Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day (Internetlivestats, 2019). Has someone searched for something your business offers today? Absolutely! Did they find you? Here are 5 ways to maximize the chances they did.
- Claim your Google business listing.
- Fill out all your business information and sign up for the supporting Google programs.
- Ensure business listing uniformity.
- Add photos and videos with geotags promoting your business.
- Manage your reviews.
Five steps, some fast and easy, others that will need to be constantly repeated. Hint: include some of the repeat ones in your maintenance package with Swan Haven, LLC.
Step 1: Claim your Google Business listing.
You may already have an auto-generated listing. When someone gets directions off Google Maps or they write a review, one is created. Once you claim your listing, you have access to the dashboard so you can make changes and updates.
You may be asking, what do these business listings look like? When you run a search for a business have you noticed the informative box that pops up on the right hand of the screen of search results? It looks like this:
That is a Google Business Listing. It has all sorts of useful information, your hours, address, phone number, reviews, links to your website, and more. We encourage you to read our article, “The Business Lifeblood – Google Business Profile” to learn more about this step.
Now that you have claimed your listing, you can access the dashboard. This is where the fun starts. You can track clicks and views, see what search terms they used, add keywords, showcase products and services, encourage reviews, and create your own question and answer section.
Step 2: Fill out all your business information and sign up for the supporting Google programs.
If your Google business listing is just bare-bones it doesn’t make you look very professional. This is your opportunity to shine, to catch their eye and their hopes, to get them to visit you! Take some time to think this out and do some scribbling on paper to make certain you have it just right. You get 750 words (subject to change) to describe your business and all you have to offer. Keep in mind that the first approximately 250 words will be what they see without clicking to see more. Above all, those are the most important.
Make it clear, concise, and crisp. You want to cover what you have to offer, how to book with you immediately (get them on the hook before they look at the competition), and include keywords that apply to your business providing additional legitimacy. You can have five business category options, choose wisely, these help you appear in directory searches.
Business hours should match the website and be updated as often as needed. Are you closing early for a party? Update your hours! Will you be closed for a holiday? Make sure your hours are updated! A customer is quickly frustrated by a “sorry, we’re closed” sign. They are certain to let their friends on social media know, “their hours aren’t right, don’t bother going there.”
Next, the nice options that just make you more appealing. Be sure to go through the “attributes, products, and services” and check the ones you offer. If you have wi-fi, wheelchair access, are pet friendly, etc. A lot of people will include one or more of these in their searches.
Step 3: Ensure business listing uniformity.
This is huge! You must make certain that the name, address, and phone number you list here and on your site (and everywhere else) are EXACTLY the same. Don’t abbreviate road on your Google business listing and spell it out on your website. Did you add the area code on Google and leave it off on your site? Are you consistent in putting LLC at the end of your business name? Google double checks EVERY place it finds information on your site. If they aren’t exact matches, it flags it. Too many flags and Google starts to wonder if your business really exists. You may now be suspected of malicious intent. If that happens, Google will penalize you and bury you in the search engine.
When you first set up Google Business Profile, and every few months afterward, you need to check your overall web consistency. Find places on the web where your business is mentioned. After that, ensure that your business name, address, and phone number are identical. The easiest way to do this is to go to Moz Local Listing Score – Check Your Citations [Checker] – Moz and enter your business name. Now, review the results and go to any incomplete entries (places that don’t have your name, address, and phone, just one or two) and update them. Be sure to check for uniformity, make sure nothing’s abbreviated, all the numbers are there, etc. Clean up the entries and add some great photos while you’re doing it.
Don’t forget your website.
Finally, make sure all of this information matches your website. Have your name, address, and phone in the footer of your pages. Add them to your videos on YouTube (because Google owns YouTube, too, so they give them priority over other video services). Create a fabulous, short video that highlights your best and embed it on your homepage (don’t forget to have it on your YouTube channel). Put your Google Maps listing on your homepage and label the link “Get Directions Here”. This lets Google know that your business is where they think it is. Check for places with your best reviews (Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc) and put links to some of the catchiest ones on your homepage.
You will want to repeat this process every few months. Yes, we realize this is something that is time-consuming, but it’s also vital to your success. We are happy to do it for you. Sign up to have it added to your maintenance package.
Step 4: Add photos and videos with geotags promoting your business.
Add some visual graphics, pictures of what you have to offer that show how awesome you are and make people wish they were there. Be sure to have the best pictures at the top and add geotags to them to increase search engine visibility. An appealing photo has a big impact on your click-thru rate. Be sure the picture is applicable. For instance, pictures showing a restaurant that is out of business might be considered spam. Remember, when people post a review they can add photos. You need to check out any pictures they add to ensure they are not spam or worse. Videos are great, too. Hint: you need more than two videos in order to get a video subtab on a mobile device.
Why bother with geotags? Part of this is to make it so Google knows you are where you say you are. Additionally, it makes you pop up in “local searches.” When someone opens the app on their phone to run a search, Google tags your geo so that it can search for local businesses. Even though the person searching doesn’t reside locally, they are currently local and may be looking for a place to stay. Geotagging your photos increases your searchability.
Step 5: Manage your reviews.
Every review needs to be read and responded to, both the good and the bad. The good ones should be acknowledged and thanked. Maybe even offer them a return discount or treat to say thank you. Above all, negative reviews need to be addressed. Work to solve the problem, soothe bad feelings, and encourage them to give you another chance. Offer a discount or special service. Negative reviews are not something you look forward to, but they will happen and are actually useful. If you only have five-star reviews people think you’re working the system. After all, no one’s perfect. A few bad reviews are okay. You want to keep your stars between 3.5-4.5 for the best results. In addition, take a quick moment and check photos for validity. You should do this every few days or as often as one is uploaded.
Five steps are all you need to accomplish. Yes, some need daily monitoring, but others can be put off for a bit. We’re here to help if you get overwhelmed and, if you do all of this, you may quickly find you don’t have time for these things anymore because you have too much business! That’s a wonderful problem to have, we wish it on all of you.
Get the latest news and updates
Would you like to get the latest updates, industry news and offers from Swan Haven Designs?
Sign up for our newsletter now!