Have you ever wondered how Google knows which businesses are closest to you every time you search? No, it’s not magic. Every business needs to enter their information manually into Google My Business (GMB), and you’d be crazy not to.

GMB harnesses the power of local SEO to improve the visibility of your business in your area. Showing up in local search results or "near me", creates instant opportunities with customers close to you. 

50% of people who use local search visit a business found on GMB the same day. If people don't know you exist, you are losing a lot of business.

Why do I need a Google My Business listing?

Google is a search monopoly, owning 90% of the search market. In October 2020, the Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google due to their size and influence. So in a way, we are forced to abide by the "laws" enforced by Google to rank higher in their search results.

Do as Google says. Set up a GMB account, and you will be rewarded.

Please don't put on your tinfoil hat. It's not all bad. While it's great to have control over your privacy, GMB is beneficial not only for your business but for your customers. Consumers can find what they want, where they want it from a simple Google search. 

Sales is a numbers game, the more visibility you have, the more customers you can acquire. 

Why is local SEO important?

Businesses with a brick-and-mortar store would be crazy not to harness the power of local search. It's a simple, free and effective way to boost traffic to your physical store.

But what about companies who operate exclusively online and don't have a storefront?

Local SEO will still help your business rank higher in the search results and is an excellent way for small businesses to generate leads in their local area. 61% of people called a company from a GMB listing. Those are pretty good odds, especially for a free service.

How can I improve my local SEO?

Google My Business is the kingpin of local search. Having a verified GMB account is a great start, but there are additional steps you should take to get the most out of the platform.

  • Optimise your listing

Data is Googles best friend. You want to populate your GMB account with as much information as possible. This will make your business more "authentic" in Google's eyes, and companies with the most information are usually favoured and rewarded by Google by placing the listing on the sidebar of local search results.

  • Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, not anymore. Uploading photos is worth, on average, 35% more clicks to businesses than those without. 

That's a drastic difference, and such an easy way to make your listing more appealing and boost your site traffic.

Google will punish you for any incorrect information so make sure you are selecting relevant categories, products and services that your business provides.

  • Reviews

Do you read the reviews before you make a purchasing decision?

Well, almost three-quarters of the population won't take action before they read a businesses review. Even with the most extravagant and expensive marketing campaigns, there is no way to avoid the impact that customer feedback has on your brand.

Even though online shopping has become more prominent, people still want to feel a personal connection to the companies they are purchasing from. You must reply to as many comments as you can, especially the negative ones. How you handle negative feedback could make or break your GMB listing and harm your business.

I have had some terrible online shopping experiences. I ordered a chess set made from glass off eBay, and it was shipped via standard delivery. I bet you can guess what happened next. 

smash

As I began to pick up the shards of glass that poured out of the box, I was furiously planning my review. I took photos of the crime scene and forwarded them to the seller with a message of sorrow and disappointment. 

I was astounded at their response.

This is the short version of the story.

Within five minutes, I received a message back with a sincere apology, and they instantly transferred the money back into my account (without me having to ask). I immediately felt a million times better, and there was no way I was going to leave a negative review, in fact, I left a very positive review because accidents happen, and I was so impressed with the level of customer service. A perfect example of how you can turn a negative into a positive.

  • Create local content for your customers

Driving traffic to your site is useless if you have no content. It has never been more important to utilise a professional copywriter. With over 2 million blog posts published each day, you need to make sure your content is fresh, exciting and educational to your customers.

So how do you stand out from the fathomless ocean of content? Cast a smaller net, and find your niche.

Many businesses fall into the same trap. They want to attract anyone and everyone to their website. Sure this will boost your site traffic, but if your conversion rate is low, those numbers mean nothing. By targeting a specific niche, you can focus on creating quality leads. Sure, you might not receive as much site traffic, but your conversion rate will be a lot higher.

Google's intelligence is growing every day. You need to prioritise your readers and publish high-quality content.

I'm going to be blunt. If you're not a trained writer or don’t have a passion for the written word it's probably not a great idea that you write your own blog. Poorly written content will cost your business more money in the long run.

If you still really want to create content for your brand, start a vlog (video log). It is a great way to make a personal connection with your audience. Keep it conversational and don't waffle on for 45 minutes. Pick a specific topic you want to talk about, and provide useful information.

Local search is a powerful tool. If optimised correctly, it will help you rank higher in Google's search results and drive more traffic to physical stores.

If you would like to learn more about local SEO, or for Google My Business support, contact us today and book in your free consultation with one of our SEO experts.

Rek

Kendall King

With over 10+ years experiance Kendall is Velocity Hosts marketing and sales stratagist.

Degrees in Writing and a Masters of Research Kendall brings a vital edge to the (vh) team in 2020. With fresh ideas across a broad spectrum of businesses personas. Kendall has your business covered.