Getting Found Online (and Using Google to help you)
Guest post by Cat’s Cove Communications
We get it: business is a little slow right now for a lot of businesses. And with so many people self-isolating and scrolling idly, you might be wondering, “how can I get found online?” One really useful tool thing you can do is create and optimize your Google My Business profile.
Google My Business is a service Google provides for its users. Business owners can create a profile with pictures, hours, descriptions, and relevant search terms. When a Google user searches for a location or type of service that relates to your business, you business will show up in the results.
What does “optimizing” mean exactly?
I know, “optimizing” sounds like you are about to perform brain surgery on a robot while launching into outer space. Good news: it’s way simpler than that! It just means making sure your information on your Google My Business is up-to-date and thorough. When you’ve included all the information a customer could want, your Google My Business listing is officially “optimized.”
Why care about optimizing your Google My Business profile?
According to a Google Internal Data Report, 51% of Google searches are No Click Searches (Search Engine Land). These are search results that don’t lead to a click on a website. In other words, people are using the information that they see on the Google search page. If that information isn’t yours, they will not go looking for you. On top of that, 93% of local searches feature Google My Business listings before normal search results.
Maybe you have created a Google My Business profile already. But have you optimized? By adding a few key elements, you will increase the likelihood that Google will show your business in local search results and help you get found online by your ideal client.
Tips and Tricks for your Business Information
- Business name
- Use the same business name as on your signs, business cards and legal documents.
- Do NOT spam your business name with cities, search terms, taglines or anything else. It is against Google’s terms of service and could lead to listing problems or suspension in the future.
- Business categories
- Make sure the primary category best represents your business. It is the only one that people see on your business listing.
- Take advantage of additional categories and add as many as apply to your business.
- Do NOT use categories if they do not directly apply to your business.
- Business location
- Only enter a physical address if customers actually visit your place of business.
- Use a free tool like Smarty Streets to make sure your address is properly formatted.
- Put the physical street address in the first line and put suite numbers in the second line.
- Service area
- Only enter this if you serve customers at their location (service area businesses). Some businesses serve customers both at their place of business and at their customer’s location.
- Enter the cities, postal codes or regions that you service. Note that no matter how big a service area you set, it is still unlikely to appear in a search result greater than 20 miles away.
- Business hours
- Enter regular hours of operation when customers can actually do business with you.
- Add special hours for holidays, special closures, or other times when your business is not open. See How to Set Holiday Hours in Google My Business, Yelp and Bing for more information.
- If you are a seasonal business, remove all operating hours when closed, and re-enter them when you open again.
Photos and Videos
Photos, videos and virtual tours are an important part of your Google My Business listing. First, they represent your business to potential customers so you want to give them the best impression possible for your business.
According to Google’s own data, “Businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t have photos.” You also want to upload your own images so that your images have a better chance of displaying on your listing instead of images that Google users upload.
Finally, photos, videos and virtual tours encourage engagement with your listing and engagement with your listing is a key ranking factor on Google.
The business description is an open text area that you can use to tell potential customers more about your business. It appears in both desktop and mobile web search, but does not appear on the Google Maps app.
- Go to your listing in Google My Business.
- Click “Info” and then click “Description”.
- You can write a description of up to 750 characters, however, only the first 244 characters display on your Google listing unless the visitor clicks “More”.
- Recommendations for business descriptions:
- Think about what you’d want your customers to know most about your business. Pretend they know nothing about you.
- Use the most important terms that potential customers might be looking for, but do not keyword stuff. It is not believed that Google uses the description field as a factor in search rankings. However, a well-written description could help convert someone looking at your listing into a customer.
- Don’t use all-caps, emojis or other “gimmicky character use”.
- Do not focus on promotions, prices or sales. Tell people about your business instead.
- Do not use any URLs.
Completing the information in these three categories will help you get found. Start with them and then build on it. Believe it or not, this is actually only a sampling of the things that can be done to optimize your Google My Business profile.
Want more? Reach out and we’ll set it up!
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