To be honest with you, search engine optimization is a lot of work, most especially when you are a new brand online.
Your brand is expected to go through diverse phases before it starts to rank on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Search engine optimization is a long-term and sustainable digital marketing strategy which takes about 6- 24 months before results become visible.
When it comes to ranking on search engines, there are a lot of factors that are taken into consideration such as; contents, backlinks, user interface and experience of such a website and domain age most especially.
The bottom line is the fact that owning a website does not guarantee that your website would rank on search engine like Google, it takes extra work before a business begins to benefit from targetted traffic from search engines.
You don’t expect your newly acquired domain name to outrank those existing domains on the SERPs. This is one of the major reason why most businesses do not invest in search engine optimization, they rather use quicker and less sustainable means like Facebook, Twitter and influence marketing.
These mediums are faster but are not sustainable because you have to keep spending a lot of money to keep being visible.
Search engine, on the other hand, is not as fast as the use of social media platform like Facebook, but once it is perfected and well effected, it can convert enough targetted traffic that would eventually build your brand visibility online.
With search engine optimization in place, you can rank well on search engines and eventually start to attract targetted traffic.
Search engine optimization is tough and takes a lot of time to start seeing results, this is why search engine giants Google has made it very easy to reach the top of the SERPs with the launch of a quick SEO platform called Google my business.
Just in case your business is struggling with the proper digital marketing strategy to implement at a certain period of growth or maturity, I wrote a comprehensive guide to help you determine the best digital marketing strategy for your business. Click the link below to get started.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool designed by Google itself to allow businesses and organizations to maintain their online presence across Google networks, including Search and Maps.
To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.
All Google My Business was designed to do is make sure that your business stands out in the SERPS. Prospective customers can easily identify with your business, verify the authenticity of your business, make a phone call, even drop a review about your business, and eventually choose to visit you if you have a physical location.
Benefits Of Using Google My Business.
Do you know that a staggering 46% of all searches have local intent? Yet, despite this fact, so many businesses fail to take advantage of the free-to-use Google My Business platform.
There are unlimited benefits when you start making use of google my business platform. If your business is finding it very difficult to attain visibility on search engines, you should start leveraging the power of Google My Business.
Here is are other reasons why you should subscribe to the use of Google My Business.
1. Rank higher on search engines.
Ranking higher on search engines places your business on top of everything else on the internet, the more Google likes your business, the higher it will rank you in its Search and Maps results. Ranking higher on a search engine like Google makes your business authentic and trustworthy.
Getting Google to rank your business is simple all you need do is to supply quality, consistent, and accurate information. The more Google can tell users about your business, the more it will like you. So, therefore, Google My Business profile is the best way to feed Google this information.
2. Get More Information About Your Business.
One way prospective customers can trust your business is to get sufficient information to help them decide whether to buy or not. Getting your business online via regular SEO can be quite tasking and may take time before you start to see results, this is why the Google My Business platform is recommended to get the job done in a jiffy.
With the use of Google My Business, you can add a lot of information about your business online such as an address, images, posts, reviews from past customers and even testimonials from other customers.
3. Boost Targeted Traffic and Sales.
Just by having a listing and showing up in local searches, Google has made it known that businesses are as much as 70% more likely to attract location visits from browsing potentials. An even more impressive figure revealed that customers who find a brand through their Google My Business listing are up to 50% more likely to make a purchase just because they trust the authenticity of that business.
4. Boost Customer Trust.
For modern customers, one of the biggest hurdles they have to face is that of building enough trust to confidently make a purchase. As a business owner, your job is to help them make that jump as easily as possible. To do this, one of the simplest steps you can take is that of helping potential customers see that your business has an actual location and it is up to date with the latest information needed to convert a sale.
Due to the original trust and confidence, most users place in Google, your business profits whenever it pops up in a local search, as customers will automatically be more likely to trust your brand. Brands that show up on Google are 2.7 times more likely to be recognised as legitimate by consumers.
5. Show Up on Google Maps.
Next to online reviews, the second most important factor that consumers take into consideration when searching for a local business is closeness to their location. It has been discovered that most search intent that has to do with purchases are locally engineered. This means that customers want to be able to access services readily closed to them.
For example let say your business is a restaurant in Lagos, Nigeria, and a traveller presently arrives in Lagos and needs a place to eat out, all he does is search for restaurants and automatically a full list of restaurant very close to him appears Google Maps will quickly populate with dozens of red markers, each indicating a local business that meets your search criteria.
By simply creating a Google My Business listing and finishing the verification steps, your store location will start to pop up for local searches as well. This is a great benefit that allows users to instantly see how close you are to their location, increasing the likelihood that they will eventually visit you.
6. Google My Business is Free.
It takes a lot to give your business reputable on search engines. First of all, you need to own a website, design it, write contents or better still higher the service of a freelance writer and even spend a lot on paid advertising.
The creation of the Google My Business platform has made Search engine optimization for every kind of business to be seamless and free. All you need to get your business listed on the SERPs is a Google account and a valid Google My business listing details of your business.
7. Google My Business Ensures Online Consistency.
When it comes to normal SEO, you have to do a lot to ensure that you don’t lose your rankings, most of these include the continuous publishing and update of targeted content, and making sure that you are up to date with the latest SEO tips and tricks.
Apart from the stated requirements above, your SEO strategy can still become bastardized by the influence of a Google algorithm update. So many businesses have lost their SEO to a Google algorithm update, making their competitors take over their position on the SERPs.
The Google My Business platform is designed to make sure that all your business needs to stay online for a long time is made available, even if you can’t afford to run a website, or host a blog, you can leverage on the Google My Business platform to help carry out all of these dirty work on your behalf.
8. Google My Business Offer an Official Website For Your Business.
Most business owners find it very stressful to manage a website, it has also been discovered that the majority of online businesses never bother to renew their websites once it expires.
Google My Business has an inbuilt website builder that allows anyone to be able to create the perfect website using the inbuilt drag-and-drop builder feature.
When your website is created via Google My Business, a custom subdomain is assigned to you which does not expire, all you have to do is design the website with the perfect colour and layout of your choice.
You should also know that your website can be removed if it does not comply with Google’s policies. This is not a sustainable way to establish your brand presence online. I however recommend that you buy and host your domain yourself. I wrote a comprehensive guide to help you decide on the best platform to purchase your domain and host your website.
9. Google My Business is the Future of Online Marketing.
Google is constantly expanding and growing in data and online features for consumers and business, also to make sure such data is accessible.
Google is a billion-dollar giant that has scratched the surface by creating online tools to help small and big businesses to increase sales and brand awareness. It has done a lot in bringing hidden business to the limelight.
Start today by creating a Google My Business and take steps into the new form of online marketing and branding.
How To Get Started with Google My Business Listing
Setting up a Google My Business account does not require a third-party skill all that is required is a smartphone or PC, a Google account and an active internet connection.
Google My Business is a core element of local SEO, so it’s important to highlight at this point just how crucial it is that your listing data is accurate and kept up to date. Research suggests that 50% of consumers visit a store or business the day of performing a local search.
1. Setup a Google My Business account.
Now that you have the above-mentioned criteria set up, all you need is to access the Google My Business platform, you can either choose to access the web platform or better still download the mobile app from the Google play store or IOS platform.
STEP 1 – Login to the Google My Business platform.
You can access the Google My Business platform via the web or the Google, My Business app on Google Play and Apple App Store.
STEP 2 – Enter the name of your business.
Make sure your business name matches any relevant document that you might have. Note that Google scrambles its existing Google My Business Profile to find out if the name you intend to pick exists, and if it does, you will be asked to provide another alternative.
STEP 3 – Choose the Business category that suits your business.
Every business belongs to a certain category and it is best for you as a business owner to identify the best business category that suits your business. Google offers various category to suits every business, most of these categories includes, Software business, Health and Wellness, consulting firm and many more.
STEP 4 – Add a Location.
This section would optimize your business on the Google map service to enable you to receive prospective customers who are close to you. If your business does not have a physical location then you may decide to leave this part unchecked and come back for it when you have one.
STEP 5 – Enter an Address.
If your business has a physical address then it is time to clearly show it here. Also, this section makes it compulsory for every new business owners to add a physical address.
STEP 6 – Do you serve your business to customers outside your location?.
This business allows you to optimize your business for far distance customers that might be interested in patronizing you. Most businesses are no designed to operate outside their vicinities such as commercial banks and many more. But if your business is designed to reach out to more customers then you may set this up.
STEP 7 – Show your contact details.
Most times prospective customers find your business via the Google search and are looking out to reach you immediately, this section allows you to optimize your Google My Business profile to display readily available contact details. In this section, you can add a valid phone number, email address and a working website.
STEP 8 – Add your business hours.
Business hours show prospective customers that might have stumbled on your business what time you are available for physical visits and consultation.
STEP 9 – Add Messaging.
The messaging features allow customers to be able to message you directly from the Google search. You don’t want to keep customers trying to figure out how to get in touch with you.
You have lots of competition standing by to steal that customer of yours, this is why this section is important.
STEP 10 – Explore The dashboard.
Now that you have set up the basic information with Google My Business it is now time to start preparing your business for customers. All you need to make sure your business stands out among the crowd has been made available and is shown in the Google My Business Dashboard.
2. Post regularly.
The next action to take toward optimizing your business for relevant search via the Google search engine is to fully utilize content marketing. Google My Business allows all kinds of business to utilize the content marketing section to be able to outrank other businesses and also show prove the authenticity of the business.
Posting on Google Business helps your business to leverage the power of SEO to get visibility. Google Posts are almost like social media posts that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing. They simply help you outrank your competitors. The possibilities with Posts are limitless! Posts show up prominently in your business Knowledge Panel, so don’t miss this chance to stand out.
3. Update your Information regularly.
There are a diversity of questions Google wants you to fill out to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have important basic data that will make it easier for potential customers to find more information about your company.
And if you don’t fill out that information, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can recommend a change (or “edit”) to your business listing and that includes your competitors.
Google My business allows anyone to make all kinds of edits to your business profile, so it is however advisable that you keep your profile up to date, make sure you check regularly and add the relevant data suggested to you by Google.
4. Create A Website using Google My Business Site Builder.
Another very important factor to consider when optimizing your listing on Google My Business is to use the inbuilt website builder. The website builder found in the Google My Business platform was designed to rapidly helps small business owners set up a landing page kind of website with the necessary information that a client might need.
These pieces of information can be contacts images, services and address. Just in case you don’t own a website then you can take advantage of the one provided to you by the Google My Business platform.
5. Get Reviewed.
Reviews make your business genuine it also makes you stand far away from your competitors. One major factor that makes prospective customers want to patronize you is the fact that they see that your business is already being reviewed by customers.
Reviews help your business rank on search engines also, the more reviews your Google My Business Listing gets, the more it stands out on the Search Engine results page, making you attract more profile visit which may eventually become paying customers.
6. Combine Your SEO efforts.
Getting your business listed via Google My Business is just one out of all the needed SEO requirements. You can choose to stick to that, but I recommend you leverage other SEO strategies such as Blogging, Link building, social mentions and many more.
Bringing all these other SEO efforts together would ensure that your business continues to outrank its competitors.
I wrote a comprehensive guide to help you get started with search engine optimization. Click the link below to the article to get started.
7. Make sure that you get verified.
When you begin listing your business on the Google My Business platform you would reach a spot where you would be asked to verify your business. Google offers three forms of verification and these are;
1. Postcard verification.
This is the most-used verification process and is available to all businesses. With this process, a verification postcard will be sent to the address you entered earlier (it should reach you within five days).
Once received, you can enter the code in your GMB account to verify the business. If your code doesn’t show up, you can click the ‘Request another code’ banner at the top of the screen in GMB.
One major drawback of this verification process is the fact that your code might never reach you, and it does not work in third-world countries.
2. Phone verification.
Some businesses have the option to verify their listing over the phone. You’ll know you’re eligible if you see the ‘Verify by phone option at the beginning of the verification process.
Using this process, you’ll receive an automated message with a verification code, that you’ll then need to enter into GMB.
This remains one of the faster means of the verification process because all you need do is receive the verification code immediately on your phone and that settles it.
3. Email verification.
Like phone verification, this is only available to some businesses, and you’ll know you qualify for it if you see the ‘Verify by email’ option.
This simple process sees you receive a verification code in the inbox of the Google Account associated with the GMB listing and entering it at the verification stage.
Be sure you have access to this inbox before proceeding with this option.