This month our blog posts are focused on local search marketing issues, which have always been an important consideration for many companies that target a localised market. However, a local search marketing strategy has become even more essential for many businesses with the increasing numbers of mobile searches and the role of Google My Business listings in the search results.
This year has seen a number of key changes to the Google My Business tool, and every business should ensure that they have a business listing on Google which is verified, owned and managed. This is particularly important to businesses that are targeting a local catchment area and will rely on these local searchers to seek out and visit their location following a search.
Even if your business already has a Google My Business listing in place, make sure you check this on a regular basis to add or amend any relevant details and to make use of the additional tools and functions that Google has added to this over the past few months, such as:
- check basic info – make sure details about your opening times, location and phone number are correct. You should also have your website listed and you can tag this with referral tracking code for Google Analytics to see how many people click through to your site (such as https://yourdomain.com.au/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=my-business&utm_campaign=weblink)
- add a description – these used to be available, were then removed several years ago, and have now been introduced again this year. Make sure your business description is in place and optimised for key search terms that could be used by your local market
- create some posts – this option has been available for several years now, but you can use these to add time-limited promotional offers or other information about your business which will then appear under your My Business listing in Google Maps
- encourage reviews – getting good customer reviews is a key factor to help your business rankings in the search results and also helps other potential customers learn more about your business. Ask customers to review your business, and respond to them (whether good or bad reviews). Reviewers will also now receive notification of your responses so use these to build customer relationships
- add Q&As – this is a recently added feature where you or your customers can ask questions which are posted against your listing, and you add responses, such as parking information, opening hours, delivery options and more
- use photos or videos – give potential customers more insights to your business through the use of photos or videos. You can also request a quote for Google to come and create a virtual tour within your business if this will add to the user experience
The appearance of Google My Business listings is becoming increasingly more evident with local focused searches, and with the growth of mobile search activity, so it’s essential that you maintain, monitor and develop your local business listing/s if this is an important market for you.
Adding and updating content, and interacting with your customer base through the use of reviews or Q&As can also help demonstrate that yours is an active and engaged local business, which in turn will support your local search ranking potential, and therefore increase your visibility and traffic from your local market.