Why Google My Business is Important for Local SEO

Many local businesses compete online everyday for an opportunity to provide their products and services to people in their community.  Google My Business is an easy to use and free tool that helps promote positive local search engine optimization (SEO) practices so you can get noticed on Google.

What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a type of search engine optimization that helps small, brick-and-mortar businesses get found in local search results. For instance, by taking a more localized approach to their SEO strategy, businesses can leverage people searching for “barbershops near me” or “barbershops in Denver”. 

Is it really important to show up for local searches?
Yes. Here’s why.

What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free tool that helps businesses manage their online presence and determines how they show up in organic search results, including Maps. A listing on Google My Business consists of important business information consumers use to make purchase decisions, including:

Businesses with accurate GMB listings are much more likely to be considered reputable by customers searching locally because Google uses this information to populate the Local 3-Pack for Maps in search results pages. Never heard of the Local 3-Pack? You’ve likely seen it before when searching, it shows up at the top of the page and looks like this:

According to Google, businesses that add photos to their listing receive 42% more requests for directions on Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than those that don’t.

How does Google determine local ranking?

Google uses several factors to determine where a business should show up in local search results, though it should be mentioned that the exact way in which Google determines local search results is not public knowledge.

Three of the most important factors are distance, relevance, and prominence. These give searchers the best match for their local search and therefore impact rankings. 

For example, Google might determine that Business A is farther away from the searcher than Business B, but rank it more highly because it’s more well-known with quality services that are relevant to the search intent.

How do I get started using Google My Business?
GMB is a very easy tool to use and the first step is to simply make an account and/or claim your business. Sometimes a business listing already exists and you simply have to let Google know that you are the owner. 

When you start the verification process, Google will mail out a postcard to the designated business address. This card is addressed to the owner and provides the next step to get verified by Google. It’s also possible for some businesses to get verified via a phone call or text. After you’ve verified your listing, it’s time to fill out your business profile. 

How do I optimize my Google My Business listing for local SEO?
Here are some tips for making sure you are leveraging your GMB listing to its maximum potential.

Google My Business is a great tool to help you get started on the path to improving your business’s search engine optimization efforts. Having an accurate business listing will go a long way to supporting local search ranking, however this should just be one small part of a larger on- and off-site SEO strategy. We recommend you work with a professional team who can audit your online presence and help you address every component of a solid SEO strategy.

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