To get started you need a Google My Business listing. It is one of the easiest and fastest ways to tell Google the name of your business and ultimately your website. This profile is free from Google and gives you the opportunity to tell Google a lot about your company. If filled out properly, it informs the search engine about the physical location of your business, your industry, what you specialize in and most importantly your website. Think of it as an introduction.

Your profile is also used in the maps which ultimately will land you within the local three pack of results that show when Google sees that the intent of someones search warrants a list of businesses. Remember, search engine optimization isn’t just based upon your website.

The 3 pack is an SEO industry term referring to the three Google My Business profiles that are shown in the search results under a map. Google in recent years limited this number to three where previously there were 3, 5 and 7 packs. 

Fill out your Google listing to the best of your ability and upload photos as well. We want this profile to have plenty of info regarding your company and since it lands on the SERP’s, it can be optimized. By the way, a SERP is the acronym for a Search Engine Results Page.

Before we move on, do not be dismissive of Bing! and Yahoo. They too have their own Profiles and it is a very good idea to set these up as well. Google, Bing! and Yahoo look at each others profiles to match them up and confirm that your name address and phone number are the same on each. This instills more confidence in their own profiles, and is a strong way to further optimize your online presence. Besides, even though they have a far lower percentage of searches on the web, people do use these search engines too.

Customer Reviews are a Strong Ranking Factor for Google My Business

In addition to citations, Reviews are also a strong signal to Google that this profile is trusted. You cannot ask your clients for a great review, but you can encourage them to leave one. It is when you try to sway customers to leave a positive comment or five star rating that it goes against these same guidelines. Don’t ask me how, but they often find out and will delete them at will.

Engage these reviews, respond even if it is a bad one, and you will find you are rewarded over time. That star rating becomes more valuable in the more competitive local areas.