Fifty percent or more of searches never leave the search engine results page these days. This is because of the information that businesses are adding to their Google My Business pages. THIS IS A GAME CHANGER for search engine optimization (SEO). Local SEO has never meant so much to a small business and never has one company’s platform (Google My Business) had so much sway over which business gets seen and which business does not. The following posts explains briefly what needs to be done to rank well.  

How To Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Page

The following are the main areas that will improve your Google Maps rankings. Local SEO is just a part of SEO but many of the things you do in Local SEO need to be in place before more advanced SEO tasks can be made. If your budget only allows limited SEO tasks be performed and you are a local business, then you need to get the Local SEO Essentials completed correctly first and work on your on-page Website SEO 2nd. Then everything else. The following tasks are what you should do in the order they should be completed…

  1. Choose your GMB categories properly
  2. Decide the relevant keywords to use through the listing
  3. Optimize your website
  4. Report competitors that are breaking guidelines
  5. Confirm that directory citation information is correct
  6. Fill-out all your GMB profile fields
  7. Collect customer reviews (and reply to them)
  8. Consistently Make Posts to GMB posts
  9. Consistently add images and video to your GMB listing
  10. Consistently answer questions from prospects/clients and post owner q&a’s on your GMB listing

1) Make Sure Your Google My Business Categories Are Set Correctly

There are a bunch of categories to choose from on GMB and you can choose more then one for your business. Make sure all your services and products are represented in the categories that you choose. Pick the best fitting category for your entire offering as the Primary Category choice. Then add the other Sub-Categories. The category choices may not always match your product or service offerings exactly but make sure to choose the closest options available. If you are unsure of what primary and secondary categories to choose, check out your competition’s categories for some insight. Example: A pizza restaurant would have “Pizza restaurant” as it’s primary category, with “Italian restaurant” and “Restaurant” as additional categories. The order of the additional categories does not seem to matter, but choosing the correct primary category is super important.

2) Decide on Relevant Keywords To Be Used Throughout Your Google My Business Listing

You need to decide on the best title for your GMB Listing because it is the most important Google Maps ranking factor. The GMB rules is that you official business name has to be in this field. You cannot just add any keywords that you want. The official GMB rules state “Your name should reflect your business’s real-world name, as used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and as it is known to customers.”

Your name must not include…

  • Marketing taglines. (“McDonalds” is allowed. “McDonalds – I’m Loving It” is not allowed.)
  • Service or product information about your business, unless this information is part of its real world representation or this information is needed to identify a department within a business. (“McDonalds” is allowed. “McDonalds Big Mac” is not allowed.)
  • Location information, such as neighborhood, city, or street name, unless it is part of your business’s consistently-used and recognized real-world representation. Your name must not include street address or direction information. (“McDonalds Erlanger” is allowed. “McDonalds – 555 Dixie Highway” is not allowed.)

3) Optimize The On-Page SEO On Your Website

In the website field is where you can add a business’ website. You can also add a contact page, menu page, and more. Google needs this website address information so it can collect other important info from your website automatically. The following are a few important things you need to do to rank higher in Google Maps…

  • Make Sure Google Is Indexing Your Website – Check that the website settings on your website are set to allow your site to be indexed. Run a “site search” by typing into your address bar to see which pages are indexed.
  • Setup/Monitor Google Analytics / Google Search Console – Make sure you site is setup with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You need to get Google Search Console to crawl your site. You also need to fix any problems Search Console finds with you site at first and overtime to make your site available for better search rankings.
  • Add a Page Title for Each Web Page –  Add the business name, main keywords, and location on the title of each of your web pages.
  • Add Your NAP – Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are on every page of your site in the same place and used in the same exact way.
  • Create a Page For Each Service – Google was specific information to send it’s customers to. The more specific and detailed your pages are, the better their search results we be.
  • Other Organic SEO – On page SEO, Blogs, Backlinks, etc.

Most web designers aren’t SEO experts. They go for look and feel so it’s your job or your marketing partner to make sure all of this is in place. If the above information is setup correctly it will hurt your search engine results.

4) Report Competitors Who Are Breaking Google Maps Guidelines To Google 

2 ways businesses are breaking the rules on Google Maps…

  1. Legitimate listings that are adding keywords to their names to rank better
  2. Fake’ listings that are created to try to get more visibility for a services or something but they are legitimate businesses.

When you find these violations, you should contact Google to have them changed or removed. Everyone needs to be playing the game fairly.

5) Confirm That Your Directory Citation Information Is Correct

Directories hold your name, address, and phone on them. You can individually go to the 100’s of directories and change each of them yourself or partner with a Local SEO partners to help you. Most directories get their information from data aggregators. If they have you info wrong or not exactly how you have it on GMB or on your Website that will hurt your SEO. Local SEO partners have sophisticated software that takes the information you have on you GMB page and Website and makes sure it is shared with those data aggregators and the most important directories on the internet. The more information you provide to Google, the more info Google can provide its searchers, and the more “comfortable” it will be ranking you higher in its results.

6) Complete All Google My Business (GMB) Profile Fields

These are some of the most common fields most business owners will find on the Info tab of their GMB dashboard…

  • Business Name
  • Categories
  • Address
  • Service Area
  • Hours
  • Special Hours
  • Phone Number
  • Profile Short Name
  • Website
  • Appointment Url
  • Menu Url
  • Services
  • About
  • Accessibility
  • Highlights
  • Offerings
  • Planning
  • Description
  • Open Date

Some categories of businesses will see more or fewer fields, but these represent the ones that most everyone will see. Fill-out as much information as possible for every field. The more complete information you can provide, the better your rankings could be. Business name and the categories you pick are the most important of them. You want this information on their so people can use it and understand you better also. It’s not just about SEO entirely. It can also be about convincing a prospect to call you or give your business a shot.

7) Collect Customer Reviews AND Reply To Them

Online reviews matter in many ways. One is that people want to see that a large sampling of people who have worked with you like their experiences. They want to see that your reviews aren’t dusty and that you consistently get good reviews month after month. The text in the reviews is sometimes pulled into the Google Maps results when it matches or is associated to a keyword phrase used in a search. So it is logical to conclude that the more reviews you have, the more chance you have at matching up close to particular search phrases. Responding to good and bad reviews is very important and is watching. If you are responsive they know you care about the reviews being left by your customers and that is a signal to Google that you are a good candidate for better search rankings. Asking all customers to review you and then responding to those reviews is a very good way to help your Local SEO.

8) Consistently Make Posts On GMB

Conventional SEO wisdom believe that more posts directly on GMB will increase your Local SEO rankings. The more you use Google’s GMB platform for posts, the more you will be rewarded in local search rankings. The effects of posting will wain over time if you don’t keep consistently posting every week through GMB. Again, Local SEO partners have sophisticated tools that are connected with GMB to make this process much easier to do.

9) Consistently Add Images and Video To Your GMB Listing

Adding photos to your listings shows people your goods and services over time and is a great way to convert a prospect into a customers. Maybe even more importantly, Google has said that “providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local rankings and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.” Google wants you to have more pictures then your competition but it doesn’t want them all dropped on the same day. It want’s them added like you are adding your posts, one a week or more consistently over time. This will better show the real story of your business in pictures over time as it evolves instead on one large photo dump showing how your business was on just one particular day. The meta data that is added to the pictures as they are sent up is crucial to help you cause also.

Make sure to include all or some of following meta data when adding your pictures…

  • Business Name and Keywords in the Title of the Image
  • GPS Latitude Ref
  • GPS Latitude
  • GPS Longitude Ref
  • GPS Longitude
  • Owner Name
  • Artist
  • Copyright
  • Datestamp

10) Consistently Answer Questions From Prospects/Clients and Post Owner Q&A’s On Your GMB Listing

People can randomly ask questions that publicly display on your listing and anyone can answer. Anyone can say ANYTHING in your Q&A’s so you need to monitor them and answer them quickly and accurately. You can all use it yourself and turn it into an FAQ-style content box on your business profile. Google says… “add frequently asked questions to your listing so that users who find your business on Google Search and Google Maps can easily get the answers to your customers’ most common questions.” The information in the Q&A’s can help direct searches to your business, so just like review, the more the Q&A’s you have the better change you have of showing up in searches.

How Will You Know If It’s Working?

It can be tough to see how you are doing in different local areas without the right software. You would need to drive to all the different local areas and search the keywords in each of them to see how you are ranking. A good LOCAL SEO Provider will be able to prove they are helping you with reports show how you and you competition are doing. Graphics like the following but with more detailed business information will show how you are doing in specific areas of town….

Click to View Larger

Main Street Marketing’s Local SEO Services

Just like all other SEO, Main Street Marketing has never seen a small business be able to pull SEO or Local SEO off on their own. Not once since we started way back in 2006… NOT ONE… NOT EVEN CLOSE. You need help to get the results you want. It takes someone who knows how it all works together. Someone who can create an affordable way to input the right information in the right places to make a difference in search results. Main Street Marketing has developed a Local SEO Service that all small businesses can afford. The Local Marketing Essentials package combines GMB updates, citation management, online reviews and website marketing to give your business a fighting chance locally. When you are ready for more then just essential local marketing then you will want to move on to our Internet Presence Package. > Learn More 

Main Street Marketing can help your small business cut through today’s online marketing clutter and bring your company more leads from it’s online marketing efforts!

Contact us (859-904-8035) today to get started!


Since 2006, Main Street Marketing has been creating Internet Presence Solutions for small businesses mainly in the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky area. Main Street Marketing uses internet marketingsearch engine optimizationsocial medialead generation, and video to create a true Internet Presence for its clients. When integrated correctly, this core group of services provide results together that none of the services could provide on their own or in phases.
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