Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on you your Google My Business (GMB) listing is critical when it comes to local SEO. In this article, we’ll give you five little tweaks you can make to your GMB listing that’ll drive real results in search rankings and even get you leads!
In this article:
- Optimise Your Category Names
- Keep Your Address Consistent
- Upload Geotagged Business Images
- Enable Your Listing’s Messaging Option
- Keep Your Information Up-to-Date
1. Optimise Your Category Choices
The first step to making the most out of your GMB listing is to optimise your category choices. To edit the current categories in your listing, log into your GMB dashboard and click the Info option on the left-side menu:
Your GMB listing’s category will appear right under your business name, like so:
There are over 4,000+ business categories on GMB to choose from as of 2021. When choosing your Primary Category, select one that (a) best describes the nature of your business and (b) indicates your location whenever applicable.
Let’s say you’re running a car dealership business in Brisbane. You might want to consider using Car Dealer as your GMB listing’s Primary Category. Your Primary Category is important and carries the most weight in Google's eyes when it comes to what kind of business you are, so make sure to carefully select the best fit.
You can use the Additional Categories selection to make your GMB listing more specific. Let’s go back to that car dealership example. While you’ve got various car brands in your roster, you might specialise in dealing with the brand Toyota. One of the Additional Categories you can choose is Toyota Dealer.
While the platform will allow you to choose up to 10 Additional Categories, just make sure that the additional categories you choose are truly relevant for your business – some studies have shown Google's algorithm can experience "category" confusion if the categories you select aren't closely related, which can damage your rankings and web visibility.
2. Keep Your Address Consistent
The way you type your business address on GMB should be consistent with how you’ll be writing it on your website and social media pages. For example, this Brisbane coffee shop typed out their address on GMB this way:
Compare it to how they listed the same address on their website and Facebook page:
Did you notice how the website’s and Facebook page’s addresses have subtle differences from the one indicated in the GMB listing? The little things like spelling out “Street” versus using the shortened “St.” or inducing the word “Upper” in the GMB listing then omitting it from the website isn’t the best way to use your GMB listing. A best practice here would be to edit the addresses you put on your pages so that they exactly match the one you typed out on your GMB listing. This will tell Google that, yes, it's really you!
Google will love you for this and will reward you for it by indicating your listing when someone keys in a local search related to your business (you know, like "non-judgmental donut shop near me"). At the same time, the platform will penalise you when it sees inconsistencies with your addresses.
3. Upload Geotagged Business Images
One of the best ways to maximise your GMB listing is by including photos of your business. Unlike category names, where less is often more, adding photos on a regular basis can be very healthy for your GMB listing.
Types of Photos to Upload
These are business photos the GMB dashboard will let you upload and recommendations on how to choose the best ones:
TIP: Business photos help your customers see what your shop looks like even before they get there. These images are your way of making a first impression, so choose good ones to upload! If you need to, hire a professional photographer to help you get the best shots.
Geotagging Your Photo Uploads
Here's a great SEO hack that anyone can do!
Before uploading those business photos, you can take the extra step of geotagging those images first. To do this, go to GeoImgr and click the Drop Photos Here or Click To Upload option:
From here, simply select the photo you’ll geotag. The map on the right will activate and GeoImgr will ask you to key in your business address which you can simply type:
Once you’ve done that, scroll down until you see the text box under the Description / Alternative Text heading. In this textbox, we recommend you write the keyword you want to rank for and the city or location you’re targeting:
From here, all you need to do is click the Write EXIF Tags button, download the geotagged image by tapping the Download button, and upload it on your GMB listing.
4. Enable Your Listing’s Messaging Option
One of GMB’s newer features is the Messaging option. It allows customers to contact you directly. And in return, you can reply to them in real-time via your mobile device.
Businesses that activated their GMB messaging have a Call button and Phone Number indicated in their listing, such as the one below:
Make the most out of your listing by enabling this function. Start by selecting the Messaging option on the left-side menu of your GMB dashboard. You’ll then be asked to indicate your preferred mobile number in the space provided:
Hit Next on the lower-right corner and you should see a similar confirmation message like the one below:
Being reachable is key to attracting customers. Take the time to answer if they call or message. The more accessible you are to your target market, the more likely they’ll want to buy from your business.
5. Keep Your Information Up-to-Date
Keeping your business information up to date is critical in making an effective GMB listing. When you’re actively ensuring your information is as updated as it can be (i.e., operating hours, updated contact numbers, new branch addresses, updated business photos), you’re essentially telling Google that your listing is accurate. This means Google will trust you more and enough to rank you higher on searches relevant to your category name; higher rankings will increase your chances of attracting local customers.
Do note that the changes you make on your GMB listing can take time to reflect on actual searches. While information like business hours change automatically, some information, like your category name, can take a while (even up to 60 days!). The best way to get around this is to plan ahead and make necessary changes well in advance.
Learning about these five little tweaks has hopefully helped you improve your current GMB listing. Make the most of this free local SEO feature on Google by choosing the most specific category names, ensuring address consistency, uploading geotagged business images, enabling direct messaging, and keeping all your business information updated. These tips will help you get the most out of your GMB listing and make sure your local SEO efforts bring customers straight to your door!