When it comes to ranking on Google, the Google My Business feature has become increasingly crucial for business marketing on the web. Top creative agencies audit and update Google My Business for their clients. Whether you’re an agency representative, website designer, or small business owner, Google My Business is an easy win when it comes to local search engine optimization, or SEO.
Let’s look at how Google My Business could help a fictional creative agency client who is interested in marketing private schools. This client wants to know ways to increase enrollment in preschool. From a digital marketing perspective, this is all about positioning the private school client as local on Google.
While the best content creation is useful for attracting inbound visitors, the local SEO component is more immediately important for the client in need of private school marketing.
What is Google My Business?
As a Google user, have you ever looked up something like “pizza near me” or “pizza delivery” to find local results, sorted by physical distance, complete with customer ratings? That’s because Google understands the importance of location when it comes to certain businesses. If you’re looking to order something generic, the location may be irrelevant, but for something like a private school, this is important. Therefore, Google My Business is an important component of digital marketing for anyone looking for ways to increase enrollment in a preschool.
Google My Business is the boxed result that comes up when you search for a local business. This search result displays the business name, services, categories, website, photos, ratings, and questions and answers from users. When it comes to Google rankings, though, which of these matters?
How Google My Business Impacts Local SEO
In October of 2020, Joy Hawkins of Sterling Sky revealed her agency’s research findings on the Moz blog. Hawkins and her team found that of all the data in Google My Business, those impacting rankings are the business name, categories the business is listed in, the website, and the star ratings.
Our fictional private school marketing client’s creative agency account manager should ensure that their business name is correctly spelled and listed on Google My Business. Since they are looking for ways to increase enrollment in preschool-aged children, the account manager should ensure the categories include this age range or list it as close as possible. The manager should check the website and make sure it leads to the correct place.
Lastly, there are the star ratings. Emailing previous customers (and parents of previous or current students) via the business’ email list is a completely valid way to politely ask for ratings. The business could even offer a referral bonus in the same email. Engaging alumni in this fashion is also one of many successful marketing ideas for private schools.
Of course, getting listed as a top local result is only part of the battle. Those star rankings matter: Search Engine Journal reports that positive reviews engender trust in a local business for 72% of consumers, and 88% of consumers report reading reviews to gauge a local business’ quality. When it comes to something important like a child’s education (especially a rather costly education), marketing goes well beyond ways to increase enrollment in preschool. Parents are going to immediately look into that star quality on Google My Business.
How to Use Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool. Business owners and their representative creative agencies can access it. To do so, Google the business. Likely, a search result will come up. Click “Own this business?” on the listing to get permission to edit it.
This process can take some time, for Google must verify that you are (or are representing) the business owner. In some cases, Google will mail the business owner a postcard with a code to verify the address. It’s best to manage expectations here: getting Google My Business set up can take a few weeks due to this process.
Like most digital marketing efforts, a Google My Business listing takes time, but as Hawkins pointed out in her Moz research, it is an example of how to get rankings in your local area.