This month we welcome guest blogger Matt Rider of Mongoose Web to bring you the best information on how to improve your local search results. In his two-part series, Matt pulls the covers back to explain how search engine optimization works and how you can improve your local listings on Google to bring in more business. Check out Building a Website that Google Likes – getting your SEO right to read part one.
Once your site is up and running, filled with good content, and user friendly, the next step is to set up a Google My Business profile. This creates a listing on Google’s system that tells Google about your business and helps provide consumers with information on your products or services.
First check if your business already has a listing by going to https://www.google.ca/business and clicking on “Get On Google.” On the following page, perform a search for your business name and address. If your business shows up, you will want to select the option to verify or claim that business; if your business doesn’t show up, you will want to select the option to create a new listing.
The most important part of creating your Google My Business listing is to make sure that you add as much content as possible and completely fill out the listing. Do not leave any fields blank!
Also, be sure to enter a real address. Google will send you a verification code in the mail, which you will need to prove to Google that you actually own the business. Make your business description as long as possible, and include keywords related to your products and services. Don’t copy and paste the description from your website here – make everything unique!
Be sure to include accurate business hours, and use your legal business name in the listing. Connect your website to your listing as well.
If your business has multiple locations, it’s generally best to keep them on a single website, but create a new listing for each location.
Photos are also an important factor in your listing. Include a variety of photos of your business and the products or services that you sell, as well as your employees and team.
Once your listing is complete, it’s time to create citations for your business.
What are citations, and how do I use them?
Citations are simply a listing for your business in an online directory. Examples of sites where you can obtain citations include http://www.yelp.com/, http://www.yellowpages.ca/, and other popular sites.
Increasing the number of citations available online for your business shows Google that your business is credible and that you have a web presence that extends beyond just your site.
When creating citations for your business, the most important thing to remember is to be sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP data) is the same across every citation. Having consistent NAP data across all of your online properties and citations makes your business more credible in the eyes of Google.
The more citations you are able to build for your business the better; however, don’t wait until you have dozens of citations to start obtaining online reviews for your business.
How do I obtain reviews online for my business?
Once you have a solid website, a Google My Business profile, and citations for your business, the next step of your SEO plan should be to start obtaining online reviews for your company.
Google My Business allows your customers to leave public reviews of your business, and sites, such as Yelp, also have this feature. Google also gives you the ability to reply to reviews, allowing you to interact with your customers.
You should aim for a minimum of five reviews on your Google listing, but the more reviews you have the better. Google values positive reviews on your profile, as it shows that you have a satisfied customer base. It’s also helpful to your rankings, as well as your customers, to interact with your customers when they leave a review by leaving a reply of your own.
The simplest way to get your customers to leave you a review is by asking them. You can put a button on your website that makes it easy for your customers to leave you a review, or you can send a link by email for your customers to leave you a review. Simply add “?hl=en&review=1” to the end of your Google My Business profile URL to create a link that will direct to a page where customers can leave a review.
Putting It All Together
SEO is a complicated craft, and this article has only provided a brief overview of the steps. That said, if you follow even the basic steps laid out in this article, it would still put you ahead of much of your competition. SEO is also something that can be chipped away at slowly over time. Of course, the faster you implement SEO tactics, the faster your rankings will increase, but it’s better to take action and start improving your rankings with 1-2 simple tasks every day than it is to simply stay where you are now.
If you’d like to get your SEO done quickly and easily, talk to us! We have a few different SEO packages to choose from to help you build a website that Google likes. Whether you just need to implement the basics all the way through enhanced SEO to provide solid, long-term placement.
Trends Mobile and Web Solutions connects businesses with customers, and customers with the businesses they love through mobile websites, mobile apps and social media services. Our focus is small business – be seen, be connected, be profitable.
Matt Rider is the founder of Mongoose Web, an online marketing firm that specializes in positioning companies profitably on Google, and a partner in providing quality SEO services to Trends clients.