If you’re running a local business and trying to attract more customers, you need to know about search engine marketing (SEM). SEM is the practice of optimizing your website to show up in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords.
One of the best ways to optimize websites for search engines for local businesses is by setting up a Google My Business listing. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to manage your business information and appear in Google search results, Google Maps, and other Google properties.
In this article, we’ll explore why having a GMB listing is essential for your local SEM strategy and how to get started.
Defining Local SEM vs. SEO
When it comes to online marketing strategies, two standard terms you’ll come across are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Although they sound similar, they’re two different concepts.
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to rank higher in organic search results. In contrast, SEM is a broader term encompassing all the strategies used to improve a website’s visibility in search engine results pages, including paid search ads.
Importance of SEM
While SEO is integral to any online marketing strategy, SEM is equally essential, especially for local businesses. SEM involves a variety of tactics, including paid search advertising, local listings, and map search optimization, to ensure that your business is visible to potential customers when they’re searching for products or services related to your business. With SEM, you can target specific keywords and demographics to reach your target audience and increase your chances of conversion.
SEM is especially important for local businesses because it enables them to compete with larger businesses in the same industry, even with limited marketing budgets. By using SEM strategies, local companies can optimize their online presence and improve their visibility in search results.
SEO: Why It’s Essential
SEO is a critical component of any online marketing strategy, and it works by optimizing a website’s content and structure to improve its search engine ranking. This is important because the higher your website ranks in search results, the more traffic you’ll receive and the more likely you are to generate leads and conversions.
SEO is also essential because it’s a long-term strategy that can provide sustainable results. Unlike paid advertising, SEO strategies can continue to drive traffic to your website even after you’ve stopped actively promoting it. However, SEO is a slow process and can take months or even years to achieve significant results.
An Overview of Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google. With a GMB listing, businesses can manage their business information and appear in Google search results, Google Maps, and other Google properties. GMB provides an easy way for businesses to interact with customers and attract more leads by providing accurate and consistent information across all Google platforms.
How It Works
Setting up a GMB listing is a straightforward process that requires only a few steps. Once you’ve verified your business, you can manage your business information, including your hours, phone number, and address. You can also add photos, respond to customer reviews, and track your business’s performance using GMB’s analytics tool.
GMB uses a combination of data sources, including Google Maps and Google Search, to provide accurate and up-to-date business information — this ensures that customers can find the information they need about your business quickly and easily.
The Benefits of a GMB Listing
There are many benefits to having a GMB listing for your business. One of the most significant advantages is that it can improve your local search ranking. With a GMB listing, your business is more likely to appear in local search results when customers search for businesses in your area.
A GMB listing can also improve your visibility on Google Maps. Showing up on this platform is essential because many customers use Google Maps to find local businesses, especially on the go.
In addition, GMB provides an easy way for customers to interact with your business. Customers can leave reviews, ask questions, and contact you directly from your GMB listing. This quick and easy form of contact makes it easy for you to build relationships with your customers and improve their overall experience with your business.
Using GMB to Leverage Local SEO Results
Google My Business is essential for local businesses looking to improve their search SEO results. Optimizing your GMB listing can improve your online visibility and attract more customers in your local area.
How GMB Can Help Your Business Rank Higher
GMB is an important part of any local SEO strategy because it enables businesses to appear in Google Maps and other Google properties. When customers search for businesses in your area, Google uses a variety of factors to determine which businesses to show in search results, including proximity, relevance, and prominence.
Optimizing your GMB listing can improve your business’s relevance and prominence in search results. This can help your business rank higher in search results, making it easier for customers to find you when they need to.
How to Optimize GMB for Better Results
To optimize your GMB listing for better SEO results, follow these tips:
- Use keywords in your business name and description. Use keywords that customers will likely search for in your business name and description to improve your relevance in search results.
- Include high-quality photos. Include high-quality photos of your business to improve your prominence in search results and attract more customers.
- Encourage customer reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. Positive reviews can help improve your business’s online reputation and attract more customers.
- Use accurate and consistent business information. Ensure that your business information, including your address, phone number, and hours of operation, is accurate and consistent across all platforms.
- Use GMB Insights. Use GMB Insights to track your business’s performance and identify areas for improvement. This can help you optimize your GMB listing for better SEO results.
Leveraging Tips for Local SEO
Improving your local search engine optimization results is critical for any local business looking to attract more customers and improve its online visibility. Here are some tips for leveraging local SEO to improve your SEM strategy:
- Optimize your Google My Business listing. As we’ve discussed earlier, optimizing your GMB listing is essential to any local SEM strategy. Use keywords, add high-quality photos, and encourage customer reviews to improve your online visibility.
- Use local keywords in your website content. Using local keywords in your website content can help improve your relevance in local search results. Include keywords your customers will likely search for, such as your location or service area.
- Create location-specific pages. Creating website pages specific to your location or service area can help improve your online visibility and attract more local customers.
- Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. More and more customers are using mobile devices to search for local businesses, so ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is essential.
- Use local backlinks. Backlinks from local websites can help improve your local SEO results. Consider contacting local organizations or businesses to see if they would be willing to link to your website.
- Use social media to promote your business locally. Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your business locally. Be sure to use local hashtags, interact with local customers, and post relevant content to your local area.
Engaging With Customers Through GMB
Google My Business provides businesses with a valuable platform for engaging with their customers. By responding to customer reviews, questions, and messages, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, build customer loyalty, and attract new customers.
The Benefits of Responding to Customers Through GMB
Responding to customer reviews, questions, and messages through GMB provides businesses with several benefits. These include:
- Improving customer satisfaction. Responding to customer feedback shows that you value their opinions and are committed to providing excellent customer service.
- Building customer loyalty. Engaging with customers through GMB can help build customer loyalty and keep them returning to your business.
- Attracting new customers. Positive customer reviews and engagement can help attract new customers to your business.
- Improving your online reputation. Responding to negative reviews and addressing customer concerns can help improve your online reputation and show potential customers that you care about their experience with your business.
Tips for Increasing Customer Engagement and Loyalty
To increase customer engagement and loyalty through GMB, follow these tips:
- Respond to customer reviews promptly. Respond promptly and professionally to all customer reviews, both positive and negative.
- Use personalization. Personalize your responses to customers by using their names and thanking them for their feedback.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing by providing excellent service and asking for their feedback.
- Use GMB’s messaging feature. Use GMB’s messaging feature to respond to customer inquiries promptly.
- Offer promotions and incentives. Offer promotions and incentives to customers who leave reviews or engage with your business through GMB.
How to Set Up a Google My Business Listing
Setting up a Google My Business listing is an essential component of any SEM strategy for local businesses. Here’s how to do it:
Information You’ll Need
Before you start, you’ll need to gather the following information about your business:
- Business name and address
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Business Category
- Business hours
- Photos of your business
- Go to Google My Business and click “Start now” or “Sign in” if you already have an account.
- Enter your business name and address. If your business has no physical location, you can select “Yes” when asked if you deliver goods and services to customers.
- Verify your business. You can do this by mail, phone, email, or instant verification if you’ve already verified your business with Google Search Console.
- Once your business is verified, you can add your business information, including your hours, phone number, and website URL. You can also add photos of your business, including your logo, interior and exterior shots, and product photos.
- Optimize your listing. You can do this by adding a business description, enabling messaging, and encouraging customers to leave reviews.
Tips for Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing
To get the most out of your GMB listing, it’s essential to optimize it for better search results. Here are some tips:
- Choose the right business category. Be specific when selecting your business category to ensure your listing appears in the right search results.
- Add photos. High-quality photos of your business can help attract more customers and make your business stand out in search results.
- Use keywords in your business description. Use keywords your customers will likely search for in your business description to improve your ranking in search results.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews can help improve your business’s visibility in search results and attract more customers.
- Update your information regularly. Keep your business information up to date, including your hours and contact information, to ensure that customers can find you when they need to.
The Importance of Accurate and Consistent Business Information
Accurate and consistent business information is critical for any local SEM strategy. Having the correct information about your business, such as your address, phone number, and hours of operation, ensures that customers can find you when they need to. Accurate or consistent information can help your business’s online visibility and positively impact your reputation.
How Does Inaccurate Information Hurt My Business?
Inaccurate information can hurt your business in several ways. For example, if your business hours need to be corrected, customers may show up when you’re closed, leading to a negative experience. In addition, inconsistent business information can confuse customers and hurt your online visibility.
Google and other search engines rely on accurate and consistent business information to provide customers with the most relevant search results. If your business information is inconsistent across platforms, search engines may have trouble determining which information is correct, leading to a lower search ranking.
Tips for Ensuring Accurate and Consistent Information Across Platforms
To ensure that your business information is accurate and consistent across all platforms, follow these tips:
- Claim your business listings. Claim your business listings on all relevant platforms, including Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, and ensure that your information is current.
- Use the same business name and address. Use the same business name and address across all platforms to ensure search engines can easily identify your business.
- Check your information regularly. Check your business information regularly to ensure that it’s up-to-date and accurate. This includes checking your hours of operation, phone number, and website URL.
- Respond to customer feedback. Responding to customer feedback, including reviews and messages, can help you identify and correct any inconsistencies in your business information.
- Use a citation management tool. Consider using a citation management tool to manage your business information across multiple platforms. This can help ensure that your information is accurate and up to date.
Leaving SEM Marketing and Google My Business Setup to the Pros
While it’s certainly possible to set up and manage your own SEM marketing campaigns and Google My Business listing, there are several benefits to leaving these tasks to the professionals.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider hiring a professional for your SEM marketing and GMB setup:
- Save time and resources. Setting up and managing SEM marketing campaigns and a GMB listing can be time-consuming and requires expertise in several areas. By hiring a professional, you can save time and resources and focus on other aspects of your business.
- Get better results. Professionals have the experience and expertise to optimize your SEM marketing campaigns and GMB listing for better results. This can help you attract more customers, improve online visibility, and grow your business.
- Keep up with the latest trends and best practices. The world of SEM marketing and GMB optimization is constantly evolving, and it can be challenging for business owners to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. Hiring a professional ensures that your SEM marketing and GMB optimization strategies are up-to-date and effective.
- Improve your return on investment (ROI). A professional SEM marketing and GMB optimization strategy can help you improve your ROI by targeting the right customers and maximizing your advertising budget.
Take Advantage of Google My Business With Revity
Ready to take your local SEM strategy to the next level? Don’t hesitate to contact us at Revity for help with your Google My Business listing and other local SEO strategies. Our team of experts can help you optimize your online presence, attract more customers, and grow your business.