – Maximum length = 1500 characters (only 20 words will showup in Google). Add CTA on What’s New & Events option. Images 1200X900 Pixels. Can also use videos! People can follow your business via posts (set up Followers within the GMB app, create a welcome offer to entice them to follow you in order to qualify or a special offer, under the create a post section).
- Messaging : Enable Messaging (customers can message you or request a quote directly); Message button & Request a Quote button will appear once this setting is enabled. You need to download the GMB app (activate Messaging feature), where you will receive Message notifications; but try to respond within 24 hours or the feature may be automatically removed from your GMB listing. You can add a custom welcome message aswell in the Settings of the app.
Changes You Need to Make to Your Website Content
- CTR (Click-Through-Rate) to your GMB listing ()
- Citations using your NAP (exact same name & formatting as your GMB listing, which have a lot of weight
- Increase the quantity, quality and relevancy of External Backlinks linking towards your website, which will impact your visibility in GMB aswell as with SEO in Google organic, which is why finding ways to increase the number of links pointing to your website, is really important. Sharing your blog posts on all your social media profiles, is a great way to get started. You can also engage in regular link building, which will add value.
- Match GMB Categories with URLs/pages of your website, and with META Title tags and H1 tags on your primary web pages, whenever possible (add your target keyword to the H2 tag instead).
- Use Google Auto-Complete: Google provides keyword suggestions whenever you type in a keyword, which you can click to auto-fill or auto-populate your search query. Include the suggested keywords when combining the target keyword for that page with each letter of the alphabet (A-Z).
- Use Keyword Modifiers allow you to create variants of your keyword using adjectives and other words that create synonyms of your primary target keyword, on your website pages, in bullet points in your H2 (where you are targeting your actual target keyword (as opposed to the keyword in the GMB Category), and in your GMB business description (although it is debatable how much the GMB description actually impacts your website keyword rankings), and try to squeeze them into your reviews (Google weighs keywords inside your reviews, but not as much in your replies to these reviews; so make sure your clients include your target keywords when reviewing your business if possible). Having adequate keyword variation within your website and GMB is important.
Here’s how to do it right:
Type in your primary target keyword into Google, a space and then the letter “a”. Google Auto-complete. Example “seo a”.
Then, click on one of the keywords “SEO analyst”, for example. In the search results, there are no GMB listings, which means, this is not a useful keyword to include into your GMB or website pages in order to enhance your local visibility in GMB, which would amount to more impressions and more clicks through to your listing.
Identify all target keywords that yield GMB results, and include those on your designated landing pages, which should match the GMB Categories.
For example, if you go with the keyword “SEO near me”, this will show you a SERP result including the Google 3-pack, making this an important keyword to include on one of your designated web pages, which matches one of the categories you have chosen for your GMB. You can include such phrases as part of longer sentences in a bulleted list, within your H2 (second section of your target landing page).