When it comes to local search engine optimization, one of the most significant achievements is ranking at the top of Google Maps. Simply put, this is where most local consumers tend to gravitate, especially those who are seeking a particular product, service, or business in their immediate geographic area. Indeed, the Google Maps display dominates local searches, making it an essential piece of online real estate.
The question is, how can you get your business ranked within Google Maps? First and foremost, you must create a Google Business Profile. Google Business Profiles (formerly known as Google My Business) are free, and they are mandatory for earning a ranking in the map display.
And yet, simply claiming a Google Business Profile is insufficient. Keep in mind that most of your competitors will likewise claim their profile. In order to compete with them for coveted local search visibility, it’s important not just to claim a profile but to optimize it.
Tips for Using Google Business Profile to Boost SEO
Optimize Your Business Description
The first thing we’d recommend is to take full advantage of your business description space. Google affords you just 750 characters, and you’ll want to make each one count.
Your description should not only provide information about the products and services you offer, but also the geographic region you serve. If you serve customers beyond the specific city/town where your business is located, try to work those into your Google Business Profile description. Consider a simple sentence like this: “We also serve customers in…”
Geo-Tag Your Photos
Lately, Google has been including more and more images within the search results page. This is an opportunity for your business. Upload photos often, whether that’s photos of new products, in-store events, or even behind-the-scenes images of your team members.
As you upload photos, make sure you use the geo-tagging option that Google offers. This increases the odds of your images showing up in localized search queries.
Use Posts as Often as You Can
Another recommendation is to use the Posts feature. When you add a post, they’ll be displayed not only on your Google Business Profile, but potentially on the map display as well. Again, this is simply an invaluable opportunity to stand apart from other businesses, and to claim space on the search engine results page.
To use Posts effectively, however, you need actual news to share with your customer base. For example, Posts can be great for announcing new products or services, the opening of a new location, a special discount or promotion, or even a new hire. In other words, Posts should be used to keep customers in the loop about what’s happening at your business.
Enable SMS Contact Options
Here’s a feature that far too many business owners neglect: Google will actually let you connect your Google Business Profile to a verified mobile phone, allowing you to receive and respond to text messages from potential customers.
Not only is this an excellent way to capture more inbound leads, but it can also be a great way to establish your profile more prominently; often, profiles that have SMS contact enabled get more attention, as many customers prefer sending a quick mobile message over talking to someone on the phone.
Seek Google Reviews
It’s crucial to amass as many online reviews as possible, particularly reviews posted directly to Google. Reviews can help boost your Google Business Profile in a couple of ways. One, customers are naturally drawn to businesses that have won widespread favor, or that seem to be popular among other consumers. And two, Google’s algorithms actually prioritize profiles that have a higher number of reviews.
So, what are some specific ways to generate more Google reviews for your business? There are a number of effective strategies, including:
- Include a request for reviews, along with a link, on all digital receipts or invoices.
- Send follow-up emails to your customers, reminding them to provide some feedback.
- Include a link to your Google Business Profile on your social media profiles, with a CTA for customers to share a few comments.
- Use review management software to generate positive reviews. (This is something we’re happy to offer our clients here at enCOMPASS.)
Reviews are an essential ingredient in creating a successful Google Business Profile, and ultimately in winning greater visibility in local search listings.
Connect with Local Customers by Optimizing Your Google Business Profile
Ultimately, every business with a brick-and-mortar location needs to be proactive in its approach to local search optimization. As you seek proven strategies to earn Google Map rankings, Google Business Profiles shouldn’t be ignored.
We’re happy to talk further about effective local SEO. Reach out to the team at enCOMPASS Agency whenever you’re ready to start a conversation.
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