Local businesses listen up! One of the best marketing tools around is available to you within a matter of clicks, and even better – it is free!
It doesn’t matter what we are looking for these days, our first step is to turn to Google for advice on what is available locally.
Ruthlessly we then cast off potential businesses due to; poor information, lack of imagery and a scarcity of reviews.
The internet has essentially opened up the playing fields of marketing, with the top listings winning potential client traffic to their website and increased footfall through their door.
Google business listings- where do they appear?
Google business listings as illustrated above are currently positioned on the right hand side of the screen when you search under a company name.
If your business has a physical location which welcomes customers, your listing will also appear (if optimised correctly) on Google Maps.
Google Business listing -How to optimise it in 12 steps
It’s quite simple – fill in your business information fully and correctly
It sounds obvious but so many people start this step and then get bored half-way through or ignore it for years on end, expecting the playing field not to change!
All of this means that you are leaving it wide open for competitors to jump ahead in the race for top spot!
Google’s mission is to give users the best and quickest results to the queries they ask.
You type in Gyms in Montrose – We’re delighted to see Impact Fitness at number 1 ! (Right where they belong 🙂 )
It is worth noting that we all make changes in business be it opening hours, service provision or contact numbers – don’t forget about updating your Google Business listing too !
Google business listing checklist.
#1 Enter your business name
#2 Enter a primary category
This is the one that everyone sees so use ones that best describes you as a whole. You will also have an opportunity to add extra categories (up to nine in total) that the Google algorithm will use in the background.
#3 Enter an accurate address
Google Maps will pick up on this and send search traffic to this address. If you don’t welcome customers through your door leave this section blank. You will be asked to verify this address either by phone or post. (post only takes 3-4 days)
#4 Service area
What service area do you cover ? The whole of Angus? or just DD10? This section allows you to add in counties, or postcodes so see which works best for you.
#5 Opening hours
As you’d expect enter the hours that you are available to customers. This section does also allow you to enter break times, and plan special holidays such as festive holidays or bank holidays.
As a customer there is nothing worse than turning up to a shop which says it should be open on Google and it is not. Not only do you not get their custom – but they are now annoyed at you and you risk that negativity spreading through their friend network.
Got a new business that isn’t opened yet? You can enter an opening date which will mean the listing will start to appear 90 days prior to this with the launch date noted.
#6 Add your phone number
Unless you are an internet only business, try and add a phone number. People like to speak to people, particularly if they are needing something seen to immediately – not having a phone number visible may write you off for that short lead business.
Add your website address if you have one. Alternatively add your active social media channel. It is worth checking on your website that Googlebot isn’t blocked on your site and Search Console hasn’t flagged your website for any issues.
These are the features that would interest your customers. Eg: Free WIFI, Emergency Call-out Service, Outdoor seating.
Your business category determines the attributes available for your Business profile, so it’s matter of selecting which ones are right for your business rather than creating your own.
Are hugely important as we judge so much of our first impressions by what is clearly presented in front of us. Imagery makes up a key part of this initial perception, showing you are kosha and within a certain quality expectation.
All images should be 720 px tall by 720 px wide and be less than 5MB in size.
Make sure file names are keyword focused.
- Logo – upload a jpg or png that clearly shows your brand identity off at it’s best.
- Cover Image – This is often the first image that will be shown to researchers, but it is not guaranteed. If other images are showing more traction Google may change the image to that.
- Additional photos – This is your space to sell your business, so don’t hold back in uploading imagery- just make sure it presents your business in a positive and realistic light. We all know what stock imagery looks like & hold back on the filters !
Ideas to upload: Exterior images, internal images, products, action shots, team pictures
We’d always recommend getting yourself a set of professional images to use online, they are worth their weight in gold if using the right photographer! If in doubt speak to Kirstie Abbey!
#10 Business description
It is 750 characters long at the moment, which is basically a four-line paragraph. Essentially your elevator pitch!
This is not the place to display promotions , gimmicks or links, just keep to an overview of your business.
#11 Menu & Services
This can help to breakdown your business into a nice filing system! Particularly useful for the food & drink, beauty and service businesses.
Think of it as a hierarchy.
Sections are the second tier departments that sit under the overall business.
Individual items can then sit grouped under those titles.
For example if you have a Hair and beauty salon. You may want to list all your hair treatments under one section and then your beauty treatments under another. You could choose to split it down further into nails, massage and tanning with individual options sitting underneath such as manicure, gel nails, acrylics etc.
The more information you can give out the better for your customer – price is one of the first queries we want answered, so be upfront about it.
Instant social proof that you are not a rogue trader!
We use reviews rapidly these days.. think Google, tripadvisor, Air bnb etc… These will not appear by themselves (unless its a negative one!) they usually need a bit of encouragement to remind customers to complete one. It is not about buying their review, just a gentle nudge to take time out of their busy life to write one.
High quality reviews will improve your business visibility and encourage new customers to visit, so always encourage people to leave you feedback. You could do this by speaking to your customers when they visit you or you can create a link to give them to follow.
Any Google Reviews you do receive make sure you respond to them quickly no matter if they are positive or negative. A lot of people will be pacified if you show that you are taking action to rectify any issues, and the people behind the positive comments will feel even more loved!
Not got the time or still worried about the technicalities?