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Google My Business Tips: Picking an Accurate Business Category

Google My Business Tips: Picking an Accurate Business Category

Once you’ve entered your business information in Google My Business (GMB), the next step is to pick an accurate business category. 

What is a Google My Business Category?

Your business category on your Google My Business listing is used to describe the type of business you operate (pet store, hardware store, grocery store etc.). 

It’s important to be specific when choosing your business category -the category you choose determines how local shoppers find you!

For example, if your primary category is “pet supply store”, your business will show up on Google when shoppers search for “pets”,”pet food”, or “pet supplies” in the area. 

Important Things to Note 

  • You can only select 1 primary category for your GMB listing.This is the category that people see on your business listing. It is also the most important – Google prioritizes your primary category in it’s search algorithm. 
primary category example
  • You can select up to 9 additional categories (other than your primary category) to describe your business. Focus on selecting the most relevant and specific categories for your business. 

  • You can’t create your own category. It is best to choose a more general category if you cannot find the one that you had in mind. 

  • Google can detect category information about your retail business from across the internet (including your own website and other mentions from across the web). 

Best Practices for Choosing a Business Category 

Google provides specific guidelines on how to choose a business category. 

Which can be broken down into the following points: 

1) Be as specific as possible when choosing a primary category. The more specific you are when choosing your primary category, the less local stores/businesses you will be competing against. For example, if you sell gift baskets, choose “gift basket store” instead of “gift store”.

2) Your primary category and additional categories should describe your retail business as a whole. Don’t add additional categories in an attempt to list all of your products, amenities, and services. For example, if you run a furniture business that also includes a pastry shop, avoid adding the category “pastry shop”. Instead, the pastry shop owner should claim their own listing and choose “pastry shop” as their primary category. Google suggests that you select categories that complete this statement: “This business IS a” rather than “this business HAS a”.  

3) Try minimizing the amount of additional categories that you add. Although you may be tempted to select as many categories as possible, it’s important not to. Doing so will negatively impact your store’s local ranking. Only choose categories that directly apply to your business!

Note: Skip adding categories that seem redundant. Again, you should focus on adding the categories that are most specific to your business. Google will do the rest of the work! For example, if you choose the category “children’s furniture store”, Google will implicitly add more general categories like “furniture store” and “children’s store”. 

For more information, on how to choose a business category, click here

How to Choose/Edit/Add a Business Category

1. Sign in to Google My Business here

2. Click on the “Info” tab on the left. 

info bar on google my business

3. Click on the pencil icon beside your primary category. 

pencil icon

4. Once you click on the pencil icon, you can either change your primary category or add additional categories.

primary and additional categories

5. Click on “Apply” in the right corner of the pop up screen. If the changes that you have made are significant, Google may ask you to verify your business again.

apply category changes

To learn more about the factors that affect your local search ranking, click here

#googlemybusiness #businesscategories #localseo #localsearchranking #foottraffic #cloudpos #retailpos 

Optimizing Google My Business: The Importance of NAP Consistency

Optimizing Google My Business: The Importance of NAP Consistency

Every retailer needs a Google My Business listing. 

It’s the single most important tool that store owners can leverage to gain local exposure. But it’s not enough to just have a listing, you must optimize it so you can reach as many local shoppers as possible. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the first step in optimizing your business listing. 

What is NAP Consistency?

To get started, Google My Business will request basic store information including your store name, address, and phone number (also known as NAP). 

This will act as the starting point for your store’s local seo

NAP

It is extremely important that the NAP you provide Google My Business is exactly the same as the information listed on your website. Otherwise, your ranking in search results will be negatively impacted. 

In fact, your store’s NAP should be consistent across the entire web – including other local directory listings and your social media.

This is known as NAP consistency: it can be defined as having your store’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently listed the same across the entire web. 

How Does it Affect Local SEO? 

NAP inconsistencies are the #1 issue affecting local search ranking.

ranking issue graph

NAP is critical for any retail store that wants to rank high in organic search and be found locally. This is because NAP is what causes your retail store to appear in local or geo-targeted searches. In other words, when a user searches for product or store information, Google uses NAP information to decide which stores to display in the search results. 

NAP Helps Google Determine Legitimacy 

It’s important to note that Google prioritizes businesses and sites that it believes to be legitimate. And to determine the legitimacy of a business, Google will reference how a business’s NAP appears across the web (including websites, local directory listings, social media profiles etc). If this information is not consistent, Google won’t know to display your store information to local shoppers. 

NAP Consistency Checklist for Retailers 

1. Decide how to format your name, address, and phone number. 

Tip: Keep your business name, address, and phone number consistent. For example, if you use Allison and Bret’s Pet Store, 123 Main street, and 555-555-5555 on your website, don’t use AB’s Pet Store, 123 Main St., or (555)-555-5555 on Google My Business.

2. Post your NAP on your website. You’ll want to ensure that it is visible on specific parts of your website including: a prominent location on your homepage, your contact page, and the header/footer on the rest of your webpages. You may also want to include an embedded Google Map of your business address on your contact page (this acts as a strong local SEO signal). 

3. Post your NAP on your Google My Business listing. Remember, it has to be exactly the same as the information listed on your website.

4. Improve local SEO by listing your business on local directories. Again, NAP on each listing should be consistent with your Google My Business profile and your website. The following are some online directories that will help your store appear in local search results:

  • Yelp

  • Yahoo Local 

  • Bing Place for Business

  • MerchantCircle

  • Yellow Pages

  • Foursquare

  • Manta

  • Angie’s List

  • Citysearch 

5. Add your NAP to your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc.). 

6. Once your NAP is listed across the web, make sure to periodically check that it is accurate and consistent.

SEO

Looking to increase foot traffic and store sales? Easily implement Google Local Inventory ads with our new Google integration. Learn more here.  

#NAPconsistency #NAPdefinition #localseo #googlemybusiness #optimizinggooglemybusiness

What is Local SEO and how can it Benefit your Retail Store?

What is Local SEO and how can it Benefit your Retail Store?

Reaching a local audience is critical to the success of any brick-and-mortar retailer. This is why local search engine optimization (or local SEO) is so important. 

Local SEO helps store owners promote their retail business to local shoppers.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about what local SEO is and how it can benefit your retail business – from increasing your online visibility, driving foot traffic, and ultimately growing your revenue. 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO stands for local search engine optimization. It is the process of “optimizing” your online presence so that your store can appear as high as possible in search results. By focusing on local SEO, you can attract more business from relevant local searches.

Essentially, the purpose of a local SEO strategy is to ensure that users can find you – both online and offline. 

The Importance of Local Search

shop local flag

According to Google: 

  • 4 in 5 shoppers use a search engine to find local information.

  • 50% of shoppers who conducted a local search on their smartphone, visited a store within the same day.

  • And 34% of users who searched on a computer/tablet did the same. 

Having said that, the amount of users that are conducting local searches is also growing at a significant rate. 

Over the past several years, there has been over a 500% growth rate in “near me” mobile searches that contain the phrases “can I buy” or “to buy”. 

For shoppers, search is no longer about finding a specific business. It is about finding a specific product in a specific place and in a specific period of time. 

The challenge for store owners then becomes giving target shoppers the answers they are looking for at the exact moment that they are searching. And by doing so, capturing both their interest and the sale. 

This is where local SEO comes in. 

The Benefits of Local SEO 

local store

We know that the modern shopper prefers to conduct product research online before making purchases in store. So it makes sense that retail businesses with the greatest local online presence (or a strong local SEO strategy) will capture the majority of sales in a certain area. 

Listed below are the key benefits of a local SEO strategy. 

Local SEO Strategies

seo strategy

As a local store owner, you may feel that investing time into your Google search ranking is useless as it means competing with larger retailers like Amazon and Walmart. But this isn’t the case for local search.

Google recognizes the benefits of local business and it knows that shoppers do too. So in order to determine how your business ranks in local search and if it is geographically relevant, Google takes a certain set of factors into consideration. 

With that being said, there are key elements to ranking well in local search – which can be broken down into the following three components: 

  1. Optimizing your Google My Business listing: Google My Business is a free online listing service offered by Google. It is a powerful yet easy tool that retailers can leverage to drive local foot traffic. To learn more about Google My Business, click here
  2. Optimizing your store’s website for on-site SEO: Increasing your on-site SEO involves updating your website to optimize for several ranking factors. This includes improving internal linking structure, building local content, optimizing for keywords (website URL, meta descriptions, titles, headers etc.), and ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly. 
  3. Optimizing for off-site SEO: This involves everything you should be doing across the web (other than your own website). Key strategies to focus on include NAP consistency, inbound links, and local directory listings. 

If you would like help implementing a local SEO strategy for your retail business, hiring a local SEO consultant is a good place to start. Click here for an informative and thorough guide on how to find the best local SEO company for your retail store. 


Keep an eye out on our blog for more SEO tips. 

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about how you can increase foot traffic and store sales, click here