What are Google My Business Local SEO citations?
Google My Business is an online showcase for businesses that want to be found in local searches, such as hotels, restaurants, and stores. For activities that operate on a territorial basis, it is essential that they appear on the Google map when users search in their geographical area; the Google My Business card is the tool provided by the search engine to make them visible to customers wherever they are and help them improve search engine positioning.
According to Google statistics, 80% of searches for business information are performed locally, that is, combining services and products in a specific location.
This is why Google is a locally relevant search engine, rewarding results relevant to the search area, based on the user’s IP and geolocation, so that everyone will have personalized results based on where they are located.
Google My Business optimization activities are used to index business activities and fall under what is defined as a local Seo strategy: the set of all those practices that help to position the activity on Google Maps so that it appears in local searches. Appearing on Google Maps is key to SEO strategies.
Register activity in Google My Business
If you haven’t already done so, the first thing you must do is register your business on Google My Business. You must have a Google profile and then Gmail then goes to www.google.com/business and select “Start Now”, then search for your business on the map.
Here you can find two options:
- If the activity appears by itself, it means that there is already a profile and you can request the administration right;
- If the activity does not appear, you must register by selecting “Add an activity” and entering all the necessary data. In this case, it is necessary to verify the activity, to show Google that the indicated address corresponds to a real place. Verification can be done by entering a phone number to receive a code or by sending a postcard to the activity site. This will arrive in 1-2 weeks and will contain the code that will be included in the Google MyBusiness profile.
After verifying the activity, you can continue to complete the form with all the necessary data and information; then we see how to do nothing to neglect and how to optimize the card to climb to the top of the local search results.
Optimize Google My Business Card for Local Seo
The name of the activity
The title must be the real name of the activity, you can add the city or province, but it is not recommended to change it to insert some keywords: Google must be able to match the My Business profile with the real activity.
All contact data entered (name, address, phone, email) must correspond exactly to those present on the site, on social networks, and on all web portals where the activity is registered. The consistency of the data is, in fact, one of the most important factors that determine the ranking in Google My Business, because it confirms to Google that the activity is real and present in the indicated area.
It is very important that the complete physical address of the activity appears, as well as the opening hours of each day, including holidays, closed days, and those with special opening hours.
The choice of categories is critical because it helps Google and users understand what type of activity it is.
You can choose a main category, which will be the most important and the only one that will be shown to users, and two other secondary categories that will not appear in the search results but that Google will use to define if the activity is relevant to searches and, therefore, will be less included in the proposed results.
This tool provides help to define the categories correctly: Google Places categories tool for businesses.
Citations represent a key factor, i.e. all references to the activity found online: first of all, it is necessary to insert the link to one’s own website, then it is useful to give certain references, especially if they are authoritative sources (e.g. White Pages, TripAdvisor).
The citations should contain the essential contact data, the so-called NAP (name, address, telephone), as well as other useful information to briefly describe the activity. Obviously, here too the data must be homogeneous in all references because any discrepancy would penalize the ranking score.
It is an important factor (even if it is not among the main ones) to establish the authority of a network activity and improve the ranking in local searches. In this field, Google gives priority to its favorite channel, Google Plus, so it is highly recommended to register and complete the profile. Your network activity is just as important, so in terms of followers, followers.
Name keywords and locations
The Google My Business card is prepared with spaces to insert a brief description and a detailed presentation, obviously, it is always better to compile both. In the descriptions, it is important to insert the most relevant keywords for the activity (without exaggeration) and to name the city and the province where it is located.
Google uses local references (city, municipality or province) to understand where the company is located. It is also advisable to mention them in the title, content, and alternative text of the images.
The number of photos on the activity sheet is another important ranking factor. The My Business page already has several categories in which to upload images: interior photos, exterior photos, and staff photos.
It is good to include at least 4-5 of good quality, taken on site (not taken from catalogs or brochures), and, above all, that they are real images, not graphics or logos so that they can also be used on Google Maps.