Formally known as Google Places, the relatively new format of Google My Business pages are a vital element of any local businesses online marketing campaign, because having one that is working correctly can have a big impact on not only traffic to a website, but for visitors to the actual physical location of the businesses as well. Put simply, a fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and offline operation. Making sure that your Google Page is complete, and performing is critical.
With mobile searches recently topping 50% for the first time ever over 45% of Google searches containing a locational search aspect, having your page ranking for your local business is a crucial marketing tool. Not only does it deliver instant results, it helps to bring up your long term SEO as well, because your page can contain lots of information about your business and links to your blog posts. Missing out on this traffic because your page is not yet live or simply incomplete is just not worth thinking about. Now is the time to get your website sorted if you haven’t done so already.
How do you make sure that your Google My Business page is ranking where it should? Let’s take a look at some of the things you should be doing to make sure you are getting the biggest impact.
The first step you need to take is to claim your page if you have not done so already. A quick search on Google Maps and Google Search should be enough to find out if there is a page for your business already created.
If you have no page, then sign in with your Google Account and simply create one. You will need to get your profile up to as near completed status as possible, but until you have verified your listing, you will not be able to hit 100%.
Contact details checklist
- Make sure you have all of your contact details listed (exactly as they are on your website).
- Add the correct categories to your business.
- Add a profile picture and header photo
- Complete the about your business section.
This should take you to approximately 80% complete, which is about as far as you can go for now.
Every business page now has to be verified by post, rather than phone as it was once possible to do many years ago, but this practice was stopped sadly due to the abuse of the system.
At the top of your My Business Page, click on the blue button that says “verify Your Business.” Check the details and Google will then send you a pin code in the post.
This can take up to two weeks to arrive in the post. Once you have received your postcard, simply enter the pin code in your “Google My Business” page. To show that you have verified your account, you should then put a little tick in a shield next to your business name. Once your account is verified it will start showing in the results for both Google maps and Google search.
An empty Google My Business Page is a worthless page. There is nothing worse than looking at a company before you buy from them and realising that they have not updated their page for years and, generally speaking, look a bit lazy.
Post your latest blogs, customer feedback, news, special offers and shout about you and your business. Include photos and videos and just see how your page takes off. People love content and so do potential customers. When it comes to choosing you over your competitors in your niche, you have to stand out by making the right noises and level of effort.
Customer reviews are a big ranking signal these days, so you can start by asking your happy customers to leave you a review on your My Business Page.
Reviews not only helps to reinforce to new customers that your business is worth using, but you will also get a little star rating under your local results search. When you are competing with up to eight other businesses, this can help you stand out from the crowd. Customer reviews and testimonials are so important now that they should form a big part of your online marketing strategy as these are a tried and tested measure of success.
Citations are “mentions” of your business name, address and sometimes other contact details on other web pages that are not your own. For example, sites like Yell.com, Yelp.com, Thomson Local are fine examples of local citations, and they are a key element of ranking algorithms for both Google and Bing.
If you have quite a few citations online, your business page has a better chance to rank, especially if you are taking care of all the other elements we mention as well.
It is better to aim for high-quality sites and always make sure the address you use across the Internet is exactly the same as it needs to be spot on to get the most from it.
I am a big believer of abiding by the 80/20 rule when it comes to creating content online. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your efforts and social media marketing is no exception. When it comes to Google Plus, it is important to ensure that you are posting on a regular basis, but there are not many tools that can help you do this.
Hootsuite – will let you post to your Google Plus business page, and you can also schedule posts using this tool. Hootsuite is free of charge up to 3 platforms. If you wanted to be clever then you can utlise the RSS Atom feature within Hootsuite to pull your blog articles from your website and post into your Google Plus page automatically. This is a good solution to automate your 20% sales content into Google Plus pages, but it does not work with Google Plus personal profiles.
Do Share – this is a Google Chrome extension and it is the only scheduling tool that will let you schedule posts into a personal profile on Google Plus. (At the time of writing this blog). The only negative is that you need to leave Google Chrome open at the time that post is due to be sent. It is a pain, but if you leave your computer on then it works fine.