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SEO Foundations: Optimize Your Online Presence

A Google My Business account lets you show up in search results when people are looking for you online. It’s free, which makes it an affordable marketing tool for small and big businesses alike. To make your Google My Business profile work for you, optimize it. Here are a few ways to get started. This guide will show you how to get your account up and running and also offers tips on how to get results.


Why a Google My Business Account is Essential

1. Making Your Business Easily Discoverable

A Google My Business (GMB) account ensures that when someone looks at your company up on Google Search and Google Maps, they find it. Once they do, your listing shows searches where and how to visit your shop, whether you have a web or physical address.


Even if you run an old-fashioned brick and mortar shop, your customers and prospects are online. And that’s where they’ll start their search for your company, products, or services. Whether you’re looking for foot traffic or web traffic, Google is the ultimate search referral. 


GMB accounts also improve your local SEO. So when someone searches for you, you show up on page one—not page two or lower. Even if you already have a web presence, a Google business account ensures you get top results. GMB accounts also offer access to analytics, allowing you to fine-tune your paid and organic advertising strategies.


2. Keep Your Customers In The Loop

Don’t leave customers guessing about your business’s essential contact details. Or leave them up to Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other review sites over which you have no control. Make sure that when someone searches for your business, they find legitimate information straight from the source.


Your Google My Business listing includes contact information, business hours, and other essential details. You can post updates to share that you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or reopened (a useful feature during emergencies like COVID-19). Google business accounts have strong local SEO, so the information you share will rank above other sites. Misinformation can lead to negative customer experiences and missed opportunities. Imagine the letdown a customer feels when they make a trip to your store only to find that it’s closed. A Google My Business account lets you keep customers informed.


3. Boost Customer Trust

Google My Business profile lends credibility to your reputation. Customers are 70% more likely to choose a business with a GMB profile. Another study found that complete listings on Google are twice as likely to earn trust from customers.


Trust is a vital factor when consumers are deciding to buy. The more confident a consumer feels, the more likely they are to buy. Credibility from Google is enough to sway people to be more likely to visit your store and buy something. Google My Business reviews help build trust, too. Researchers found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.


How to verify your Google My Business Profile

After entering all your information on the GMB page, here’s how to verify your Google business. For most company pages, Google verification involves requesting a postcard.


Go to to sign in.


Step 1: Sign in to Google My Business

Step 2: Click “Verify”

Step 3: Choose a way to verify


Postcard by mail is the default verification option. If your business is eligible for other methods, such as phone or email, choose the one you prefer. Fill in the required details. Double-check to make sure you’ve entered it correctly, then submit the form. It can take a few days to two weeks for the postcard to arrive. When you receive your postcard, sign in and click Verify location from the menu. Enter the five-digit verification code from your postcard. It may take a few weeks for your business listing to appear on Google. 


Claiming your GMB listing

If you need to claim an existing Google business profile, there are three options you can choose from:

  1. Sign up or log in to Google My Business. Click on your business profile. Then follow the steps to confirm that you are the owner.
  2. Locate your business listing in Maps, and click Manage this listing.
  3. Look up the business listing in Google Search and click Own this business?


Don’t worry if the details aren’t accurate. You can edit once you’ve verified that you’re the owner. If someone else has already claimed the business, but you work for the same company, ask them to add you as a user. If you don’t recognize the owner, follow the steps to reclaim your business.


Managing your Google Reviews

You cannot turn off Google reviews for your listing. And it wouldn’t be in your interest to do that. User reviews show customers that your business is legitimate, but managing reviews is vital. With Instaboost Media, you can get professional account managers who respond to all reviews, optimizes photos, and creates quality posts to rank your profile higher on Google’s search results.


Marking Your Business Or Location Temporarily Closed:

If you need to close seasonally or temporarily, mark your business as temporarily closed. Doing this ensures customers are up-to-date without affecting your local search ranking.

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Click “Info” on the left menu.
  3. Look for the “Close this Business” button on the Google section on the right.
  4. Click “Mark as temporarily closed.”
  5. To set special hours for holidays or other circumstances, click Info in the left menu, then Special Hours.


Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile

Fill out your entire profile (this means location, phone #, address, website, and every other space). Giving Google as much information about your business as possible makes it easier for Google to match your business to customer searches. It also significantly improves your search ranking.


Google explains, “Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches.” That means you should fill out contact details, categories, attributes, and more. Use the right keywords where possible.


Google determines local ranking based on three factors:

  1. Relevance: How well your listing matches a search
  2. Distance: How far your location is from the search or searcher
  3. Prominence: How well-known a business is (based on several other factors)


Keywords are also essential in helping your business get found by local consumers. For example, if you run a vintage clothing shop, search “vintage clothing” in your location. Look at related topics and terms people are using for keyword inspiration.


Make Your GMB Stand Out With Photos

When you create your Google My Business profile, you can add a logo and cover photo—similarly to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Without these images, it will be harder for people to recognize your brand online.


With photos, you can show off your location, products, or job sites by posting more photos. If you run a restaurant, post pictures of your meals, menus, and dining room. Make sure they look professional and aren’t low resolution. We recommend uploading photos that are at least 1280x1080. Google claims that businesses with pictures receive 42% more requests for directions and 35% more clicks through to their websites.


  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Open the profile you’d like to manage.
  3. Click “Photos” from the menu.
  4. Choose the photo you’d like to add
  5. Upload your photos from your computer or choose the one you’ve already uploaded.
  6. Post news, updates, and special offers


Creating Posts On Google:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business and open the location you’d like to manage.
  2. From the left-hand menu, click “Posts.”
  3. Choose the post you’d like to create from the options given (offer, event, product, update).
  4. Enter the relevant information in each field.
  5. Your text should include details and be concise. Avoid commercial slang and too much punctuation.
  6. Click Preview to double-check formatting and spelling. If you need to make an edit, click the back arrow.
  7. When you’re ready, click Publish.


If the post you’ve chosen includes an option to include rich media, take advantage of the opportunity. According to Google, people engage more with posts that have photos, videos, or GIFs in them.


Add Special Features And Attributes:

Special features are available for Google business accounts, depending on the category you’ve chosen.


If you think your business is eligible for one of these features, but you don’t see them, you may have chosen the wrong category. You can select up to 10 categories for your business. You can also add factual attributes to your profile to share valuable information. If you run a shop or restaurant, share that it’s wheelchair accessible, offers free Wi-Fi or outdoor seating. You can even share if your company is Woman-Led.


Creating a custom URL for your Google My Business account:

  1. From the dashboard, click “Info” and then “Add short name.”
  2. Enter your short name. It can be up to 32 characters. You may need to come up with alternatives if someone has taken the name you want.
  3. Click Apply.
  4. When it’s ready, your short name will show on your business profile.


Build Trust By Responding To Reviews

Show current and prospective customers that you value their feedback by responding to reviews. According to a survey by Google, users consider businesses that respond to reviews 1.7 times more trustworthy.


Positive interactions build loyalty. Remember to stay respectful and professional. That goes for negative reviews, too. Instead of ignoring them, turn things around by listening and addressing the issues raised. If the matter is sensitive, ask the reviewer to send you a private message.


Answer questions. Anyone can respond to a customer question left on your Google My Business profile. Try your best to make sure you respond first. Show your business is active and reliable and prevents the potential spread of misinformation. Google has temporarily disabled review response and Q/A functionality for GMB locations because of COVID-19.


Link Back to Your Website

Once your profile is complete, make sure it redirects clients back to your main website. A great website can seal the deal, earning you more regular clients who can trust your reputation. A great website is also essential to make sure customers come to your site and stay on it. Our team of web designers takes your colors, styles, and ton into consideration when creating your site. To see some of the Best Website Designs of 2021, check out the complete list here:


Ready to get started with your Local SEO campaign? Talk with one of Instaboost’s SEO experts today! 


Want to learn more about SEO? Click here!

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