What used to be known as “Google Places” is now called “Google My Business”. All local SEO audits will now start with the details on your My Business dashboard. The contents on your business page must be correct and adhere to Google’s business guidelines, which does change frequently.
Let’s get into some Google My Business optimization suggestions.
Table of Contents
- Remove Duplicate Pages.
- Verify Your Page.
- Connect a Domain-Email Address to Your Google My Business Page.
- Correct the Company’s Name.
- Correct the Address.
- Correct the Phone Number.
- Ensure the Website Domain Is Correct.
- Show the Proper Categories for your Company.
- Are Your Operating Hours Correct?
- Introduce Your Company.
- Complete Your Profile.
- Correctly Upload Pictures.
- For a Virtual Tour, Use a Photographer You Trust (suggested, but not mandatory).
Remove Duplicate Pages.
What to Do: Finding the My Business page that you’ll be using is the initial step. Some organizations sometimes have duplicates that were created throughout the years. If you’re working on behalf of a business, ask them which page they would like as their primary one in the event they have duplicates.
After you’ve determined what the main page will be, confirm that the domain name is correct. You need to be certain that there aren’t any duplicate My Business pages lingering as they can jeopardize the whole Local SEO campaign you’re planning. I can help you locate duplicates if you shoot me an email.
Also, visit plus.google.com and conduct a search for the company name. If there are any duplicates, you’ll see them here. If you do find any duplicates, designate a primary page and ask Google to delete the others.
Objective: Make note of the URL of the main Google My Business page that all local SEO work will be utilizing in your campaign. Look for and delete all duplicate pages.
Verify Your Page.
To get to the next step, we must verify the Google My Business listing. Your optimization options are limited until this step is finished, hence the reason it’s prioritized.
What to Do: If you haven’t yet claimed your business, look for its Google My Business page and click the text at the bottom that says “Is this your business?” Once you do, you can begin the claiming process. After you log into your dashboard, you’ll see a “Verified” stamp beside your company name. If you don’t see one, you’ll need to use an alternative claiming method provided by Google. You’ll be mailed a claim code or sent one by phone. Once you enter it on your Google My Business page, your page will be officially claimed.
Connect a Domain-Email Address to Your Google My Business Page.
There are several reasons why this step is vital, the main one being validation. If you own a website, ensure the email address connected to the Google My Business account ends in your website’s domain name instead of a generic, free email account.
What to Do: Obtain the company’s email address either through Google Apps or your web provider. It’s easy and fast to do and will come in handy for as long as your company remains in business.
Objective: Remove that unattractive @yahoo.com email and get yourself one that matches your company’s domain name. You’ll need one to register your Google My Business account.
Correct the Company’s Name.
Everything associated with your organization needs to be consistent. This includes your company’s name, address, phone number, email, social media, and the like. It all begins with ensuring that the information on your Google My Business page is correct. Google operates on a trust factor and if you’re displaying various words on all your online platforms, the search engine will perceive you as untrustworthy and borderline spammy! Your rankings on search engine result pages will plummet as a result.
In short, Joe’s Pizzeria shouldn’t be called “Joseph’s Calzones – Greatest Pizza in Downtown Toronto”. Additional keywords won’t be allowed, so ensure it’s correct. Even if you manage to slide in extra keywords, they will only hurt your campaign in the long run unless those keywords are consistent with content your other online platforms.
What to Do: If you think your company name was entered incorrectly, it can be modified on your dashboard. If you modify it, expect Google to resend you another postcard or contact you by phone for re-verification purposes
Correct the Address.
What to Do: Ensure the address on your profile is completely correct. Consult USPS to make sure things are as they should be (this can be done on their website). No need to add unnecessary details like intersections, directions, and descriptions in the address field.
As per Google’s guidelines, P.O. boxes are not permitted, so use a local address. If you need to list a suite number or mailbox, do so on Line 2. Inputting our address incorrectly can have disastrous effects on your ranking results.
Objective: Ensure your company address on your Google My Business profile is accurate.
Correct the Phone Number.
The contact number listed on your Google My Business page must match the local phone number connected to your office. Never use an 800 number. Ensure the area code is included in your local phone number and that it connects right to your place of business.
What to Do: Ensure your contact number in the My Business dashboard is the one that connects to your workplace.
Objective: Your local contact number cannot afford to be wrong on your Google My Business listing
Ensure the Website Domain Is Correct.
What to Do: The domain name you list should point to the homepage of your company website.
If you have several locations, isolate each one on your My Business page to the relevant landing page for its location. The landing page shouldn’t point to a different location’s page, another website, or a social network. If in doubt, just point to the website’s homepage.
Look at it from the customer’s perspective. If someone is clicking on a domain listed on your Google+ page intending to visit your website, they’re looking for a location’s details.
Objective: Your website’s domain or the URL of your landing page must correspond with the relevant company location.
Show the Proper Categories for your Company.
Listing your company under an incorrect category can ruin its online presence.
What to Do: List your business under all categories that specifically describes what your company does. This doesn’t mean you should spam every category that is somewhat connected to what you do. Chose the ones that are most relevant and utilize them.
The main category should be the one that addresses what your business does most accurately.
Consider using the following tools to filter down the right categories to list your business in:
Locating a main category is important and shouldn’t be neglected. All the supplemental categories should follow. For instance, our company uses a quartet of categories that are all relevant in some form or another.
Objective: Locate the most relevant and appropriate categories to list your page on.
Are Your Operating Hours Correct?
What to Do: This page should show your business’ correct operating hours. Don’t forget to modify them if your hours change seasonally. Keep in mind that it may take up to 24 hours for your alterations to be displayed.
Introduce Your Company.
Here is your chance to explain what your company does. Google encourages you to describe your business and what you specialize in. Ensure your description isn’t generic and adheres to the search engine’s policies.
What to Do: Create a description of your company longer than 150 words but no more than 300. Make it legible and ensure you’re not just keyword stuffing.
Bonus suggestion for helpful CTR: utilize hyperlinks to link over to various sections of your site if you provide several services. Links may be no follow but they do offer a simple method for users to arrive at a destination on your site based on your description.
Complete Your Profile.
Objective: Your profile on Google My Business profile should be completed. If you haven’t done that yet, get it done now!
Correctly Upload Pictures.
The company image section of your profile on Google My Business is divided into several sections, the first of which displays your identity pictures. There are a few images you must upload that are vital to how your listing is displayed in search results: a logo, profile, and cover photo.
What to Do: Proper identity pictures must be uploaded. These images are vital for CTR, as when a visitor sees a picture next to a company in map results that aren’t relevant, it might stop them from clicking on it. The photo you upload should be of high quality.
The cover photo should visually articulate what your company does and be big enough to be seen in full-screen mode if clicked on. Don’t use small or low-quality images for your cover photo.
Conduct a search to see what is showing up in your map search results for your company and organize pictures accordingly. Occasionally, Google opts to show a picture for what they believe is suitable for your company. If you don’t agree with what they’ve posted, you can remove it and choose a more suitable replacement.
For a Virtual Tour, Use a Photographer You Trust (suggested, but not mandatory).
To get on the good side of Google, ask one of their trusted photographers to create a virtual tour of the interior/exterior of your company, which will be added to your profile on Google My Business.
A virtual tour won’t boost your rankings at all, but it obviously helps in some capacity in order for Google to endorse it as much as they have. A virtual tour will cost you some money, but if you can afford to have one, take advantage of it.
What to Do: On your Google My Business page, click the “Add Virtual Tour” link. This will navigate you through the process of coordinating a photographer endorsed by Google to visit your place of business for a shoot.
Objective: if you can afford it, ask a Google Trusted Photographer to take shots of your company for a virtual tour and place it on your page.