For local businesses, showing up on page one when searched online is a must – showing up in the Google 3-pack (or whatever it is called this week.) can be the difference between thriving and merely surviving.
All Google products evolve as they find ways to make search better and, let’s face it, make more money from that fact.
While the inner workings of Google search are shrouded in mystery, there are a handful of factors that are used to decide what sites to show when a person searches for a local business.
There’s a lot of recent chatter about the Google My Business page, linked to Google+, going away, but for now it’s still vital data that feeds to Google Maps and even in some of the exploratory versions people see in the wild, things like reviews on your Google My Business page are going to continue to be a ranking factor.
The presence of the Google Maps data in mobile searches makes this element increasingly important for most local businesses. I know of a client in the home services industry that receives 66% of their current traffic on mobile devices and tablets.
ComScore recently found that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an immediate offline purchase.
You really can’t even dream about showing up for local searches unless you claim and Optimize Your Google My Business page first.
A little Google My Business housekeeping
There’s a good chance you have a Google My Business page, even if you don’t remember setting it up.
- If you aren’t sure if you have a Google My Business page you can go here to check it out – https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en
- Another issue you might want to work through is that some business owners have inadvertently set up multiple Google My Business pages and have a bit of a mess to unwind – Here’s a tool to check if you have multiple pages – http://www.michaelcottam.com/google-business-page-finder/
- If you find that you have duplicate listings, you may be able to merge them by following these instructions – https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669139?hl=en
- Last but not least, we’ve found that the best (sometimes only) way to interact with Google My Business is via Twitter – that’s right – put your questions and requests in here: https://twitter.com/GoogleSmallBiz
Okay, sorry for all that housekeeping, it’s just we’ve seen how tangled this one can get and fixing it is a big deal.
Now let’s get your Google My Business Page optimized
So, let’s assume you’ve found your Google My Business page all systems are go.
There are few things you should consider:
- Are Name, Address, and Phone the same (exactly) as you have on your website?
- Is the category precise – i.e., Attorney vs. Elder Law Attorney?
- Have you written a keyword rich description?
- Is your website listed in the profile?
- Have you added a few relevant images?
Google offers some pretty good tips for setting your Google My Business page up the way they suggest.
Some more advanced options
After you make certain you have the tips above covered, there are other ways to optimize this important element.
- Update images with fresh, hi-resolution images. Google will compress them as needed, but they will look much sharper. You can and should feature hi-res logo, exterior shots, interior shots, staff and behind the scenes work. Here’s a detailed guide to images from Google.
- Consider adding a Google Street View Tourof your business. Google is using this as it adds an incredible verification and trust element for them.
If you have questions about your Google My Business Page or need some help unwinding some not so ideal set-up you might consider checking out our Local Foundation Service.
Although most of what it takes to rank locally isn’t that complex, sometimes it makes sense to get a pro involved. After all, optimizing directory profiles might not be the best use of your time.
We created the Local Foundation Package as a complete and ongoing “done for you” marketing service so you can rest assured all of these more technical local ranking factors are taken care in just the right manner.
Either way, if you keep chugging along with these tips pretty soon when someone says “Google that” they’ll find your business.