Google My Business – Dominating Local SEO Part 1

Google My Business- What is it and where do I start?

As a small business owner you know what it’s like to rotate hats. You’re an accountant one minute, social media manager the next, and customer service representative all the time. So any tool that condenses some of that work is a welcomed gift.

For many businesses, local SEO results can make or break your business. After the Pigeon Update rocked local businesses across the United States, Australians are wondering, are we next? Whilst there doesn’t appear to be any sign of the update just yet, getting your local listings in tip-top shape is vital in the coming months.

Enter Google My Business, Google’s latest tool to help you improve your business’ digital presence and rankings across Google search, Google Maps, and Google+. This new platform allows you to streamline your efforts by simplifying everything into one place.

With each new update comes the promise of benefits for the user, increase in relevant listings and a focus on true local businesses.  While there is a fair bit of skepticism out there, there does seem to be clear winners and losers from the ‘Pigeon’ update.  With Hospitality experiencing a 28% growth and job sites getting hit hard with a 68% decline in maps listings, the power of Google’s algorithm updates and affect to your bottom line feel endless.

So what should local businesses be doing?

Google+ is the single most important local listing you’ll set up.  And now with Google My Business taking over and the threat of ‘Pigeon’; it’s more important than ever to complete and verify your listing. Also, Google offers you guidelines to ensure your listing is filled out properly.

Note: If you already had a Google Places account, you will automatically be upgraded to Google My Business.

Google+ Insider Tips For Local Australian Businesses

Search For Duplicate listings

If you don’t create your own listing, Google will dynamically pull information from across the web to create your listing.  So if your listing already exists, make sure to claim it and start filling it out entirely.

Claim Your Vanity Name

Google will assign you a clunky numerical Google+ URL in the beginning and it’s up to you to go in and claim your name.

Note: This option will sit in the ‘about’ tab under your companies description when you are logged in.

Verify Your Address & Phone Number

If you’re one of those lucky businesses who gets the opportunity to verify via phone, by all means do it, but the rest
of us have to wait on those archaic postcards.

Fill Out Your Profile In Its Entirety

Use the tagline and descriptions to your advantage to really showcase who your business is.  Google still allows you to hyperlink out to pages on your website as well as connect to your YouTube page, AdWords page and other Google platforms.

Customize Your Images

Your cover photo and profile photo are the first impression a user has when they land on your page.  You want these to fit Google+; not only in size but be sure that you’re catering to your audience as well.

From here you will have access to your dashboard. Your dashboard will become the hub for all of your business’ activities on Google. Think of Google My Business as your very own CRM (Customer Relationship Management tool). You can control your user reviews, check your Analytics, update your Google+ page or even check insights on your AdWords campaign all from one central location.

The way we see it, there’s us and there’s Google, and we make it our job to keep up with all of Google’s latest antics.  Stick with us and stay tuned for part two of this 4 part series to help local business dominate local search. With 86% of smartphone searches being for local businesses, the opportunities are endless for local marketers or business owners.  So start with Google My Business and everything else will begin to fall into place.