4 Minutes

5 Ways to Use Google My Business to Optimize for Local SEO

Increase Local SEO with Google My Business (GMB)

The last time you Googled a local business, did you notice the map and local results that showed up first? That’s called the “snack pack” and it’s unique to local searches.

If you’re a local business, you may be wondering how to show up in the snack pack or how to rank higher than you already do. Read on to learn how to optimize for better local SEO.

1. Claim your local listing.

Before you rank higher in local search, you have to show up there. First things first, claim your listing (if you haven’t already) in Google My Business. GMB controls the backend of Google local listings.

Start by going here and following the steps to search for your business and claim the listing. You’ll be offered multiple options for claiming your listing (including receiving a letter and entering the code, receiving a phone call at your business address, and potentially more options, depending on your business).

2. Complete your listing.

One of the best things you can do for your local search visibility is to fill out your Google My Business account in its entirety. While some areas may not apply for you (like Products, if you’re a service-based company), it’s critical to fill out as much information as possible. Keep keywords and phrases in mind as you fill out certain areas like Categories, as well.

If you’re curious, the biggest four areas for the most impact on your local SEO in Google My Business are:

  1. Business Name
  2. Categories
  3. Website
  4. And…

3. Get positive reviews.

Google uses the number and star ratings of reviews in the snack pack algorithm. In other words, reviews are weighed heavily when it comes to ranking local listings.

Since unhappy customers are far more likely to leave reviews than happy customers, it’s vital that you reach out to and remind your happy customers about your business and their positive experience. 

Make it simple for customers to leave a review by including a link directly to your Google Maps profile review section. (You can find this in your Google My Business account.) Thank your customers for their loyalty and – if it makes sense for your business – offer incentives for leaving a review like a percentage off their next purchase.

4. Respond to your reviews.

Using Google My Business, you have the ability to flag reviews as inappropriate, as well as respond publicly. While it may be your gut reaction to delete a negative review, we’ve actually seen better results from clients who respond to a negative review publicly, rather than deleting it. 

By all means, go ahead and flag an inappropriate or profane review, but pause when it comes to a justified negative review. This is your chance to show your company’s true character: express your sympathy for the customer’s poor experience and offer a solution to solve their problem. For some businesses, this might be an apology, while for others it may be a discount code or percentage off their next product purchase.

5. Make regular updates to your GMB account.

Google My Business accounts have become more like social media accounts. With them, you’re able to make post updates regularly, so make sure you’re doing so!

Status updates are similar to Facebook in that they’ll include a post or message, as well as a unique option to show an offer, “what’s new” item, or event; and even a call-to-action button. Suffice it to say: your local business is definitely missing out if you aren’t making regular updates here! 

Start showing up higher in the snack pack today…incorporate these five steps in your regular online marketing efforts and you’ll see a huge change in local SEO.

And if you need help creating a digital marketing presence that represents your business and reaches your target market, contact us at OSC Web Design.

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I've been helping companies successfully launch websites and market for over a decade. I like to focus on finding ways to make your company more efficient by looking to take your offline work and bring it online for you.

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