Optimising your business website for search engines can be time-consuming, and if you’re getting into PPC advertising it can get expensive too. Luckily, there are several easy, free tools out there you can use to improve your SEO. One of the most important of these is a product called Google My Business, which is quickly becoming an essential tool for both online and offline organisations.
What is Google My Business?
Over the years Google has released a number of products for businesses interested in improving and expanding their online presence. Google My Business started out life as Google Places for Business, and was later known as Google Place Listings. Now, as Google My Business, it allows business owners to create Google+ pages and listings that help them control the face their business presents to the online world.
The Google My Business product has two different facets, each designed for specific types of businesses and identities.
Google + Local Business Listings are for businesses that have physical retail or other business spaces, or have geographical service areas. This kind of listing has a particularly important benefit, which is that the business owner can integrate their Google+ local business listing with Google Maps. This means that when a searcher finds the business in search results, they can use Google Maps to find additional information such as the shop location and opening hours, and any other bits and pieces the business owner chooses to submit.
Google+ Brand Pages are for businesses that don’t have a physical address or service area, such as an online retail company, a freelancer, musician, or artist.
Google My Business can be used by businesses of all kinds and all sizes. It’s extremely useful for new businesses in particular, or businesses that have no online presence. For new users, it’s simply a matter of creating an account and inputting all the required information about the business. Then that information is populated across all the different Google business products, including Maps and Google+ as well as the Google search engine. So you only need to do this one time to have all the information identical and accurate in each location.
Another great advantage is that there’s no need to worry about the possibility of inaccurate or outdated information, as updating the Google+ business listing updates the information across all those different platforms.
How does Google My Business Improve SEO?
If it’s done properly, Google+ business listings can give you a nice boost to your SEO, as well as simply helping people find your business online.
A huge number of people use Google search products every day, and a fairly large chunk of them are doing local searches for products and services they want to find in their own town or city. Local SEO plays an important part in helping people find those businesses, and Google My Business helps people find your business more easily, and gives you an SEO boost too.
There are several factors that go into making this happen. First and most obviously, having a Google+ local business listing is one of the many ranking factors that the Google search engine algorithm takes into account when ranking search results. But there are a few other ways that the listings improve your SEO.
One is that having a Google+ page for your business gives your online presence a boost simply because you’re now appearing in a second location in addition to your business website.
Having a Google+ listing also gives you more prominence in search results. Local search results usually include a Google map that shows locations of businesses that are relevant to the search. If a business on the map has a Google+ page they’ll typically have a higher rank in the search results.
Another major advantage is that if your business has a Google+ page your listing can appear in several different places in the results of a search: in the list of search results, on the Google map, and in the list of businesses that are on the map. So that’s three different places and three different chances to get the searcher to visit your website or your store, or give you a call.
What does all of this mean? Simply that if your business doesn’t have a Google+ page and you’re competing with several businesses that do, you may be losing a large chunk of traffic to your competitors. It’s a free product that’s simple to use and the results are highly beneficial—definitely a must-do for business owners.