How to Reach Local Customers by SEO Optimising Google My Business
How to Reach Local Customers by SEO Optimising Google My Business
When it comes to local businesses, local search optimisation is a critical marketing component that can make or break a local brand.
Every day, individuals search for local goods, services and products. In fact, over 70% of all purchase decisions made by consumers begin with a search engine query. This includes those purchases that end up happening “in store” versus online.
A recent study conducted by none other than the king of search themselves (Google), it was uncovered that 4/5 consumers (or around 80% of all consumers) expect search results to be customised to their:
- Zip/Post code
- Immediate surroundings
- Exact location (GEO positioning)
By engaging consumers with optimised local search results, small business owners can leverage the power of Google to place their brand, services and products in front of consumers where and when they want them.
What is Google My Business?
Local search optimisation can be both confusing and overwhelming for some business owners struggling to get results. But it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, Google has made it even simpler for local businesses to connect and interact with local customers seeking out their products or services.
The answer to local optimisation is a Google My Business account. Google My Business, or GMB for short, is a simple and free to use tool that helps businesses manage their digital presence across various Google properties including:
- Google Maps
- Organic search
- Local finder
- And more
By claiming, validating and updating your business information on GMB, you can help customers find your business online, as well as control the branding and visibility of your business to consumers.
GMB Listings will help you to:
- Enhance your brand’s visibility
- Control how your brand is presented to others seeking out your products/services
- Manage and update key information such as hours of operation and contact information
- Interact and engage with both new and returning customers
- Earn new business
- And more…
This article will help you to uncover ways you can optimise your GMB account to reach more local customers without breaking the bank.
Why is GMB so Important for Reaching Local Customers?
We all know that ranking high on Google and other search engines is a good thing. But what’s the big deal about localised results? Read on to learn more about why local search engine results produce a much higher ROI than their “non-localised” counterparts.
1. Local Shoppers Search by Considering their Location
- Four out of five shoppers use search engines to find local information
- Most common searches are for: business address, hours of operation, service/product availability and directions
2. Local Shoppers are more likely to Visit Your Business
- Google found that over 50% of users that conducted a local search on their smartphone visited the business’s location within one day;
- Similarly, Google found that 34% of those conducting a local search on their desktop or tablet visited the business within one day
3. Local Shoppers are BUYERS
- Over 18% of local search queries conducted on a smartphone lead to a local purchase within one day
- When compared to “non-local” searches, this is over a 100% increase in conversion rates for local search
4. Consumers want and Act upon Localised Results
- Over 80% of shoppers prefer search results tailored to their zip code or city
- Over 60% of consumers have utilised location-specific information in ads
Overall Benefits if GMB Listings to Reach Local Customers
Increase your Brand’s Trust Factor
GMB allows businesses to control and manage the information that visitors see when searching for local businesses online. Brands can edit and modify the products and services they offer, pricing, hours of operation, customer service information and more.
Research by Google has shown that those businesses that verify and update their information on Google My Business are more than twice as likely to be considered as trustworthy and reputable by prospective customers.
Engage with Customers
Google My Business allows you to engage with customers in many ways. You can encourage and respond to reviews and ratings left by visitors. You can also post photos and other media to demonstrate your products, services or simply to show off your brand.
Google found that businesses that added photos to their GMB listings were more than 42% more likely to receive requests for driving directions to the business location on Google Maps. Not only that, those businesses that update their profiles with photos received over 35% more clicks than those that did not!
Intelligent Insights to Drive Business Decisions
Google is more than happy to share their data with you. As an added benefit of using GMB, Google will provide you with key insights into how customers searched for and found your business and insights into where those prospective customers came from.
You’ll also be provided with data on how many individuals called your listed number directly through search results in “Maps” and Search.
And if you’re so inclined, Google will even let you integrate Adwords quickly and seamlessly to track performance across all your marketing efforts and campaigns.
Basics of Optimising your GMB Listing for Best Results
Now that you understand the importance of SEO optimising your GMB listing in order to reach more local customers, let’s take a look at how you can accomplish optimisation in a flash.
Step 1: Claim your Listing
If you haven’t done so already, head on over to the following URL to learn how to verify and claim your business.
Step 2: Be Thorough and Accurate
Once verified and claimed, the next step is updating your profile. The basic pedigree information is often referred to in the digital world as “NAP” or “name, address and phone number”.
Without proper NAP information, your customers will NOT be able to find you. As such we suggest you check and double-check these before publication to make sure they are correct.
You’ll also want to make sure the NAP information on your GMB listing matches that on ALL of your other web properties such as social media accounts and your website.
Additional Information we suggest, Including:
- Hours of operation
- Types of payment or credit accepted
- Category of business
- Accurate and engaging description of your business
Step 3: Include ORIGINAL photos
According to a study conducted by none other than Adobe, posts that utilise original photos can garner up to 650% higher engagement. And as we already mentioned, Google themselves says GMB listings with photos receive 35% more clicks to their URLs and over 42% more requests for directions to that location.
- Take photos of staff
- Take photos of company events
- Take photos of your products
- Take photos of happy customers (with their permission)
- Find ways to make them fun and exciting
Step 4: Keep an Eye on Reviews
Reviews are a critical factor in boosting local search rankings and influencing buying decisions of visitors. High-quality reviews will not only improve your visibility in local searches, but it will also influence new visitors to trust your brand.
As such, you should solicit reviews from happy customers every chance you get, as well as respond and engage with any reviews posted on your GMB listing.
Step 5: Data doesn’t Lie
Remember that cool new analytics feature “Insights” that we mentioned earlier? Well, now is the time to start getting comfortable using it.
Decisions made without data are simply shots in the dark. Google provides you with a boatload of information to help you find areas for improvement or opportunity.
Here is a short list of some data you can gather:
- # of photo views
- # of requests for directions to your business
- Customer activity analytics
- # of call requests to your listed number in Search and Maps
You’d be surprised at what gems you may uncover if you simply pay attention.
We hope you found this article useful. Google provides you with the tools and resources needed to help your business improve visibility locally and earn more customers. With competition as fierce as ever, leveraging these free tools provides you with a local “edge” over others and can help you remain competitive in the current landscape of digital business.