Google My Business recently published a new addition to their help section that encourages business owners to seek out help from local SEO professionals. Despite Google My Business being a free service, Google says getting help from a third-party is beneficial for a number of reasons. A third-party will not only help business owners maintain their listing, but they will also be able to offer unique insight when it comes to answering customer’s questions and responding to reviews. Google also stressed the importance of business owners understanding the benefits of investing in a third-party in order to get the best return on their investment.

Some of the best practices Google suggests for business owners who are looking to partner up with a local SEO professional include the following:

  • Be selective in your search
    Experience is key! It is important to know if the local SEO professional you are meeting with has handled other businesses accounts with similar budgets and target audiences. Third-party companies that have managed accounts of all sizes are likely to be very familiar with Google My Business. Also, be sure to check if there are any other services they can offer your business to help grow your brand.
  • Work with one SEO professional at a time
    Be sure you are only working with one third-party at a time. Even though you may feel like dividing your budget up amongst a few SEO professionals may be the way to see who comes out on top, it is important to focus your budget on one party. Dividing your budget up will not allow you to see the full effect a third-party is having on your business’ online presence, especially since a listing can only appear once on Google.
  • Become familiar with Google My Business
    When you go to meet with a local SEO professional, be sure you are up to speed with all of the features Google My Business offers. There are a number of resources and FAQs that Google My Business offers to ensure you understand how everything works. By staying on top of all the latest features and perks, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your local SEO strategy.
  • Monitor your brand’s overall performance
    Make it a priority to regularly check in on your business through Google My Business. Checking in every month or so allows you to evaluate how customers are finding and interacting with your brand on Google. You can also see what kind of results you are generating from working with a third-party and where adjustments can be made.

Remember to stay clear of third-party companies that are promising your business overnight success when it comes to placement on Google. Third-parties do not have any influence as to where businesses will appear within search results or Google Maps. Be sure to also have an official copy of your contract with your third-party on file to ensure that there is never any confusion over pricing. It is essential that business owners feel confident that the local SEO professional they have hired has their best interests in mind. By establishing a transparent relationship with your local SEO professional, you will always know exactly how users are interacting with your brand and all the data that includes.