You’ve all heard the cliché used by property experts, that the three most important factors in determining the desirability of a property are “location, location, location”.
Well, the same can be said for your local SEO.
When someone in Las Vegas does a search for “Career Coach,” Google will attempt to return results for career coaches in the Las Vegas area to the person searching. Google assumes that the person searching for a career coach in Las Vegas wants to find a career coach in the Las Vegas area and will not return listings of career coaches in Miami, Florida. Google knows where you are searching from based on your IP address and various other factors. So it assumes you are looking for results in your local area. Makes sense on many levels (think restaurants, auto mechanics, real estate brokers, dentists, pet sitters, etc).
But let’s say you are trying to find a career coach for your sister who lives in Seattle and you live in Denver. By typing “Career Coach Seattle” you force Google to go beyond your assumed local search parameters to find a career coach in another location far away. And this is why your location matters to your SEO and how you can further strengthen your own SEO results. One way to do this is by deliberately defining where your business is located to capture more local-based searches based on the searcher’s geography AS WELL AS capturing your share of searches when the searcher designates a specific location within their search. And there is no better place to start then by claiming your own Google My Business listing.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
We’ve been in the SEO business for over 12 years and if it’s one mantra we live by above all else it’s this: Give Google What They Want.
If Google wants you to claim and fill out your Google My Business (GMB) profile, you should. Here are some of the benefits:
- It’s free
- Reinforces your location with search
- Creates a Google Maps location
- Allows for reviews
- Creates a Knowledge Graph to enhance your own search results
- Creates an important citation listing (name, address, phone number)
- Allows you to post hours, contact info and even a blog post
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING
If you’ve been in business for several months or more you may already have a GMB listing. If so, you’ll need to claim it. If you don’t have one already you’ll need to create one. Here’s how you access it:
Make sure you are logged into Google by clicking on the little blue button in the upper right of your screen on Google.com:
Yes, you will need a Google account to do any of this so if you don’t have a Google login, set one up. This will be your entry not only for GMB but for Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube and all other Google services.
Now that you are logged into Google, type or click this link to claim or start your listing: www.google.com/mybusiness
IF YOU NEED TO CLAIM YOUR LISTING
Once logged in, if you have not already claimed your listing you will need to do so. Find the link on the page that says VERIFY MY LISTING which will bring you to this screen:
Yes, Google will actually snail mail you a paper postcard to the address for your business listing with a 4-digit PIN number that you will have to enter on this page to consummate your claim to the listing.
ONCE YOUR GMB LISTING IS ALREADY CLAIMED
Once your GMB listing is claimed and verified you can now edit your hours, add pictures, hours, contact info, website link, and categories to help your business be defined in search the search results the way you want.
And my favorite recent feature addition is the ability to add and link to a page or blog post on your website directly within your GMB listing:
Notice the 5-star reviews under our name. These are also a positive addition to our listing that will make us stand out against our competitors. You can read about how to easily gather positive Google Reviews by clicking HERE.
I can’t stress enough how important claiming and filling out your Google My Business listing is to your search engine optimization results. Having a fully-optimized listing will help you in keyword related searches, map searches and the ever-increasingly popular voice searches. While it may take a bit of effort to claim and verify it’s really a prerequisite for any and all SEO efforts that you will embark on going forward.