Why is this important?
By now, you should be aware of how important it is to be found on Google, and what ranking high on Google can do for your business.
However, there are a lot of new ways to get found on Google – not just the normal search results.
And there are ways you can get your business in front of more people. Today we’re going to look at one of those ways; the “Google My Business” listing.
Your “Google My Business” listing
The “Google My Business” listing is a relatively new feature on Google. It seems to have developed from Google+ and is linked to the local business listings.
A lot of small businesses haven’t taken advantage of the “Google My Business” listing, as a way to get more business, and also to enhance their credibility to prospects.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
We’re going to go through the basics of setting up your business listing and getting started with optimizing to increase your ranking.
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Step 1 – Setting up, completing & confirming your listing
First things first – if you don’t have a Gmail account, go ahead and sign up for one. They’re free and Google have lots of great free tools for your business.
If you already have a personal Google account, you should set up one just for your business.
Getting your address confirmed
Once you have your google account set up, go to this link: [Google My Business – Get Your Free Business Listing Stand Out on Google](https://www.google.com/business/) and click ‘Start Now’ to set up your MyBusiness page.
Follow the instructions to enter your business name and contact details, business type (choose carefully!) website, and business phone number.
Google will send you a verification code by mail or text, so be sure to give your correct address. Google MyBusiness listings are also considered local, so give some thought as to where your target audience is.
If you work from home and you’re worried about putting your address online, there are options to hide it. You can also try getting a PO box or using a virtual office.
But you will need to have somewhere for them to post the verification to. It doesn’t usually take too long to arrive. Only then you can manage your listing fully.
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Setting up your MyBusiness Listing
During setup, make sure that your business address and contact details are /identical/ to what’s listed on your website, and other places online – this is key to helping you rank higher. This is super important.
Give as many details as possible on your listing. Google rewards your listing for supplying more information. Even if you’re not a traditional retail outlet, supply your opening hours and anything else you can.
Think carefully about the categories and attributes you select. It’s important to remember that your audience may not think as technically as you do, and probably won’t be searching that way either.
Use simple words and phrases about what people want, not just what you are. Keyword research, which we’ll get on in the next section, can be very useful for this.
Keyword research & optimizing your listing
Once you’ve set up your listing and verified it, you can go about optimizing it and helping it to rank. To do that, you’re going to first have to figure out what words and phrases you actually want to rank for. For that, you need to do some keyword research.
Keyword research is not as complicated as it might sound. Basically, we just want to establish what words and phrases people are most likely to use when searching for you, or for services you provide.
If we optimize for these, then your business will appear and hopefully, people will contact you for help.
The obvious ones are anything related to your business name and brand – you’re going to want to appear high for these.
Then, we have search phrases related to your services – and I’m not talking about technical ones.
Think ‘best logo design’, or ‘best web design’ rather than ‘web design services’. There are literally billions of articles on keyword research, which I won’t go into here.
At this stage though, just try to put yourself in your client’s shoes, do some pretend searches for different services, and then see what comes up, and what Google suggests in the /’Searches related to’/ section at the bottom of the search page:
In particular, you should make sure you add some of your keywords into the title of your listing, ‘design agency’, for example.
Adding photos & videos
Google has loved photos for years, and now, of course, it loves videos too. Whether it’s your project photos, examples from your portfolio, or just videos of you around the office, adding these to your MyBusiness listing is going to help it rank higher and more often.
One of the best ways to do this is to do a update post including photos. This is like a Facebook status update but through your Google listing. Make sure you add some photos to your profile page to start off with, but I would suggest making time to post photos and updates on your work regularly. Even if it’s just once a week, the more you post, the more it will help.
This is also a great way to get on the image search, and a great opportunity to showcase your work, which will help to generate leads etc. Whenever you finish a project – just add it in.
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Using hashtags in your post.
Hashtags aren’t just a trendy thing to do, they help your posts and business listing get found.
Google ranks you higher if you post on Google MyBusiness, even for shares and tweets. Make sure you use hashtags that are related to your tweets.
For hashtag ideas you can try going to Twitter, typing in design, seeing which ones are suggested. You can also use a service like ritetag.com, and I’m sure there are other similar websites and services.
The key really is posting regularly, using consistent hashtags and keywords, adding media to your posts and linking a lot back to your website. Get creative with your posts too – have some fun with it and show off what you can do.
If you want engagement – don’t sell yourself, inspire people with your posts. People are so inundated with messages, you need to make yours stand out. Don’t fake it though, people are super tuned to that kind of thing now.
Improving your ranking
The first thing to say is that improving your ranking will take time. You may start to appear immediately for some keywords, but it could take years to appear for others, depending on your location and the competition in your niche.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself rank faster:
This is key. Once a week is ok. More is better. Keep it simple and don’t over promote yourself. Have some fun, get creative, and see what your audience responds to.
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Sharing your posts on other social media sites
You can just copy and paste for most other social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. These platforms will be a much better way of gauging what your audience thinks of your content too!
Getting reviews on your Google page is probably more important than getting testimonials for your website. I’m not saying hound your customers, but definitely, make a point of asking them to leave you reviews – the more the better.
Don’t be worried about negative reviews. Just respond nicely to them all, as this will help to increase your ranking a lot.
Keep repeating because it’s going to take time
You don’t need thousands of leads – you just need to show up and show up well as a business. You want to look active and interesting.
The key to seeing results is to keep it up regularly!