Today, it is more important than ever for businesses to stay in communication with their audience regarding their services. The days when potential customers would scour phone books or print out MapQuest directions to find what they are looking for are gone thanks to one of Google’s most powerful offerings, Google My Business (GMB)! GMB allows businesses to make themselves available to a wider audience through utilizing Google My Business categories.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a free platform created by Google to allow businesses to create profiles containing information about themselves, such as their location, hours of operation, special events, and their website. Restaurant listings often include a menu, and whether or not indoor dining and curbside pickup are available to customers. While GMB existed before COVID-19, the pandemic highlighted the importance of businesses being able to quickly communicate changes to schedules and available options to their audience.
In addition to providing critical information about your business, you can also utilize GMB to interact with those who review your business on Google Maps. Your profile will be published to Google Maps, allowing users to find your listing through a location-based search, and it will also be shown in relevant searches. If you’ve ever searched for “sushi near me,” it’s likely that Google served you a list of GMB profiles categorized as sushi restaurants in your area.
Choosing Google My Business Categories
When you first create your profile, you will be asked to select your Google My Business Categories, to help Google to show your business to potential customers. This is where the process can become challenging, because often choosing the first categories that come to mind will not yield the results that you are looking to achieve.
Maximizing the effectiveness of your categories is essential, and there are a variety of ways to find good categories:
- Find Out What Your Customers Are Searching For – A keyword analysis is the first step for many effective forms of digital marketing. You want to study keywords and phrases that are relevant to any goods or services that your business offers and find out which phrases users are searching. Typically, there is a balance to strike between the keywords’ search volume and the relevancy to your specific business. You want to put yourself in front of people, but you want to focus on the people who are ready to buy what you are offering.
- Determine Your Competitors’ Strategy – It is likely that competitors in your space are already utilizing Google My Business, so when you have compiled a list of phrases that seem relevant to target, search for them to find out what results Google serves you. Inspect your competitors’ listings and make a note of which categories they are utilizing, as you may want to target some of them yourself.
- Seek Out Overlooked Phrases – When it comes to optimizing your digital presence to target local audiences, there are often phrases with search volumes that do not seem impressive at first glance but are relevant to your business – especially if you offer a niche product or service within a larger category. These can sometimes be used to help your business gain an audience, get more reviews, and build your presence on Google’s platforms.
SocialSEO Can Turn Your Google My Business into a Lead Machine
Since Google My Business has quickly become the go-to platform for users to find businesses in their proximity, the importance of utilizing GMB to help customers find you cannot be ignored.
While it is free and relatively simple to set up a Google My Business profile, professional marketers know the importance of consistently updating information, selecting your Google My Business Categories, monitoring your categories for their effectiveness, and using GMB to interact with your customers in new ways as Google releases additional tools and features.
At SocialSEO, we have been utilizing Google My Business to build our clients’ brands since it was first released, and we use it every day to bring our clients leads from their own neighborhood. Contact us today to find out how we can take your online presence to the next level to grow your business in 2021 and beyond.