Google runs the cyber world. They are the number one search-engine by a landslide, with over 70% of the search market share.¹ They offer a free tool, called Google My Business (GMB), geared to help companies optimize their online visibility. We will share our top 5 hacks on how to improve your Google My Business ranking, to ensure you’re consistently winning over customers.
Why is GMB Important?
“Near me” type searches on Google are becoming more and more frequent, growing by more than 900% over two years.² This massive increase illustrates just how important online visibility is for all brick and mortar stores.
When a consumer searches on Google, they typically don’t search for the name of a business (direct search). Rather, they search for a type of business (discovery search). In fact, 84% of Google searches are discovery, while only 16% are direct.³
GMB is a massive (free) tool that allows companies to increase their visibility in these local discovery searches. Fully optimizing your GMB ensures that your company shows up in the front of related discovery searches, to win over customers.
Here are 5 tips on how to improve your Google My Business:
Encourage Reviews: In today’s digital age, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (4). Asking for honest reviews from real customers will help you rank higher on a local search, as 15% of Google’s Local Search algorithm comes from reviews.
Include Keywords: Google also cares about the authority of your company website, as they want to provide people with the most relative and trustworthy sources. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keywords to create a strong site, completely optimized for your customers and search engines. This will vastly improve your Google My Business, and you will be much more likely to show up in the Google three pack.
Add High Quality Images: Images help you stand out. They give people a glimpse of your company and it’s story. A recent study showed that Businesses with more photos on GMB appear in more direct and discovery searches.³
Reply to Reviews: 45% of consumers say a brand replying to reviews makes them believe the company really cares about their customers (5). Replying to negative reviews is especially important, as it showcases your commitment to customer experience. Google has confirmed that replying to reviews also improves your Google My Business and local ranking (6).
Focus on Consistency: Consistency is a massive component of Google’s algorithm, so it’s crucial that information is accurate in every location. Start with a quick check that your NAP (business name, address, phone) is correct and consistent across all internal and external sites. This includes claiming all listings of your company, and updating information. This also makes it easy for Google to match you with the right searches.
- “The Top 7 Search Engines, Ranked by Popularity,” Hubspot, 2018
- “Growth of “Near Me” Searches Shows Importance of Local SEO,” ChatMeter, 2018
- “Google My Business Insights Study,” BrightLocal, 2019
- “6 Local SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know,” Search Engine Land, 2015
- “The Conversation Index,” Bazaar Voice, 2016
- “Google Confirms Responding to Reviews Improves your Local SEO”