First things first, unless you didn’t know, Google My business changed its name a few months ago and is now called Google Business profile.
The only reason I used the term “Google My Business” in the title of this article is that the number of people searching for “Google my business SEO” is way higher than the number of people using “Google Business profile SEO”
Since the title of a blog article is a very important ranking factor , it was a much wiser choice if I wanted my article to rank high and attract more visitors. And this is your very first Google My business SEO lesson.
If you want to rank high on Google Maps, it’s important you understand what truly works.
Sadly the internet is not short of self-proclaimed local SEO experts saying they know what works but provide poor advice and so-called shortcuts that will likely result in a total waste of your time and disappointment.
The Google Business Profile SEO tactics I’m going to share with you today have been researched, tried and tested across hundreds of Google business listings by the top experts in local search who share their findings in the annual local search ranking factor report.
This is the bible for anyone wanting to Rank N#1 on Google maps which I have been using year after year to consistently get my clients into the Google Maps top spots.
Using this report along with a simple Google chrome extension, I‘m going to show you the fastest way to rank your own Google Business Profile N#1 on Google maps.
If you’re ready let’s get going with our first step.
Google My Business SEO Tool
For efficiency purposes and to speed up the process I recommend you install a Google Chrome extension called GMB everywhere.
GMB everywhere is a simple tool you can add to your google chrome browser that will provide valuable information about your competitors which you can use to your advantage.
To download the extension click here.
Once you’ve downloaded the extension, go to Google maps. When conducting a search, GMB everywhere will overlay information on all the listings in the results.
We’ll be using this information to help boost your rankings. More on this in just a few seconds. Before let’s look at the Local ranking factor report to see what matters the most.
The Local Ranking Factor Report
As you can see from the report there are really only 20 local ranking factors you should consider if you want to increase your position on Google maps.
Since this article is all about helping you rank as fast as possible we’re going to go through the ones that will have the biggest impact in the shortest period of time with minimum effort starting with your primary business category.
Your Google My Business Primary Category
Your business category is the N#1 influential factor Google will take into consideration when ranking your listing in Google maps results.
Although choosing the right business category may seem to be a straightforward exercise at first, it may not be as simple as you think.
Let’s say you run a nail and beauty salon, should you choose beauty salon or nail salon as a primary category since both options are available?
If I do some keyword research it would appear that “nail salon” could be a much better option. It has more monthly searches and is nowhere near as hard to rank for.
If you’re not sure which primary category you should choose, spy on your competitors using the GMB everywhere extension. Search for a keyword you want to rank for then look at the categories your competitors are using which will be highlighted with a star.
The other categories listed are secondary categories which GMB everywhere will also reveal.
If some of them are relevant to your business I would suggest you add them to your listing too, since secondary categories are listed as the 5th most influential factor in the local ranking factor report.
Finally, whichever primary category you choose, make sure it is in line with the content of the page your listing links to.
For example, if you’re a dentist and deal mainly with dental implants, pick dental implants as a primary category and make the content of your page about dental implants, specifically the title and the header of the page which are factors 11 and 20 on the list of the report.
To change or add categories to your listing, sign in to the Google account associated with your business profile. Search for your business name. Click on edit profile then on business information.
You should see a section called business category. Click on the pencil icon to edit. Let’s move on to the next ranking factor
Your Google My Business Name
I’ve mentioned this time and time again in previous articles, your business name plays a significant part in the ranking of your listing on Google maps.
As it stands it is n#2 on the most influential ranking factor in the report.
Having the keywords you are targeting in your business name will help you a great deal to rank very high and very fast on Google maps for those keywords. I was able to rank a listing N#1 in less than 96 hrs using this technique.
Many business owners are aware of it, that’s why it’s not unusual to see listings that have very similar names in search results.
You can use this to your advantage as long as you can legitimately add keywords to your business name.
Word of caution, Google’s guidelines are very clear on this topic. Including unnecessary information in your business name is not permitted, your name should reflect your business’s real-world name or your listing could end up being suspended as a result.
But if done carefully you can get away with it like in this example for this business called Michigan Auto Law who represent themselves as – Michigan Auto Law – Auto Accident Attorneys allowing them to add extra keywords in their Google business title which, I’m sure is giving them a ranking advantage.
One last thing to mention regarding business names, Google updated its local algorithm in December 2021 which has reduced how influential keywords in business names are so do not become reliant on this strategy.
Moving on to the next tactic
Your Google My Business Reviews
If you’re looking for a local business on Google maps, what is one of the first things you will be checking before calling them? Reviews of course.
A business lives or dies based on its reputation. This is the primary reason why you must collect positive reviews from your customers in the first place.
Google reviews play a key part in how well your business ranks on Google maps for many reasons.
First, review ratings Getting positive reviews will give you a clear advantage. Second, if customers include relevant keywords you are targeting in their reviews, it will also help you rank for those words. Third, the number of reviews you are getting is also important.
To capitalise on reviews here is what I recommend you do. Contact every customer you do business with and ask them for a review.
This is recommended by Google by the way so don’t feel like you are begging. Send them an email that will encourage them to include relevant keywords in their reviews.
I have put together a template you can use to do this in a very subtle way.
When you send your review requests make sure you include a direct link to your listing review pop-up so it makes it easier for your customer to provide feedback.
To get the appropriate link, sign in to the Google account associated with your listing. Search for your business name. Click on the customer button and then on reviews then click on get more reviews, copy the link and add it to the email template you have downloaded then send it to your customers.
Make sure you respond to all reviews, positive and negative and make them personal. Avoid copied and pasted answers.
Ideally, you want to outdo your competitors to get the best chances of ranking above them. To check how well they are doing go to Google maps. Search for their listing and use the GMB everywhere extension to run a review audit on their listing.
This will show you if they are aggressively using reviews as a strategy and what keywords their customers are using to describe their services which I think is pretty awesome.
Use this information to adapt your own strategy. GMB everywhere will allow you to run 5 free audits a month.
Let’s move on to our next point
Getting Some Backlinks
Ever since its creation, Google has always used links to rank websites in search results. Let’s say you run a local café for which you created a website and one of your blogger friends wrote an article on his blog in which he included a link that points to your website.
This would be considered as one backlink. Since Google uses backlinks as a strong ranking signal, the more backlinks your website gets, the higher it will rank.
When it comes to ranking on Google maps, the backlinks that will matter the most are local backlinks that point to your website. For example links from your local chamber of commerce website, local bloggers, your local church or school and so on.
These links will clearly show Google your business is an important part of the local community.
Since there is a strong correlation between your Google listing ranking on Google maps and the website it links to, the more local links you will get pointing to your website, the more relevant your listing will become, therefore the higher it will rank.
The quickest way to get local links is to engage with your local community and ask website owners at every opportunity if they’d be willing to add a link on their website that points to yours.
This will make a huge difference to your listing visibility on Google maps and stands at numbers 8 and 18 in the local ranking factor report.
Based on my experience I feel confident these key recommendations are the fastest route to Rank N#1 on Google maps.
I also believe that most of your competitors will not take the time or be willing to do the work making your life even easier to reach the top spot on Google maps.
Instead, they’d rather follow the advice of some pretend marketing gurus who promise the earth via hacks and shortcuts which don’t work and may result in your listing being suspended. All in the name of making a few bucks for themselves.
The last thing I’d recommend is to check your results regularly to see if your efforts are paying off.
Checking Your Performance
GMB everywhere has just launched a brand new functionality called teleport which simulates a search from a nearby location.
All you need to do is bring up your listing on Google Maps. Click on the teleport option. Type the keyword you want to check ranking for then click on the location of the map where you want to check if your listing ranks, then click on teleport me here.
It will show where you’re listing ranks on the maps when someone searches for this keyword at that precise spot and who is ranking above you.
Alternatively, you can use more sophisticated tools such as Bright local which will measure your progress over time and how far your business listing reaches on Google maps.