by Robert Clough
A lot of business owners tend to cringe at the thought of trying to figure out SEO. It seems difficult, complicated, and is a huge time suck.And some of SEO is difficult, complicated, and a huge time suck. But not all of it is. Some of it, like optimizing your Google My Business profile is actually easy and quick. And hugely beneficial for your business. But like everything else, if it's done wrong, you won't reap the rewards. With that in mind, here's your guide on how I optimized my business profile for maximum results.How to Optimize My Business ProfileThe first step to get on Google map listings is to create a Google my business profile. Click here to get started. The next step is to answer a variety of questions that Google asks you to fill out so you can complete your profile properly. Doing so will help you create a profile containing valuable basic data to help your existing and potential customers find information about your company.While you may think it's not necessary to fill everything out, you're wrong. The problem is that if you don't fill everything out, someone else can. What most business owners don't realize is that anyone can suggest a change or an edit to your listing. And that list of "everyone" includes your competition. What's worse is that they aren't just suggested edits. These changes can end up going live on your listing. And you won't even be notified that it's happening.To prevent unwanted information on your Google My Business listing, log on to the dashboard at least monthly to ensure no one has made any unwanted changes to your listing.Wait For VerificationAfter filling out all the information correctly, you'll submit it to Google. Then it's time to verify your listing. This is a crucial step for the visibility and performance of your listing. The best way to verify your business information is by mail. Yes, it takes the longest amount of time but it's the best option. That's because now Google knows for sure the address you've provided is actually an existing business address. Afterall, you're receiving mail there.Receiving verification by mail helps Google weed out false listings that only serve to confuse and misdirect users. False listings also derail the usefulness of Google Map listings and other tools. Until your business is verified, Google will not display your business or any edits you do. You also won't be able to access any analytical information, page insights, or do any edits until it's been verified. Luckily, verification only takes a week or less. Google sends you a verification postcard with an enclosed code you'll use to activate your live listing.Use KeywordsKeywords won't just help boost SEO on your website or blog. You can use keywords to help you create a Google My Business profile. Go ahead and compile your best keywords and search phrases to help your business listing get found more easily. Don't forget to include your business website in your Google My Business listing.Strive For AccuracyMake sure that everything you list on your Google map listings is the same across the board. The information you list should be the same on your website, Google listing, and even on any social media sites, you're on. That includes your business operating hours. It's incredibly important to enter your business hours. But it's also hugely important to update them whenever they change. Most businesses have holiday hours or simply close on certain days during the year. Luckily, Google makes it really easy to customize your business hours during holidays and other special events. Use it to keep your site accurate and your customers happy.Add PhotosJust like photos are important to capture the attention of users to your website, the same is true for your Google My Business listing.Make sure you add a few photos to your listing. Add your logo image. This will help customers identify your business more readily. Don't forget about the cover photo. The cover photo should showcase your brand's personality. Just remember it will be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio. Other photos you include should be used to spotlight the best features of your business. Especially when it concerns how customers make purchasing decisions at your place of business. Include goods or services your business offers. Add a few photos of your staff working and assisting customers. Take photos of the exterior and interior of the business. Add extra photos you think to highlight the best features of your business. Photos that are too large can't be displayed. Keep your JPG or PNG photos between 10KB and 5MB. Do NOT use stock photos. Only include originals. Hire a professional photographer if you need to.Manage And Respond To Customer ReviewsCustomer reviews on your Google My Business profile are incredibly helpful. Many customers rely and trust on reviews and testimonials from other consumers. In fact, 90% of customers look for online reviews before they make a purchasing decision. This is an opportunity to interact with your customers just by responding to their reviews. Even if you receive a few you don't like. Responding to reviews shows that your business values its customers. You respect what they have to say and the feedback they leave. All positive reviews will have a positive effect on potential customers when they research your business. And those reviews can actually increase your company's online visibility in search results.It's pretty easy to encourage your customers to leave feedback on your profile listing just by creating a link they can click on to write reviews.Using Google PostsTry using Google My Business posts. They're a great way to spread the word about events you're hosting or to even attract more attention to your blog. You can also use the posts to create a sale or even feature a new product. Post as often as you want, but try to do a few posts every month. Doing so will help boost SEO.Keep LearningContinue to monitor your business profile on a regular basis. Add to it whenever you can with posts, updated information, and photos. My business profile is there to help new customers find you. But that doesn't mean there isn't more work you can do. We want to help. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn the very latest in marketing and SEO.
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