Local SEO
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The complete Guide to…
SEO Tester Online
15 January 2020

The complete Guide to Google My Business

In this article, we will dive into Google My Business, a great ally to your local SEO. You will discover what it is, how does it work, and how to set-up and optimize your business’s listing.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business is a free tool for local businesses. Thanks to it, people searching for products or services in your area can find your shop, organization or business, comprised of all the information they need.

In other words, it is the tool to manage your online presence on Google and a great way to interact with your customers.

How does Google My Business work?

On your side, you’ll have to set up an account, verify it, and add as much information you can about your business (location, opening hours, contacts, photos.)

The user, instead, will see the information you added – plus things like reviews by other users – in a listing. The listing is that portion of the SERP on the right side.

It appears when someone performs a local search, something like “San Francisco gyms”

Google My Business SERP example

How to create a listing on Google My Business

First, you have to add your business’s profile on Google My Business.

Google My Business first page

Insert the name, then the industry. You can choose whether adding a physical location or not. Whatever the nature of your business, we advise you to do it, it will boost your SEO. So, add the address.

Google My Business second page

Finally, tell people how to contact you. You can add both a phone number and the URL of your website.

Google My Business third page

Choose whether you want to get Google My Business’s newsletter or not, and you’re all set. Click on “Done”.

Now you must let Google verify that the contact information you put is correct and you’re the real owner of the business.

How to verify a location on Google My Business

Based on the nature of your business, you can choose among a variable number of choices. Please notice that you may not have all the options. You can also have only one.

By mail

You can decide to receive a postcard to your address.

It contains a confirmation code.

  • Check if the address you inserted is correct;
  • Add the (optional) contact name and click on the send button;
  • Once you got it in your mailbox, go to the Google My Business homepage or open the mobile app;
  • Click on verify location and then on verify now;
  • On the code field, insert the five-digits code and click on the send

By phone

You can also use your phone for faster verification. You’ll receive an automated phone call to the number you used when you created your business’s profile. Of course, you need to keep your phone close. Log in to Google My Business or use the app, then click on the Verify now button;

  • Select verify by phone, or call me now if you’re using the app;
  • Wait for the call, then enter the code you hear.

By email

If your business typology allows it, you can choose to verify your location via email.

  • Log in to Google My Business or use the app, then click on the Verify now button;
  • Choose email among the options, or tap on the Send Email button if you’re using the app;
  • Check your email and take note of the code;
  • Click on the Verify button in the email message. If you’re doing this using the mobile app, tap on the Enter code button, enter the code and then tap on Submit.

Instant verification

This option is available only for a few businesses. You need to verify your website on Google Search Console first. If you used the same email address to sign into Google My Business and Search Console, go to Google My Business and do the verification.

What if you lost your code?

Just log in and select Request another code on the top of the page.

How to optimize your Google My Business listing

Once you’ve finished setting up the account and asking for verification, it is time to build your listing and add as much information as you can.

Even if you haven’t verified the listing already, you could begin adding all the information. Of course, the much information you add, the more you optimize your listing, and the more your local SEO will benefit.

The information you add will appear both on the SERP (on your listing) and on Google Maps.

Log in to Google My Business and select the listing you want to optimize.

On the home page, you have an overview of the information you can add, manage the users’ reviews and photos, create a post and other things. On the left menu, you can access specific sections. We will dive into the most important ones for the optimization of your listing:

Posts

Regular posting is a great way to tell Google that your business is active and up to date. Also, it is perfect to interact with your customers. To create a post, click on the corresponding item on the menu, then choose the type you want to create:

  • Update: Tell your users what’s new with a post. You can also add a call to action button for more engagement.
  • Product: You can highlight a new or a popular product, add pictures, price and description.
  • Offer: you can tell your customers about a special sale, add an image, set the start and end dates, price, coupons and terms and conditions.
  • Event: let people know about events regarding your business or your products. Add a picture, start and end dates and a description. You can also add an optional call to action button.

Info

You can add more information about your business or edit the pieces you entered when you set up the account.

The additional information you can enter comprises:

  • Service area: the geographical locations you can reach with your products or services;
  • Opening hours;
  • A description: be extra careful with it. Make it very accurate and add the most relevant keywords.
  • Other information: you can also put additional pieces of information by selecting the corresponding item on the left menu. These are:

Reviews

You should know how crucial it is for Google the usefulness of content. So, SEO-wise, reviews are essential. On Reviews, you can see what people have to say about you and answer them. Dealing with a negative review can make a difference with the crawler and other people, too.

Questions

The easier you are to reach, the better it is for SEO and your business. You can enable a live chat service for your customers. You will receive the messages on the app installed on your phone.

Products

Click on Get started. You can add photos, prices, a description, and a call to action button so your customers can discover and buy them directly from the SERP.

Services

Here you can be more specific about your business does. In addition to the more general industry, you can write about your activities in detail. To add a new service, click on + add another service. You can also add a price and a description of your services. Click on the pencil on the right of every item.

Questions and Answers

Once your listing is up and running, people can ask questions to you from the SERP by clicking on the Ask a question button. You can answer them, showing that you are active and attentive with your customers. Also, you can choose the most relevant question to show as firsts on the listing.

Photos

Images are the first things that strike your customer’s attention. You can add your logo, pictures of your products, and your shop, both inside and outside.

Also, you can choose to show some pictures taken by your customers.

Insights

Unlike other items, this is for your eyes only. Here you can discover who the people that interact with your listing are and get valuable information about your target.

What are some alternatives to Google My Business?

Being easy to find on Google with detailed information on your business is vital because Google is the most used platform to find information. But it is not the only one.

We advise you to have a look at tools that are similar to Google My Business. These are:

  • Bing Places for Business, the Microsoft counterpart;
  • Yahoo listings for small businesses: The Yahoo!’s equivalent.
  • Facebook Pages. Why? Think about it: On Google My Business, you can add information and opening hours, add events, locations, products, photos, manage reviews. You can do these things on your Facebook Page, too. Facebook is another immensely used and populated platform, and having a Facebook Page helps your Google ranking, also. So, why don’t you take advantage of it?

Do you want to learn more about Local SEO?

Local SEO can produce a great competitive advantage for your business. If you wanna get deep on this topic, we suggest you to read our Introductive Guide to Local SEO.

Local SEO Ranking Factors: how to rank your Business

Ranking in the top positions of the SERP for local keywords may be easier than competing for national or international ones.

However, it is not simple. It is essential to know how to move to avoid mistakes.

There are many elements to consider. For this reason, we put together the main ranking factors for local SEO.

Do you want to know which ranking factors are essential to succeed on search engines with your local business?

Google My Business

Google My Business itself is not a positioning factor, but it is a significant part of the optimization work for local SEO.

First of all, make sure you’ve registered your business profile on Google My Business (it’s free!).

Homepage Google My Business

After completing the sign-up process, all you have to do is add the information your customers may need (opening hours, address, contacts, etc.).

Also, Gooogle takes three factors into account when placing a local business in the SERP.

Learn how to create a Google My Business account and bring your local business on top with our free guide.

Relevance

Google determines how relevant a particular Google My Business tab is thanks to the user’s search intent. First of all, make sure you provided as much information as possible about your local business.

Distance

Google takes into account the distance between the user and the business’s location (through geolocation or the Phone’s I.P. address), and the local activities related to the search.
Of course, if a user were to search for “plumber in Milan”, Google will show the results only for the city of Milan (regardless of geolocation and I.P. address).

Prominence

Google tries to identify the importance of a business. The more the local company in question is known and trusted, the more Google will reward it with a good ranking within the SERP.

In this case, good reviews and ratings play a crucial role, as well as links and mentions.

Check our free Guide to Google My Business to learn how to create and optimize your listing and get more customers.

Links

Links play a crucial role in the placement of a website, also in local SEO.

You should try to get backlinks from relevant websites, as always. But you may want to get links from websites of other local businesses.

As always, you also must make sure that these websites address users’ needs and are relevant to the topics you are covering.

Do you want to learn more? Read our guide to link building for local SEO.

On-Page

Working on the on-page optimization allows you to provide a better user experience. Also, il helps the search engine understand your pages’ content and the services you offer.

Optimize your pages with the keywords you have chosen. Put the keywords in the title and inside the headings. In this way, you define both humans and crawlers the topic you are addressing.

Also, make sure that you use schema.org structured data. In this way, you can add useful information on a rich snippet that appears on Google’s SERP.

Tips:
Put NAP (name, address, phone number) information in the footer and at the top of each page.
In your contact page, embed Google’s map of your location.

Check the On-Page optimization of your Local Business’ website for free with our SEO Checker.

User experience

Google’s latest updates made the user experience is one of the most vital aspects of SEO. So, before thinking about positioning, you must think about providing users with an outstanding user experience.
And the same goes for local SEO. Here we outline the UX-related elements that Google considers.

CTR (Click-through rate)

This metric indicates how many clicks your website has received compared to the number of impressions.
A page that has a high CTR is probably considered more relevant by users.

To increase the CTR, you should work primarily on the title and meta description tags. In this way, you can entice the user to click on your snippet.

Bounce rate

The bounce frequency represents the number of users who, once they have landed on our page, abandon it (returning to Google’s SERP).
It is a score that you should keep as low as possible. Otherwise, it could mean that the users don’t find your content consistent with their search intent.

Speed

The loading speed of your pages is one of the most crucial positioning factors in local SEO, too.

If your page takes too long to load, the user could decide to leave it, increasing your bounce rate.

Navigability

Navigability is, in fact, the basis of the user experience. Make sure you have an organized website that’s easy for both users and search engines to understand.

Use categories, tags, and breadcrumbs to help your users quickly navigate from one page to another.

Also, make sure that each page leads the user to take a specific action: take advantage of the call to action and always keep in mind the need the user wants to meet.

Social signals

Having the right presence on social networks has an indirect positive effect on the positioning of your website.

In addition to providing greater visibility and reliability to your brand in the eyes of the potential customer, curating social profiles will give you an additional traffic source.

Learn more about Local SEO

Are you moving your first steps in the world of Local SEO? Read our introductive guide to Local SEO to learn everything you should know to bring your business in the first position of Google and the other Search Engines.

How to do Link Building for Local SEO

Among the many activities an SEO professional performs, the Link Building is one of the most important and sensitive.

Excellent link building is vital to gain authority in the eyes of the Search Engines and makes the difference between success and failure.

The same goes for Local SEO: if you have a business and you want to improve your online presence, Link Building can help you make substantial progress.

In this article, we are going to tackle some of the best tactics to make an effective Link Building and climb the SERP.

Guest Blogging

Publishing articles on third-party blogs can be an excellent investment from the Link Building point of view.

However, Search Engines don’t like this strategy very much. They might consider it as an attempt to manipulate search results. Nevertheless, guest blogging can give you excellent results.

First, choose the host blogs according to these two criteria:

  • Relevance: Does the host blog deal with topics relevant to your activity?
  • Authoritative: Is the host blog considered authoritative by search engines and users?

Also, the content you are going to offer them must be original and useful for the reader.
So, don’t think about advertising your business. Instead, ask yourself if you can provide your readers with useful information.

Obviously, don’t forget to ask the blog owner to include a backlink to your website in the article.

The work of guest blogging, when done with a strategy, can yield remarkable results.

Now, let’s assume you have an article ready to go online as a guest post, but you’re not sure if it’s okay.

You can use the free Copy Metrics tool to analyze content and discover useful metrics such as:

  • Text difficulty.
  • Purchase intent.
  • Target Potential.
  • Reading time and other statistics.

Homepage Copy Metrics

Try copy metrics for free. 

Create helpful resources

Invest some of your time and budget in creating useful resources for users.

Any examples? Videos, PDFs, infographics, e-books.
Creating valuable content can encourage your reader to share your articles.

Before you start creating content, make sure you’ve done your research.

What interest the users in your niche? Find out what queries they search, what keywords they use, what is the problem they want to solve.

After you have done your keyword research and discovered what your competitors are doing, you can start writing.

Tips:
Content such as a PDF or e-book can also be a powerful lead magnet to offer in exchange for the user’s email.

Be sure to include references to your brand and website within the content. In this way, your brand visibility increases every time someone shares the content even if they didn’t add a link to your site.

Take part in local events

Wait… What do local events have to do with SEO?!

SEO is not a computer-only job. If you thought otherwise, you would have overlooked many strategies that could boost your ranking.

Imagine taking part in a contest for the best pastry shop in the city. As a result, your website gets a backlink on the event organizers’ website.

Participating in events, prize competitions or performances gives much visibility to your business. But it can also have beneficial effects SEO-wise.

Agreements with local websites

Another effective way to get backlinks is to establish collaborations with local websites.

You might want to contact:

  • Local news sites and blogs.
  • Business similar to yours.
  • Associations of your city.

In the case of non-profit associations operating in your city, you could propose yourself as a sponsor. You can also donate to support their activities (of course, you must consider how much you want to invest). In exchange, you can ask for advertising and – of course – your much-desired backlink.

What you’ve seen are just a few link building’s main tactics for local SEO, but they can give a significant boost to your website’s positioning.

Make Local SEO the right way

Do you want to learn more about Local SEO?

Give a look to our Guide to Local SEO and boost your business rankings on Google!