Tips for Optimizing Your Google Listing
by Kurt Forster | September 24, 2019
Often times there are business owners who have a website, but possibly have done nothing to create an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. This could be due to a lack of knowledge of the best SEO practices, or they may just feel that because their business is not Internet-based, it is not necessary. Whatever the reason may be, that method of increasing web traffic and attracting potential new clients doesn’t work.
However, you don’t have to be SEO savvy to attract potential clients to your website. Simply updating your Google My Business (GMB) listing can be the first step to catching their eye.
Think about your search habits. Whether you’re looking for a new restaurant to try in your area or you need a plumber in a jiffy, chances are, the first thing you do is pick up your phone and do a Google search of nearby businesses.
For example, if you were to Google “dry cleaning,” there are currently more than 600 million results. If you try to narrow that down by entering “dry cleaning Clearwater,” there are still more than 5 million results.
As you can see in the graphic above, the GMB listings appear higher than organic listings. In order for a business to stand out without building a SEO strategy, the owner needs to make sure that they are appearing high in the Google listings section.
In order to do that, you need to create a GMB account and make is as strong as possible.
Creating a GMB account is an easy process. Simply follow these steps:
- Log into, or create, a Google account.
- Go to google.com/business and select “Start Now”
- Enter all pertinent information including: business name, business address, phone number and website.
- Verify your account by one of the options listed
After you have verified your business, the secret to appearing high in search results is to optimize your listing as much as possible:
- Fill out all relevant info – It is imperative to fill out all fields. This includes physical and web address, phone number, hours of operation, and specific attributes such as handicap accessible, a menu if your business is a restaurant, or whether or not your business offers free Wi-Fi to customers.
- Add Photos – No matter what type of business you own, make sure to include a couple of photos that demonstrate what your business is all about. This can include product photos, a behind-the-scenes look, or simply the front of your building.
- Request Reviews – The more reviews your listing has, the higher on the list your business will appear. Encourage clients to review your business as much as possible. Don’t let the reviews become stagnant, encourage reviews through the lifetime of your business to appear more active.
- Create a YouTube Video – Consider creating video content for your business’ YouTube channel. Google prefers anything and everything Google is involved in, and Google owns YouTube. Simply creating something as simple as an introductory video and posting it on YouTube can improve your listing ranking.
With consumers relying heavily on Google search to find recommendations for all of their needs, the more essential a GMB listing is for small businesses.
Kurt ForsterConsultants, Forster, Pinellas
Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development
Specialty: Marketing and Strategic Planning, Business Planning, Financial Management, Capital Access
Kurt Forster found his interest in business consulting and training working at the USF Center for Organizational Communication while completing his master’s in communication. Later, he put that experience to use, owning and operating two market research businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Forster even while working in large organizations, opening new offices for St. Petersburg College and later the State of Wyoming’s Business Council. Additionally, he led marketing efforts to redevelop downtown St. Petersburg as the Director of Marketing for Bay Plaza Companies. He developed his enthusiastic facilitator style working in a variety of teaching positions from alpine ski instructor and Sea World animal trainer to college instructor. Forster is also a certified instructor for NxLevel Business Training Programs and Kauffman Foundation FastTrac TechVenture Program, and is a Certified LivePlan Expert Advisor and a Certified Profit Mastery Facilitator. Forster also founded Common Ground, a downtown development organization in St. Petersburg, and assists a variety of technology and entrepreneurship organizations throughout Tampa Bay.