Google My Business: SEO and How to Do Well

Erica YlimäkiErica Ylimäki
Last edited: February 6th, 2024

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If you’re just starting your business and about to create a Google My Business account, read our full guide on that first.

After that, you can head back here to learn about how to get your business location to do well in local search results.

Key Takeaways Include:

  • Learning what fancy SEO terms mean in plain English
  • Basics of local SEO that you can actually implement yourself
  • When to expect results: Months after starting with local SEO efforts 👀

Benefits of Doing Google My Business SEO

First and foremost, it helps people find you.

Point blank. Most probably, that’s why you’re reading this article.

Let’s cut the BS and look at other factors it influences.

Establishes Your Brand as a Business Authority

Google lists that one of their ranking factors is “prominence”.

Fancy word, but in reality, it means:

  • How many reviews you have
  • How many times people look for your business listing (specifically)
  • How many times someone looks for directions to your location in Google Maps
  • How you stack up against other similar local businesses

💡 Pro tip: Just use common sense and do a Google search for your own business.

Try to see your business with the eyes of the potential customers.

Gets Your Out There

You need to be featured in the search results so new customers can find you.

By taking care of the basics you can achieve great results.

Build Credibility in the Eyes of New Customers

People are hesitant to trust a new brand they’ve never heard of before.

That’s why they need social proof and want to read reviews from existing customers.

Fun fact: Google Maps has the option where a searcher can filter results to only add local businesses with a certain amount of stars.

Determining Google My Business Ranking Factors

Google will always be Google, so there’s no certain answer to this.

However, the most educated guesses currently state that one of the most important ranking factors is your overall star rating that includes both the number of reviews how those people gave you stars.

Some emphasis is also placed on text reviews.

That’s all about guesswork, but let’s look at three factors Google has confirmed they look at:

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence

Relevance As a Ranking Factor

When people look for a solution online, Google tries to match them with a relevant business.

The algorithm can only determine relevance based on the information you’ve added to your profile.

Add complete and detailed business information to be relevant in Google’s eyes.

Distance As a Ranking Factor

This is something you can’t influence, because it basically means how far away each business is from the searcher.

People can use Google Maps to reveal their exact location or use the “Search in this area” option.

However, if your business doesn’t have reviews or your overall rating score is below 4 stars in a highly competitive area, you might not show up in the search at all. This applies especially to restaurants in high-traffic areas.

Prominence As a Ranking Factor

This is what local SEO can influence hugely.

It’s all about:

  • Links from other sites to yours
  • Articles
  • Directories and review sites
  • All info Google has of your business
  • How often your business gets googled
  • Reviews about your company

Google states that “Prominence refers to how well-known a business is.” So yeah.

Maybe get a micro-influencer or two to collab with you to get mentions in drive traffic?

Google My Business SEO: How to Set Up

Let’s not get too fancy here, but focus on the absolute basics.

Keep in mind that all changes and updates you make might take from hours to months to be live.

Once the changes are live, it will take weeks to notice results.

8 Ways to Optimize Your Google My Business Account for SEO

These are the easy things all local business owners should add and keep up to date.

1. Keep Business Operating Hours Accurate

Well, this is a no-brainer.

If people are looking for a business on Google Maps, they’ll be prompted to the ones that are open while they search.

In addition, searchers can filter search results based on business opening hours.

importance of opening hours regarding google my business seo in google maps

If you feel tempted to add the “open 24 hours” to boost local search rankings, think again.

What if someone pulls up and you’re not open? They’ll never come back and might even leave you a 1-star Google review as a thank you.

Also, remember to add your holiday hours!

2. Add Your Contact Information

This adds trust and makes it easy to contact you if needed.

If someone has a question, they want a direct line of communication right from Google maps.

Business phone number is a great start for these cases!

3. Add your business category

People use the filters prompted by Google.

Local business filters include:

  • Restaurants
  • Gas
  • Groceries
  • Hotels
  • Things to do
  • Museums
  • Transit
  • Pharmacies
  • ATMs
add a business category to boost your local SEO efforts on Google Maps

Make sure you’re featured in the right business category!

4. Add a link to your website and social media accounts

Even Google loves when you connect your social media handles to Google business listing.

So do your potential customers.

If they want to look up photos of you, they’ll find your business on Instagram. But save them the trouble and link it to your Google business account.

In addition, if you have your business website, add that link as well.

5. Add a business description

An optimized Google Business Profile

👏🏻 includes 👏🏻 an 👏🏻 accurate 👏🏻 description👏🏻 of 👏🏻 the 👏🏻 business👏🏻

There’s no reason NOT to add it. So please, describe in a few sentences what your business offers.

That’s it.

No need to fuss over this part too much, as it’s better to have a half-assed description than none at all.

6. Use The Special Attributes

Special attributes can refer to:

  • Accessibility (wheelchair accessibility etc.)
  • Service options
  • Payment options (is cash accepted or not, for example)
  • Crowd attributes (Adults only, family-friendly, kid-friendly, LGBTQ+-friendly, transgender safe space)
  • Planning attributes (reservation required/recommended, accepting new patients, etc.)
  • Dining options

There are also plenty more, so look into what your competitors have and what you would have to offer!

Highlighting these aspects can play a huge role in getting your physical location to do better in local searches.

7. Add Your Products and Services

If you have products, it’s highly recommended to use Google’s Product Catalog. This can be tricky to set up, but it pays off getting you noticed in direct searches for your products.

In case you don’t have any products you sell online, don’t worry about this.

8. Make sure you have online reviews

Business listings that have positive reviews are more likely to be on top of organic search results.

google reviews impact how you can be found on google maps

Here’s a simple example. Just look at the sheer volume of how many reviews these places have.

Google determines the appearance in the local pack by the review count and overall star rating, so make sure you collect new Google reviews.

In case you didn’t know, one can filter search results to only show local businesses that have a specific star rating in Google reviews.

star rating affect visibility in search in google maps

What this means for each brick-and-mortar location is that they need to have Google reviews.

Adding review schema to your own website is also a nice trick to boost SEO efforts.

How Customers Find Your Profile

The best way to start improving local SEO is to Google yourself and see what you could do better.

  • See what pops up
  • Are you visible?
  • Make notes as to what is missing
  • How are your competitors doing?
  • What content is missing from you that your competitors have?
  • Is any relevant information missing or incorrect?
  • Can a new visitor trust you? (Think about reviews, contact info, social media, …)

Doing local SEO is trying to make sure local people find you. And trust you!

Local SEO is critical, even with Google My Business

As generating results from SEO takes weeks and months, it’s vital for all local businesses to keep their business listing accurate.

That’s the very first step.

The next steps include creating local content on social media and by posting update on Google’s business profile.

And when you can’t think of anything else to optimize in your Google my business profile, start optimizing your website for local SEO.

The easiest way to start is to add a Google review widget to your website.

Get started below with Trustmary for ✨FREE✨

More Resources Related to Google Reviews

FAQ

How does Google determine local ranking?

According to Google, local results are based on

  1. Relevance
  2. Distance
  3. Prominence

A combo of these three will be the best match for your search. By having reviews you can influence the prominence part. So collect new Google reviews constantly.

Do I need to have a physical address to use GBP?

Not necessarily, but it’s highly recommended to add an address if you have one.

You can always use a PO box instead if you don’t have a business location and don’t want to reveal your personal address.

Why is Google My Business important for local SEO?

Do you even exist if no one can find you on search engines?

Doing SEO means playing the long game and its main purpose is to help potential customers find you on google search when they’re trying to find a solution for a problem that you have.



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