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In recent years, Google has revamped its “Google My Business” (GMB) program to provide data to business owners more efficiently. It also makes it easier for people to search for local businesses. If your business isn’t listed under GMB, it should be. The amount of traffic and new customers the program provides is invaluable. However, simply signing up isn’t going to bring in the most powerful traffic. Business owners should further optimize their GMB listings to get the most out of the program. 

Why Optimization is Important

The funny thing about this service is that sometimes your business will pop up in local searches even if you haven’t claimed your listing. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’re getting free exposure, which could lead to new customers and more money. On the other hand, it leaves your listing floating in limbo. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to claim and optimize your business listing.

How to Claim Your Listing

You can start by visiting the Google My Business home page. Click the “manage now” button. Google is going to take you to a page asking you for basic information about your business. Fill in the form, and submit it.

The verification process is next. Google is going to ask you how you want to verify your business listing. Once you’ve selected this option, Google will mail you a postcard with a verification code. This method ensures your listing will not fall into non-owner hands. Once you receive the postcard, return to the Google Business website, enter your verification code, and your listing goes live.

How to Optimize Your Listing

The next thing you should do is optimize your listing. This means you need to fill in every possible field with keywords relevant to your business. Photos are especially important. Upload your logo, a cover picture, and photos of any products or services that you may sell. Check that you have filled out the alt text for these images to include your business keyword.

You can use keywords for your GMB listing, but you shouldn’t overdo it. This can help people find your business, but you can also get penalized by Google for stuffing too many in there. As with all things, balance is key. You don’t want to overwhelm people, so make sure that your listing is detailed, but professional. For instance, include the business name and the names of the higher-ups, if those are important, and make sure you mention all of the services provided. A digital marketing agency would use keywords relevant to social media and graphic design, a catering company would include the names of business partners, and so on. Once you’ve fully optimized your page, try checking it every month via Google Analytics, and keep track of keywords that bring customers to your business listing!