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Over the summer of 2015, Google started rolling out some major changes to its Google My Business (GMB) product line and to Google+. Basically, Google has broken the two into separate tools. In the search engine optimization world, having a verified and updated GMB profile is of critical importance for showing up in local search results. With these changes, not working on your Google My Business listing can significantly hurt your company in the search results.
The biggest change in the search results relates to the local map results that Google shows at the top of the search results. The results used to show the top 7 results, but now it includes only the top 3. Being ranked in the top 3 now is crucial to getting additional traffic for your business. There are many opinions about how these rankings are determined, but an optimized brand will have a verified GMB listing with recent activity and will include many citations across the web, quality images of the business and its employees, correct descriptions and categories and testimonials and reviews.
At a minimum, we suggest:
A new feature allows consumers to filter by reviews. This is a major concern for companies that have bad reviews. This is another reason to proactively attract five-star reviews for your practice.
Pay close attention to your main listing data (name, address, phone number and website URL) are consistent across the Web; this includes on your own website, social media sites, directories and local search sites. Including correct descriptions and photos helps you stand out.
We hope these simple tips will help your brand stand out in local search results. While Google My Business may be confusing for CPAs and tax accountants, it is an extremely powerful tool for getting Google to work for your firm. Feel free to leave questions or comments about these changes or about setting up your GMB account.
2019 Update: Google+ has been shut down for consumers as of April 2019.
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