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There have been many updates to this product. Make sure you are fulling optimizing your page and using all of the available features. For an updated guide, see our Ultimate Guide to Google My Business Pages for 2018. 

Note: before even diving into the tips below, make sure your business’ Google My Business page is claimed. If you’re unsure, do a search for your business and see if your result says “Own this business?” like below:

You can either create or claim your GMB page here. Follow the instructions to get your account set up and to verify your business information. Once you’ve got the basics covered, move onto the more detailed tips below:

#1: Choose your category (or categories) wisely

Google My Business allows you to categorize your business page – and the category (or categories) you choose can affect your local rankings. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best category for your business. Keep in mind that the first category you list is your primary category, and will be treated as the most important.  Once you have an idea of your options, do some competitor research to determine what category appears to be the most effective for your industry. Search for your main keywords and observe which business categories are being used by your top-ranking competitors.

Below is an example of the categories used by an Edmonds chiropractic, peripheral neuropathy, and back pain treatment clinic.

These categories can be edited under the Info menu tab by clicking on the pencil icon on the right-hand side.

#2 Add high-quality images of your logo, office, staff, and products (if applicable)

GMB pages that include images not only stand out more from their image-less competitors but add an element of legitimacy and credibility. Just like you would include images of your business on your website, you should include images on your GMB page. Photos should be in JPG or PNG format, between 10KB and 5MB, and have a resolution of at least 720px by 720px.

To add images, just click on the Photos menu tab then either upload or drag and drop the images. Make sure to pick an illustrative profile picture and cover photo to be highlighted. For the business below, they’ve chosen to highlight their staff in the profile and cover photos, but also included many high-quality images of their facilities:

#3 Get positive, descriptive customer reviews

If you’re not already familiar with the overwhelming importance of online reviews, check out this blog post. Your GMB page’s star rating can affect your search engine rankings, so it’s important to keep that rating high. For example, a search phrase that uses the qualifier “best” will often filter out any GMB pages with less than 4 stars.

But what do I mean by “descriptive” customer reviews? While this hasn’t been confirmed by Google, we have a hunch that reviews that use a business’ keywords are more powerful for SEO. For example, a review that names a business’ location AND main services appear to (and should) hold more weight than a review that just says “great!”. While asking customers to leave you a review, it’s worth your time to ask them to describe their experience and name what product or service they received.

#4 Use the Insights tool to monitor your performance

In the main menu navigation bar, there’s a tool called Insights that provides some powerful data about your business’ GMB page. You can sort the data by the last 30 days or the last quarter. It will show you how your customers are finding you (direct or organic search), where you’re appearing in the results (Search or Maps), and what actions searchers are taking on your GMB page (website visits, direction request, and calls). If you’re not already monitoring your website traffic or leads, this is a great, free growth measurement tool.

        

#5 Use Posts as a blog or event board

While the SEO benefits of using GMB’s new(ish) Posts tool is still unknown, it can still be a useful tool for businesses. If you’re unfamiliar with Posts, here’s an article about what it is and how to use it.

For businesses that don’t have time to blog and/or don’t have much of a social media following, Posts is the perfect solution for sharing content. Posts can only contain up to 300 words, an image, a date, and a call to action button. With these options, Posts can act as an event calendar, a social news feed, product announcement feed, and more. Try it as a way of driving both foot and digital traffic. But keep in mind that a Post only stays visible on your GMB page for 30 days, so don’t try to use it as a blog archive.

PS – working with multi-location businesses can make this a complicated process. For our client HiLine Homes – a custom home builder with 11 locations – this took a lot of work! Be on the lookout for a follow-up post about how to do this at scale.

If you need help setting up your Google My Business page or are looking for some additional digital marketing help for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’re happy to help!