Introduction to Google My Business
Previously known as Google Local, and for a time even Google+ Local, Google My Business (GMB) is, as the name suggests, your business profile on Google. You can find out how to add or claim your Google My Business listing here.
It feeds information to a variety of places, including the local pack and Google Maps search results, but the most familiar appearance will likely be when it’s in the top right (or top on mobile) of a branded search for your business, as below.
Your GMB profile can include a host of information submitted by yourself, such as services you offer, contact details, business description, category, and opening times but it’s important to note that features such as GMB attributes, GMB Q&As, and Google Reviews are almost entirely generated by consumers, ideally with experience of your business.
A big part of local SEO is making your Google My Business profile as up-to-date and accurate as possible, so that it has a higher chance of appearing in the local pack, and trustworthy, attractive and appealing enough to warrant a clickthrough. Although it’s incredibly powerful, Google My Business is just one example of what’s known as a ‘citation’.
What are citations?
A citation is any place your business’ NAPW (Name, Address, Phone number, Website URL) information appears together online, typically in an online directory or business listings website.
These are particularly important to get in place for local SEO, as if you don’t appear in the places people are looking for businesses like yours, you’re likely to get overtaken by the competitors that do.
There are two types of citation: unstructured and structured. Structured citations typically appear in business listings and come from form fields being filled in when the listing is claimed. Below we’ve highlighted in yellow the structured citation for a Yelp listing.
According the online service Bright Local, 68% of consumers say they would stop using a local business if they found incorrect information in local directories!