Google My Business is a tool that allows businesses to target regions and cities effectively. It opens up new ranking methods, such as through Google Maps, and therefore makes it critical to ranking well through Local SEO.
Google My Business – what is it?
Google My Business is a tool that Google introduced in June 2014. “GMB”, as many call it was to allow brick and mortar business owners to “index” their businesses on Google Maps, so that Google could recommend these stores to customers.
This was a great development in terms of local SEO. Suddenly you didn’t have to rank at the top of searches for “SEO near me,” or “best baker in Madrid,” instead, you just needed high quality reviews, foot traffic, and a bit of local SEO to land on top of Google Maps searches.
Google My Business has since become a means of developing community around your brick-and-mortar business. Being able to upload photos, work times, posts, and answer questions through the interface. This lead to a tremendous increase in customer engagement with local businesses, and “warmed up” cold leads.
However, as a result of the instantaneous results generated, the review-led consuming, and the forced transparency businesses had to adopt, customers began shopping their way:
- 57% of consumers only use a business if it has greater than a 4 star ranking. – BrightLocal
- An increase of a 1.5 star rating will improve conversions from 10.4% to 12.8%. This represents roughly 13,000 more leads. –LSA Insider
- 73.8% of customers are “likely” or “extremely likely” to continue doing business with brands that resolve complaints. – GatherUp
- 89% of customers read the responses that businesses make to reviews. – BrightLocal
GMB and Local SEO
Local SEO. There are dozens of ways to nail a region, city, or even a suburb, but GMB is one of the most effective ways to start getting your brick-and-mortar out there. Even if you operate online, for example an SEO Agency, as long as you have an office that you can put as the physical address, you can begin to rank.
So on the topic of Local SEO, let’s just go through the two types, and the varieties of ranking methods that exist to give you a bit of a background:
- Register on local directories
- Use the 2×100 rule
- Contact details in your footer
- Use an ISO TLD
- Region specific landing pages
- Geographically relevant content
- Local linking text
- Get involved with a geographic Ecosystem
- Engage with your GMB
This all comes from another article I wrote: “The Complete Guide to Local SEO“
So as is evident from the list above, GMB is only one of many, many methods to effectively target a locality. But what makes GMB unique, and gives it a special power that no other factor on the list can do, is rank you for “nearby me” searches.
To the left is a graph provided by Google U.S trends for the search term “near me” from May 2013 to April 2018.
Evidently, the growth of “near me” searches hasn’t slowed down, nor seems to show a sense of slowing down.
Being able to rank for searches which contain these parameters are thus extremely important. With Google’s location tracking, it’s extremely difficult to rank URL’s containing “near me,” or similar terms. However Google sorts primarily by distance through GMB, which means that there are no strict link-building, content-pushing, or review-garnering processes you have to go through before you have the opportunity to rank first in the list.
That does not mean it’s easy! Simply because you have been sorted by distance and you are the first link in Google Maps does not mean that you will acquire the foot traffic. Having pictures, reviews, comments, and engagement will significantly improve the odds of a customer being convinced that your store will satisfy their needs. This is the “hook,” where converting a warm lead into a customer takes place.
GMB is a Castle Site
Castle Sites have power beyond your website domain. This is because, as is discussed in the “Castle Sites” article here on SEOSPIDRE, they are derived from a collective Domain Authority which can either pull your authority up, or down, depending on the strength of your brand.
If you are a new website, odds are you haven’t started ranking for your region or your services yet. An easy way of ranking QUICKLY, is through utilising Castle Sites to brand your site.
Check out "Castle Sites in SEO" to find out how to quickly brand your domain.