SEO is a daunting task. There are nearly 300 ranking signals that Google rank calculation takes into account, all with varying degrees of importance (weight).
One thing we know for sure is the importance of Google My Business as the primary entry into the SEO effort for your brand/company.
Your listing on Google My Business (GMB) can account for 14% of the weight in your rank calculation — a massive portion of your SEO when compared to the weights of other calculation aspects.
Let’s take a look at what’s under the hood for this most important of SEO work that you or your professional must handle properly.
First, to create a Google My Business Listing:
- Log into the Google Account you want associated with your business (or create a Google Account if you don’t already have one).
- Go to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner.
- Enter your business name.
Having a properly maintained Google My Business listing helps to get the word out about your brand over all Google properties. Maps, search, photos, reviews — My Business has it all. In comparison testing, engagement with Google My Business was over 49 times the engagement of a LinkedIn Company Page. People WILL find your brand/business with a proper My Business listing.
I know what you’re feeling: yet another review system to have to pay attention to. This one however is very much worth the effort, as fresh new reviews combined with the rating system now factor into SEO calculations. Compare that to reviews and ratings on The Knot/Wedding Wire, which do not. And, you’ll never have the “disappearing reviews” phenomena as has been reported with Yelp. Reviews within My Business should now be your primary focal point to direct customers to.
Just as reviews now count in the SERP calculations, so do photos within Google photos search (remember to fill out the image description, which is the analogy to making sure the alt tag text is properly configured within your website). And, new photos posted in My Business counts as fresh content within Google overall.
Posts have been possible within GMB for a couple of years now, and can be of great help when used strategically. The data flowing through GMB from posts gets treated as fresh content (as per reviews), with benefits from hashtag sentiment analysis accruing as well.
Case study: Dicks Sporting Goods makes great use of posts to advertise specials/deals with particular emphasis on local SEO through honing in on a per-location basis.
This aspect is one of my absolute favorites, and something I pay attention to quite a bit. Just as most of you have widgets in the bottom right of your website to allow customers to message you directly right then and there (if you don’t, you really should), this feature within GMB will allow you to communicate in a similar manner when someone is on Google itself and comes across your business listing.
Once you activate this within the GMB admin panel, you’ll have to install the mobile app on your phone, as that is how you receive these messages. Once you’re setup though, you can go back and forth with potential customers while they are on Google itself!
Good metrics are never a bad thing, and GMB offers you some unique numbers that even Google Analytics doesn’t give you. With GMB being a different sort of tool, the reporting here is generally geared towards what feature within GMB was used to connect with you. Was it a clickthrough to your website, was it a message, a question? The GMB reporting is a worthy addition to the items you’re paying attention to each week.
Google Maps Source
Here’s one of the most important reasons to use GMB: the fact that Google Maps pulls its business listing content right from your GMB data! If that doesn’t convince you to add GMB to your marketing mix, then nothing will. Note that your competitors are using GMB for sure.
Increased Search Visibility
We’ve all seen those detailed business listings on the right side of Google SERPs, especially where Local SEO is concerned. Ever wonder where that data comes from? That’s right, it’s from the data you enter into GMB. Combined with Maps data from above, these two features are THE main reasons to use GMB going forward.
Google Analytics Integration
As with most Google products, using GMB properly will help accentuate the reliability of your Google rankings. In this case, the Connection Reporting from GMB tells you what keywords people are using to find your business, as well as sending this data back to Analytics itself.
Free Website Builder
Need a free website, even a temporary one while you hire a professional to publish a more comprehensive website? Google has you covered with a pretty decent web builder tool. Of course, you ask why not use Wix, Squarespace or even the GoDaddy web builders.. But for our money, a Google landing page will be more in tune with ranking higher, since Google owns both. And, it’s truly free, unlike some of the bait-n-switch web builders out there.
I hope by now I’ve shown you just how comprehensive that Google My Business is, and how it can tremendously help your SEO efforts. Begin your 2020 SEO campaign with GMB, and you’ll be off on the right track!
Jordan St. Jacque owns digital marketing company Digitera, and has been a speaker at the DJ Expo in Atlantic City the last few years. He last wrote about getting ROI on your website.
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