The secret SEO tool that every business should be using

In the grand scheme of things, SEO is often difficult, expensive, and highly competitive. There’s no one right answer to SEO. However, there is one secret tool every business should use to optimise their rankings: Google My Business.

And for good reason.

Google My Business is a free tool from Google that gives business owners a platform to manage their online presence across the search engine and various utilities – Providing brands with a huge amount of local exposure.

Although you may already have all the information available on your website, Google my Business indexes all this content to provided consistency across Google Maps, search and more. So, when your customers search for your product or service, you will be waiting for them.

But it’s so much more than an avenue to provide basic information for your business. When used well, Google My Business is a super tool that can provide valuable insights about your customer and help you reach your business goals.

For local businesses, it is essential to have a listing that’s fully optimised and relevant to your product or service offering. Here’s how to capitalise on one of Google’s strongest local SEO tool and optimise your Google My Business Listing:

Set up or claim your Google Business Listing (if you haven’t already yet).

The first, and possibly the most important step is to create or claim your Google My Business Listing. To do so, go to ‘Google My Business page’ and click ‘sign in; in the upper right corner. Follow the prompts to fill in all the details Google requires. Ensure your profile is as accurate and complete as possible, or this could affect your search rankings. In fact, make sure this information is exactly the same as what is on you provide on your website. Any inconsistencies cam impact your search ranking.

After your company information is added, you can access the dashboard and start personalising your account. Don’t just stop there! This is a major mistake made by thousands of companies. Most companies just claim their GMB, add the basics, then leave it to collect dust. You need to optimise it.

Choose a Business category and company attributes – Very important.

The category you choose will help Google determine which searches your listing belongs in. These areas are very specific in terms to what type of business you are operating. You are unable to create your own category, but fortunately Google provides over 2000 different categories for your business. If possible, aim for the most specific category possible. For example, restaurant is very competitive compared to Italian Restaurant or Chinese Restaurant. If you can be specific, you have a higher chance of landing in the top 3 relevant searches.

Attributes allow you to expand your business capabilities further than what your business category may provide. For example, is your bar cosy? Have great cocktails? Maybe offer free wifi? These attributes can influence the customers decision to visit your business, and provide a better understanding of your business offerings.

Load high quality images to your listing.

Extensive research has found that “listings with high quality images get 35% more clicks and are considered more reputable than those without images. Google My Business encourages business owners to upload a video, cover photo and a logo to help identify the business.

Request reviews, and respond to all of them.

Reviews are a crucial component to local search. That star rating next to a name on local search? Ratings from customers of that business. Google likes to provide as much accurate information as possible to their users, and users want to find businesses that come across as the best fit for them. Good reviews can benefit your business in both ways.

It is highly beneficial to ask your happy customers to take a moment to give you a review on Google. It is even more beneficial to respond to these reviews – the good, the bad and the ugly. Even a bad review gives you an opportunity to redeem yourself and showcase your outstanding customer service and how you deal with complaints. In fact, over 44% of people said they would be more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.

Optimise your content and website for search.

At the end of the day, Google My Business is just another tool to complement all your SEO efforts online. All the normal SEO advice still applies to local search, which means your website and content will still require optimisation to match your listing.

Ensure that you are:

  • Using your relevant keywords within your site, as you would normally
  • Add an XML Sitemap and Schema markup to your site.
  • Add your site to local directories – With complementary information

There are so many ways customers could find your business, but you cannot deny that Google Local Search is one of the most powerful ways to drive leads and traffic. As a bonus, if your website is appropriately optimised for both search engines and your customers, there’s a high chance you can make into the exclusive top three list of local search.

Google My Business helps position your vital business information, product offerings and services in front of potential customers seeking your product or service. And the best part? Google My Business is completely free! So, what are you waiting for? You would be crazy to not take advantage of this tool.