GMB SEO is One of the Best Ways to Get Found by Your Ideal Client
One reason that you may not be attracting enough new business is that your ideal clients simply can’t see you. Completing and optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) profile is one of the easiest ways to make it easier to find your business both online and in the real world.
Your GMB profile is just one of what digital marketing pros, like 910 West, refer to as citation or directory sites. To learn more, check out our video and tutorial covering the local SEO citations that matter most for small businesses.
Getting back to GMB SEO, the first thing you want to is make sure that you have all your business information gathered and and accessible to anyone who might be making changes to your online information. It’s important to be consistent so we recommend creating a single document (download our Citation Tracker template) where you store all the important information about your business. We’ve included notes and suggestions for the making the most of all of the different parts of your GMB profile below so read on!
GMB SEO Checklist
Use the pluses to expand each section for tips and tricks for optimizing each element. Simply follow our checklist and before you know it you’ll be at the top of the local pack due to your awesome GMB SEO skills.
Step 1: Complete Basic Details
- Business Name
- Use the same business name as on your signs, business cards and legal documents.
- Do NOT spam your business name with cities, search terms, taglines or anything else. It is against Google’s terms of service and could lead to listing problems or suspension in the future.
- Business Categories
- Make sure the primary category best represents your business.
- Take advantage of additional categories and add as many as apply to your business.
- Do NOT use categories if they do not directly apply to your business.
- Business Location
- Only enter a physical address if customers actually visit your place of business.
- Use a free tool like Smarty Streets to make sure your address is properly formatted.
- Put the physical street address in the first line and put suite numbers in the second line.
- Whitespark provides a good short explanation here: https://whitespark.ca/blog/whitesparks-guide-to-optimizing-google-my-business/#address.
- For abbreviations or variations in how an address appears, refer to this guide to know what’s OK and what’s not: https://whitespark.ca/acceptable-google-maps-nap-abbreviations-and-variations/.
- Service Area
- Only enter this if you serve customers at their location (service area businesses).
- Enter the cities that you service.
- Note that no matter how big a service area you set, it is still unlikely to appear in a search result greater than 20 miles away.
- Business Hours
- Enter regular hours of operation when customers can actually do business with you.
- Add special hours for holidays, special closures, or other times when your business is not open. See How to Set Holiday Hours in Google My Business, Yelp and Bing for more information.
- If you are a seasonal business, remove all operating hours when closed, and re-enter them when you open again.
- If you use a call tracking number for your Google My Business listing:
- Use the call tracking number in the “Primary Phone” field.
- Add your primary, local phone number as an “Additional Phone”.
- Add toll-free and secondary phone numbers as “Additional Phone” fields.
- If you do NOT use a call tracking number for your Google My Business listing:
- Use your primary, local phone number in the “Primary Phone” field.
- Add toll-free and secondary phone numbers as “Additional Phone” fields.
- Properly format your URLs:
- All URLs must be live at the time you enter them into Google My Business.
- Use https:// or http:// and include or omit the www as appropriate.
- Add Google Analytics UTM tracking codes to your URL. This helps you see in Google Analytics how many people came to your website from your GMB listing.
- Go the Google Campaign URL Builder.
- Copy and paste your website URL.
- Use google as the campaign source; local as the campaign medium; and ****a location ID as the campaign name. If you only have one location, just use something like 1 as the campaign name. This helps differentiate traffic on your website for various locations.
- Use primary, appointment, menu, etc. as the content variable as appropriate.
- Website URL:
- For single location businesses, use the homepage of your website.
- For multi-location businesses with 3+ locations, use the specific page for each location.
- Example website URL with UTM tracking: https://localmarketinginstitute.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_campaign=1&utm_content=primary
- Appointment URL:
- Use this to link to your contact page or an online appointment system.
- Certain types of businesses can instead use Reserve with Google to integrate specific booking systems into their Google My Business account.
- Example appointment URL with UTM tracking: *https://localmarketinginstitute.com/contact/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_campaign=1&utm_content=appointment*
- Menu URL (Restaurants):
- Restaurants can also add a special URL to link to their menu.
- Must link to a page on your website. Links directly to PDFs are not supported.
- Instead of linking to the menu on your website, restaurants may want to directly add their menu to the GMB listing.
- Example menu URL with UTM tracking: *https://www.jaxfishhouse.com/fort-collins/menus/dinner?utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_campaign=1&utm_content=menu*
- Booking and Ordering Service URLs
- Certain booking and ordering links may appear in your listing automatically. These are done through Google’s partnerships with 3rd party providers and you cannot directly edit them in your GMB listing.
- To remove or fix these links, you must contact the specific 3rd party provider and make your request.
- The business description is an open text area that you can use to tell potential customers more about your business. It appears in both desktop and mobile web search, but does not appear on the Google Maps app.
- Go to your listing in Google My Business.
- Click “Info” and then click “Description”.
- You can write a description of up to 750 characters, however, only the first 244 characters display on your Google listing unless the visitor clicks “More”.
- Recommendations for business descriptions:
- Think about what you’d want your customers to know most about your business. Pretend they know nothing about you.
- Use the most important terms that potential customers might be looking for, but do not keyword stuff. It is not believed that Google uses the description field as a factor in search rankings. However, a well-written description could help convert someone looking at your listing into a customer.
- Don’t use all-caps, emojis or other “gimmicky character use”.
- Do not focus on promotions, prices or sales. Tell people about your business instead.
- Do not use any URLs.
- Refer to Whitespark guide for direction: https://whitespark.ca/blog/whitesparks-guide-to-optimizing-google-my-business/#short-name.
- Proceed with caution. As of late July, many listings have been suspended after setting a short name.
Step 2: Add Products, Services or Menu
- Only available for certain types of service businesses (dentists, attorneys, insurance agents, hotels, marketing agencies, and others).
- Only shows up for end users in the Google Maps app right now (listed under Menu).
- Create separate sections for the different categories of services you offer.
- Create a separate service for each specific service you offer.
- Enter the appropriate name and price of each service.
- Add a description of each service up to 1000 characters. Take advantage of this space to describe each service for customers using rich keywords.
- Only available for certain types of retail-oriented businesses.
- It may not be practical to include every product or product category that your business carries. Focus on just the most important products and categories.
- Is unique because you can add a button with a link to your website and will also include a call button (2 calls to action!).
- If this feature in not available in the profile, you can use the GMB product post as an alternative.
- Create separate collections for each product category you’d like to feature.
- Enter the collection name.
- Add a collection description up to 1000 characters. Take advantage of this space to describe each collection / product category using rich keywords.
- Create individual products within each categories.
- Enter the product name and price (price ranges are not supported).
- Add a product description up to 1000 characters. We recommend using the same description that you would use in your product catalog.
- Add a photo (should be 250px by 250px).
- Add a call to action button and link to product on website.
- Only available for restaurant-type businesses.
- Only shows up for end users in the Google Maps app right now.
- Use this in addition to a link to your menu on your website.
- Create separate sections for each section of your menu.
- Create a separate menu items within each section.
- Enter the appropriate name and price of each menu item.
- Use the same description of your menu item as you do in your actual menu up to 1000 characters.
Step 3: Include Optional Attributes
- These are attributes that you can explicitly set for your business. Attributes vary by business category and can include items like: Women Owned, Wheelchair Accessible, Restroom, Languages Spoken, Outdoor Seating, Happy Hour, etc.
- Go to your listing in Google My Business.
- Click “Info” and then click “Attributes”.
- Select as many attributes as apply to your business. Do not spam these attributes as Google has been known to confirm these by asking Google users to submit subjective attributes (see below).
- Subjective attributes are crowd-sourced from people Google believes might know about your business. Google asks questions like “Is there a wheelchair accessible entrance here?” “Is the parking here free?” and even asks people which images they think are more helpful.
- You cannot control the subjective attributes Google asks about your business, nor the responses that people might give.
- Certain types of businesses can monitor subjective attributes by using the Insights etab in your Google My Business listing.
Step 4: Amp It Up with Photos and Videos
Unlike the other items, this isn’t a one time thing. You should be continually adding new photos and videos to your profile for best GMB SEO results.
- For a great overview of photo best practices read the intro section here: https://localmarketinginstitute.com/google-my-business-checklist/#photos.
- Businesses with photos get 40% more requests for directions. They don’t affect ranking factor but do affect conversions.
- If a business has filled out all their information – hours, phone number, and so on, a small image of their business logo will appear on the right-hand side of the business profile.
- Photos are published instantly and captions are coming soon.
- Images to Add:
- Identity – Business logo, cover image, etc.
- Team – your team in action, around the office, etc.
- Inside office or store
- Anything that showcases your business
- Not available for SABs but can add a lot of value to restaurant, hotel, beauty salon, spa, or any business where being clean, cool, trendy, etc is important.
- For newer businesses, it’s a low-cost investment that can have a big return.
- Businesses and customers can upload.
- Show under photos section until you have 2+ then show in a video tab.
- Must be real footage of the business. Can’t be stock.
- Users or businesses can report videos for removal. Details on Whitespark.
- Video guidelines:
- Duration: Up to 30 seconds long (longer videos, up to 1:30 have been used)
- File size: Up to 100 MB
- Resolution: 720p or higher
Want More GMB SEO?
Join our Google My Business Challenge! We’re putting together a 4-week challenge to walk you through creating a GMB profile that gets results. Enter your name and email below to be notified when we launch. You’ll not only learn everything you need to know to create an awesome profile, you’ll also be entered to win awesome prizes!