12 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile

If your business has a specific location (or locations), then ranking in local search results should be a priority, especially on Google. 

About 46 percent of all Google searches are looking for local information, while 88 percent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to boost your local SEO without spending a ton of money, including optimizing your Google My Business profile.

Google My Business is a powerful free listing that acts as a dynamic snapshot of your business that highlights key information and helps internet users learn more about (and engage with) you within Google search results.

Check out our 11 local SEO tips, then review the following 12 ways you can optimize your Google My Business profile, which is commonly underutilized by local businesses. Optimizing your profile will give you a leg up on your competition.

Create your Google My Business account

Of course, if you know you’ve already created your Google My Business account, feel free to skip this tip.

Although it is imperative to mention that your Google My Business account is different from your Google Business Profile. One is used to access and optimize the other. Therefore, confirm that you have a Google My Business account and then tell Google to connect it with your Google Business Profile. 

You’ll want to navigate to the Google.com Business page and log in with your regular Google/Gmail account that you use for your business. Do not log in with a personal account.

Fill out every section of your profile

Be sure to fill out all sections of your Google Business Profile, which will help your business both rank higher in local search results and increase the number of ways potential customers can engage with your profile.

The key fields include:

  • Business name
  • Location address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Hours of operation

There also are a few sections that you’ll want to put some thought into:

  • Products and services
  • Category and attributes
  • From the business, which is your business description that appears lower than the auto-generated description that Google provides for you
  • FAQs that you create and publish

In the “from the business” field, you can definitely repurpose a description from your “About Us” page or your mission statement. Just be sure to use all available 750 characters, with the most important details in the first 250 characters. (Avoid including any links.) While you do want to include relevant keywords, don’t repeat any information that’s already in the other sections of your Google Business Profile. Instead, focus on what sets your business apart and what customers like the most. 

Then, there are a few sections that are ongoing:

  • Posts
  • Reviews
  • Questions and answers that are generated by internet users

Take the necessary time to fill out all of these sections, and consider what will be the most useful information for someone to know who is coming across your business for the first time.

Be specific with your information

It’s very important that your business name is identical not only to the one you use on your store signage but also to your other listings across the internet.

This can come down to slight differences like “company” versus “co.” 

Pay attention to these details so that your credibility isn’t questioned by Google.

Also consider your regular hours of operation and your holiday hours of operation. These likely will be different and will help avoid any confusion (and potential negative review) from a customer who went to your business when you were actually closed. 

Choose the category of your business

About 84 percent of Google Business Profile views originate from search queries of a related product, service or categorical term, where that business’s profile appeared.

A big part of this is setting your business category on your profile. By doing so, you’ll also be able to access category-specific features that can make your profile more effective, such as restaurants including a “menu” button.

When choosing from available categories, be as specific as possible and choose any relevant secondary categories (since many businesses span multiple categories). Just make sure that you’re not confusing your categories with specific products or attributes you offer. There are separate sections for those.

Pick relevant attributes of your business

Once you choose a category through Google My Business, you get a list of attributes that allow you to further describe your business. 

Attributes are not unique to Google. You’ll find them on various listing websites. They are the features that might interest potential customers, such as “free WiFi,” “public restroom,” “pets welcome” and more.

Select everything that is relevant to your business.

Add photos that showcase your business

Because anyone can add photos to your Business Profile, you definitely want to upload your own photos to help your profile look its best to potential customers. 

Uploading photos to your profile also shows Google that you are actively on your profile, which can boost your local SEO as well. Customers are about 42 percent more likely to request driving directions to a business if its profile has photos and about 35 percent more likely to click through to its website.

And the more the better. Businesses with more than 100 photos get about 520 percent more calls, 2,717 percent more direction requests and 1,065 percent more website clicks than the average business.

But don’t take that as encouragement to spam your own profile with photos. When it comes to photos on your Google Business Profile:

  • Upload your logo for your thumbnail photo
  • Use an image that represents your brand as your cover photo
  • Only include photos that are authentic and reflect how your business is in real life, avoiding anything that could be viewed as a stock image or has special effects
  • Geo-tag your photos
  • Upload any relevant videos as well
  • Strive to upload at least one new photo every week

Get additional photo guidance from Google itself.

Seek out Google reviews

Reviews are a top influence on consumer purchases, so it’s important to seek out reviews for your Google Business Profile. Plus, local businesses with multiple positive reviews get a boost in their relevant search rankings.

To get more reviews on your profile:

  • Request reviews directly from your long-time and loyal customers
  • Create a review shortcut link to make it easy to submit a Google review for your business
  • Ask all customers to write a review because about 62 percent will do so when asked
  • Include a call-to-action on your website that links to your reviews
  • Respond to all reviews, whether they are positive or negative
  • Remind customers that reviews aren’t just for your benefit. They can serve other consumers who are seeking a solution to a need or problem they have

Just remember that you should not incentivize reviews with discounts, gifts or anything else.

Regularly post to your Google Business Profile

Consider your Google Business Profile just as you would your social media accounts. Regular posts about announcements, offers, events and more should be published consistently. 

These posts are created through the Google My Business dashboard and appear in the “Updates” section of your Google Business Profile.

Posting sends positive ranking signals to Google similar to how uploading photos would, and posts increase engagement opportunities with potential customers. 

Consumers also can follow your profile and get notified of any new posts you publish.

Embrace questions and answers

Similar to Amazon, Google Business Profile features a section for questions and answers. Because anyone can ask and answer questions about your business, it’s important to optimize this section to promote accurate information over any inaccurate information.

You can’t turn off this section, so make a commitment to make it work for you:

  • Set up alerts so that you’re notified when new questions are posted on your profile
  • Fill out your own question-and-answer section with the top FAQs about your business
  • Use relevant keywords wherever appropriate without overusing

You can definitely make the question-and-answer section work for your business by staying on top of it.

Add available products and services

When the products or services are not obvious in your business name, be sure to add them in this section of your Google Business Profile through your Google My Business account.

You should include the name, description and price of your products and/or services. The more information you can provide, the better.

Remember, filling out this section provides more content that could potentially be relevant to a local search query. 

Set up direct messaging

You can set up an available feature in your Google Business Profile where searchers can send a text message to your phone directly from your search profile.

Select the “Messaging” tab in your Google My Business dashboard. Then, you can install Google’s Allo app via Google Play or the Apple App Store, depending on your mobile device.

Remember to set up alerts for messages in your dashboard by navigating to settings and then checking “customer messages.”

Pulling it all together with a Google My Business strategy

Google My Business is not a “set it and forget it” platform. Staying on top of the features it offers is one of the best ways to improve your local SEO (and ultimately the overall success of your business).

Plan out how often you’ll publish new information, what type of information and when. You can create a separate content calendar if that will help you stay organized.

See our six best practices for mobile SEO as well.

While you’re optimizing your Google My Business, think about your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory. Our application features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Mobile SEO: What it is and 6 best practices

The internet (and the world) is becoming increasingly mobile, so businesses must consider mobile search engine optimization (SEO) as part of their overall marketing strategy.

About 52 percent of all page views worldwide are mobile, while about 64 percent of all Google organic search traffic happens on mobile devices.

See our six reasons why mobile optimization matters to your business.

Mobile SEO simply refers to the practice of optimizing your website for mobile devices. Doing so helps increase your site’s visibility in mobile-device search results.

Characteristics of a mobile-friendly website:

  • Understandable for search engines
  • Quick loading
  • Loads correctly on mobile devices
  • Easy navigation for mobile users
  • Content does not require mobile users to zoom

Not only do users prefer to search on mobile, but Google also prioritizes websites that deliver a great mobile experience. In addition, smartphones are the dominant device used for voice search.

See our seven tips to optimize for voice search and get ahead of the curve.

The key to mobile SEO is offering your website visitors a flawless experience on both desktop and mobile devices. The following are six best practices to improve your mobile SEO.

Test your website’s mobile friendliness

Google offers a number of free tools, including a mobile-friendly test that you can run for any website. All you need to do is enter your site’s URL.

In addition, you can run the Google Search Console tool to check for any crawling errors that are preventing your website from being properly indexed. Indexing is part of the search engine process that makes your website visible in search engine results or not.

Check out our 16 tips to ensure your website is mobile-friendly.

Improve your website’s speed

Speed became more of a search-ranking factor for Google in 2018. Search intent can overrule a slower speed in some cases, but it’s clear that the faster your website can load, the better it can rank overall.

You can check your website’s speed with:

To increase the speed of your website, look into:

  • Removing unnecessary plugins to reduce the amount of resources that your site must load
  • Upgrading your web hosting when your site begins to generate more content and page views
  • Minimizing HTTP requests by restricting how many on-page components your page has to render
  • Compressing all images so that they don’t take up a lot of bandwidth
  • Minifying your CSS, HTML and JavaScript files, which means removing unnecessary white space, formatting and code
  • Enabling Gzip compression, which compresses website files into a zip file
  • Using asynchronous loading for JavaScript and CSS files, which allows for some files to load simultaneously
  • Enabling browser caching for static files

Strive for a mobile-responsive design

Responsive website designs allow for dynamic changes in layout (and even content), depending on the type of device loading your page. This means that your website will appear differently on different screens, whether it’s a tablet, smartphone or desktop computer. 

The goal is to optimize the website for the best user experience, no matter the device.

Key steps to take for a responsive website design include:

  • Including an easy-to-view navigation menu for mobile users
  • Scaling your images
  • Shortening your text
  • Avoiding full-screen pop-ups
  • Making your call-to-action easy to find

Optimize your content for mobile SEO

Optimized content accomplishes two goals with your mobile visitors: 

  1. They’ll spend more time on your website.
  2. They are more likely to return.

The main issue that you don’t want is mobile visitors having to squint to read your content or using their zoom to view images. To ensure you’re optimizing your content for mobile:

  • Make all content digestible and easy to navigate
  • Keep sentences and/or paragraphs short and concise
  • Try for attention-grabbing headlines
  • Break up all content into chunks
  • Integrate visual content
  • Make your meta description short
  • Include relevant keywords everywhere appropriate

Consider local searches

Use of the search phrase “near me” and similar phrases are only increasing in search engines and particularly for searches on mobile devices.

Whether the user is hoping to find nearby restaurants, shoes or gyms, it’s important for your business to appear in relevant local search queries.

Be sure to set up and optimize your business profile on Google My Business.

Check out these 11 local SEO tips to better rank in local searches.

Embrace social media sharing

Most social media activity is happening on mobile devices, so you want to consider all the factors that make your content easy (and desirable) to share on social media platforms.

The more people share your content, the more authority you’ll appear to have in Google’s perspective.

To achieve this, consider:

  • Making your social media “sharing” button easy to use on all your content
  • Asking your visitors to share or other call-to-actions
  • Using eye-catching headlines
  • Including high-quality visuals
  • Publishing new and relevant content consistently

In conclusion

When you’re incorporating these best practices into your overall SEO strategy, be sure to measure and track your performance across different metrics to gauge how much of a difference you’re making. 

See our 14 expert tips to improve your mobile marketing while you’re at it.

Need to level up your digital marketing process? Consider DailyStory. Our application features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): What they are and how to use them

More than 56 percent of the content on the web is accessed through mobile devices, and this number is only growing.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new standard from Google to ensure your content renders as quickly and efficiently as possible on mobile devices.

Odds are you are reading this page on a mobile device. If you are, you are accessing an Accelerated Mobile Page. You may have seen this icon next to this page and other content when browsing Google on your mobile device:

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Want to see the AMP version of this page?

Why Accelerated Mobile Pages?

The goal of AMP is to make pages load as quickly as possible on mobile devices. Unfortunately, the web is still pretty slow for many people.

AMP limits what you can do in HTML – gone are the ads, JavaScript libraries and other elements. The page is stripped down to the basics in order to render the page as quickly as possible.

You can read more about the AMP project here.

OK, how do I use it?

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely wondering how you can add AMP to your website or blog.

If you’re running WordPress, Automattic has a handy AMP plugin. (That’s what we’re using for our blog).

WordPress AMP

Go to your WordPress Plugins panel, search for “Automattic AMP,” and add it to your site. After installation, add “?amp=1” after any post, and you’ll have an AMP-friendly version of that content. Easy to add and highly recommended!

If you aren’t running WordPress (or feel like doing a little PHP coding yourself on your WordPress site), AMP is fairly trivial to add. You are reducing what the page is doing and simplifying it.

Google AMP Cache

Once your AMP content is published, it is a candidate for Google AMP Cache.

Google will potentially further optimize your AMP content to remove anything that isn’t mobile-friendly and will store your content in its geocache to ensure that it can serve your content as quickly as possible. This cache allows your content to be geographically distributed and ensures that AMP requests don’t take have to go through multiple network “hops” to reach your server.

If you aren’t serving your content using AMP, you should remember that the majority of today’s web traffic is mobile. If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, you are missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.

See our 14 expert tips to optimize your mobile marketing.

More to explore

If you think Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website is interesting, wait until your read about AMP for email.

An extension of AMP, AMP for email aims to improve the functionality of emails. The goal is to create more engaging and interactive email experiences. For example, AMP email recipients can directly submit forms from within the inbox.

That’s just one example of how you can use AMP for email.

DailyStory has built-in support for AMP emails. We’re one of only a handful of email vendors supporting AMP. Other DailyStory features include automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.