3 Easy Tips To Optimize Google My Business Listings For 2020
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Optimize Google My Business For Yourself
These easy yet powerful tips to optimize Google My Business listings can really move the needle on your searchability, or should we say findability. Google loves relevant local content more than ever before. It’s no mystery that local search is quickly becoming the the new sweet spot for small businesses everywhere because ranking for competitive universal keywords is nearly impossible these days.
As Neil Patel states, ranking for high-competition keywords is already owned by the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. Long-tail keywords are a much better use of time and will ultimately yield better results for small businesses with more down-to-earth marketing budgets.
Don’t believe keywords are competitive? Try to search Google for washing machines. Most, if not all, of the top organic results will be taken by companies like Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, Best Buy, and other mega-retailers who spend millions to rank there at a national or international level. In fact, they even gobble up the local near me results in many instances, as in washing machines near me.
Google Search Results For "Washing Machines"
As you can see, there is not a local business to be found in the top 8 results. The near me variation yields similar results. The point I’m trying to make here is that words matter in search, and as we begin to talk about tips for Google My Business, you will see why.
Ranking Beyond Google My Business
We’ve established Amazon and their behemoth cousins aren’t going to give up their dominance in competitive universal keywords, even if the keyword has the near me tail, which Google recognizes as a local signal.
However, you can optimize Google My Business in order to get more local favor from Google. As tempting as it is, I’m not going to talk about an all-encompassing local search strategy here. That would include on-page SEO, content optimization, a backlink strategy, and lots of other stuff. Here is an easy read on why SEO is important.
I am going to give you 3 easy tips to optimize your Google My Business listing. If you do these things, not only will Google look upon you more favorably, but you will get additional traffic and conversion from your GMB listing. So let’s get to it.
Tip #1: Add Local Photos Regularly
You may or may not have ever added a photo to your GMB listing. That’s not to say there may not be photos added by your customers — effectively having been tagged at your business or associated with an online review. What we’re talking about here is an intentional exercise to add relevant photos that were taken locally.
Every time we take a photo with a mobile device, something unique happens to that photo. Unless some concerted effort is taken to turn off default GPS settings, every photo you take has a geotag attached in something called metadata. If you want to see the geotag in an image you can use this site. There is also a way to do it directly on your machine but depends on the photo viewer you are using.
The reason this is relevant to you is because Google looks at metadata for images you post to your GMB listing and it recognizes whether or not the geotag is local to the area you are trying to be known in. That doesn’t mean that just posting random photos to your page is an end-all-be-all, but geotagged images do make a difference.
Adding Photos To GMB
There is a recommended method for adding photos to help with local search rankings and fully-optimize Google My Business listings. Local SEO experts have tested this method and the results indicate that taking the time to do it is worthwhile.
To add an image to your GMB listing, simply access your GMB listing. Click the Manage Now button and you will be taken to the main dashboard. You should see a menu selection down the left side of the dashboard called Photos. Select that option and you will be presented with an array of photos that are associated with your business listing. Press the round “plus” icon in the upper right-hand corner to add an image. Upload the image by selecting it from your computer or dropping it in the dialog as directed. That’s it!
Specific Considerations When Adding Photos
This is worth some forethought and planning. I would recommend a spreadsheet or at least something to write on in order to track your approach.
The concept here is based on the image naming convention. Your goal should be to have an image that is relevant to a service, location, product or whatever you believe is best associated with a topic or criteria you want people to find you by. Name the image as follows:
For example, if you are trying to get attention on a new dish at your restaurant, use an image of that dish — with proper geotag metadata — and name it something like eggsbenedict-charleston.jpg. (Note: I am using the .jpg extension assuming it is a JPEG file format. If it’s PNG, or something else, the extension would be just that.
Be Thorough When You Optimize Google My Business Because Coverage Matters
The reason I indicated the importance of planning is that it can get a little unwieldy if you try to wing it. The payoff from this strategy comes from thorough coverage. In order to get thorough coverage, create a unique image (preferably) for every product, service, etc, and naming that image across every locale you want to be recognized for. Sound daunting? Maybe, but with a little planning this can be done and it will pay off.
To demonstrate how to get full coverage, I’m going to use an example of my hometown of Savannah GA. The metro area here consists of 3 cities — Savannah, Pooler, and Richmond Hill. There are others like Garden City, Port Wentworth, Tybee, even some of the island communities. But we’ll use these three major city areas.
In nearly every city of size there are also many locales within a city — they may be considered neighborhoods, districts, quarters, “sides”, etc, but nearly every city with a functioning government has a group of these. You may not even be aware of all the neighborhoods in your city, but Google Maps provides an easy way to find them.
Using Google Maps To Find Neighborhoods
If you find your city on Google Maps and start zooming in, you will see different names pop up at certain zoom levels. I will use my home city of Savannah again as an example. If I zoom in slightly, I can see areas like Metropolitan, Benjamin Van Clark Park, Chatham Crescent, Live Oak, etc. If I zoom in further I can see Eastside, Parkside, Medical Arts, and many more. Even further and others come into focus. You get the idea. Try it with your own city. You may learn something.
The point of this exercise is that you should determine which of these areas or neighborhoods are important to your business being found. If you are an up-and-coming business in a hip new neighborhood, this is very relevant. If you are an established business with citywide exposure, maybe not as much.
The same naming convention holds true for these neighborhood level searches. It should be:
You may now understand the importance of planning ahead when you choose to optimize Google My Business. If you post every relevant product or service, across every area, in every neighborhood, in every city, it can turn into quite a few posts. If my math is correct, a smaller city with just 10 neighborhoods, 3 major areas, and a business with 10 offerings would be 10 X 3 X 10.
That’s 300 images, meaning 300 separate adds. If you add 3 more adjacent cities, you see where this is going.
How Often To Do This
I recommend doing 2-3 of these a day. If you can only do 1/day, that’s fine. Whatever frequency makes sense for you is OK. The key is consistency and thoroughness over time. It will move the needle for your business in local search.
Hear is an example for an electrician just in case this isn’t clear:
Do that for every service/product with a relevant photo. Then rinse and repeat for other cities, areas, neighborhoods, etc, and you will be amazed at the difference this will make in your local search effectiveness.
Tip #2: Post Updates to Optimize GMB
I’m going to start this tip by saying this is almost identical to Tip #1 with the addition of a little extra work and a lot of extra bang.
Every business has updates whether you optimize Google My Business or not. Whether it’s something as mundane as a new shipment of cardboard boxes that just arrived or an awesome new chef direct from the Himalayas coming on board at your restaurant, you have updates that should be posted to your GMB listing. If you are using social media for this, great! But, Goggle My Business is an equally valuable venue to create these posts. It’s simple and it will yield tangible results in your business ranking and being found on local search results.
The Anatomy Of A GMB Update
Just like a post on Facebook or Instagram, a GMB Update is a place in your GMB listing that allows you to attach an image and then write something about it. Just like we indicated earlier, go to your GMB listing and get to your dashboard. On the lefthand menu, select Posts.
At the top of the page you will see options to Add Update, Add Event, Add Offer and Add Product. In this article, I am only talking about Add Update. The others will likely become clearer and only differ slightly.
To add an update, you will need an image. I recommend a size of 1200 x 900 px. If you use a smaller size, try to adhere to the same aspect ratio, but no smaller than 400 x 300 px. Here is a thread on Google support that talks more about this.
Importance Of Naming Convention
Just as we discussed in the photo tip, naming convention is important when you use photos to optimize Google My Business — possibly more important in updates.
Using the same naming convention as above i.e. topic-locale.jpg, we also need to make our first line in the post text the same. For example, if you are posting for Best Hanger Steak in Savannah you would go with:
Image name: besthangersteak-savannah.jpg and the first line of your post text would read Best Hanger Steak In Savannah.
This is really important so be consistent and keep track. You will also need to say something about the update. Google gives you a limited text editor with no formatting, so be brief and to the point with the remainder of your post text.
Create The Post And Call-To-Action
We’ve created the image adhering to our naming convention and we have also written the first line in the post that is the same. Now, add the remainder of the text. Make sure it is relevant and you don’t run off topic. It’s not nearly as important as the first sentence, but you want to stay within the topic range.
Here’s the best part of a GMB Update. You can add a call-to-action button. It will have one of five possible labels: Book, Order Online, Buy, Learn More, or Sign Up. Pick the right button for your update and add a relevant link. You can then preview the update or publish it. Very simple and it should only take you 1-2 minutes to do this. Do it regularly and you will experience the results.
One GMB Update Caveat — Expired Posts
GMB Updates expire after 7 days. You may see this as a caveat, but it’s all the more reason to do this on a regular basis. Even though updates expire, they do not go away. Anyone who makes their way to your GMB listing will still be able to see the updates. They just won’t be showcased for more than a week.
Tip #3: Add Your Products
This is another freebie that Google gives you so use it! Your GMB listing provides you the opportunity to add your products for consumers to search. Relatively new (2018), products were added to give small and mid-sized business a way to showcase their products in Google searches. Unlike updates, Product postings never expire.
Product posts are more extensive than updates and give you the ability to categorize your products, give them a fixed price or price range, and associate a product-oriented call-to-action button.
At one time there was a limitation that you could only add 10 products at a time in the product listings. That doesn’t appear to be the case any longer but it is worth noting given this is a relatively new element of the Google My Business listing.
Be Specific About Your Product Listings
If Google gives you the opportunity to list your products, it once again pays to be specific. Wit the product listing, you get to add a headline of sorts for each product. Make sure your headline or title is very specific. Don’t settle for something like Hand Towel. Use a specific label like Blue Hand Towel Set with Custom Monogram.
When naming your products, think like a customer and how that customer may be searching for. a special product that you have! Also, make sure that the image is representative of the title and description. If you can use real images that have geotags vs. stock images — even better.
The GMB Product Call-To-Action
Just like the update, products have associated call-to-action buttons. Slightly different than an update, your choices are: Order Online, Buy, Learn More, or Get Offer. These 4 choices should suffice in whatever action you want a consumer to take after finding your product listing. Make sure that if you are linking to a website that you have a very specific conversion process.
In other words, don’t have a Buy Now button on your product and then take the consumer to a web page with general information about your company, forcing them to find your product all over again. That’s what we call defective funnel design.
When you redirect a user away from your GMB listing, take them to a place where they will be directed with exactly what to do when they get there. Leaving this to chance obliterates all the work you did to get them to your GMB listing in the first place.
Summing It Up
These 3 tips to optimize Google My Business listings are only a beginning, but an important one. In a previous post I showed you how to create your GMB listing. If you haven’t done that, make sure you do it ASAP. Then you can begin to leverage everything that Google provides in the way of getting your business noticed online.
Delegal Digital is a digital web design agency in Savannah GA that provides this service (to optimize Google My Business) and we can handle it all for you very easily. Contact us if you would like to have a conversation about your Google My Business listing and find out how you are doing against the competition.