The information here is not fluff, it is real world actionable steps to get more calls, clicks and customers for your business from raised visibility in local Google search results.
Every small business has different needs. However, from 2020 and beyond your business must be found online for you to succeed. People no longer pickup the phone book to find service providers or the products they need. They are picking up their phone and searching using text or even voice inquiries. These queries on mobile phones can either show your business or your competitors’ business. So, lets get to work and make sure it is yours!
Getting found on sites like Google, YouTube and Facebook are more important now than ever before. There are many ways to get traffic on social media and video sites. However, we will be focusing on getting business from local google listings in this guide.
In this guide you will find some of the most effective things you can do as a business owner to get more phone calls, more customers and more “mind share” in your local area. There are many other factors that can really boost your efforts, but this is a great start to getting your listing showing up on Google maps, Google search and the almighty Local 3 Pack in local search results.
Enough chit chat lets dig into the actual methods that are going to put more money in your pocket.
Owner – NS Technologies
Let’s Start with The Google Local 3-Pack
This is one of the most sought-after search positions on Google today. Get listed here, get instant customer trust, show off your reviews, get a link to your site and show customers your phone number on mobile or desktop search! This is where you want your business to show, period.
Historically there were more listing in this area and now most of the time you will only see 3 local businesses listed for most any search term like you will see on the right side below.
#1 Create A Google (Google My Business) Listing
This is a free listing that Google offers to all business owners. It shows your phone number, hours, physical address, links directly to your website and more. You can even update posts to your listings that SHOW DIRECTLY IN SEARCH RESULTS!
What does a GMB listing look like?
Here is our listing, very simply but gets plenty of attention from our customers when searching a variety of related terms to the services we offer.
You really do not want to do anything else if you have not gotten this in place first. It is a fairly simple process to get your listing live.
Setup GMB Listing
- Go to: https://www.google.com/business/
- From here you will need to sign into a Gmail/Google account.
- Now you can provide your business info to fill out your listing. Be sure to fill out as much information as possible including business hours if applicable.
- You will have to have the big G send you a postcard to verify your listing before it goes live.
- When the post card is received, enter your confirmation code and your listing will be live soon!
#2 Update Your GMB Frequently
Just like blog or website content, Google really does favor business listing that offer frequent updates. This can be a special offer to lure in new business or simply an update that links to content back on your site. No matter what it is, we suggest at least 2 updates a week so that your listing on search always has a little something extra showing. Currently these updates expire and no longer show after 5 days.
#3 Photos, Photos, Photos
Not only are people very visual and having great images of products, services or locations can give your customers an insight into what you do and possibly even show what you do better than your competition, but these are also magnets for you location.
Make sure to use photos that you took with your cell phone or a camera that embeds GEO Tags (geographic location tags) into the images. This puts further emphasis on your local ranking for the area that the images are from. Google looks at these little meta tags on photos to validate that your images are where you say your business is and where your business operates.
So, use this to your advantage, upload images on a schedule and make sure to use photos that further reinforce your location to gain favor in Google 3-Pack listings. Get creative, take photos of yourself at other local places surrounding you listing to get more data points in your favor. Do not forget to ask your customers and clients to do the same. Some people are happy to upload their own images of your locations or services you have provided and let’s be honest, your business would only receive more trust through the “social proof” these will add as well!
Don’t forget businesses in most categories can add videos too!
#4 Local Citations Using Exact NAP
NAP or Name, Address and Phone Number has joined the industry lingo party in recent years. One way our agency has found huge success in boosting our client’s listings is through consistently building Google’s trust of a location, by obtaining citations on other authority sites.
This can be time consuming and not the most fun thing to do, but if done properly this can bump your listing into visibility or to the top of the Google Local Business 3-Pack.
Sites to Pursue NAP Listings
There are literally hundreds of these sites and depending on what industry you are in there are certainly many more industry specific sites like these that can help skyrocket your visibility, website traffic and business.
Secret Sauce: Many people go out there and get listing, but if this is not done correctly, it can actually hurt your listing on Google search.
You must be incredibly careful that your NAP is listed on all other sites exactly as it is on your GMB listing.
If your phone number is like 555-555-555 on one site and (555) 555-5555 on another, this is no good.
If you list Suite #3 on one site and STE 4 on another site, this is not good. Do this right and you will be rewarded by the Google gods!
#5 Earn Reviews – Ask For Reviews
Either way you need em.
You need people reviewing your business with good review or bad reviews. All a bad review is, is the opportunity for your customer service skills to shine in a publicly visible way. Respond to every review, thank people for reviews, discuss your other services in you reviews (these keywords count), and most all address problems in a polite and timely manner in your reviews.
As your reviews grow, you will find out what customers like, what they do not, and this should guide your business. People are so much more likely to go to a business with many reviews. So, go out do the legwork and get some.
NS Technologies uses a few different digital tools to make sure all our customers have a steady stream of positive reviews coming in, if you would like to learn more about what we are doing, please contact us.
#6 Easy Search Phrase Wins
Not that you should always focus on low hanging fruit, but in many cases, it is the easiest and most profitable place to start. Inside of your GMB listed, it is critical that you list out all your services and provide thoughtful and detailed descriptions when you can. These phrases will automatically rank well. Especially if they are congruent with the categories you choose for your business under the “info” section of your listing.
Yes, I said categories. Many small businesses list the business in one category. This will only limit your exposure. Find as many valid categories to connect your listing with as you possibly can. It is highly likely if Google approves the category listings you will be getting traffic from search terms surrounding these categories.
You may have to try many different terms to see which all may be valid for your service type but keep looking…each you add will turn into phone calls, clicks and new business.
#7 Download The App
You can still get lots of traction from your listing without this. However, if you have an active listing and customers have questions, this is a must. When you download the Google My Business app, this will turn on the “message” button on your listing where now customers can chat with you directly and you will receive notifications on your mobile phone.
This creates for a fantastic customer experience if you are prompt at replying and certainly can boost sales and conversions when online searchers can access you directly without the need to give up their private email. Think about it, the barrier to entry is almost zero. This gives you access to a chat feature with customers even before they hit your website. Think about how powerful this can be as a sales tool for your business!
We hope you enjoyed the tips we shared here.
Feel free to reach out to us for more information and tips at our website and we do offer services that help grow business leads and revenue if you are looking for professional assistance please consider contacting NS Technologies.
That’s right, get a complete website audit and find areas of your website that can be fixed to boost SEO, GMB listing display and more.
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Want To Research Google My Business Categories? Download the complete list of GMB categories below.