The death of Google My Business Listings. What to do to protect yours.
It’s BIG news. As of July 31st, Google will be culling it’s Google My Business database. This is going to change the face of search forever.
The Google Gods, in their wisdom, will be deleting all unclaimed, and under used business listing. It gets ‘better’. Google will also be forcing searches to transition to mostly map based results.
What this means for you is that if you are one of those local business owners who haven’t claimed your Google My Business Listing, or your listing isn’t set up properly, your business may vanish from the Google search engine and Google Maps altogether!
What exactly does this mean for your business, and why should you care?
Well, it turns out Google My Business is about to become the next greatest thing in search. That’s because, Google My Business puts a local face on how search queries return your business
We all know that there are tons of people searching for a product or service within your niche right at this moment. Some of them within proximity right now, and others who may be in your city or area soon. They all use Maps.
If you don’t show up in search, you may as well be the invisible man! And, that’s a whole bunch of potential revenue you will be missing out on, not just from Monday, July 31st 2017 but for ever more.
Wipe the sweat from your forehead and don’t hyperventilate. There is something you can do to protect your listing in Google right now – even if you have not claimed it yet.
Your business doesn’t need to suffer and your bottom line does not need to shrink.
I’m about to break down how you can optimise your Google listing (or secure one if you haven’t already), and level the playing field against your competition
If you are a Googlephobe or you simply can’t make the time we can help you out, after all it’s what we do. You can trust us to get it right and reliably handle all the work for you.
If you feel confident to go it alone, follow the instructions below to the letter. If not click on the orange button and let us know how we can help you.
1. Secure Your Google My Business Listings
Only relevant if you HAVEN’T secured your Google listing. If you fall into that category, don’t worry the process is fairly simple. First, head on over to the Google My Business page. Look in the upper right corner for “start now” — click it.
Make sure you fill in every relevant field that is available. I’d suggest you complete your profile, ensuring that all the bits of info are accurate.
2. Choose Your Category
Now, this is important for obvious reasons. Google will use this information to know where your local listing belongs. You can’t create your own special category, which can be a bit frustrating, but I’m sure the ones that are available will fit.
If it’s a case where none of the categories are quite on the money, just go ahead and choose the most accurate one. Here’s a tip, try and be as specific as possible. For example “Pizza Coffee Shop” won’t do you as much justice as say, “Gourmet Pizza Shop”. This is important because being specific will increase your chances of landing in the top three relevant searches for your area and niche.
3. Load High Quality Images
People love photos. Naturally, photos can do a lot for your listing so long as you didn’t snap these pictures at midnight with a smartphone that has the worst camera in low light imaginable. Presentation is everything. Only use the best images you can find.
Go for high quality images that look good and make your listing stand out and shine. This can be especially important if you sell physical products.
Google My Business research has stated that listings with photos receive double the interest as listings that go without.
Tip: Did you know that, you can hire a Google approved photographer to create a 360-view virtual tour of your store. Do a search for “Google approved photographer – city” Go to the Google street view site and you will be able to find someone in your area.
4. Make Sure Your Info is Consistent
Consistency across various websites is something that Google takes seriously. Make sure your address is the same everywhere it is posted.
Your address shouldn’t just be the same, but you should also type it the same way on every platform. So, don’t write the full address one place and in shorthand somewhere else.
Pay keen attention to your phone number. Also, your listings should match each other and the information available on your website. Another thing you’ll want to work on is to get your site listed in relevant directories. Don’t skimp on the effort it takes. You want to get it listed in as many RELEVANT ones as possible. There are hundreds to choose from.
Now, some might think “How hard is it to make something like an address consistent everywhere?” Well the truth is its quite easy for little errors to pop up every now and again.
5. Go with a Local Phone Number
While it’s essential that your phone number is consistent in all your online listings, you’ll also want to use a local area code. What you are doing here is telling Google My Business that your business is actually local. Ensure that this phone number is the same one displayed on your landing page (or homepage), as you’ll be linking to your website from your Google listing.
6. Don’t Incur Penalties
Google takes no prisoners when suspending business listings for breaking its rules – and there is a lot of small print to read through. Getting suspended is not only stressful and complicated to reverse, it will definitely get in the way of business, which is the last thing you want. It’d be best you stay abreast of the range of rules that apply to your type of business.
Here are some of the more common mistakes that most people make when they go it alone:
- Recklessly adding keywords into business name field
- URLs that redirect to your website’s URL, as opposed to the URL itself (these can be especially annoying)
- Putting up numerous local listings for the same business location
- And using misleading addresses (an address that’s not a physical storefront)
- Adding more than one phone number for a single location
- Keyword stuffing all over the place
It’s best not to try and game the system. Follow the rules that are laid out, optimize your listings, and watch for consistency — that should work out fine.
7. Rack up Reviews
Google (naturally) wants users to get the most useful information possible. And users want to find the best businesses within proximity that can meet their particular needs. The reviews next to the names of businesses in the map snippet help customers decide if you are the right business for them
Most of our clients complain that their customers need a bit of a push to leave reviews. There are ways to make it easy for them to give you the praise your services deserve. Don’t hesitate to encourage them to leave their thoughts on your business. Happy customers will be glad to take a few minutes to express how much they enjoy your product or service, especially when reminded of how much their 2 cents can do for your business.
We have a system that will radically improve your 4 and 5-star review rates. We are not going to talk about it here, so if you are interested in this service get in touch with us and we will show you how it works
8. Optimise your Website (and Content)
If you have a link to your website on your Google My Business profile, and why would you not, making it look good makes sense. Don’t put all your energy into optimising your local listing, thinking your website is going to automatically convert window shoppers into customers. Like it or not you will need some type of conversion strategy in place.
If you understand SEO, here are some tips on optimizing your business website:
- Add schema markup
- All content should be local focused
- Make use of local linking
- And place relevant keywords in the meta tag for each page (make sure it all comes together naturally though)
We understand that setting up Google My Business looks like a lot of work, if it’s your first time at setting all this up, it is. The point is that “no effort – no reward”. When you take the time, or hire an expert to help you, your business stands to win big time.
You know yourself how you use Google search and Google maps every day. People should have an easy time finding you when they search for your service. Don’t miss out on these opportunities because you failed to optimize your listing or failed to secure your Google listing in the first place.
We are always available for a conversation, written or oral, to discuss your problems and find the right solution for your budget. Get in touch … we don’t bite!