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How to Effectively Use Local SEO for Your Small Business

This is a guest post by Aljaz Fajmut, a digital nomad, entrepreneur, and founder of RankTrackr, Exit Mist, and Nightwatch.io – all 3 being topnotch badass SEO tracking & lead gen tools that you should definitely check out…

Want your small business to be seen by more local people? If so, you now need to focus on your digital marketing methods, as well as your offline ones.

20 years ago, businesses could drive traffic via word of mouth, billboards, radio ads and vinyl banners. In 2018, most – if not all – of their customers are online, and these customers are using Google to not only find them but also to buy from them. Indeed, 4 out of 5 of us now use Google to find local businesses.

This means that your business needs to master the art of local SEO, which means optimizing your website for search engines so that you’re as visible as possible. This will drive more of the right traffic, increase awareness, and ultimately boost conversions and sales.

And while SEO can be a complex, ongoing process, local SEO can also be easier than you might think. Let’s take a look at how to effectively use it for your small business.

Using yelp for Local SEO for Your Small Business

Claim Your Business on Yelp

The great thing about an online directory like Yelp is that it does all the SEO work for you. Once you’ve added your business to a credible online directory, they’ll help to rank it for you.

Of course, you might be asking “But what about all the negative reviews that people post to Yelp? Won’t that hinder my business?”

The thing is that 84% of your customers trust online reviews. This means that they go to directories like Yelp to not only find the service your business provides but also to find your business – and what people think of your business.

For this reason alone, it’s important that you claim your business listing on Yelp and optimize it. There might be some negative reviews but you can even turn these in your favor by responding to them and demonstrating empathy for customers who’ve had a poor experience with your business.

The chances are, however, that as long as your business is going a great job, most customers will leave positive, glowing reviews – and these reviews will influence new customers positively.

Moreover, Yelp also lets you upload official business photos that help to create a better first impression with new customers.

Hey Site page title and meta data local seo for small business

Tweak Your Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Writing meta descriptions and title tags is a bit of an art. If you’ve ever written them before 2018, you’ll recall how short they had to be. However, Google has since increased them so that you can now use 60 characters for your title tags and 200 for your meta descriptions before they become truncated. This gives you a bit more leeway but you still need to be artful and use the space well.

Remember, you need to make sure that every single word counts.

When it comes to local SEO, you want to reach local customers. As such, it’s key that you add the name of the city you’re in, as well as the particular area you serve. Include the service you provide and add your main keyword.

Here’s an example of a meta description optimized for local SEO:

“Welcome to Jerry’s Electrics4U. Jerry’s Electrics4U is proud to be a leading contractor in the Houston area. By combining our expertise of …”

Local SEO for Your Small Business with Google My Business

Claim Your “Google My Business”

Google My Business is just as big a biggie as Yelp. The reason you should claim your business is simple: Once claimed, your business will start to show up on Google Maps, thus making it more visible and pointing people in the right direction so they know exactly where you’re located.

Claiming your business is really simple, and it’s also totally free. Just hop over to Google My Business and go through the verification process. This will take a bit of time because Google needs to physically send you a postcard with your PIN on it but it’s necessary because Google needs to know that you’re definitely the business owner.

Once your business has been verified, you then need to optimize your listing with your business hours, a strong description and so on. Add photos, too, and make sure that you complete each section. Don’t leave a single stone unturned.

Reviews for small business local seo

Add Lots of Online Reviews

Lastly, we’ve already covered the importance of online reviews. But as well as making the most of Yelp, you need to add more online reviews to your own website.

Not only do online reviews create more trust among consumers; they also act as a ranking factor. The more positive reviews you have, the higher you will rank on Google.

Not sure how to generate more reviews? Simply reach out to customers via email a few days after they’ve purchased a product and ask if they’d be kind enough to leave you a review. Most will.

These are 4 ways to use local SEO for your small business. Claim your business on Yelp and Google My Business, encourage more online reviews, and optimize your meta descriptions and title tags — and you’ll be on the right track. And whatever you do, don’t forget to monitor your SEO efforts so that know what changes to make!

 

Aljaz Fajmut

Aljaz Fajmut

Aljaz Fajmut is an internet entrepreneur and founder of ExitMist and Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation.

Contractor SEO Tips: 6 Quick And Easy Wins

 

Contractor SEO (sometimes also called contractor search engine optimisation) can be a difficult subject to wrap your mind around if you’re a business owner who doesn’t practice the art and science of ranking websites.

A Google search for “SEO” returns almost 500 million search results!

This is more information than any one person could attempt to read in their lifetime.

Problem is, a lot of that information on contractor SEO tips is out-of-date or just not relevant to the needs of a home services business owner trying to get some quick and easy wins.

I’m going to outline the absolute best contractor SEO tips by focusing on SEO basics. This will give you actionable SEO strategies that you can use right now to improve, or even begin getting, precious website traffic by getting your site discovered and to rank higher in Google’s search results.

Here are six super simple contractor SEO tips to help you optimize your site and drive more organic traffic:

Contractor Seo keyword research and keyword tools

1. Research & Use Relevant Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of all successful SEO strategies. When your potential customers use a search engine what are they searching for? For most contractors this will be a combination of what your business provides as a product or service and where it is performed: (contractor SEO company in Orlando or kitchen remodelers in Orange County).

There are some SEO tools and strategies we will use to make sure we get relevant selection of keywords together. These tools will help you take a lot of the guesswork out of trying to figure out what your ideal customer might be searching for.

So let’s start by brainstorming potential keywords that your ideal customer would use to find you. To start, you’re going to write down everything that describes your Business: what you do, the products/services you offer, and the locations in which you offer those products/services.

Once you have written all of these descriptions about your product/service offerings, you will combine these with the locations of your offerings to form a basic SEO list of keywords.

Here’s a list of some common location based roofing keywords:

City + Roofing
City + Roofers
City + Roofing Company
City + Roofing Contractor
City + Roofing Service
City + Roof Repair
City + Roof Replacement
City + Commercial Roofers

With your foundational keyword list, we can use some keyword research tools to get suggestions on why users are searching for, what the search frequency per month is, as well as how competitive the keyword phrase will be to rank in the SERPs.

My personal SEO keyword research favorites for getting this job done are ubersuggest and kwfinder.com, and both come in free and paid versions.

For now, stick to the free version until your skill sets and need to research a lot of keywords per day demands more features and capabilities.

Take the foundational keyword list you started above and search for your keywords using either one of the keyword tools mentioned above (really boils down to personal preference, so try both to see which you like working with best).

Contractor seo marketing tips

Another way to find more contractor keywords is to search phrases like your users would search for in order to find businesses like yours, by doing searches on Google. The next time you Google something, notice that you will often see suggestions in the search bar while you type and there will also be a list of suggested searches at the bottom of the page. Add any of these relevant variations to your list and search them again.

What you are really looking to do here is end up with groups of keywords that have the same basic meaning and intent behind them. As an example, let’s consider this article on contractor SEO tips, we could group the keywords as such:

  • Best contractor SEO tips
  • How to do contractor SEO
  • Contractor SEO basics 2019
  • Beginner contractor search engine optimisation tips
  • Search Engine Optimization for Contractors
  • Search engine optimisation tips for contractors

Contractor seo best practices

The intent driving those keywords is closely related so we will group them together. Any given piece of content can then be optimized for (i.e. feature) those terms. This then ranks our content piece for the widest range of possible keyword phrases and terms.

I would typically put these keywords into a spreadsheet with approximate search volumes and a score relating to how relevant they are. Don’t overcomplicate this though, we are just trying to give a loose priority to the language we are going to use through the article that’s written for the keyword grouping.

Contractor SEO Pro Tip: Identify and prioritise the keywords that your prospective customers use when looking for the products and services you offer.

Seo contractor tips - optimize page titles and meta descriptions

2. Optimize Page Titles & Meta Descriptions

Once you have your keyword list completed, you will first optimize your page title so that it contains the most important keywords you want to rank on. Note that this is the behind the scenes HTML <title> element and not what is shown on the page. This is usually editable in your website control panel (CMS) or in your SEO plugin. For WordPress users, it’ll be at the top of post page.

The goal is to get our keywords into the page title in a natural sounding way. You have to keep in mind that page titles are what is shown boldly in search results so we are aiming to clearly indicate what the blog post is about and entice a user to click on our page listing.

What I typically like to do in the title field is include the what, where, and who if possible. You’ll want to keep the page title under 70 characters long as that’s the viewable limit searchers are able to see, because the rest is truncated. The keywords are the what, the location is the where, along with your business name at the end for branding purposes. Ideally, you want the keyword your aiming to rank for at the beginning of the title which can help the click-through rate (CTR) and it can help with potential ranking improvements.

Here’s some examples:

Internet Marketing For Contractors in Orlando Florida | Marketing Media Wizard

Best Orlando Contractor SEO Agency | Marketing Media Wizard

Page titles are important for getting contractor seo understood

If we look at service pages we can extend upon this:

Digital Marketing Agency | Free Contractor SEO Analysis – Marketing Media Wizard

Best Orlando SEO Agencies: Contractor SEO Packages | Marketing Media Wizard

In both page title examples, I have included an element that is more for marketing than actual SEO: Free Contractor SEO Analysis & Contractor SEO Packages. These are elements we put there to increase the likelihood that someone will click on the listing.

Remember that a search engine listing is still an advertisement, so we must get our marketing message dialed in along with our contractor SEO strategies. And, as it so happens, engagement with your blog post listing can have a positive impact on your overall organic search rankings, meaning that using Google Adwords for paid ads is also beneficial for your contractor SEO page rankings.

This is because when you run traffic to your blog posts, via paid ads, you are giving both the website and that Blog post data and metrics Google is then able to use to further index and categorize the relevancy for future search results.

A word of caution here is not to over-optimise your page titles and just cram them full of keywords.

Contractor SEO  | SEO Tips for Contractors | Contractor SEO Agency | Search Engine OptimIzation | Contractor SEO Company

Your page title must include your keywords but never at the expense of making it sound and read funny to searchers.

Google is adamant about a site’s wording and keyword use being natural and providing the best user experience as possible.

So never risk trying to match a page title up with a search keyword phrase that’s not natural sounding just for the sake of trying to rank for it.

Once you’re happy with your page title, the next component to focus on is your meta description.

Like the pages title, this too should be editable in your website’s CMS.

WordPress users will find this near the bottom of the blog post’s page. Click on the “edit snippet” button and it’ll drop down a textarea for you to enter the meta description.

Page titles will have the biggest SEO impact, whereas the meta description provides the introduction of the content on your blog post.

The Blog title needs to quickly grab people’s attention while the meta description helps set the hook and excites/convinces them to click in order to read further.

The page title and meta description used for this article is as follows:

Contractor SEO Tips: 6 Quick And Easy Wins

Six Quick & Easy SEO tips for contractors. Easily optimise your website, improve rankings and drive more traffic from Google.

With the page title, I am detailing what the blog post is, while the meta description backups up the value the page title promised to deliver, which hopefully entices more people to click to read this.

Now, meta descriptions do not actually influence rankings, at least not directly. What do I mean? Google’s algorithms doesn’t use the meta description keywords as a relevancy or ranking value indicator. Google doesn’t examine the meta description and then add a value to help or hurt your search results. However, getting listed is only half the SEO for contractors battle, the other is getting clicks from interested people searching for answers they believe you can deliver on. And where a result is clicked more than another this can help improve your ranking through engagement metrics that Google does look at. Most troubling about this, is that a search result that is not clicked on or that’s clicked on less than its peers will lose its position by being dropped from the search results. The thing to focus on here is that though the SEO stuff we do on our website is important, it should never be at the expense of creating original high quality content.

Contractor SEO Pro Tip: Write descriptive page titles and meta descriptions and thread in your marketing messages mixed with keywords to improve your organic traffic and search results rankings.

Contractor Seo optimize page content with keywords

3. Optimize Your Page Content
to Fit Keywords

Now that your page titles and meta descriptions are optimized, we now need to optimize the page content to fit with the keyword groupings. Let’s now add in these keywords into our blog post copy, in a natural way.

Natural means not keyword stuffing or repeating the exact same keyword phrase over and over again while not paying attention to it’s singular or plural connotations.

The best thing to do here is to use synonyms of the keyword phrase so it’s not stuff and is human readable.

There are various components to a page with the main elements being:

Header Tags –> H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6
Body Content –> page content
Images –> images help visualize the talking points

First, focus on the heading and subheadings on the page (H1 & H2). These should be optimized to include your keywords, given it’s done in a natural way.

Next, create the page content that will describe and promote your business and try to use all of your keywords, within a grouping, where it’s natural sounding. Don’t concern yourself with keyword volumes or specific uses of them, just write your article as you naturally would and try to use the keyword terms as best as you can throughout the article to specifically describe your business or its product or service offering.

Images must be optimized by naming the image file, the image alt text, and the image description with the relevant keywords matching the rest of the page. If the image is placed close to relevant keyword text that too can also help boost it up.

When this is done properly, your page will be visible for a wide range of relevant keyword terms and you will be communicating with a larger customer base which should boost engagement which leads to generating more quality leads and sales from your website.

Contractor SEO Pro Tip: Optimizing headers, content, and images significantly boosts your pages visibility for a broader range of keyword search terms, thus giving you more opportunities.

Best contractor seo tips update google my business listing and location information

4. Optimize Google My Business Listing For Your Contracting Business

Your website is the central hub for all your SEO efforts, however, this is not the only place where your business is listed online. Social media and business directories like Yelp.com will also have information listings for your business.

Search engines use this information along with information from your business to help build trust and an understanding of what you do and where you do it.

You will want to update all possible business listings, commonly referred to as citations, with your correct/current address and a summary of available business services. Add the most important keywords into these business listings along with a mention of any key service areas.

You can also take a similar approach with your social media profiles. Although you might not be able to add a business address or full business description, you can still generalize the business purpose and where it’s done.

Contractor SEO Pro Tip: Update Google My Business (GMB) and other business listings and your businesses social media profiles with keyword descriptive content and the service locations.

Seo for contractors building backlinks

5. Building Links Back to Your Site

Link building is one of the most important contractor SEO elements to having your website ranked. Link building is also important for driving the right type of search results rankings based on competitive keywords.

However, link building has a bad reputation, because links can both help and hurt your search engine rankings. Because of their power to either help or hurt, you need to stay away from Fiverr and other sources offering cheap links.

Look, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. There’s no shortcut to success, especially with something like links that can go either way.

To gain visibility will require having the right kind of links pointing to your site. These links help Google determine your relative importance and search results ranking by using these metrics.

Think about it this way, a relevant link from another website is like a vote. In this use case, votes indicate that you’re important to the search query which drives greater visibility in Google‘s SERPs.

There’s a catch, they must be the right kind of votes. They have to come from other authority sites that are in the same niche as yours. It’s like having a country club member vouch for you to become a member as well.

It goes without saying that link building is the hardest part of SEO for contractors and is where businews owners often get stuck in the learning curve. Fortunately, there’s a few simple and effective strategies you can use to obtain some quality backlinks that will improve your search results visibility.

1. Directory Sites That Are Credible

Highly credible directory sites like Crunchbase.com, Yelp.com, Foursquare, Yell.com, Thompson, and big business directories that are Industry specific. Use Google to search for your keywords and locations, as well as any listings that rank on the first page of Google are worth looking into.

2. Competitor Link Analysis

Reviewing your competitor’s links will often identify link patterns and opportunities. Checkout your top 10 competitors with a tool like MajesticSEO, ahrefs, or OpenSiteExplorer.

Using one of these tools will help you identify numerous link opportunities. You are not looking to copy every single link here but rather to identify the the best opportunities from the competition.

Quality over quantity is what matters most here.

Seo for contractors

3. User Testimonials

Offer to write testimonials for companies you work with. Your website designer. Your social media or SEO company. These are all sites that do work for you, are likely local, and can generate a relevant link.

Likewise, if you have previous relationships with customers or suppliers, look into these sites to see if there’s a way a link could be added to these websites.

Contractor SEO Pro Tip: Build relevant and quality links to your website and content.

Contractor seo use google search console

6. Google Search Console

Finally, register your site with Google Search Console. This tool analyses your website and provides diagnostic feedback you can use to improve how your site appears in search results. This is information coming directly from Google and will help you keep a vigilant eye on any issues or areas for actionable improvement. Also, it’s required to run effective remarketing campaigns with Google AdWords.

Conclusion

Here we have 6 contractor SEO tips that even business owners can implement to improve your SEO rankings:

  • Research & use relevant keywords
  • Optimize page titles & meta descriptions
  • Optimize page content
  • Optimize your contracting business around the web
  • Build relevant links
  • Register your site on Google Search Console

Now that you have plenty of actionable items to complete on your site so that it can become visible to those searching on Google for your services, I’ll end it here for today.

Implement these contractor SEO tips and you will see an improvement in your website rankings and traffic flow. And often with SEO, getting 20% dialed in will yield 80% of the results.

Contractors Guide to Google My Business Listing

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) listing service was developed and launched by the search engine giant Google, in 2014. Google My Business for contractors has quickly established itself as one of the dominant online local business directories mostly due its tight integration in Google Search and Google Maps. Any type of home improvement business, large or small, absolutely should create a Google My Business Contractors profile to manage their information and optimize their local SEO ranking.

Contractors that have a brick and mortar storefronts can update their store hours, address, and contact information to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information for customers to use that search in Google.

An example of this would if you are needing gas, but left your wallet at home and only had your phone which had Apple Pay and needed to find the closest gas station that accepted one of those payment types. So you open up your Google Maps App and select gas stations from the menu options.

Contractors google my business

 

The search returns several gas station listings from which you now have to select the closest gas station to you, which accepts Apple Pay, to fill up and avoid running out of gas, for the 4th damn time this month.

 

Small Business contractor Guide to Google My Business Listing Used on google maps app

Now you simply click on each of the gas station results until you find a listing that accepts Apple Pay.

Google My Business contractors Listing on google maps

 

Bow that you’ve found a gas station in google maps that has the “accepts Apple Pay”.

 

Google maps app contracting listing Apple Pay Google My Business Listing

 

Now you just have to activate the map directions and drive to the location.

And I will throw this in, just because a business lists as accepting Apple Pay doesn’t necessarily mean they actually do take it. Ran into that problem a week ago, hence this blog post.

 

Gmb contractors listing

Why is it important?

Just like in the example above your customers will use Google Search or Google Maps at different points in their buying cycle, whether they are looking for more broad information on things like “attractions to see in Orlando” to more specific requests like your business name or “Wawa near me”.

Your local contracting business is indexed and displayed to internet users based on the information Google has on file. If Google has accurate and updated info on your business then it will be able to do its job of matching the users search queries with your business based on relevancy and proximity.

Brand Search vs. Non-Brand Search

Branded Search and Non-Branded Search are both equally important, and Google My Business has a major coordinating role in the search visibility of these 2 types of searches.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more complex than simply ranking your business on Google My Business alone, but by optimizing your contractor Google My Business page m, Google will have more accurate information on your home improvement business category and association with your contracting website to assist with non-branded keyword searches.

Brand Search refers to your business name, and variants of your business name.

Example 1: “Marketing Media Wizard Contractor Digital Marketing Agency

Variant 1: “Marketing Media Wizard Home Improvement SEO

Variant 2: “MMW Contractor Marketing

Non-brand search refers to a more broad-based search, made up of search phrases that are relevant to your business.

Example: “Contractor Digital Marketing Agency

Example 2: “Contractor SEO Experts

Google My Business contracting listing

Starting Point With Google My Business

By using the same Gmail account for all your Google products such as: Google My Business, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and any other Google products will help you to stay organized, and link them together, as all of these products work in tandem.

With our Google Account, we can check to see if a Google My Business page already exists for your business. Sometimes GMB pages will be automatically created if Google can see other social media profiles or your business information on trusted websites like business directories.

The example below displays an unclaimed Google My Business profile from Kokanee Park Marina. By clicking the “Own this business” text link in the profile, you will be able to claim the page, verify it by phone or postcard, and begin updating and making changes to the page.

Unclaimedc contractor google my business listing

Note: sometimes adding “google plus” or the city to your business name in your search query may help discover your GMB knowledge panel. 

If your Google My Business Contractors page does not exist yet, you can create a new one by clicking here.

Bulk editing for multiple contracting business owners in your google my business listing

Bulk Verification for Franchises & Multiple (10+) Location Business Owners

Google My Business allows you to bulk verify, and organize your store locations in a Business Account folder. Google will provide a spreadsheet template to collect all locations for a bulk verification submission. We have helped clients with this migration, and more information to start this process can be found here

Once all your locations are claimed and verified, you can assign a store code to each location and make bulk changes to the store hours, cover image, business category and more.

Multiple contractor locations is easily handled in you google my Business listing dashboard

Optimize Your Business Location Page

Now that we have a verified page (or pending via sent postcard) you can begin filling out the profile with useful information to improve the quality of this page. Start with the “info” tab and check to make sure all your business information is correct. Under the “photos” tab you can upload you business logo, profile and cover photo. These images are important for the less popular Google Plus, but they can also be used in your contractor Google My Business profile.

Claim Your Google My Business Contractor Listing

Reviews can be managed from the same Google My Business dashboard. If you have positive (or negative) reviews you really have to take the time to respond to all of them, in order to let everyone know that your business values customers one feedback and that you’re active on your contractor Google My Business page.

The Insights tab shows you how your Google My Business contractor listing is being used and its visibility in Google Search and Google Maps. Google refers to “Direct” and “Discovery” as the brand and non-brand search terms.

Google my business contractor  listing customer reviews you need to get

Generate a Sharable Review Link

The reviews your business collects on your Google My Business page are powerful for social proof and building trust with potential customers. Google treats reviews as a kind of 3rd party testimonial about anothers experience with that business , so encouraging your happy customers to leave a review on your contractor Google My Business listing is a win-win.

The best way to generate a review link for your Google My Business page is to find your GMB contractor page on Google search, and click the “reviews” linked text.

Contractor Google My Business listing Reviews

From there, click “Write a Review” and copy the URL in the address bar. This URL can then be shared in an email to your customers as a part of your follow up.

Note: your customers will need a Google (@gmail.com) Account in order to leave a Google review.

Example Review URL:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Grapevine+Restaurant+1055+Camp+Road+Lake+Country+BC+V4V+2H4&rlz=1C5CHFA_enCA721CA721&oq=Grapevine+Restaurant+1055+Camp+Road+Lake+Country+BC+V4V+2H4&aqs=chrome..69i57.223j0j1&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#lrd=0x537def7112150d03:0x9913e7c27521bfa0,3

URL a bit long? You can run it through  Bit.ly URL shortener by clicking on the link.

Now you have a sharable review link that looks like this:

http://bit.ly/MarketingMediaWizardGoogleReview

Create your own short URL to make it super easy for your customers to share their experience on your contractor Google My Business page. Some of our clients use this same practice in an automated email follow up or by reaching out themselves to make a request for a review.

Contractor google My Business

Google My Business will grow larger than what it is now.  

Google has designed Google My Business contractors to be easily self-managed by the business owner. New features are constantly being added, so keep an eye on your dashboard for them.

One new feature shows foot traffic to store locations. Any home Improvement contractors that see a lot of foot traffic might see the “popular times” information in the GMB knowledge panel. The popular times feature gathers location data from smartphone users who have opted-in to Google’s location services. I expect this type of real-time information to become even more common in Google products in the coming years.

Contractor google My Business page

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for Local SEO

 

An important first step in any local SEO strategy is to claim and verify your local business’ Google My Business (GMB) listing. Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general. Qualifying local businesses can claim this free listing on Google and include basic information about their company, like their address, phone number, business hours and types of payments accepted.

If you haven’t claimed and verified your Google My Business Listing yet, that’s the first step. To get started, visit https://www.google.com/business.

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing for a Local SEO Boost

Many local businesses just claim their GMB listing and forget about it. What most businesses don’trealize is that there are a variety of other features you can use to optimize your Google My Business listing and several reasons why you should frequently check your business listing to ensure that it’s accuracy stays intact. Want to know more?

Complete all the information Google asks for

There are a variety of questions you can answer to complete your Google My Business profile. When done, your listing will have valuable data that will make it easier for potential customers to find your company. And if you don’t fill that information in, someone else could. Many business owners don’t realize that anyone can suggest a change to your business listing — and that includes competitors.

When a searcher clicks on your GMB listing they can see a “Suggest an edit” option:

 

Google my business marketing media wizard

 

When someone clicks on that option they can literally edit your Google My Business listing (and make some pretty dramatic changes, too):

 

 

This is just one reason why it’s very important that you login to your Google My Business dashboard regularly to ensure that no one has attempted to make any unwanted changes to your business listing. In your account, you’ll see an alert that changes are pending if someone has made suggested changes that need your approval before Google publishes them.

Also, keep in mind that Google encourages people who are familiar with your business to answer questions, so Google can learn more information about your small business. To do this they can simply click on the “Know this place? Answer quick questions” link.

 

They’ll then be prompted to answer some questions about your business.

 

 

If they know the answer to the questions, they can answer. If not, they can decline.

Now, some business owners have cried foul, saying that competitors or others with malicious intent can wreak havoc on their Google My Business listings with this feature. However, Google’s philosophy is that this type of “user-generated content” helps to build a community, more fully completes a business’ profile, and allows Google to experiment with different search strategies.

After you get your Google My Business listing verified, continue to check your listing regularly to be on the safe side.

Google My Business Posts

Google Posts are “mini-ads” that show up in Google search in your Google My Business listing (in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps.)

 

You can have fun with your Posts by adding an image, a Call to Action (CTA), and even including a link to another page or website. If you’re using Yext, you can create GMB Posts directly from your Yext dashboard.

Here are just a few Post ideas:

  • If you’re having an event (like a webinar) you can set up an event Post with a date and time and then add a link to the registration page.
  • Do you have a sale going on during a specific time? Create a “sale” event Post.
  • Does your latest blog post rock? Add a short description of your blog post and link to the post on your blog.
  • New product you want to feature? Show a picture of this cool gadget and link to where people can make the purchase.
  • Want to spread holiday joy? Give potential customers a holiday message Post.

The possibilities with Posts are endless! Posts stay “live” for seven days or “go dark” after the date of the event. Google is great about sending you reminders when it’s time to create a new Post.

TIP: To grab a searcher’s attention, you want to include an image in your Post, but on Google Maps the Post image can get cut off. You might have to test a few Post image sizes to make sure it’s sized appropriately for Maps and the Knowledge Panel on desktop and mobile devices.

To get started with Posts, login to your GMB dashboard and you’ll see the Posts option on the left-hand side:

Do Google My Business Posts help with search rankings? Joy Hawkins and Steady Demand tested whether Posts had an impact on rankings, and they found that making Google My Business Posts can improve rankings.

Booking button feature

Google’s new Booking button feature can really help your business stand out from the crowd. If you have any type of business that relies on customers making appointments and you’re using integrated scheduling software, people can now book an appointment with your business directly from your Google My Business listing. This can make it even easier to get new customers!

If you have an account with one of Google’s supported scheduling providers, the booking button is automatically added to your Google My Business listing.

Messaging

Did you know that you can allow potential customers to send you text messages? This is a great way to connect directly with potential customers.

If you don’t want text messages sent to your personal phone number, you can download Google’s Allo app. When you set up your Allo account, use the same phone number connected to your Google My Business account. Now when someone messages you, Allo will send you a notification instead of the message appearing in your personal text messages.

To get started with Messaging, login to your GMB dashboard and click on “Messaging”:

This feature is still in its infancy, though. Right now, messaging is only available to mobile web users and is not available to mobile app or desktop users. People also won’t see the Messaging option in the Knowledge Panel or on Google Maps.

The ONLY way someone can message your business is if they perform a mobile web search on Chrome. (I expect that Google will expand the Messaging feature once they work the kinks out.)

Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers is a relatively new feature to Google local search. It’s very cool! Just like it sounds, Q&A allows people to ask questions about your business and you can answer those questions.

 

Here are a few things to keep in mind about Questions & Answers:

  • The Q&A feature is not visible on the mobile GMB app.
  • You need to login to the GMB dashboard to see if you have any new questions that need answering.
  • You cannot monitor the Questions on a mobile device unless you have an Android phone.
  • You can use the Google Maps App on Android devices to manage the Q&A feature as the business. To do this, download the Google Maps app, sign in with the email address you use for your GMB listing, and you will get push notifications if someone asks your business a question.

TIP: It’s important to note that just like “Suggest an Edit” on GMB, anyone can answer questions asked of your business. Therefore, you want to keep an eye out and make sure you answer questions quickly and ensure that if someone else answers a question, that the answer is accurate. If you find that someone is abusing your GMB listing’s Q&A feature, reach out to the Google My Business support forums.

Google My Business online reviews

Unlike Yelp, which vehemently discourages business owners to ask their customers for reviews, Google encourages business owners to ethically ask their customers or clients for online reviews. Online reviews appear next to your listing in Google Maps and your business’ Knowledge Panel in search. Reviews can help your business stand out among a sea of search results.

Additionally, online reviews are known to impact search result rankings, consumer trust, and click-through rates. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Consumer Review Survey:

  • 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business
  • Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses
  • 68% of consumers left a local business review when asked — with 74% having been asked for their feedback
  • 79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year

If you follow Google’s guidelines for Google My Business reviews, you can ask your customers for reviews. (However, if you violate any of these policies, your reviews could be removed.)

When customers leave reviews for you — good or bad — make sure you respond to them. Not only does it show that customer that you appreciate their feedback, it also shows potential customers that you care.

What happens if you get a negative review? First, don’t freak out. Everybody has a bad day and most people recognize that. Also, if you have a troll that gave you a one-star review and left a nasty comment, most people with common sense recognize that review for what it is. It’s generally not worth stressing over.