Google's launch of the Google My Business (GMB) API last year reiterated how important local search is to its algorithms, and it gave businesses a new way to organize and present their brands and locations on Google search and Google Maps. Take a look at what it can do for your SEO strategy.
Greater Importance on Local SEO
These days, a directory listing is much more than an address and phone number — it helps you to increase your overall visibility. You can provide maps, directions, opening hours, business descriptions, website and social links, ratings and reviews that allow consumers to engage with your business. According to Mashable, Google is used for more than 100 billion searches each month, and more than half of those searches are performed on mobile devices. GMB's API's emphasis on local directory listings can help get your GMB listing rank even higher in mobile search than your own website's listing. For local businesses, appearing on a Google map is key, especially on mobile, as it gives the user immediate access to all the information they need — and it's all easily loaded into Google Maps or a GPS app. Adding this to your overall SEO strategy will go a long way toward building awareness and increasing your visibility.
Easier Account Management
This kind of easy-to-use all-in-one platform allows you to edit your information and keep it current. Google will send out potential special hours notifications for holidays, but you can set special hours for any day of the year. Take a half-day on your birthday every year? Now your customers will know. Search Engine Land notes that the GMB API lets you easily do things like manage special hours and business photos or mark a location as permanently closed. You can also manage locations listings and business accounts and filter locations by category, name or label, which makes GMB equally beneficial for larger businesses that need to manage many locations.
You can also list your ratings and engage with your reviews, meaning not only does the API give companies more control over how they appear, it offers consumers more accurate and comprehensive information and engagement. And, as Search Engine Land points out, increasing the accuracy and the amount of information you provide to Google will also improve your customers' experience and increase their sense of trust in your brand, which will keep them coming back.
Once you have your GMB listing set up, make sure you venture abroad, especially if your business targets specific regions. Creating a presence in local directories and on review sites is crucial if you want to be found. Your GMB page will rank higher if you list your company on third-party directory sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, Superpages, Citysearch and Local.com. Having an active presence on these sites signals to Google that your business is active in your local community. For consistency across the Web, be sure to list the same information in every directory.
To ensure your listing is SEO-optimized, always check that your GMB listing includes the correct location info, the right placement of your balloon on the map, your official website and a complete profile — including video, images, reviews and ratings. Add some content that addresses your consumers' most frequently asked questions, and then ensure you have properly categorized your business, and you're on your way to profiting from all the ways GMB can contribute to your SEO strategy.