I get asked all of the time “How do I get my business to show up on Google?” It’s a great question and an important one. The fact is, there are many ways to rank higher on Google. It depends on a couple of factors…Time and Money (I’m sure you’ve heard that one before) But today I’m going to focus on the first thing you should do when starting your digital marketing online.
What is Google My Business?
You see these listing every day. Search a business or location and on the right side of the screen is a listing about the business. It usually includes the hours, a link to the website, address and other pertinent information about the organization. Google will auto generate this page based on the best available information. But this is your business and shouldn’t you decide what is listed?
I have a client who is an insurance agent and runs a small targeted online ad campaign with me in an affluent area north of Detroit. He called me up one day and said he was getting a bunch of referrals coming in that said they found him on Google. I was excited because it looked like the ad campaigns we’re really paying off. Then he mentioned they were from the city of Detroit and other areas that we weren’t even targeting with our digital advertising campaign. He was confused because when he searched his agency, nothing came up. He asked if it was something I was doing with the marketing campaign. As much as I would have liked to take credit, I replied that I didn’t think the campaign had anything to do with it. I started investigating. It turns out that the agent who ran the office prior to my client had a generic profile with just the name of the company (large Michigan Based Insurance Company) and phone number and address. With nearly 15,000 searches in the prior quarter alone we found the source of the inquiries. After a quick call to the prior agent, we were able to get the necessary permissions to get control of the profile and start to optimize it.
The screen shot is the dashboard profile for my company, Lakestone Digital. As you can see I’ve listed myself as a marketing agency first and then Graphic Designer, Web Site Designer, Video Production and so on. These are all the services I provide under the marketing category. I’ve also listed my service areas too so that Google knows when to show my ad during a search. I recently had a discussion a prospective client about her business and their digital marketing. She is an optometrist that runs offices in my area. She mentioned her listings they show up high on Google for the search terms eye doctor, optometrist, eye exam etc. I typed in the word eyeglasses. Guess What? They were nowhere to be found. I would bet that they have not optimized their My Business account with all of the keywords associated with their business.
Once you get your page claimed and profile set up, you should now start to show up in Google’s “Three Pack” more often. This is the group of three businesses and map that shows up often when you search for a business.
The screenshot is an example of the three pack. Google “randomly” selects the businesses that appear here based on a number of factors. Below is the explanation from Google.
Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for. Adding complete and detailed business information can help Google better understand your business and match your listing to relevant searches.
Just like it sounds–how far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. Some places are more prominent in the offline world, and search results try to reflect this in local ranking. For example, famous museums, landmark hotels, or well-known store brands that are familiar to many people are also likely to be prominent in local search results.
How do you improve on these factors? Well since you cant really do anything about distance (unless you have some really killer tech) we will focus on relevance and prominence.
Google My Business actually can act as a mini social media platform. This aspect is often overlooked. You can post offers, pictures, video directly to your profile. Posting this media helps a searcher understand what you do.
You can also increase your prominence by customers reviewing your business. (hopefully good ones). Ask satisfied customers for reviews on Google. I usually have the page bookmarked and will ask a client in person as we are wrapping up a project. If they’re happy with with your service, they’ll have no problem writing you a short note singing your praises
There are actually many other features in Google My Business, but this post is starting get a little long. Hopefully, you now have basic understanding of the steps you need to take as you start your digital marketing plan to improve your ranking on Google.