How to build your Google My Business (COVID Edition)

The optimization of your Google My Business Listing is critical. The days of potential customers picking up the phone directory or even looking at the local paper to find a business are long gone. Your potential customer will use a search engine on their desktop, tablet or mobile and 52% of all searches are local searches. 

Here are some of the benefits.

  • When a business is in the Google 3 pack (see image >>>) it appears on the first page of local searches.
  • Listing in the 3-pack results in between a 20% and 50% increase in calls.
  • The Google 3 pack is highlighted on the map
  • A Google My Business listing enables you’re your customers to write online reviews, which in turn become self-fulfilling to generate more business.
  • Google my business is extremely cost effective.
  • Videos are now available for customers and business owners to upload.
  • Menus are now available for Restaurants on Google My Business.
  • Reviews are the new word of mouth, now clients can see how many positive reviews you have and read about the posivie experiences other using your service.
Google My Business 3 pack

What are you looking for and how to find it!

This page has a lot of information about Google My Business on it. From how to set it up, why it's so important to local business, how to get to the top of the Google My Business 3 pack, to how to make your listing stand out from the crowd, and getting those 5 star reviews your business deserves.

If you'de rather listen, there is a section sound file that might help make it better for you to follow.

ONLINE REVIEWS - THE NEW WORD OF MOUTH

At Review cards we believe that online reviews are the new word of mouth. As society adjusts to the ‘new normal’, there are certain aspects of life that have changed, one being the reliance on friends and acquaintances for advice about local services.

For instance, social distancing means people find it harder to congregate in places like the bars, at the school gate or going to the gym, meaning there’s less opportunity to spread the word and recommend local trades and companies.

Instead, more people than ever are turning to the internet to judge businesses and the options of others who have left reviews are now the most trusted source of information. So much so that reviews can now make or break a company and those that understand this and are striving to get more 5 star reviews are enjoying a new found prosperity.

We’ve seen orders for review cards escalate on a massive scale and our customers represent a rich diversity of business sectors such as hospitality, automotive, trades and healthcare. While many rely on Google My Business for their reviews, others choose Yelp, Tripadvisor and Facebook but whatever platform they favour, the one thing unites them is they all understand the importance that reviews play in the modern marketplace.

SETTING UP YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING

Step 1: If you do not have a Gmail account you will need to set one up… remember Google like you to be using their tools!

If you don’t have a Google My Business listing or have not claimed it yet then click here.

It may be that your Google My Business listing has already been claimed and you need to claim it back from an old web developer etc. If you need to do this and are struggling. please contact us.

Step 2: Verification – this is normally done by Google sending a postcard with a unique number to your postal address to confirm this really is your business address. When you receive the number log back into your Google My Listing and add the code.

Step 3: Make sure your Google My Business profiles is 100% complete; don’t leave any empty fields.

For example, make sure you add videos and photographs of your business/products and optimise them with your keywords and geographic location, e.g. wedding photographer in Sunderland.

Step 4: Once again use all the Google tools - even if you are not using it (although you should) create and verify Google Analytics account and install it on your website.

Create a YouTube channel and upload a couple of optimised videos and link them back to your Google My Business listing.

Create and verify a Google Ads account and Google Search Console.

Step 5: Don’t worry too much what it is, but ensure your web developer implements something called Schema Markup (a structured way of delivering information to the search engines) on your website.
Businesses who adopt Schema Markup get rewarded with what are known as ‘rich results’ in search. These rich results range from product information and ratings to local business information, actions, information panels on the righthand side of the screen, and more.

Tip: Check out your competition. What information are they listing on their Google My Business listing that you are not.

LOCAL CITATIONS

What are Local citations and why are they so important?

Local citations are listings of your business with a minimum of Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) and often with links back to your website.

Citations are used by the search engines to determine the trust that your business actually is what and where it says it is. Many of these directories will need verification, in a similar way to Google My Business. Listing your business in the prominent national and local directories helps build trust for the search engines that you are who you say you are.

It is business-critical that all your citations show the same Name, Address and Phone Number as on your website and Google My Business listing. They must match – any discrepancy confuses Google and will penalise your chance of ranking in the Google My Business 3 pack. Therefore, if you have moved premises make sure you update all local citations you have set up.

Discover the answer to "What is a citation" here.

Tip: Keep a list of all the directories (and user name and passwords) you register on so that if you change any of your details you can easily go back amend your listings.

Tip: Check where your local competitors are listed by entering the following search string in Google.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF CITATIONS

There are three main types of citation sites:

  • National directories such as Yell, Yelp, Qype, Scoot and Thomson
  • Local directories for example a countywide directory such as Surrey Online or a town specific directory such as Horley Online.
  • Industry specific directories such as the Accountant Directory or the National Council of Hypnotherapists.

Getting Local citations

In Moz’s 2018 report they identified that the importance of citations for your ranking in the Google 3-Pack had fallen sharply; however, there are still very important to get and our recommendation is to grow your citation list to over 50 directories.

Tip: Keep a list of all the directories (and user name and passwords) you register on so that if you change any of your details you can easily go back amend your listings.

Tip: Check where your local competitors are listed by entering the following search string in Google.

"full company name" "company post code" -site:url
e.g. “JMW Solicitors LLP” “M3 3HG” -https://www.jmw.com

Use this handy scanner to find where your business is listed, it will also give you a list of directories you should be listed in. The list is a clickable one which takes you to the signup/in page so you can list your business on dozens of sites.

Just a heads up, when you use this excellent tool, you more than likely will get a call from Yell, trying to sell you stuff, I recommend you thank them kindly for their call and decline their offers just saying you wanted to use the Citation scanner

KEEPING YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS LISTING LIVE

Google want you to engage with your customers and potential customers on their platform. In essence they want to keep people on the google platform as long as possible. To do this they are now giving weight to Google Posts.

Google Posts

As always it is never possible to say exactly what influences the Google algorithm.

But in adding optimised content in your Google Posts, Google will certainly not penalise you and in addition it enables people to engage with you through another localised platform. If you are posting in other social media platforms it is definitely worth posting on Google Posts, especially as the majority of your competitors aren’t – so stand out.

Tip: Add fresh posts on a minimum of a weekly basis.

Photos and Videos

Continually post new photos and videos, maybe of products, premises (inside and out), events etc., maybe even encourage your customers to add some as well. All of that activity is helpful.
The vast majority of local businesses are not doing this, so this will make you stand out.

Tip: Add fresh photos on a minimum of a monthly basis.

Questions and Answers

It is worth regularly checking if any visitors are leaving questions on your Google My Business listing. If someone asks a question make sure you answer it and where possible include some of your key words/phrases. If you are regularly being asked questions it would be worth creating a Google FAQ section on your listing.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REVIEWS

Online reviews are becoming more and more important for all business but in particular local businesses as shown in Moz’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors compiled by Darren Shaw where it is noticed that the importance of reviews increased by over 17% in the last year and by over 40% in the last three years.

Why are reviews so important?

Online reviews provide social proof to visitors and the search engines. Google’s 3-Pack is an incredibly valuable space for a local business to be listed in – they only want to list the best. With this in mind it is critical every business has a strategy to get more and more highly rated reviews. It used to be possible to be listed in the 3-Pack with just a few reviews, or even no reviews; however, in larger towns and active business sectors you now need a lot and regular reviews. Review signals have also seen continued growth in importance over last year.

84%
91%
97%

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?

Get more Google My Business reviews

Reviews continue to increase in importance in local search, so, obviously, getting more Google reviews. The difficulty is, this is becoming common knowledge and therefore you need to make sure that you are competing with your competition on review count and lots of high-quality reviews.

Keywords in reviews

In a perfect world you need to get reviewers to put in your keywords in their review, so rather than just asking for a review, it’s useful to ask your customers to mention what service they had provided or whatever so you can get those keywords in your reviews.

Getting keywords in your reviews is a factor that has also risen. In the 2017 survey, this factor ranked #26 in the local pack/finder factors. It is now coming in at #14.

Respond to a reviewer ( reviewers now get notified)

Good or bad it is imperative that you respond to reviews especially as Google recently started notifying reviewers that if the owner has responded to you. Your responses is another signal to Google that you’re an engaged business.

Diversify beyond Google for reviews

Diversify. Don’t just focus on Google My Business when thinking about reviews. Look at other sites national sites that allow reviews such as Yell, Facebook, TripAdvisor. In addition, there are industry specific review sites.

You can also find out like what are the sites that your competitors are getting reviews on. Then if you just do a search like keyword plus city, like “lawyers + Denver,” you might find sites that are important for your industry as well that you should be listed on. So check out a couple of your keywords and make sure you’re getting reviews on more sites than just Google.

Review Cards - The easy way to get more Google My Business Reviews

Review cards work on the simple principle that when prompted, most satisfied customers will be happy to leave a positive review. However, people forget or can’t find where to post the review. Review cards for Google, Trip Advisor, Yell or Facebook take your customer directly to the right place to write your review by using the short URL or QR code.

IN SUMMARY

Three significant factors that rule local SEO and you should always think about them when you are looking at your local optimisation:

  1. Relevance: does the information you are providing Google fit what the searcher is looking for. Think about your copy, your on-page SEO and the information you are posting in your Google My Business and other citation listings.
  2. Geographical Location: When Google or Bing display local results, they are either using the device's location to display the correct local business. If you type in dog walker Google and Bing will assume you want dog walkers near you, unless you put in a geographical location to your search such as “dog walker in Ascot”.
  3. Reviews: the search engines want to recommend the best and for this reason, the best-reviewed business is the social proof they need to rank a business highly.

With this in mind, there are four things you need to ensure your local business has to create the virtuous circle of more and more leads.

How to rank higher in Google my business 3 pack
0/5 (0 Reviews)