89% of consumers search Google for information and solutions to their problems.Statista
For many small business owners, local digital marketing is more important than ever. Can people in your community find you? What happens when people look for your services on their mobile phone? Does your business show up on Google Maps? How does your business rank on search engines compare to your competitors?
Local marketing specifically centers around a local service, physical store or restaurant. All of this entity’s marketing efforts concentrate (or should) on driving customers into that particular establishment. Usually, these customers live within a 10-mile radius of the business in question.The Balance
As a small business owner, there are things you can do to optimize your website for local search and make it easier for your business to be found online by people and search engines. Local SEO (search engine optimization) can drive website and foot traffic to your business.
46% of all Google searches are seeking local information.HubSpot
One of the simplest ways to boost your local marketing is to claim and optimize your Google business profile.
56% of Local Retailers Haven’t Claimed Their Google My Business ListingGeoMarketing
Did You Claim Your Google My Business Profile?
Google My Business helps your business get found in Search and Maps. GMB is a free 1/2 page ad on Google. You’ve seen it when you search for results on Google: it’s the image on the right side of the search results. Your business can benefit from a Google listing if you have a physical location that your customers visit or if you are an online or service business that serves local customers but doesn’t have a storefront.
As you see from MacManda Media’s Google listing, that’s a lot of free publicity for your business:
Google created Google My Business to give business owners more control of what shows up in the search results when someone searches a given business name. Plus, if you have claimed and optimized your GMB profile you have an opportunity to show up on Google Maps when someone searches for a business like yours.
46% of all Google searches are local.Go-Globe
Google your business’s name. If a GMP profile shows up, is it accurate? What does it say? Are there photos? Google reviews?
Tip: If you already have claimed your Google business profile and the information isn’t accurate, you need to update your profile asap! You’re missing opportunities – and customers!
If you haven’t claimed your Google business profile, it’s fast, easy and free – and is the simplest way to boost your local marketing and SEO efforts!
How To Claim Your Google My Business Profile
If you haven’t claimed your business profile, Google fills it in with information found on the internet – which might be wrong! To claim your free business profile on Google:
1. Halfway down the profile is a link Own this business? Click on the link (See the screenshot below).
Or, go to https://www.google.com/business/.
2. Describe your business with up to 750 words about your business and your products and services.
Fill out every field in your Google profile – business name, address, hours and website. Make sure the name, address and phone (NAP) information you enter matches exactly with the information you have on your website and other sites, such as Facebook.
Provide information on your Services and details like whether you make deliveries or provide in-home services.
If you have a business but not a physical location, enter your home address. Google will give you the option to hide your address and to indicate that you provide a service at your customers’ location or are a virtual service provider.
3. List your business’s keywords that customers might use to find a business like yours.
4. Choose your business category from the menu provided by Google. If there is not an exact match for your business, see what category your competitors use.
5. Google will require you to verify you are the owner of the business either by telephone or by postcard. Follow the directions exactly to make this go as quickly and smoothly as possible.
6. Add photos, your logo, videos, articles, special offers, sales and other information to help people find and use your business.
7. Ask your customers, vendors and colleagues to give you a Google review. Respond to EVERY review – even a negative review – to show Google and people that you read and care about your reviews.
8. Your Google profile has a Questions and Answers section anyone can post on. Monitor your Q&A for questions – and wrong answers by the public! – to be sure you have accurate information on your Google profile.
Use Google Maps to Drive Traffic to Your Business
86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps, which shows the importance of local search.GoDaddy
Google Maps will use the information you provide in your Google listing when someone is searching for a business in your area. If you keep this information accurate, potential customers who are close to your location will see your store in the search listings and on Google Maps.
7 out of 10 customers visit a business or make a purchase based on information they find online.Google
Frequently Update Your Google Profile
Once your Google profile is complete, keep it updated and regularly add Google posts – new offers and product information or blog posts – whatever you think a potential customer would want to know about your business. Google makes it easy – once you start using Google posts, it will send you a weekly email reminder to add a new post!
Tip: Businesses that regularly update their Google My Business profile with Google posts often rank higher in search results because Google knows their information is current.
Track Your Traffic
When you log in to your Google listing, you’ll find visitor statistics called Insights on your profile – how many visitors, % increase or decrease in the number of visitors, search views v map views, etc. GMB also gives you competitor information, such as recent posts they’ve shared.
Get The App
Manage your Google My Business from your phone with the iOS or Android app:
- Make edits to your Business Profile and see those changes online in real-time
- Connect with customers who leave reviews, comments or questions
- Add photos, videos and posts
- Get Insights about search traffic
Other Google My Business Features
Your Google profile has many other features you may want to use:
- Get messages from customers
- Accept bookings on Google
- Virtual tours
- Create a free, mobile-friendly website
- Create an ad
Google My Business is a powerful, free DIY local digital marketing tool for your business that can skyrocket your local SEO efforts. If you haven’t claimed your listing, get started today!