If you are a local business that wants to get noticed in search engines and generate more customers, you have to understand Local SEO. Without a Local SEO plan in place your business will not be able to take advantage of the local online demand for your products or services.
Local SEO is a branch of SEO that specifically deals with search engine optimization for local businesses. Undertaking an effective Local SEO campaign will allow your business to appear on Page 1 of Google’s search engine results pages, both in the “Map Pack” and the “Organic Listings”. Aside from that, local SEO specifically helps you optimize your business for people searching from a nearby location.
One of the beauties of digital marketing is that, it allows you to mix and match, and combines strategies and tools. Nowadays, if you have a business and an existing website you can save big time in marketing as we can integrate local SEO and Google My Business. If you have a business – and your business has a website – then Google always needs to be on your radar. It’s the key to getting people to visit (and book) on your site – and armed with a few key tips, you can get the most out of your online presence. Ultimately, these are the kind of actions that make the difference between guests making a booking and simply never knowing you existed.
Here are our tips for making the most of your Google My Business listing.
- Optimize your GMB listing
Putting the basic information on your GMB page is fantastic, but it’s just the first step. If you want to stand out from competitors, you need to optimise your profile to help Google and searchers understand more about your business.
Put it this way, the more Google knows about you, the more types of searches your listing will show up in, and the more people will see what you have to offer.
- Write a short but concise business description
Last year, Google announced that you can now include a business description on your Google My Business listing. Make sure that you write your business description in a way that puts the most important information, keywords and your location near the start of the description. Especially because, while you’re allowed 750 characters, only 250 characters show up before they get cut off.
Google reviews your business description before it’s published, so stick to the rules laid out in its Google Business Description Guidelines.
- Add photos that show off your business“insights” section
According to Google itself, businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their website than businesses that don’t have photos.
So, what type of photos are we talking about?
- Cover Photo – Your cover photo is one of the most important, as it shows upfront and centre on your listing. This will be the hero photo on your Google My Business listing, so make sure it shows your business in the best light.
- Profile – This will appear when you review responses, post videos and more (like your social media avatar).
- Products – Showcase your goods so customers are attracted to find out more. If you can, hire a professional photographer to take a good picture of your products.
- Inside Your Business – Show off the inside of your store/restaurant/office and your employees.
- Shopfront – Use external pictures of your business at different times of the day. Make sure the business name and logo are visible.
Tip: When adding photos, stick to JPG or PNG files, at least 720 pixels wide by 720 pixels high. Remember to name them in a way that describes what they are, e.g. jollibee-shopfront-toronto.jpg
- Don’t forget to add videos
We already know that the best performing content, in terms of engagement, across every industry and every geography is short-form video (less than two minutes) — according to research performed by Altimeter. Adding videos to your GMB listing will likely impact your ranking and allow you to connect with customers on a whole new level.
Here are some of the contents that you can make as a video: Show off your sales floor, restaurant or products to give people a feel for your business before they visit. Videos can be up to 30 seconds, which is just enough time to grab people’s attention and get them wanting more. The important thing is to make sure your videos are filmed at the place of business. In other words, leave the stock footage on the cutting room floor.
Warning: Google can and will remove videos if the primary subject of the content is not related to the business location.
- Create engaging and relevant content
Another relatively new feature on GMB is Posts. Think of them as social media posts, except they show up in your Google My Business listing on a Google search. This is where you can really begin to target your audience, zone in on keywords and build the authority of your listing.
- Respond to client reviews
The power of online reviews is no secret. Online reviews impact search result rankings, consumer trust, click-through rates and conversions. Just like on Facebook, the reviews on your Google My Listing page can be a deciding factor in whether or not a user engages with your brand.
Now, you can ask your customers for reviews, so long as you follow Google’s guidelines for Google My Business reviews. Just be wary that if you break the rules, your reviews could be removed. But getting reviews is only the beginning. You need to respond to reviews too – all of them, good and bad. Not only does it show the reviewer that you appreciate their feedback, it also shows potential customers that you care.
Also we recommend downloading the Google My Business app, which lets you quickly answer any question that could come up on your listing or respond to any reviews. Plus, the Google My Business app gives you full access to the Google My Business dashboard, letting you make any changes to anything from your business name, cover photo, and more.
By consistently completing all of these steps across all of your company listings, you’ll not only make it easier for clients to find you via local search, but you’ll also provide yourself a consistent way to earn more sales.