You’re hungry, and you need to find somewhere to eat. You’re running low on energy and need a quick coffee break. You just got an important message and need free Wi-Fi to get some work done. Regardless of the situation, you’ve probably asked Google for answers in a pinch.

Each day, there are over three billion Google searches. However, Google provides much more than simple search results. When users search for businesses, your Google My Business Profiles, or Listings, also appear. Google My Business Profiles provide potential customers with reviews, hours, and contact information. Plus, it puts your business on the map—quite literally with Google Maps—so people can find your business easier. Since Google is perhaps the most visible review platform, the information on your Google Business Profile can have real, positive results.

Whether or not your business has its own website, you can create a Google My Business Profile to engage with customers and provide valuable information. You can also use tools online or via the app to make Google My Business a convenient option for you. However, Google My Business doesn’t guarantee customers will find your page. To ensure your Google My Business Profile gets the traffic it deserves, you need to get your listing’s SEO in gear.

Why is Google My Business Important for SEO?

Increased Visibility

Google My Business Listings provides Google’s algorithm with keywords and relevant information about your company. That increases your business’s likelihood of appearing in front of a qualified audience that’s ready to buy, book or shop when they search for keywords that apply to your products or services.

Local Audience Targeting

Local marketing is a valuable tactic to increase sales. Nearly 30 percent of local searches result in a purchase, and 72 percent of people who perform a local search visit a business within a five-mile radius. Google My Business targets these local customers and converts them for you. Believe it or not, Google wants to send people to your business, if that’s what they’re looking for. By optimizing your GMB Profile to get found by Google, you’re actually helping potential customers find what they’re looking for.

7 Steps to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile’s SEO

Creating a Google My Business Profile improves your SEO. If you haven’t listed your business yet, get started with the following steps.

1. Log into a Google account associated with your business

Log into a Google account associated with your business. If you have an existing business account, use that. If you do not have a Google account associated with your business, start one from scratch before signing up for your Google My Business Profile.

2. Visit Google My Business

Use the Google My Business website to learn more about how the service works, read inspirational success stories, and access support to get the most out of your listing.

To get started, click “Manage Now” in the upper right corner. Remember, once you sign up for your Google My Business Profile, you will use this page to manage your account.

3. Enter your business information

During sign-up, Google asks for your business’s name and location. Based on your answer, Google will let you know if your business is already listed. If so, claim your business. If not, start your listing from scratch. 

4. Verify your business

To avoid fraudulent listings, Google requires you to verify your Google My Business account. Thankfully, verification isn’t complicated and often takes less than a week. The most common way to verify your business is via mail. Google will send a postcard with a verification code to your physical address. Then, all you have to do is enter the verification code to access your listing. However, some businesses may be eligible to verify by phone, email, or instant verification. 

5. Add as much information as possible

Whether you have a new or existing listing, it’s in your best interest to provide as much information as possible within your page. Not only will this provide potential customers with valuable information, but it will also give Google more information to rank your information in search queries.

Always keep your information up-to-date. Maintaining accurate information ensures your customers can access relevant information to make their experience easy and positive. Maintaining your listing will also prevent users from editing your page’s information themselves—a potentially disastrous consequence which could lead to inaccurate or unapproved information in your Google My Business Profile.

6. Include keywords

Just like website content, Google My Business listings should contain relevant keywords to help customers find your business. For instance, if your business offers free Wi-Fi, list that. You never know when someone nearby will search for free Wi-Fi and stumble upon your business profile.

7. Solicit reviews

Positive reviews make it more likely for your business to appear in search results, so get as many as you can. However, always take the quality over quantity approach by encouraging people to leave honest positive reviews (never bulk sourced reviews that can be flagged). Also, respond to negative reviews to mitigate reputation issues because your star ranking and number of recent reviews contributes to your overall ranking in search results too.

7 Additional Benefits of Having a Google My Business Profile

1. Engagement with Customers

A Google My Business profile allows your business to engage with customers. Not only can you read what customers say about you, but you can respond too. If you use relevant keywords in your responses, this could even improve your profile’s SEO.

2. Positive Customer Experience

Listing hours and contact information can help customers find you quickly and easily—giving them a better experience from the second they discover your business. Since individual users can change your contact information, it’s important to check your listing often to confirm accuracy.

3. Photos

A good photo has an undeniable appeal. Images within Google My Business show off your products and services to help drive traffic to your brick-and-mortar location. Images also help your listing rank better in the first place.

4. Trust Building With Reviews

Google My Business is an important forum to gather reviews. Customers use reviews to influence their purchasing decisions, so positive reviews will help build credibility with your audience. Reviews on your Google My Business Profile can also improve your SEO, so it’s a win-win.

5. FAQs

Google My Business enables you to answer customer questions directly and pin them so that other customers can find answers to common questions. This helps conserve time you spend answering the same questions over and over, and it provides more content for search engines to find.

6. Updates For Customers

You can post updates on your Google My Business profile to share business news and promotions. Since these updates are also searchable, posting the right information at the right time could improve your SEO.

7. Customer Insights

Google My Business Insights deliver information about how customers interact with your Google My Business profile. You’ll have access to click information, profile views, and more. From an SEO perspective, though, the real highlight is that Google My Business Insights provides data about where your customers come from—sparking ideas of what regions to target.

A Google My Business Profile could be one of the greatest SEO tools in your arsenal. Are you using it to its maximum potential?