Google My Business (GMB) is a helpful online channel for your workplace and is of utmost importance for local SEO. Most importantly, it’s free! So why wouldn’t you want to utilize it?

Google My Business works by connecting you with people in your area. When these individuals are looking for something that your business can provide, you will be more active in searches and maps.

According to Google, “by verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”

However, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration. You must take the strengths and weaknesses of both you and your competitor’s business, and determine what Google is weighing most in a specific search term.

Why GMB Is Important

While there are plans to remove location information from GMB listings, there will still be a social interface. In addition, the GMB dashboard will feed information into the “Maps” and “Knowledge Box.”

Google has also increased their visibility around Google local listings, so GMB still very important for local SEO. For this reason alone, you should claim and manage your GMB listings. Due to the space Google local can take up, there are huge traffic opportunities for being listed in competitive searches with other businesses.

When on a cellular device and searching for a business, organic results are the first to pop up. However, there are only the top three shown that match the specific search term, or highest relevance.

What Can I Do To Optimize Google Local Listings ?

For one, you want to make sure that all your information is correct. That includes address, business phone number, hours of operation, official business name and other pertinent information.

One of the easiest, but most often overlooked elements of local SEO is maintaining consistency with the above information. Search engines are looking for consistency, even down to the abbreviations you use or the way you format your address and telephone number.

Additionally, choose the most important category you would classify your business as. You don’t want to have all the correct information, but pop up as a different type of business. If your business spans multiple areas, choose the most relevant one.

Choose high quality images that represent your business properly. Also, it is a thing that can go unnoticed, but double check that no one has made an edit to your listing and changed the business's website to their affiliate link or another business.

It happens more often than you think.

Your Reviews Are Important

Search engines are not only looking at consistent data or links when they rank your business. They’re also looking at the activity surrounding your business such as reviews. Reviews help boost your visibility and will ultimately enhance your standing in search listings.

There are a few ways that customer feedback on GMB helps boost your local SEO. The first way is that it enhances the activity surrounding your location. If your store is receiving a lot of feedback, Google will notice this and rank accordingly. It won’t shoot you to the top of the ranking, but it will give you an edge.

Google will factor in the number of reviews, the rating, and the relevance to the search being conducted when determining rankings. Since users are only going to be shown the top three selections, getting into the top three is crucial.

Monitoring and Managing Reviews

Due to the above, taking a proactive approach to the feedback you receive is important. For positive reviews, it helps to address the customer and thank them for their feedback. Of course, negative reviews will show up as well an it’s equally important to address them when they do.

Respond to negative reviews by addressing the customer and thanking them for sharing their experience. Offer a resolution or a way they can get in touch with your location to receive assistance. This lets both the customer leaving the review and anyone who sees it know that you are actively taking steps to address any problem areas.

Lastly, while organic reviews are great, there’s nothing wrong with asking for them either. If your retailer has a newsletter, email list, or is active on social media; it doesn’t hurt to ask your contacts for their feedback.

This stacks the deck slightly in your favor since your existing contacts can likely be counted on to leave reviews that are generally positive. However, your competitors are asking their customers so there’s no reason not to ask yours.

Increasing the number of reviews as well as the quality; while proactively addressing areas of concern and making it clear that your company values customer feedback will help enhance your GMB listing an ultimately boost your ranking.

You can’t ignore Google

Regardless of how good the product you are offering is, it’s nothing without the proper exposure. When you search for a new restaurant in your town, or even better yet, when you are in an unfamiliar town and are looking for a place to eat, what is the first thing you do? Google it.

What’s more, you’re likely to at least explore the first few results; especially if they have good reviews.  You want your business to have the same kind of affect and for you to continuously pop up when people are looking for something you can provide.

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