20+ Key Tips & Tools You Need For a Successful Google My Business Listing
By Brian Lawrence and Katherine Meikle
Google My Business is important for SEO for small businesses in general, but especially so when it comes to local SEO. If you want to target brides and grooms in your area, you need to know everything there is to know about how to make your Google map listing successful.
Accessing Your Profile
Before anything else, you must be able to access your profile, or create one if you haven’t done so already.
- To sign up for a new profile for free, click this link to be taken to Google’s GMB sign up page.
- If you need to request ownership or access to a pre-existing profile of your business, this official Google page can help.
- Have ownership already but don’t know how to edit your profile? Go here to view all profiles you have access to, just make sure to check the top right to make sure that you are logged in to the Gmail account you connected to GMB. As a reminder, information you change may not update on your profile right away, so don’t be concerned if you make edits and don’t see instant results, your editing capabilities and access level should be fine.
The GMB App
GMB profile access is not limited to the internet. You can access your profile using the official Google My Business app.
This alternative method of access gives you information that is not found by using your computer. For example, you can view your “follower count”. This follower count is made up of searchers who found your profile on Maps and decided to follow it to recieve updates about your business. You can request to be immediately notified on the app whenever you get a new follower and whenever you get a new review, question or other interation as well.
Additionally, you can update your Google My Business profile while on the go using the Google listing app. It may be used to respond to messages, reply to reviews, post photos, etc.
General Information You Should Know
Are you ready to dive in deeper with your Google listing and get more business and increased wedding revenue as a result? Here’s some important general information that you need to know to get started.
1. You Don’t Have to be First to be Successful
Many business owners believe that they must rank first for every search term to get any leads. Not only is this often extremely difficult to do – it’s not actually true.
Major brands like The Knot and WeddingWire invest thousands of dollars into wedding ads and SEO strategies so that they can come up first on results and get more traffic for their advertisers. These national companies are virtually impossible to compete with, but luckily you do not have to for local SEO. That’s because Google prioritizes the 3-pack, the set of three top listings for local businesses relevant to the search result.
The 3-pack is:
- Seen above organic results over 90% of the time
- An opportunity to display hugely important information like star-rating which organic results do not show
- Trusted more than regular results
- Shown to potential customers who are intentful
Believe it or not, studies show that all three results in the 3-pack get generally the same amount of engagement.
By making the 3-pack your key objective, you’re targeting viable local customers directly and not competing for SEO authority with businesses which are irrelevant to your market.
Google prioritizes the 3-pack because half of all searches are local, so it must be your priority as well. Thoroughly completing your profile, getting great reviews and consistently posting are just a few of the things you need to do to help get your business a shot at one of the top spots in the 3-pack. If you want in-depth advice about improving your profile, remember that you can purchase a full site and SEO audit with my team.
2. How to Utilize Keywords
When doing research for SEO keywords you can use a free tool like Uber Suggest to get ideas. Put yourself in the minds of engaged couples.
When searching, many people often use “near me” as a part of their query so this can be a good place to start, like “DJs near me”. You can change the search area to your specific city or country as needed.
You may need to do a large number of searches to find the best results. You can also look at the keyword ideas based on your search to find more possible options to use.
As you look, think about your prospects and how they search, not just in what they type but how they talk to their devices to search.
Keywords are not just important for your regular business website. You also want to use them to optimize your GMB profile, such as when putting together descriptions for your main profile and your free website.
Whenever you incorporate keywords make sure you do it in a natural way so it is very readable and compelling. This is especially important in the description on your main profile since it is a key area for advancing your ranking and many potential customers will see this even before going on to your website. Curate the use of keywords thoughtfully and make sure the content is interesting with a call to action as well.
Never keyword stuff, especially in a way that may be seen as spam, or this wedding advertising attempt can backfire. For example, if keywords are not on your business name naturally, do not add them on the end or you can be reported for going against the terms of service. Google may remove obvious keyword stuffing themselves or may suspend your profile entirely.
3. Dealing with Duplicate Listings
Duplicate GMB profile listings can be created in two ways:
- If you add a second listing for the same location of your business
- Google gets confused and creates another listing due to inactivity on your original listing
If you accidentally add a second listing for the same location of your business or Google gets confused and creates another when it already has one, Google will mark one as a duplicate. Duplicate listings can be very bad for your business and your ranking since Google won’t know which one to prioritize. This situation could lead to one or both of the listings being deleted and may potentially result in suspension.
Another listing is also confusing for customers and can divide your rankings, making each listing for your business seem less strong.
There can also be errors in a listing that was created for you, such as if there is the wrong name, inconsistent information or links going to sites that aren’t yours.
If you want to merge the two listings you will need help from Google support.
You would also need support if you want to reinstate a listing in the case of suspension or if someone else claimed your listing.
How can you find duplicate listings?
- Search for your business name including for any possible variants in the name
- Check for any previous versions that you or someone else may have set up
- If you see a listing from an old address you can simply edit it to show the business has moved rather than creating a new listing for the current location
- Search for listings use old phone numbers or details that may have been associated with your business in the past
4. Managing Multi-Locations
If you have multiple locations, you should have a separate GMB profile for each one. You can manage them in the same account.
Your website should have separate landing pages for each location as well with a contact page for each. Use location-based SEO terms for each location.
5. Google Suggestions
When you go to update your profile you may at times see information in orange.
This means that Google has made suggestions for your profile based on their data or customer feedback. You can choose to accept these suggestions or correct them if they are not applicable to you. This information could be irrelevant (such as many DJs offer photo booths but you do not) or it could help you correct a mistake that has been found (if your profile’s business hours do not match those on your website, for example). These orange suggestions can be made frequently and you may need to correct them often.
6. Posting Promotions & Events
Posts are great for SEO to show that you are active and your profile is consistently updated, but many businesses only do simple posts and do not utilize the promotions.
You can use these promotional posts to build more engagement and business by creating a sense of excitement through time-based offers and special events. If you sell wedding invitations, for example, and run a 10% discount during a holiday weekend, don’t just post about it on social media and leave it at that. Share news of the limited-time discount on your GMB profile.
Additionally, you can also post special events, such as a bridal show or wine tasting. This gets the word out about your event with the opportunity for a clear link to buy tickets, learn more, contact you, etc.
Just remember that posts are removed from prominent view after seven days. However, you can repost without SEO issues.
Know that Google specifies that event posts which meet certain criteria may also show on the “Overview” tab of the Business Profile to make them more prominent to customers. However, the criteria is not specified.
Profile Elements You Shouldn’t Skip
When you think about completing your Google My Business profile you likely first think of the most important, seen elements like your website, address, phone number, etc. However, Google puts a lot of weight on how complete your profile is. The more complete the better. This rings true for clients’ benefit as well. Having relevant, true information on your profile can be a great help to making an interested engaged couple want to learn more about you.
Here are a few often-missed yet important areas to make sure you’ve completely filled out on your GMB listing:
1. Questions and Answers
Every Google My Business profile is open to allow customers to submit questions which you, or “local guides”, can answer. Although anyone can answer these questions and be labeled a “local guide”, you want to be sure to answer any question that comes up yourself. This helps you look authoritative, gives you a chance to interact directly with a potential customer and ensures that the response is truly accurate.
In fact, it is a smart idea to ask questions yourself on your profile. Using a different email account you or someone you know could ask commonly asked questions and you can reply from your business account to answer them – make sure you are logged in to be able to do so with the “owner” label. This allows you to provide any potential customers thought-out answers to their questions in advance without them even needing to ask.
You should also try to use this opportunity for local SEO by including one or two researched location-based keywords in the question or responses. As always, make sure that it sounds very natural and organic.
2. Your GMB Website
While you want your profile to be as complete as possible, and in today’s digital age you need a wedding business website, you can set up a GMB profile for your business without actually having a site of your own yet and instead choose to use a free site from Google.
Whether you have a regular website already or not, Google My Business allows you to set up a free website which is tied to your profile. Here’s how to set it up:
- On your control panel you’ll see an option for “website”.
- When you click on it GMB will automatically generate a business website for you. You can customize it using “themes”. You can choose something that matches your website so there is a cohesive style.
- The “edit” option allows you to add your own headline, description and other details. Writing text is good because it fills out your page more and you can take the opportunity to communicate with potential customers who are interested in your profile. Make sure to include keywords and calls-to-action to encourage them to make an appointment, call now, etc.
- The site will automatically create a gallery based on what you have uploaded in your profile, but you can add extra pictures using the “photos” option if you would like.
- To get a custom domain for your site instead of the business.site address click “more”.
- Make sure to publish the site when you have made your selections.
3. The Opening Date
You should also add an opening date to your profile.
You can include the specific day if you wish but you do not have to, only the month and year are required. It is ok to guess if you don’t know exactly but try to keep it accurate to what is already on the web in another listing or site.
4. All Possible Site Links
You may have included your website link in your profile already, but what about your appointments link, reservations link, bookings link, menu link, etc? Depending on your business type, GMB will offer you the option to provide additional links to specific pages of your website or to third-party websites which are a part of your tools for things like appointment scheduling.
Make sure that whatever link you include is accurate for the specific prompt. For example, note that “bookings” is not the same thing as “appointments”. This is smart to do for GMB but also just for a better user experience as well.
Additionally, check that a link on your GMB profile goes to a page on your website which has your address and phone number (in a way that matches the listing).
There is a section on the info tab for highlights and special attributes.
Google does not offer the same selection to everyone, though typically you will be able to share whether your business is woman-owned, accepting online appointments, LGBTQ+ friendly, etc.
This information is then displayed prominently on your profile.
In addition to putting photos on your GMB profile you can also share videos by including the links in posts or by uploading them in the “photos” tab. When uploading, videos will need to be actually saved on to your computer as opposed to a YouTube or Vimeo link.
7. Short Name
Your GMB profile may give you the option to create a “profile short name”. This is used to make it easier for customers to find you because you’ve added a shorter name that generates a custom URL rather than one with many unrelated letters and numbers.
Your profile’s URL won’t have your full business name in it because URLs need to be kept short. See what Google recommends you set your short name to and if that is a good fit. It is important to know that this name can only be changed up to three times a year, so think about it before you select what you want.
This is not really an opportunity for search engine optimization but is more for ease of search and better overall experience for potential customers trying to find you. It also makes it easier for you to share your business page yourself. Additionally it is another opportunity for you to fill something out and make your profile more complete for Google.
Depending on your business categories Google will potentially offer you the option to add products to your profile. If your business has products, adding some to your profile makes it more complete and shows customers some of what you have to offer.
You can also add a Google product listing from your “posts” tab.
If the option is available you will see a “products” choice in your profile panel menu. In this area you can add products with photos, categories, names, descriptions and pricing. You do not have to include pricing but it is good to do so if possible to make things more complete. You can choose to share a fixed price or a general pricing range. Be sure to take the opportunity to select a 3rd party link that interested customers can use to “order online”, “learn more” or whatever is most appropriate.
The photos that you upload for products should be clean and professional.
Then you can put together product catalogs using everything you add.
Make sure that all the categories on your profile are completely relevant to your business and that you’ve thought about what applies to your work.
It can be easy to put one primary category up and then continue filling out the rest of your profile. Have you considered whether anything else applies to what you do and would make your profile more complete?
At the same time, be careful not to apply categories at random. Anything you select must fit. Try not to choose more than a few categories.
Tools & Settings You Should Utilize
There are many tech elements within your Google My Business profile and available through other online resources which can be used to your best advantage.
1. Profile Access
It is very important that you keep your GMB profile and account secure. Remember that this represents your business and is the first thing many customers will see about your company, so you do not want it falling into the wrong hands. Here are some tips to know about GMB access:
- Choose a safe password
- As with any online account, don’t share your username and password
- Be careful with who you give access to the profile, especially if you make someone an owner of it with you
- If you make someone an owner they can add users themselves
- Managers cannot delete listings or add anyone else to the account
- When you invite someone to take on a role with the account they will get an email from GMB, inside is a link to accept the invitation which they must click – don’t worry if they get an error page after accepting the invite, this means there is no longer an open invitation because they are now accepted on the profile account
- If you want to remove yourself from the account you can’t do that until you assign the “primary owner” role to someone else
2. Google Alerts
Google can be used to help you keep an eye on your competition and use them to improve your SEO strategies. Set up Google alerts on higher-ranking competitors for free and look at the backlinks they are getting to see if you can get them as well.
Your GMB profile has insights that can help you learn more about your SEO and customer engagement. These metrics track your photo views, how customers found your business, what actions customers took from your profile and other important pieces of data.
One key area to study is your keywords. The searches that customers use to find you can inform many of your future SEO decisions. You can also use these insights to make choices that will help you get even more engagement. For example, posting photos is good, but posting photos which get more engagement indicates to Google that you are posting the right type of photos – especially in comparison to competitors (similar businesses in your category). This is a ranking factor that can help your business profile get promoted more.
Compare your insights over different periods of time to see patterns and what areas you may need to work on or are doing very well with. This historical data is very valuable and should be taken advantage of.
4. Traffic Tracking
If you (or your SEO consultant) want to thoroughly understand the data behind your clients, take advantage of the free UTM code tracking method which allows you to see the statistics of your GMB traffic specifically vs your regular organic Google traffic.
Generally, traffic which comes from users finding you in the 3-pack, for example, is indistinguishable from searchers looking for you to begin with in your analytics. By using this free tool from Google you can quickly and easily create a custom campaign with a unique URL that is labelled with a name that clearly indicates to you that the traffic is from your GMB profile (customers will not see this special name).
After creating your link, simply add that URL as the website link on your GMB profile. Now anyone who goes to your website from that link will be marked differently in your analytics when you go to ACQUISITION > All Traffic > Channels.
5. Post Automation
Did you know that you can actually set up automatic posting on your Google My Business page? Consistent posting is key to showing Google that you are an active manager and also gives customers a great opportunity for engagement, but it can be difficult to manage posting every week yourself.
OneUp is a paid service which allows you to link your GMB account with their platform and then use it to input your posts and set them to automatically be shared both now and again in the future.
How to Improve Your GMB Profile & SEO
Taking in and implementing the information above should make a big difference to the quality of your GMB profile as well as your SEO, but there’s still so much more to learn to ensure that your business ranks well.
I’ve put together a free, comprehensive guide with clear, detailed steps so you can take the steps necessary to properly optimize your listing. Read through it to find out more information that you can use to improve your listing.
If you would like me to give you personalized tips on your organic listing on Google to help improve SEO for your business, I offer free 30-minute consultations that can get you a jump-start with real, actionable tips and suggestions based on my years of wedding industry experience. I have helped countless businesses like yours from DJs to caterers and specialize in SEO from a transparent, educational approach.
For any other questions, please feel free to contact me by filling out the submission form on this page here.
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