Getting The Most Out Of Google My Business

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?

Get your foot off the starting block

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.

Pick the right Category

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 importance of imagery

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 seek more information. After all, first impressions are still the most important.

Double check your information

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.

Encourage Reviews

Online reviews are a minefield, and often companies and businesses can shy away from reviews simply because they feel people will only review if they had a negative experience. This is not, and should not be the case, as good reviews can actually 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 something you know nothing about? Exactly.

Think about your area – and area code

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, and will make Google more likely to recommend and suggest your business to users in the area searching for your products and services.

Make sure you know what Google does and doesn’t like, and stick to it

Google publishes guidelines for Business listings, so 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 point towards the same business. You may think multiple listings means multiple chances of appearance, but all it means is that Google will punish you.

Don’t take your eye off the SEO-ball

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, and look to create content that focuses on your local area – as well as any wider offers.

Unpacking the value of SEO

Unfortunately for those new to the game, SEO isn’t just a quick fix. It is in fact a series of tricks that work together to give your website the best possible ranking it can get in the eyes of Google. You may be thinking that the customer matters to you, not Google. But if you don’t get on the right side of the powers behind the search engines, there’s a chance that your customers won’t even find your website – let alone be able to rank it!

Having said that, it’s not like the search engines offer a guide to good SEO. In fact, they tend to keep quiet about the best way to steer SEO in a favourable direction, leaving us to figure out the algorithms and how to rank highly. So, without further ado, here’s a few of our top tips on how you can improve your own SEO on your website without hiring in experts and content creators.

Get to grips with Google analytics

Before you can truly understand which avenue your SEO should be going down, first you need to get to grips with your website’s current performance. Analytics will give you some insight into how people are currently coming across your website and how they are interacting with it, so that you can understand your website traffic and determine which search terms are leading people to you.

In essence, why are people coming across your website and what are they searching for to bring them to you?

Understand your keywords

The next step is to identify what keywords link your service to the people who are visiting your website. Write down all the words that you think are key to your business proposition and what you offer, and then use keyword tools to figure out how valuable those terms are.

Engaging tools such as Google’s free keyword planner are useful here as they give you some idea of how many searches each keyword has and how competitive the word is among other websites. It will also then provide you with some suggestions around keywords relevant to your site, to help you build out your list and bid on the words best suited in both yours and Google’s opinion.

Trust us, this will all help your website to rank better among its competitors, leading to increased website traffic and subsequently more business.

Optimise your website according to your SEO strategy

Once the keywords are established, your website needs to be brought up to speed. This involves implementing the chosen words into as many aspects as you can – NATURALLY. This is key. Making sure the sentences flow smoothly and that the keywords are well integrated is critical to ensuring a good ranking. If Google thinks it’s nonsense, you could be worse off than you were before you started.

Key areas to focus on include the web page URL, heading tags, image names and alt tags, title tags and your web page meta descriptions. A lot of this will be happening in the back end of your website and won’t even be something that is obvious from a visitor point of view. But Google is always watching…

Make sure you don’t lose sight of your content

Keeping the content relevant and up to date is vital for SEO. Not only do new news stories and blog posts give you increased opportunity to integrate those keywords to your site, but they signal to Google that your website is active and relevant in its field. Create high quality content that will interest your audience, and they’ll stick around to read it. If you start letting the content drop, you’ll swiftly see a corresponding drop in your website traffic.

Out with the old

Likewise, old content is pointless. Update your old content where necessary, and if it’s no longer relevant then simply scrap it.

Internal links

Google is a big fan of internal linking and proof that every area of your website is relevant to the overall industry you’re providing a service in.

Optimisation

In a world where most browsing is done on the go, ensuring your website is optimised for mobile usage is absolutely crucial – not only for your users but for your Google ranking. Mobile matters, and Google have recently revealed that the status of your website optimisation is a factor in ranking your site among its competitors. So, don’t let it fall by the wayside!

Site Speed

Much like the above, site speed is another thing that you think is out of your control but will in fact feature heavily in how your site is ranked. People care about how long it takes for a web page to load, and improving your site speed is something that can make a big difference in overall website satisfaction.

There are of course other things you can do to improve your google search results, and not all of them are changes to your own website. Promote your content in other places, for example on social media, through guest posts on other related sites and even in directories. If people think you are an expert of a particularly influential individual or organisation in the industry, play on this and ensure that everything you do online links back to your own website.

This is a strategy known as backlinking, and is another way of showing Google how relevant you are – by having other relevant websites link to your site. It’s like a recommendation without the direct endorsement, but for Google it is enough to show that your content is valuable and that your website deserves to be up there with the other strong contenders.