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Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

If you’ve ever Googled your competition and saw that their business listing showed up higher in search with a bunch of customer-centric information like photos, hours, special offers, and even videos, you might wonder how they got all that done. The answer is simple, they optimized their free Google My Business (aka GMB) listings, and Google rewarded them with higher search rankings.

Google My Business lets you take advantage of and grow your business’ presence, making sure your business shows up when it matters most: the moment customers are searching for your business or products or services like yours on Google Search and Maps.

Why You Need an Optimized Google My Business Listing

You may assume that if you have a strong online presence that people will find you in search anyway. Why would you bother managing your business listings directly when it’s so easy to find your website and contact information online?

You’d be surprised at how much search users depend on Google to tell them what the best answer is for their search queries.

According to one Gybo report, businesses that verify their information via Google Business are twice as likely to have customers view them as “reputable.” Google vouching for your business reduces uncertainty and encourages people to take actions like calling or visiting your locations.

And if you are looking to make it into the Local 3-Pack that dominates the top of both desktop and mobile search results, the only way in is through Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

Let’s take a step back for local SEO (search engine optimization) beginners. Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business on Google Search and Maps. With your Google My Business account, you can see and connect with your customers, post updates, and see how customers are interacting with your business on Google.

With GMB, you can manage the information that Google users see when they search for your business or the products and services that you offer. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, they have access to information like your hours, website, and street address.

Reach Highly Relevant and Engaged Customers

Google My Business gives you the power to attract and engage customers when they search for the type of products or services your business provides. Optimizing your GMB listing by filling out all the information gives your business a presence on Google Search and Maps. It also allows you to respond to reviews, post photos of products, services, or special offers, and provide information that helps search users choose your business first.

So, don’t miss an opportunity to read and respond to reviews from your customers and post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

GMB Insights shows you how you can optimize your customer engagement for better results, and you can encourage more engagement by interacting with your customers from the Customers tab.

Google My Business also comes with a mobile app that is free to use. Do everything you already to with your GMB account. Use enhanced features to make it easier to optimize business listings on the go.

If you already have a website, Google My Business listings complement and promote your existing business website and raise your visibility online. No website? Your GMB listing includes a free professional business website that you can set up in minutes.

It’s created automatically using information from your GMB listing, and auto-updates as you make changes to your profile. You can choose from a variety of site themes and offer customers multiple ways to get in touch with you, like calling, messaging, or requesting a quote.

Google My Business Resources

When you take into account that Google owns 90% of the global search market, it makes sense that you would want to take advantage of a free tool that lets you rank your business in their search engines – and that tool is Google My Business.

There are simply too many people searching for the products and services business as yours provide. Make your business highly visible in search results by optimizing your Google My Business listing.

DIY Local SEO for Local Business Owners

DIY Local SEO for Local Business Owners

Local search engine optimization is ever-evolving as new algorithms are released, your software updates, and best practices change. Local business owners have to stay vigilant to compete for the top stops in search engine local results on both mobile devices and desktops.

What You Can Do to Improve Local SEO

Local SEO can get complicated, but there are some simple things that you can do, with minimal tech skills that will have a HUGE impact on how high your business website ranks in local search engine results.

Claim and Optimize Google My Business Listing

Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. Additionally, if you want any chance of showing up in the revenue-increasing Local 3-Pack, which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).

Have a Customer Review System that Generates and Posts Positive Reviews

Customer reviews are a powerful tool in optimizing your website for local search.  On-page, they give you fresh, local, user-generated content for your web pages.  Off-page customer review sites like Yelp often rank in the first or second spot for local search results showing the star ratings of top businesses. 

Google has put a much larger emphasis on the ranking power on customer reviews, putting them front and center in the three-pack and showing snippets of reviews on search engine results pages. Getting those golden stars to show up in search engine results with schema reviews markups helps your business stand out and increases your click-through rates.

Knowing how to get more and better customer reviews on the right sites means you have an advantage over your competitors. You can’t write your customers’ reviews, but you should be putting real effort into doing what you can to influence how often you get reviewed and how highly you are rated.

Create and Monitor Accurate Business Listings and NAP Citations

Your business listings make your business visible online, and the more listings you create, the better chance you have of customers finding you. That’s because your business listings and local citations are important to search engines like Google.

Listings and citations are factors in the ranking algorithms used to create search engine results, and a business with more citations will (if all other factors are equal) rank higher than a business with less.

Accuracy and consistency are of the utmost importance! And if you were going to outsource one activity on this list, business listing and citation management is the one you can have managed for you with minimal cost.

Have a Dedicated Page on Your Website for Each Location

For businesses with more than one location, it is hard to local optimize your website.  Instead of stuffing your pages with half a dozen city/area keywords and tags, give each location its own hyper-local page. 

Each location page should be linked to from a high-level navigation menu on your home page.  And make phone numbers highly visible and clickable on mobile devices. 

Also, when you have specialized services that people search for like sedation for pet grooming or local delivery for things that aren’t usually delivered, create pages specific to those services as well with internal links to your location pages.

Hyper-Localize Title Tags, Videos, and Images

Title tags are the actual words of the anchor text in search results that links to your website.  Metadata is the actual words that show up below your title tag in search results. And image tags are the words that show up when you hover over them online and let search engines know what a picture is about.

Be sure the tags that make sense to both search engines and local customers.  Use your keywords and location in a logical way that matches how customers would pick your business as relevant from a list of results:

GOOD TAG: “South Philadelphia Dog Grooming Training Boarding

BAD TAG: “dog grooming PA

Don’t Let Competitors Top You in Search

Now is a good time to optimize your website for future local customers using their mobile devices and computers to find the best and closest places to spend their money. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.

Local Businesses Grow Faster with Local SEO

Local Businesses Grow Faster with Local SEO

Do you have a business that serves one or several local areas?

Your run-of-the-mill website SEO won’t bring the impactful results of local search engine optimization. And local SEO is what you need to be found by new customers in your area.

Local search has been a windfall for many local businesses because physical proximity to the user is a huge ranking factor in local search results. The good news is there are things you can do to reach qualified customers at exactly the right time, converting local searchers into new customers.

What is Local SEO?

There is so much talk about search engine optimization for small businesses, but a lot of the chatter revolves around optimizing the web pages of businesses with a strong online presence who sell products or services online. Local SEO is all about optimizing the website of a local business so they can rank higher in internet searches made by local users in their area.

Local search optimization is going to affect rankings in mobile search where people are on the move and looking to spend money now and also enhances positioning in searches that use local terms such as:

  • shoe repair near me
  • kennel near me
  • wedding cake in [city name]
  • carpet cleaner in my area

Specifically, when we talk about local search engine optimization, we mean designating and highlighting your city name, complete address, and key service or product in the places that search engines and search engine users are looking for them.

When asked, the talking heads at Google are quoted as saying, “relevance, prominence, and distance” determine what links show up in local search results. That is a huge oversimplification of a very complicated ranking system, but here’s your big take away: Google will first search their own Google My Business accounts to determine relevance, prominence, and distance – so GMB is where you should start your local SEO campaigns.

Why You Should Focus on Local SEO

Local SEO connects your business with real-life customers in your community. Effective local SEO results in everyone in your area seeing your business on page one of search engine results when they are looking for the type of products and services you provide.

Let’s look at some Local SEO stats and facts:

  • 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. (SEO Tribunal)
  • 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. (Go Gulf)
  • 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google)
  • “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Chat Meter)
  • 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a store within five miles (HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
  • 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (SEO Tribunal)
  • 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
  • 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (SEO Expert)
  • By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. (Forrester)

The importance of local SEO continues to grow as Google’s search results ranking methods become more intricate, and search users expect even more individualized results.

As a local business owner, you need to dominate local search results to win new customers. You, more than online or national businesses, must rely on local SEO to build an attractive online presence and expose your business to more and more potential customers.

What can you do right now to improve your local SEO?

Here is a quick-tip guide of local SEO activities you could do right now to help search engines find and rank your website when customers are looking online:

  • Add keywords and geographical (local) identifiers to meta, title, and image tags on your website, so search engines know you are a good match for local search queries.
  • Structure your webpages and URL’s to highlight your locations. (ex: Charlies.com/foreign-auto-mechanic-south-vegas is better than Charlies.com/home)
  • Claim, location optimize and consistently update your Google My Business account.
  • Build and maintain accurate and identical business listings and citations across the internet.
  • Have a plan in place to get more five-star reviews online. Start with claiming your business account on all major social media networks and review sites.

It’s past time you optimized your website for local searches, “near me” queries, and voice-activated shopping research. Most users now have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices. Now that most apps require this to be enabled, even users who previously had this turned off for privacy reasons now have location services active. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Your website is getting traffic, but growing your business is more than getting eyes on your product. Higher conversion rates generate more sales for the same amount of traffic you are currently receiving, so now is the time to employ some conversion rate optimization tactics to grow your local business.

What Is Your Conversion Rate?

Your conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who take action on an offer you present to them. Your physical location, industry, product, and target audience all factor into your ability to convert visitors into direct sales or leads. And there are varying degrees of difficulty in turning those leads into customers.

Conversion simply means you convinced someone to take an action you wanted them to take. Maybe you want website visitors to sign up for a newsletter, call for a demo, book an appointment, or answer a survey – all of these actions are measurable conversions that can lead to business growth.

Conversion Rate Optimization for Local Businesses

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is your strategy for creating an experience on your website that transforms visitors into customers. Conversions have different ways of being measured and how you prioritize your CRO tactics will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with your website.

Use resources like surveys and heat maps to find out what your websites visitors want to see and where they are engaging with your webpages. Google Analytics will show you what pages bring in your traffic and where they are dropping off your website.

Conversion rate optimization is focused on getting website visitors to take action so to understand what will work for your business, step into the shoes of your ideal customer:

Where do they live?

What local terms are they going to use to find what they want in their area?

Can they easily navigate your website?

Can they easily contact your business?

Are your Calls-to-Action promising something they want?

To determine the best conversion rate optimization tactics for your business, you need to first establish your baseline and then set a goal: Current Conversion Rate vs. Conversion Rate You Want to Achieve. With your data in hand and a goal in mind, you can create an optimization plan to start with.

4 Local Conversion Optimization Tips

Local businesses have smaller budgets, less staff dedicated to marketing, and fewer resources all around. But when you know how to optimize your website for SEO to get customers on your website and use CRO to convert that traffic into customers you can beat out local competition easily.

Get more traffic to your site and convert more visitors when you implement these local conversion optimization tips:

1. Create an In-Depth FAQ Page

Create in-depth FAQs pages – or just answer questions on your site Q&A-style. Not only will this help you convert more traffic, but it’s also more likely to get the right people to your site – the ones who know exactly what they’re looking for.

2. Make Your Site More User-Friendly

To get users to dig into your website and stay longer, include plenty of internal links to relevant services and products pages. Also provide an OBVIOUS way to contact someone immediately for more information when they are online, interested, and ready to buy.

3. Include Written Driving Directions

Providing old-school driving directions from major landmarks, highways, and points of interest creates LOCAL content that Google loves and reflect the language people use when searching for specific services in certain areas. Directions also let people on your website know exactly where you are when they are ready to make a purchase or an appointment.

4. Get More and More Reviews On and Off Your Website

Continuously gather customer reviews on a variety of sites and display the best ones on your website. This increases conversion in two ways: 1. People will arrive at your website near conversion because of reviews they have read. 2. People are less likely to leave your website to go look up reviews.

REMEMBER… none of these strategies will increase your local conversion rate if you don’t make it very clear what you want your visitors to do on every page, so have at least one clear call to action for every page.

Increasing Your Local Conversion Rate

Local conversion rate optimization is something you can start now. Test different tactics, measure results against your baseline, find what works for your business, and invest resources into high return activities that increase your conversion rate.

While SEO optimizes your website for search engines ranking, CRO is what turns those website visitors into real customers.

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

A conversion happens when you get people who visit your website to take any action designed to lead to an immediate or future sale. While it can be a long road from getting a person to give you a social media share or signing up for a newsletter to an actual purchase, even these types of conversions are getting future customers into your funnel.

Make a purchase, submit a form, click an offer, read an entire blog post, reach a landing page – these are the conversions you want to see from website visitors to grow your business. The percentage of visitors who take an action, or convert, is your conversion rate.

What Kind of Conversions Do You Need?

Increasing website conversion rates is a high-ranking goal for any growth-focused marketing strategy. To raise your conversion rates, you first must determine what it is you want your website to achieve for your business. Which website conversions are important for your business are dependent on the purpose of your website?

If you sell products or services online, then the most important website conversion rates will center around purchases. But most local businesses use their website to grow awareness, generate leads, and convince website visitors that they are the best option to fulfill whatever need the consumer is searching for. If you fall into the latter category, website conversions that feed lead generation will be the most important.

Once you determine which conversions are the most important, you’ll need to know what your current conversion rate is for each action you want your website users to take. The easiest way to determine your website conversion rate is to use a tool like Google Analytics, where all the data sets you need are just a few clicks away.

Here is how conversion rates are determined: If you have 10,000 website visitors a month and 500 take one of the actions you want them to take then your conversion rate is 5% (because 500/10,000 is .05). A website conversion rate of 100% is impossible, but you should optimize your website for conversions so you can get this number as high as possible.

How to Increase Website Conversion Rates

1. Get Micro-Commitments

Micro-commitments are small steps you ask your visitors to take towards a conversion goal. They are so small that your website visitors don’t need to think too deeply about doing it because it doesn’t cost them anything.

You can build on these micro-commitments to create engagement, familiarize visitors with your brand, and move them through your conversion funnel.

2. Use Enticing & Bold Calls-To-Action

Calls-to-action tell your website visitors what to do next. Clearly communicate the benefits of taking action now and use power words to inspire conversion. Remember, it is important to deliver what you promised immediately.

3. Get Website Visitors on the Phone

Use call back solutions like phone lead engagement software on your website to convert traffic into leads and new customers. This new click-to-call technology lets you build on high-value engagements; creating a unique experience for prospects and customers.

4. Build Trust

Use social proof such as reviews and testimonials on your website to build trust. With trust, you are more likely to get the desired conversion.

5. Use Soft Conversions and Nurture Leads

Soft conversions are actions that indicate a demonstrable interest in your products or services. Every visitor to your website isn’t ready to buy right now. An overwhelming majority of your online traffic is seeking more information before making a final decision. Smaller conversions such as opt-ins for free information can still be valuable leads, though they may require more time and nurturing.

Investing Resources in Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to increase your website conversion rates needs to be part of your digital marketing plan. You don’t need to implement all of these CRO tactics to increase your conversions within days or weeks.

Start where it’s easiest for your business optimize today. It’s possible to see small wins almost immediately, so try one or two CRO tactics at a time, track effectiveness, discard what isn’t working and invest in the activities that make a difference.