Google search results seem to rule the world. Showing up on page one is a must, and appearing in the Google 3-pack, those businesses listed on the Google map when you do a local search, can be the difference between a growing and thriving business and one that is merely getting by.
Google has evolved their products to do two things (1) make search better and (2) make Google more money. Your business benefits from both.
There are a handful of factors that Google uses to decide what sites to show when a person searches for a local business.
There is valuable information available in these posts on reviews, schema markup, and citations. All of those will help you in the search game, but today’s post is about the cornerstone of the local ranking game – your Google My Business Page.
The Google My Business page, linked to Google+, has long been rumored to be going away. But for now, it’s still a vital source of data that feeds into Google Maps and even into some of the exploratory information available to Google viewers. Information like reviews on your Google My Business page are going to continue to be a ranking factor.
The presence of the Google Maps data in mobile searches makes local ranking even more important for your local businesses. It’s not uncommon to have small businesses receive more than 66% of their current website traffic on mobile devices and tablets.
Why is this important? ComScore recently found that 78 percent of local-mobile searches resulted in an immediate offline purchase.
If you really want to show up on page one, for local searches you will have to clean and optimize your Google My Business page first. Google My Business
There’s a good chance you have a Google My Business page, even if you don’t remember setting it up. Not sure? Start with these steps:
- If you aren’t sure if you have a Google My Business page you can go here to check: https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778?hl=en
- Another issue that is common and will have to be addressed is some business owners have inadvertently set up multiple Google My Business pages. This can be a bit of a mess to organize. Here’s a tool to check if you have multiple pages: http://www.michaelcottam.com/google-business-page-finder/
- Have duplicate listings? You may be able to merge them by following these instructions: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669139?hl=en
- Tip: If you need to ask the Google team a question, the best (sometimes only) way to interact with Google My Business is via Twitter. Put your questions and requests directly to the Google team here: https://twitter.com/GoogleSmallBiz
Now that we have the basic housekeeping elements out of the way, we can move to the next step: optimization.
Optimizing your Google My Business Page
- Assuming the above listed housekeeping steps resulted in a clean and organized Google My Business page, here are the next points to consider:
- Are Name, Address, and Phone the same (exactly) as you have on your website?
- Is the category precise – i.e., Attorney vs. Elder Law Attorney?
- Have you written a keyword rich description?
- Is your website listed in the profile?
- Have you added a few relevant images?
Google offers some pretty good tips for setting your Google My Business page up the way they suggest.
Advanced Google My Business topics
After you have analyzed and optimized the above listed points, you can now move to these more advanced points:
- Update your page images with fresh, hi-resolution images. Google will compress them as needed, but your page will look much better with hi-resolution images. You can and should feature hi-res logo, exterior shots, interior shots, staff and behind the scenes work. Here’s a detailed guide to images from Google.
- Consider adding a Google Street View Tour of your business. Google is using this as it adds an incredible verification and trust element for them. Here’s an example of what our friends at Duct Tape Marketing we did for a Kansas City Remodeling Contractor.
Although most of what it takes to rank locally isn’t that complex, sometimes it makes sense to get a pro involved. After all, optimizing directory profiles might not be the best use of your time. If you have questions about your Google My Business Page or need some help unwinding some not so ideal set-up you might consider checking out our Local Foundation Service.
We created the Local Foundation Package as a complete and ongoing “done for you” marketing service so you can rest assured all of these more technical local ranking factors are taken care in just the right manner.
Optimizing your Google My Business page is the best place to start to get your business found.
Interested in a step-by-step local search guide? Download this ebook.