What is Google My Business? (formerly Google Places, Google Local)
Google My Business, sometimes referred to as Google business listings and Google maps listings, is a service provided by Google allowing local businesses to display their contact details to local search results pages.
Google My Business provides features such as allowing a business to display their opening hours, adding a pin on the business address in Google Maps searches, providing your contact details to customers who view your business listing and also link your Google+ profile to display your reviews and feedback on your Google Places listing.
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Google My Business optimisation tips
1. Always enter correct contact details such as phone, address, website and email
Google will want to verify that your contact details are correct as Google strives for 100% accurate data and actively hunts this data down.
Providing as much as your contact information as you can will also help your customers on different marketing channels such as mobiles, smartphones, desktops or laptops reach you in the most effective method such as click-to-call, enabling the user to click your phone number to call directly from their smartphone.
The more information you display, the more Google will promote your page.
2. Always keep your contact details up-to-date
Once again, Google wants a world of connectivity and so will want to verify your contact details are correct. If you change your contact details, Google may request verification from you and remember, an unverified profile will always appear below the verified profiles...
3. Include your target keyword in your description but don't keyword spam
Be sure to write a useful description focused on what your users need to know about your business. The About section of your profile is a useful section of text that enables users to find out more about your business, services or profile in more detail.
This section is a great way to optimise your My Business page on Google Maps results and relevant local searches on Google. The focus is on your user so don't go keyword spamming thinking that will bring your listing up ahead of the rest, this will just result in being penalised.
4. Enter as much information into your Google My Business listing as possible, Google wants your information
Google loves content, we really can't emphasise this point enough... Google really, really loves 100% original content and so by entering as much information into your Google Plus profile your page will not only receive more traffic but this traffic will interact with both your Google My Business page and even your website.
The rewards are there for the dedicated so try to go to that extra bit of effort and you will start to see results.
5. Add content for your users such as videos and images
Once again, adding content to your My Business page such as useful videos or images, promotional banners or other pictures is a great way to engage with your audience and also helps by promoting your listing above other listings. Google will always reward My Business listings that go the extra mile and include relevant, engaging content that reaches out to users.
6. Link your Google My Business listing and Google+ page
If you have an existing Google+ page, be sure to link your Google+ profile with your My Business listing for maximum exposure. Google has finally cleaned up their act so there are no duplicate profiles for new My Business registrations however if you already had a Google+ profile or a Google Business page then you might end up with 2 or 3 different Google profiles all from the same email address.
As you can understand, this makes things messy and you will then have to double post content and updates in order to reach both sets of profile followers.
Latest Update (August 2014): Google has started to commence merging business pages from Google+ into Google My Business so there should be no anticipated issues with duplicate pages in the near future.
7. Encourage your customers to add reviews to your Google+ page either by asking or through incentives
Adding reviews to your Google My Business listing is a great way to enable your listing to appear on relevant searches above the competition. A higher review rating plus more reviews shows Google that you are keen and enthusiastic about promoting and engaging with your audience and you will be rewarded accordingly.
Reviews can be added by simply requesting your customers to visit your Google My Business page and submitting a review with a registered Google account.
There are many ways to get more reviews added to your profile however our recommended and most effective method is to offer some kind of incentive or promotion to your customers such as a free gift or discount/coupon if they add a review to your profile page.
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