Google My Business has gained a lot of prominence since it was introduced. A lot of changes have also come about for 2021. Wondering how you can optimize GMB for your business? Click now to learn more?
Since its introduction, Google My Business has been a game-changer for local SEO. It has created a whole new niche inside SEO and comes with its own prerequisites to rank in the coveted top 3. Many people hire dedicated SEO agencies to manage their GMB. Google has also been tweaking its algorithm constantly to make the most relevant and quality sites to come up top. So what has Google changed for 2021 and how can you implement changes in your GMB listing and website to be in the top 3 for your area?
All that and much more on how to optimize your GMB for 2021 in the next few paragraphs.
1. Google Guaranteed Badge
This year, Google rolled out a new feature known as the guaranteed badge for Canada and the USA. It is a certification program where Google themselves inspect the business through screening and qualification and give the badge based on this inspection. It has been brought to improve a customer’s trust in a particular business.
Also, a very interesting part about this is, if a lead is converted into a customer through Google’s local service ad and the business is Google guaranteed, the customer can apply for a reimbursement for the service if they are not satisfied. Also of note is that the reimbursement will be given by Google and not by the store/company/
So, if you are a local business and you are confident that you will pass Google’s stringent assessment, you should definitely consider paying for the badge. It will be a win-win situation for you since you will be trusted more in the customer’s eyes and in case they are unhappy, Google will pay them back.
2. Voice Search for 2021
Voice search is definitely growing but at a slow pace. However, devices like Alexa, Google Home have pushed the adoption a lot more now. Local search through such devices is the majority of all searches. People these days ask questions like “Alexa, tell me the nearest pet food shop” and Alexa will suggest the top GMB listings for the nearby location.
So, the need to optimize your GMB listing for voice search has never been greater. Fill out all the attributes that are relevant to your business as there can be queries like “At what time does Harold’s pet shop close?” Alexa or other voice assistants will then look at your GMB attribute to give out the information.
The first thing you need to do is make the content on your website and GMB posts more conversational. Then try to target more long-tail keywords and optimize your rich answers.
3. Use Shortnames
Google introduced the Shortnames feature in June 2019. It was designed so that your posts can appear both in Google Search and Google Maps. Customers have an option to follow you and whatever you post including events, offers and sales at your store will appear on their feed. Hence, it goes a long way in increasing your reach and build more loyalty to your store.
You can edit your shortname according to your liking but be sure to keep it relevant so that people know that you are the one posting. It is quite easy to edit shortnames. You just need to go to the section where you edit the essential contact info. Just below the option to edit your phone number, there will be an “@” symbol. Click on it and type in the name you want. Each Shortname is unique, so grab the one most relevant to your shop name before anyone else.
4. Better and Detailed images
Images are a great way of communicating with your customer. You can use it to showcase your products, your store ambience, offers, product lists and pricing. The main rule before adding images to your GMB profile is to ask whether they add any value or information that a new potential customer doesn’t already know.
Your storefront, the board showcasing your store name and the street view in which your store is located, all need to be added to the images. Next up, showcase your products and most selling items. Don’t forget to add smiling pictures of your staff as a whole so that a more human touch can be added
5. Constant Frequency of Posts
Posts can be a great way to engage with your followers. It is also a great tool to let customers know about offers, discounts, sale days etc. You can also post about blog posts, eBook downloads, events at the store and much more. Literally, any update about your business should be posted on your GMB. You can also use a tool like Publer to create a calendar and schedule your posts.
6. Extensive and personalized reviews
Reviews are one of the most important factors for ranking in the coveted top 3 of your local pack. So, they can make or break your customer acquisition and leads. Although you are not in control of the reviews that customers post, you can always provide the best service possible to your customers and then ask them to genuinely write about their experience in Google. Ask them to extensively describe your service.
In return, you should reply to every single review and rating that is posted about your store. Try to be as elaborate as possible in your replies and try to include the keyword that you want to rank for in the local pack albeit naturally. Also, make it a point to reply to the negative reviews also as this will increase your credibility and trust among customers. Many business owners fail to do so and hope the negative review doesn’t show up. However, that will never happen.
Google My Business is the future of local SEO. Almost 70% of all physical store visits were carried out after doing a google search about them in the US last year. Hence, it will be the first impression that you create on a customer. Would you want that first impression to be an incomplete GMB profile? Hence, it has become a necessity in 2021 to optimize it using the tips we have shared above.