You’ve probably searched for your local businesses many times before and noticed that lots of companies have their own listings on Google, as well as in Google Maps. This service is highly convenient for the end user. Do you want an address to a specific firm? It’s right beneath your fingertips. Maybe you’re interested in a hardware store in your neighbourhood? Again, Maps will show you the location of the closest one instantly.
This kind of service carries great value for a business. As reported by SearchEngineWatch.com, 50% of all mobile users who visit your local listing will visit your bricks and mortar store (34% of desktop and tablet users) and 18% of users that enter the door will make a purchase – compared to just 7% of online users. Plus, it comes at no upfront cost and doesn’t take too much time. While there are ways to improve your company’s (or shop’s, or workshop’s, or whatever you own) position, getting the basic listing is rather simple and completely free.
Google My Business Listing
If you want to do local SEO, it all starts with Google My Business. A good profile is the most important part of the process. With Google owning 90% of all the searches, you really want to cover all the bases that would increase your visibility, and this one simply can’t be ignored.
It all starts with googling your company. If you don’t find your business listing you should create it. If you do see it, as sometimes Google does notice companies themselves, you should claim it. There is a chance that someone else has claimed your own company already, and there are ways to reclaim it, but usually, this isn’t an issue.
Then start creating. You want to use good keywords in your description, but don’t overdo it – like any other post, it has to be readable. Do a good description, you want people to like your company. Use call to actions where appropriate. Use images. Plenty of them. Forget the stock photos or a logo, you want your images to show who and where you are. People like pictures and that is what you should give them. If they ended up looking at your profile through a knowledge panel, they are already interested in you – help them physically find you. If they found you through the maps, they want your service in your area. Make them feel welcome, get them to pick you.
Also, feel free to use several appropriate images. There is no reason to put up just the main image. It may even help you get visitors through image searches.
Don’t skimp on the information. You need to give them your phone number, your work hours, don’t leave anything blank. A complete profile has a much greater chance of drawing people in than a relatively empty one.
If you’ve done all of this, chances are you will already get a better response rate among your potential clients.
What To Do Next
All of the steps above are great starting steps. They will bring in traffic and, more importantly, sales all by themselves.
Monitor your Google My Business Insights. Looking through your metrics is paramount if you want to know how well any marketing campaign is working, GMB is not an exception.
There is an additional service, called Google Posts. Originally, they were offered as a part of the 2016 US elections to the presidential candidates. Later, a small number of big companies could use it while now, any verified small business can get their own posts. The idea is as follows: your business gets a listing, you write down all your details and get verified. Now, you can utilise Google Posts. When you are approved, the fun begins. They look quite similar to Instagram posts, but you don’t have a specific social network they are housed on. Instead, they appear below your company’s knowledge panel on desktop, or in a separate tab on mobile.
The nice thing about posts is they can increase your customer interactions, as well as make your listing really shine. Not many companies are using this asset today, so if you can utilise it, you will be able to stand out in the crowd. You can share your company news, promote your products (those listings can link directly to the product or service you’re selling), promote your discounts. Use nice images, avoid stock photos if you can. You can show your clients, your lively meeting rooms, your product itself, your boss, your projects. You can use either photo or video. Use nice, appealing text. Start with the gist of your post – before clicking to enlarge, visitors will see only a small snippet. Then, describe your service and add a call to action. Every little bit counts and posts can be an easy, effective way to make your company different.
There are steps you could take to make it even more effective though. Just like with SEO, inbound links will improve your rankings. Also, your social activity will make your profile more visible. Your click-through rate, your reviews, all of that impacts your local positions. There are tools and techniques to improve your standings, but they do take work, time and research and they are not the same for a small shop and a large corporation with thousands of storefronts all over the world.
There are also benefits for Google Ads (previously AdWords). Linking these accounts will give the option to use local ads. It will lower the costs of your clicks and provide more conversions as well. All of your physical locations will be able to market under one Ads account. Your ads will have the chance to appear on the maps. With local extensions, you will be able to show your location within your ad and thus make it welcoming to a customer. In short, they will allow you to target your market better, make your ads more appealing visually and eventually increase the number of your conversions. With the right marketing strategy, you can really increase your campaigns’ success in your local market.
Communicate with your customers. If someone reaches out to you through GMB, make sure to answer just as you would answer the phone. Some of the answers will waste your time true, but that can be said for every type of customer interaction.
Ultimately though, even just putting up a simple GMB profile is a good start. That part won’t take much time and will have a great benefit all by itself. Ongoing optimization would be beneficial, but at least take that first step. It’s worth it.
Are you interested in finding out more about local SEO and how SWOT Digital can create and optimise your Google My Business listing? Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.