Google My Business
This is a type of a digital business directory, the entries of which the search engine provider uses for various areas of its search results. Those who own a company and a Google account can use the free service to edit and optimize their entry. Entries are possible for all kinds of companies and freelancers, from retail shops to hotels and restaurants to lawyers or artisans. To ensure profile data from Google My Business is displayed in searches certain prerequisites must be met.
The predecessors of Google My Business
Google My Business goes back to the Google Places service. This was an offer by Google with which companies could undertake free entries which were then played out via Google search. After Google launched its own social network in Google+, Google Places became Google+ Local. Alongside a company entry, companies also had a company profile on Google+, similar to a company profile on Facebook or other social networks.
The success of Google+ was minimal, causing Google+ Local to pass over to the independent Google My Business service. The benefit of Google My Business is that all company-relevant data and services can be managed with one Google account. This allows users to not only manage information on their company and their location, but at the same time, to call up important data on access or promotions via Google Ads. A Google My Business entry also offers the opportunity to place prepared Ads express adverts via the account. With this Google wants to make it easier for companies to place local-based adverts via Google Ads.
Where do the Google My Business entries appear?
Company entries via Google My Business appear both in the organic search results of the Google search engine as well as on Google Maps. If the search engine recognizes a local reference in the search query, the algorithms refer back to the stored Google My Business profile and lists corresponding hits prominently above the usual organic search hits with a map extract. If there is only one relevant hit, it is displayed to the right of the regular snippets.
If a customer or interested party searches directly via Google Maps for a company, the data from the profiles of the My Business accounts is also used there.
Uses for local SEO
Google My Business is predominantly important for SEO that is locally orientated. With a free entry theoretically even companies without a website have the opportunity to achieve a high ranking within the organic web search. As Google is more and more orientating its search results according to the respective user, local search is of particular importance. A Google study has shown that almost half of all web users carry out local searches. For companies it is all the more important that they achieve high rankings in search queries with a geographical reference. And Google My Business is a key for this.
This is how a Google My Business entry is created:
In order to create a Google My Business entry, a valid Google account is required.
This is the process:
- Log into your Google account.
- Call up the Google My Business homepage.
- Click the “Start now” button.
- Enter the name of your company as well as the address with post code and city. Also enter the phone number. Select a main category from the suggestions that best fit your company. You can also define a catchment area for your services or your offer via a selection field.
- Google then compares its data with your information. In some cases there may already be a rudimentary entry, if Google has entered publicly visible company details in its system.
- Next, follow the instructions and confirm the registration as well as the conditions of use.
- In order for your entry to be approved and for you to be able to modify it, you still have to confirm your company. For this, Google sends an approval code by post to your company address. Generally you will receive this letter within a few working days.
- After approval with the code you are able to edit your company profile in detail.
This information includes a Google My Business account:
- Contact details: Alongside email addresses, you can also add fax and phone numbers to your account. Using your Google+profile you can also add contact options via social media.
- Address details: Your company address is the central piece of information of your entry. It is also possible to enter numerous locations for Google My Business.
- Photos: The account offers you the opportunity to extensively present your company with pictures. In your profile pictures can be sorted by outside and inside as well as by team members.
- Logos: In order to be able to clearly arrange your company, the addition of logos is possible. They are also shown in the corresponding search hits.
- Keywords (category): The keywords of the Google My Business entry are made up of the respective categories. Only categories suggested by Google can be used. The selected categories, however, do help decide whether your company is displayed in the search results.
How can I optimize my Google My Business account for SEO?
Basically, the more information stored in Google My Business, the better. You can also use My Business to maintain a Google+page. Further contact options for the target group are also available to you, such as chats or hangouts, for example.
- Images: It is recommended that you use high-resolution image material. Companies also have the opportunity to use the Google Street View service in their company premises.
- Categories: It is very important that the categories be selected appropriately, and it is worth it to determine which keywords are relevant.
- Correct company descriptions, contact and address details: Use all the relevant data precisely the same as on your homepage.
By the way: A profile with Google My Business not only uses SEO, but can also be linked to a Google Ads account. In this way locally orientated advertisements can be placed, which display users the address of the provider. With a smartphone users can then click this address so that Google Maps opens and the interested parties can immediately have the route to the provider displayed to them.
Google study on local search: https://storage.googleapis.com/think-emea/docs/research_study/Report_Google_Local_Search_Behavior_DE_1.pdf
Google My Business homepage: https://www.google.com/business/
Google My Business help: https://support.google.com/business/?hl=en