When it comes to optimizing your Google My Business profile, you probably think more information is better. This is a good rule of thumb, especially since you want to help customers get an accurate picture of the services you offer. If you're a small business owner, though, you might need to focus on the essentials, which means focusing on the features that truly make an impact on the SEO for your website. Here are the four things you should always have on your GMB profile and how they affect the rankings.
Must-Have #1: Your Business Name
The first thing that you should have on your GMB profile is your business name, and it is also an attribute that has a significant impact on your ranking. If you have a keyword-rich business name, this situation works in your favor. However, if your business has a generic name or is barely related to your services, you will miss out on the rankings boost.
Since it's not easy to change your business' name, this is unfortunately out of reach for those who have already established their business. It is something to note, though, for people who have not yet opened shop. Also, avoid underhanded techniques like stuffing your business's description with keywords. Keyword stuffing is against Google My Business' guidelines.
Nice To Have #1: Q&A
It is surprising, but having a question and answer section for your business does not influence your ranking. Although it helps your E-A-T, especially if you are a business that provides essential goods or services, having a Q&A section does not move your ranking either way. However, if you are part of a niche market or have complicated services, it benefits browsers if you have a Q&A section. Beginners and casual buyers will appreciate the time you took to explain your business to them.
Must-Have #2: The Right Categories
Categories seem like a simple thing you choose when filling out your GMB Profile for the first time. You can add ten you for your business, which should stay pretty consistent as long as you don't make significant changes to your offerings. However, Google currently has approximately 4,000 categories, and they keep adding and removing items from this list.
On average, there are about two to ten changes to these categories every month, so you should keep track of these changes and see if they apply to your business. For instance, suppose you are a tea store with a physical location. It is not enough to choose "Tea Store" and "Tea Market Place" as your categories. Google has other tea-related terms like "Tea Exporter," "Tea House," and "Tea Wholesaler." You have to select all those that apply to the services you offer.
Nice To Have #2: Services
The Services section looks like Google built it for SEO since you can put so many different descriptive words in it. However, this section has no bearing on your ranking, and it is hidden in a tab on mobile devices. On the desktop, you can't even see it at all. However, it helps to have this section since it makes searching easier for human browsers. If you have several related services, it helps to use this section of your GMB profile. However, optimizing your website's Services page will probably do more good for the SEO of your website.
Must-Have #3: Website
The third most significant factor is the link to your business' website. If you have a multi-location enterprise, you should link to a location page since you will provide more signals verifying the address on your profile. Also, if you have plenty of departments or practitioner listings, you should try and link these specific pages to your site so you can maximize your exposure. You cannot rank all the listings for the same thing. You need to do some trial-and-error for this aspect of your profile and see what works.
Nice To Have #3: Products
This section is visually appealing since you can put photos of your products in it. If you offer services, you can still list them in this section together with appropriate photos. The products section is highly visible on the knowledge panel, which means it takes up a considerable amount of real estate on a SERP. However, it does not have any effect on your ranking. Take note, though, that this section contributes significantly to conversions in specific industries. If you are a florist, for example, or a car dealer, someone whose business relies on new stocks or releases, it makes sense to have an up-to-date products section on your profile.
Must-Have #4: Reviews
The fourth most significant factor that influences your ranking is your reviews. Review quantity affects ranking, but it eventually provides diminishing returns. For example, suppose you are a business with zero reviews. If you gain 20 or 30, you will see your business rank slightly further from your office. However, if you get 30 to 40 more reviews on top of that, you might not see a dramatic increase in your rankings' reach.
Getting a rankings boost is not the only benefit of having reviews. When you have people speaking positively about your business, it helps your company establish itself as a suitable choice, especially for local buyers. Another factor that could convince people to check your business out would be your responsiveness to reviews. When you speak to customers, especially ones who leave substantial reviews, you show your commitment to delivering the best experience to them.
The four most significant factors in optimizing your GMB profile are your business' name, categories, links to your website, and reviews. These areas of your profile should be as up-to-date as possible, so you get the most benefit from it. It is also good to fill out the other sections like ones showing your products and services, your Q&A section, and others. Ultimately, Google is all about bringing useful information to people. If you support that mission and follow their guidelines, you can't go wrong.
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