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When you visit a new restaurant and have a good experience, you will most likely not keep it to yourself. When people enjoy a great meal, exceptional service, or a good atmosphere, they tell other people about it.


Most of us are continuously looking to find new spots to hang out. The same applies to other businesses and services. Drivers recommend a good option to people who are looking for affordable mechanics, while someone looking for a doctor may ask for recommendations.

However, it can work the opposite way too. If you go to a new restaurant and are not satisfied when you come out, you will want to let others know about it too. Instead of letting others go through the trouble you did, you'd recommend that they not go there and maybe suggest some other place to them.


Businesses live and die through this sort of communication. In this new era, the internet has made it even easier for the word to spread quickly about specific products and services. One of the most popular websites that focus on business reviews and sharing information is Yelp.com.


If you have ever looked up restaurant reviews on the internet, you have most likely visited Yelp. This is people's go-to when they are looking for a place to eat. However, it is more than just that. Yelp was founded in 2004. It is a popular online directory to search for local businesses like bars, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, spas, and gas stations.


You can look for Yelp through its website or with the official apps for android and iOS. Yelp's Listings are sorted by business type, and results are filtered by location, price, and features like outdoor seating, delivery, or the ability for reservations.


Yelp has a powerful social engagement and encourages its users to leave reviews, ratings, and photos of their experience at the businesses they have visited. Each Yelp account has a friends list in which you can add people from Facebook or your device's address book. The reviews that are posted on Yelp can be views by other users too. Popular reviewers are given the opportunity to be promoted to Yelp Elite Status.[1]


Benefits of Yelp

The major benefit of Yelp is the ease of communication that the users experience. The site acts as the digital version of word-of-mouth. Also, with Yelp communities growing in most American cities, it is easier to find places to go to and see what others think about that place.

However, Yelp is not only about reviews. You can also find events, reminders, and special offers from the site. This allows you to send messages to users and even "Follow" them, which will enable you to view their posts before anyone else when you are searching for a business.

If you want to post personal reviews on Facebook, you can import them directly from your Facebook profile. All you have to do is log in and click on the Settings link below the status update field. You can then select the "automatically import activity" to upload your most recent content and inform your audience about your taste.[2]


[1] Lifewire (2020). What is Yelp and How Does It Work? Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-yelp-4685842 [2] How Stuff Works (2020). How Yelp Works. Retrieved from https://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/social-networking/networks/yelp.htm



By now, you understand that GMB is not your business profile. Instead, it is a tool through which you can enhance your business profile and boost its visibility and effectiveness. Here are the core ways in which you can use this GMB to make your profile on Google listing a better local marketing tool.


1.Engage with Customers

There are many ways consumers can interact with your business profile. You can use your GMB account to engage with them and answer any questions they have asked. You can respond to comments, reviews, answer questions by direct message them, and set up any related alerts. You can also use GMB to publish posts to your business profile, just like you would do on your Facebook account.


2. Highlight Your Business

A business profile has limited information about your business. But through your GMB account dashboard, you can provide unlimited information, a link to your website, products, pricing, and other details that make your business stand out from the rest. You can also use your GMB to make any edits and updates required for your business.


3. Gain Insights

You can use the GMB dashboard to gain insights into your audience and local search performance. In the analytics tab, you can see customer queries that they are facing when finding your business profile. Whether the customer has found you through Google Maps or Google search, you can see a breakdown of actions taken on your listing and how your photos are performing as compared to other profiles of the same category.


4.Perform Local SEO

Just as Google has algorithms for ranking its ads and websites, it has one for ranking business profiles. Through your GMB dashboard, you can incorporate keywords in your business profile and perform any other optimizations to help it rank in local results.


5.Using Google My Business for SEO

Google's business profiles are dynamic. Not only do they change form based on the platform, but Google also selects sections of your profile based on the term that was searched the most and the type of information that is most important to consumers in your category. Moreover, Google will embed keywords in the content of your profile that it considers relevant.

However, information must be prioritized and keywords must be added to your profile in the first place. Just as you would use a content management system to optimize your website for search engines, GMB optimizes your profile and expands your reach. So how do you use GMB for local SEO?


Target Your Information

To use GMB for SEO, make sure that you incorporate relevant keywords into your business profile so you can tell Google what you are ranking for. Use them in your description, your responses to reviews, your answers to questions, and in the posts that you publish. Make sure that you incorporate them like you would any other SEO strategy.


Maintain Information Quality

The accuracy of your business profile impacts its range. Therefore, you need to ensure that you provide the requested information in each section of your GMB dashboard. The most essential information is your contact, special hours, and your attributes.


Build Trust

The last approach to using GMB for SEO is the trust component of Google's algorithm. You need to keep your information updated and accurate as your business evolves. Keep a flow of reviews coming in and try responding to them. Also, send a signal to Google that you are active by uploading photos and publishing posts regularly through GMB.

SEO is important for any business, particularly for small businesses that can use local targeting to compete against large competitors on the SERP. Google is making local SEO easier with its robust business profiles. Therefore a Google My Business account is essential for any business trying to be visible in the local market.[1]

[1] Word Stream (2020). What is Google My Business & Why Do I Need It? Retrieved from https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/06/08/what-is-google-my-business

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Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hours a day. Zig Ziglar


Now you are probably wondering what this means. I came up with this term a few years back when I was running my own digital agency and doing everything digital for clients. I liked my agency, but my heart was in helping small businesses get the basics right. If the foundation of the house is set correctly, then it's easy to build the walls and the roof!


My 'aha' moment was that every small business foundation is a local search. It all starts with getting mapped locally. My friend owns a café located in Atlanta, Georgia. They are tucked away on an inside street in a quaint neighborhood and have several coffee shops around, including the giants like Starbucks.


Our strategy was to create a local brand for them by doing an excellent job of making sure their Google My Business (GMB) was set up 100% and that postings on GMB were fresh and themed. We ensured they had a well-done set up in Yelp as well. That was the game-changer for them.


I did the very same thing for a cigar lounge when I first found them. Their Google Maps was pinned to a grass patch of the strip mall. After we set their GMB up correctly by following all the prompts on the GMB platform, they started noticing a steady flow of new customers from the hotels nearby. They were getting a lot of female clients who were coming in after searching 'cigar lounge near me' or 'cigars near me' and buying the full box of cigars as gifts for their loved ones. This was a whole new set of unique customers that the store never thought they would attract. This is why GMB is so powerful and helpful to a local business owner. You will never always know who is looking for what and when.


These are some of my incredible experiences that help fulfill my passion for assisting small businesses.


Google My Business

For businesses to gain more visibility on Google, they create a Google Business listing known as a Business Profile. If you are a business owner, you need to know that creating a Business Profile will not give you management over it. You will need those management and editing skills if you want your Business Profile to work as an effective SEO and lead generation tool.

A Google My Business account is the only way you can claim ownership of your business profile, get your rights to it, and unlock any other free features to increase your visibility on Google. Let's begin with these basics.


So your business profile is Google's term for your Google business listing. Business profiles show up on Google Maps and in the local results of Google search. Creating a business profile is almost the same as adding a place to Google Maps. Anyone can do it!


All that Google needs is a name, a location, and a category. Once Google confirms that it is not a duplicate, it will create the business profile for that specific location. The business profile is then open to consumers to leave photos, reviews, questions, and even answer questions regarding your business.


A business profile can also be populated with information that Google gets from the web. This means that a business profile is capable of existing on its own apart from the Google My Business account. And despite you creating your own business profile or not, you do not have the authority to manage the information that it displays or the reviews that it collects. This is the point where Google My Business comes in. By creating a Google My Business account, you can easily access, customize, manage, and enhance your business profile on Google for free.

MAP ME LOCAL

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA. MapMeLocal has helped small businesses across the US be discovered by more local customers by leveraging the power of the internet.

We believe that America's small businesses are the strongest force for economic good in the country. That's why we bring decades of expertise, powerful tools, and passion for business to helping small businesses capture a bigger share of their local audience.

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