This week we are talking about GMB (Google My Business), or in simpler terms “location search.” GMB is a huge directory that Google created to present branded results of your business.
Google can be a bit narcissistic and rigid in its business’ rankings. Because Google is so large, visible, and trusted most users are going to click on the first sites on the listing. Without leaving the first search page, searchers have confidence in the highest ranking business on GMB.
Providing phone numbers, location, the ability to ask a question, view photos, preview hours of operation, and skim through reviews… Google’s thorough GMB directory has the ability to peak and even satisfy the researcher’s interest. The more relevant the search in your local area, the more likely you are to have more organic web traffic.
What is the Google Local 3-pack and why is it important for your business?
If you were to hop onto Google maps and search for ‘treatment center’ you will find a list of local treatment centers in your local proximity. These are the treatment centers most relevant to your location. The top 3 results listed is the ever sacred ‘3-pack’, provided by Google.
When you make any type of search with local intent, Google will provide the top 3 most relevant listing. How is local intent determined? Typically, any search that includes a city name, zip code, “near me”, or even any search that would produce a service generally provided by a local business is considered a search with local intent.
Establishing a GMB profile is essentially the low hanging fruit of SEO, however many factors affect your ranking in location search results. Optimizing your GMB profile, asking for authentic reviews, and organic SEO link building are also major key factors that contribute to your ranking in Google’s local search ranking.
Ranking at the top of the GMB is great for branding and building trust. Google has implemented hyper-local search by way of making it more convenient and relevant to the searcher. Google has been coined, by many marketing professionals, as the new “homepage” for local businesses.
Most competitor’s will use their smartphone or tablet to search for a business to provide whatever service or product they are looking for. Studies have shown that a vast majority of these types of searches result in the consumer visiting that business within the same day.
Building Your Brand
Consumer reviews are the new personal recommendations. I can personally say that I have searched for a new product or restaurant and instantly looked at the reviews to decide on where to go. This is the norm for most searchers.
GMB has imposed a 5 star ranking system. Visible to the consumer, this ranking system also plays a role in a business’ likelihood of landing in the “three pack” listing. Reviews provide insight, both good and bad, that can also contribute in helping to build your brand.
How to improve your GMB Listing
Make sure all of your information is accurate and up to date. Be sure to update your phone numbers, address, hours of operation, and your business description.
This may mean taking the time to update business hours during the holidays, adding/changing addresses when necessary, and even updating specific LLC information. Think of this listing as official court documentation, the more precise and consistent you are with your business information, the better.
It’s important to update your business logo. It’s also extremely beneficial to add pictures/videos from recent events, products, and services as often as possible. Relevancy is key and visuals are always appealing to consumers. I can honestly say I have chosen businesses that include photos over business with no logo and no photos to gaze over.
Asking for reviews can be a daunting task. What if someone has something not so pleasant to say about my business? Bad reviews aren’t always a bad thing. Reviews are better than no reviews. After all, constructive criticism and acknowledgement of the customer’s unsatisfaction with your business can open the ways of communication in hopes of redemption and maybe even a better review.
Your responsiveness to reviews is critical. Rapid response times will not only open communication with customers but also help establish credibility and trust. 5 star reviews can help increase your search presence substantially.
The post feature on GMB allows you to push relevant and timely content, events, and offers just like you would on any social media platform. Users can suggest edits and give feedback, so the more frequently you respond the more current and relevant the information for your business.
GMB posts are essentially a platform for ‘mini ads’ for your business. If you have a specific sale going on, have an upcoming event, or even if you posted a super awesome blog on your site, you can add these onto your GMB post section. These posts stay live for 7 days, make it a point to add new content every week.
Google is specifically looking for the engagement and interaction between local businesses and customers on GMB. In other words, the more current and frequent your interactions the more likely you are to snag the 3-pack ranking.
Local businesses serve a unique audience, made up by their local community. The more involved your business is in your local community, the more likely your brand will gain the trust of your consumers. The perks of landing in the “3-pack” ranking by the GMB listing is obviously directly beneficial to your business and more specifically, your website.