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Operated by Google, Google My Business is a way for business owners to take control over exactly what their users and potential customers see in the search results listings. With a dedicated account that is solely used to influence Google search information, users can manipulate this data and supply information that their customers might need – including open hours, a contact number and photos of services or products.
Of course, another important feature of this is your location. By setting your location, you’re enabling potential customers in your area to search for what they need – and what you can provide – and be directed straight to your door.
So, how do you optimise this information to ensure that it is actually seen by the right users?
The first step is, of course, to create your Google My Business listing, and fill in as much information as you possibly can. If your business doesn’t have a physical location or base, that doesn’t mean a Google Business account isn’t important – you can simply skip over the location and instead opt for a Service Area which allows users to see where you operate your services.
Picking the right category is how Google will narrow down searches towards or away from you. The categories already exist, so it is simply a case of selecting the one that most applies to you and your business – but don’t just pick the first one you see that seems relatively appropriate. The list of categories is large and quite specific, so make sure you pick the very best one for your business.
The world is shifting towards image-heavy social media platforms and videos, so ensuring you have some great visual content for potential customers is a sure-fire way to attract their attention. Using high-quality and professional photos where possible, your profile should show off your products or service results to any potential client who seeks more information. After all, first impressions are still the most important.
If your business has a Google profile, an Instagram account and a Facebook page, it is imperative that you make sure the information aligns across them all. Consistency is key, not just for your customers who may be looking for vital information, but also for Google – who will penalise you for inconsistent detail; resulting in a negative impact on your SEO.
Online reviews are a minefield. Businesses can shy away from reviews simply because they feel people will only comment on a negative experience. This is not the case since good reviews can seal the deal for one business over another in many cases. If a friend recommends a great restaurant, what are the chances you’ll visit that one over an unknown? Exactly.
If Google doesn’t think you’re a local business, they won’t recommend you to individuals searching in your local area. Using a local area code is one easy way to prove to Google that your location is correct. It will make Google more likely to recommend and suggest your business to users in the area searching for similar.
Google publishes guidelines for Business listings. Take the time to read it and familiarise yourself with what NOT to do. For example, adding keywords may be a good thing. And you may think you need them everywhere… but inserting them randomly into your business name can work against you. If it looks like you’re trying too hard, Google will suspect you’re not legitimate and you will be penalised. Another example is having a number of different listings all pointing towards the same business. You may think multiple listings means multiple chances of appearance, but all it means is that Google will punish you.
SEO is still super important and ensuring your entire website works in line with your SEO strategy will go a long way towards giving both your website and your business listing the legitimacy that Google looks for. Make sure your keywords are relevant and present. Look to create content that focuses on your local area – as well as any wider offers.
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