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Google Business Optimizations and Local SEO Priorities

Nov 28, 2022
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Google Business optimization should be a high priority for Local SEO.  While this seems like something that would only apply to local businesses, that's not entirely true. It's important that you have your entities fully optimized, whether it be in the knowledge panel, in the Google Business Profile, or on your website.

 

Video Transcript: 

What is a Google Business Profile?

Even if you are not a local business, don't ignore Google Business. Make sure that your profile makes sense.  Just in case you aren't aware, let's talk a little bit about what Google Business is. Google Business used to be known as "Google My Business." They took out the "my" (for whatever reason), changed the name, and rebranded slightly.

Google Business is an essential tool for local businesses. Any other business that wants to can clean its profile, attain management rights to it, make some updates and changes to it, and unlock other features like adding products, services, and booking. This is going to help you with visibility in the maps location, but it's also going to help inform Google about your company, what you do, and how you engage with the community as a whole.

Recently, Google made some updates to Google Business, and so there's a new way to approach this. There's also information that has been done by other companies in research that is very important for us to understand.  I'm going to be sharing with you my top three today.

3 Tips To Understand Google Business Profile Updates 

1. Reviews

You need to have at least ten reviews or more, but the baseline is ten. A study done at SEroundtable shows significant data that when you have a minimum of ten reviews, you'll see a massive impact on your overall ranking. Now, as you get more, the impact doesn't seem to be as big, but you need to have a baseline of at least ten.

Now, another thing to know about reviews is that Google does monitor them and they will remove them if they think that they are spammy. It's very important that you look at the quality section of this support.google article, because they talk about the quality of reviews.

An article from searchcentered.com address the question, "Why are my reviews missing?" A number of people have been asking why their reviews are gone. Lately, Google started to add some of those back, but they do retain the right to remove reviews, especially if they've been flagged as not authentic or spammy. It's very important because you don't want to spam the system.

You want to do it the right way because it's going to be more authentic to your community, and you're not going to have them removed. You have to worry about this.

The best practice for reviews is to ask for them by generating a review link for your client.

There are a lot of ways you can do that. Just say, "Hey, can you leave me a review? Thanks so much for doing business with us."

You can create QR codes. There are so many ways for businesses to get reviews. Especially once you've had a really good interaction with the client, take that opportunity to say, "Hey, thank you so much. You know, it would really help us out if you went on to Google and you left us a review." 

I've even seen some local businesses put up kiosks where you can leave reviews within the kiosk. There are a lot of ways to do this, especially if you want to build up to that baseline minimum out of ten. This is really important to ask your customers to give you reviews.


2. Keep Your NAP Accurate

The next thing we need to do is keep our NAP accurate.  NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Having the correct information, the same information, formatted in the same way across the web is extremely important for your business. Google Business is not "set it and forget it." You don't just load stuff in there one time and then ignore it forever.

You need to make sure that you have the proper links for your websites, your proper contact information, and your proper event information. Any of the information that you're putting on your website also needs to be put in your Google Business Profile in the correct way.

You also need to make sure you're choosing the right category. There are times when Google will choose categories for you, and I've seen some very weird stuff happen where people are in categories that make no sense. You need to get as close as possible. Use the broadest category that applies to you. If there's something more specific, then choose that. But if it's kind of close and it doesn't make total sense, don't choose it. Use the broader category, and be as correct as you can.

You have to make sure that you have consistent information across all your websites, whether it's Google Business, Facebook page, or your website. Use the phone number in the same way. Use your address in the same way, make sure that you are consistent. Google has AI that will review these entities and if they notice discrepancies, they may not make that full connection. Again, we are feeding data to a computer, so you need to think about the concept of "garbage in, garbage out."

As you can see here from Google Business Answers, this is how they source your information.

  • Publicly available information, such as crawled web content (e.g., information from a business’ official website)
  • Licensed data from third parties
  • Users who contribute factual information (such as addresses and phone numbers), and content (such as photos and reviews), including business owners who claim profiles through Google Business Profile
  • Information based on Google’s interactions with a local place or business

If you believe a profile is inaccurate or should be removed, you can suggest an edit or flag it for removal. If you believe a profile should be removed under European data protection laws, please see here. If you believe it should be removed for any other legal reason, please submit a legal request. For further information about how Google processes personal data in the context of profiles, please see Google's Privacy Policy

You need to make sure that you clean your profiles. You have ownership over that because it's your business. That's one of your business's front doors, especially if you're a local business or somebody that drives people to a location via Google maps. This is incredibly important. If you change phone numbers or other information on your website, you need to make sure that you're also updating your Google Business property as well.

3. Know how to update your Google Business Profile

Google made changes in a recent update.  You used to log in to a manager section and you could see and edit your information. Today, Google's having you do it straight from search. Let's take a look at what the Google Business Profile update looks like.

If you own a business profile and you can manage it, you're going to see a blue checkmark under your business reviews.

All of your information is going to be right under that. It's going to give your physical address and your hours. Below that, you can edit the business information by clicking the button that says "Edit your business information." This is going to open up a new widget. In the past, that used to take you to the back end. Now, you can do all that from here. It's kind of like a dashboard or a tool set.

 Add everything that makes sense and applies to your business. You can edit base categories and make sure that your description is the same or very similar to the one that your using on your website. Make sure the contact information is correct. Be sure to claim it so you can update this information if you need to.

On the left-hand side you can edit your profile.  Here are a few options under "Your Business on Google."

  • Read reviews
  • Look at messages
  • Add photos
  • Look at your performance. 
  •  Q&A
  • Edit your services and products
  • Ask for reviews
  • Data from Search Console
  • Other SEO tools like keywords everywhere
Google is making Google.com the home for all of these tools. Everything's going to be right here. You're not going to log in to a different entity. As you can see, you're not going to log into the backend, you're going to make updates straight from search. If it looks different, it's because it is different. 

They've given you a lot of cool tools to work with. You just need to play around with this new interface, which is going to show up right within the search results.

Owning your Google Business is going to be very beneficial when it comes to optimizing your entity as well. Make sure that you are taking ownership of this and making the correct updates. If you have any questions about local SEO or enterprising SEO, we'd love to continue that conversation with you. 

One of the biggest things that can help is having another set of eyes. If you're implementing structured data or a strategic SEO strategy and you need somebody to help give you clarity and focus, that's what coaching is all about.

So, if you're interested in seeing what an SEO coaching retainer or an SEO coaching agreement might look like, I do offer free sample sessions and you can sign up. There's going to be a link below in this video. Go ahead and check that out and sign up. We can talk for  15 or 20 minutes about your strategy, and some of the things you're doing, and just get that other set of eyes so that you can really get the clarity of focus you need.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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