Have you noticed that Google only shows 3 top businesses in its search results when you are looking for a business near you? Did you know that the businesses you see listed in the “3-pack” at the top of Google search results are there because they happen to be located closest to the person conducting the Google search?
The businesses that are lucky enough to make it into the 3-pack for any given location get the most calls and the most visits. That’s because their contact details, phone number, and website link are prominently displayed at the top of Google search results, making it fast and easy for customers to click to call the business or click to visit its website for more information.
If you want to make it easy for customers to find you on Google, you must start by claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile. And it’s not enough to simply add your business name, address and phone number (NAP). To set yourself apart from competing businesses in the same area, you must optimize your Google business listing by including a detailed and keyword-rich description of your business, the areas your business serves, high quality pictures, correct hours of operation, a link to your company website, and regular updates about newsworthy developments within your business, such as special events, sales, and new product or service offerings.
The Value of a Google Business Listing
Local Intent and Search Rankings Explained
Google is getting more and more advanced in refining searches for its users. Google knows the geographical location of people searching for local businesses online and serves each person the information that it believes would be most useful to him or her. To get the most out of Google’s intent-based local search results, businesses need to create and manage their Google Business Profiles in Google My Business.
Why is getting your business into the Google 3-Pack listing so important? Imagine you own a flower shop in Washington, DC and you have invested in an optimized website. When someone pulls out their phone and searches for a “flower delivery service Washington DC,” it is likely your flower shop will appear somewhere on the first page of Google search results.
However, if that same person drives a few miles away to Arlington or Alexandria and searches again for “flower delivery service,” they may not see your results displayed so prominently even though they are just a few miles away from your shop.
If your business isn’t showing up in the Google 3-Pack listings, it’s probably because you have not claimed and fully optimized your Google My Business profile.You may as well be sending business to your competitors who have made the effort to set up a proper Google business listing.
When you claim and fully optimize your Google My Business profile, Google will give priority to your listing over other businesses who have not claimed and optimized their business listing profile. In this case, when people search for “flower delivery service Washington DC,” from their homes or mobile phones, Google will give priority to displaying those businesses that have claimed their Google My Business profile using the same phrase and are located closest to the searcher’s location. This 3-pack list of local businesses will appear above the other businesses shown in the organic search results below the 3-Pack (Maps) listings.
As more and more businesses wake up the benefits of claiming and optimizing their Google My Business profiles, you will face stiffer competition for the Google 3-Pack placement. For this reason, regularly maintaining and updating your web presence must be an ongoing activity. Your position (ranking) in Google search results depends on the number and strength of various signals Google sees about your business. These signals include frequent updates about your business, listings and links in other websites (like Chamber of Commerce directories, social media mentions and local news articles), and on-page optimization.
Another important activity that can enhance your web presence and Google ranking is the quality and volume of customer reviews online. Businesses that rank well often have excellent reviews and 4- or 5-star ratings.
Our reputation and reviews management system can help you grow your brand’s strength, customer awareness and online visibility. Our system can also help you prevent negative reviews from getting published online while increasing the number of 4- and 5-star reviews that get published about your business.
How to Perfect Your Google Business Profile
A survey of SEO consultants revealed that the #1 mistake local businesses make with respect to their web presence is related to how their business is listed online.
Most small and medium-sized businesses do not monitor their web presence regularly to ensure that their business name, address and phone number (their “NAP”) are correctly displayed wherever they are mentioned online. Inconsistencies and variations in online mentions of your business name, address and phone number will lower your search result rankings because Google cannot determine which information is correct.
Getting your business listed in the Google My Business platform may seem like a simple task — but it actually requires expertise to do it right, as well as careful attention to details and constant monitoring to ensure optimum results. For this reason, it is always best to enlist the assistance of a Google My Business optimization and management expert like Herbst Marketing.
Our Local SEO Process
Step 1: GMB Setup and Verification If Google has already created a GMB listing for your business, we will claim and show you how to verify it. This will protect you against competitors who can steal your GMB profile out from under you and put replace your information with theirs.
If Google has not already created a profile for your business, then we will set it up and get it verified for you.
Step 2: Business Category Selection We will select the best categories for your business. Google does not allow you to make up your own category, — it must be selected from the options Google provides. It is not always clear which Google option is best for your business and that is one way we can help. We will select both a primary category that best represents your business and secondary categories as well, where they make sense.
Step 3: Photo Selection Google also gives priority to profiles that containt plenty of high quality pictures of their business. We will help you select and upload the photos that will best showcase your products and services to people who are searching online for businesses like yours.