Bring in More Business With Local Business Listings

You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of SEO for your website, how to use social media to grow your audience and the ROI of email marketing. But what about Local Business Listings?

A local business listing displays your business’s information in an online directory – like Google My Business or Yelp. Business information displayed can include your website, phone number, opening hours, location address(es), and more.

Local business listings are essential for helping your potential customers discover you and understand what you offer. The more complete your listing, the more likely those potential customers will come to your shop and buy from you.

Follow these additional tips to leverage local listings and bring in more business:

Start with Google, But Don’t Stop There.

Google is the most-used search engine (with more than 90% of market share), so it makes sense to start by creating your Google My Business listing first. Creating your listing will help you appear in web search results and on Google Maps. In addition, Google Maps is often used on mobile devices by local customers looking for businesses like yours.

But Google isn’t the only directory. So it’s critical to diversify to as many places as possible. (See our series titled Directories To Grow Your Local Businesspart 1 and part 2.) Big sites (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Waze) have their listings, while many small directories pull information from these sites to populate their pages. The more places you can be listed, the better. 

Book a free consultation if you find yourself overwhelmed with setting up and managing multiple local business listings. We can help.

Don’t Forget to Verify.

Once you have your listings set up, don’t forget to verify them (i.e., take ownership). To do this, Google will generally require you to receive a postcard to the business location with a code to enter on their platform. Verify your business listing to take control of it so you can:

  • Add more information and complete your profile;
  • Share updates (see the point on content below); 
  • And respond to reviews and questions. 

All of the above get your listing found more easily. And a complete listing helps you share critical business information with your audience.

Take a look at the difference between a fully-optimized listing and an unoptimized one.

Image source: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/11/02/promote-your-business

Create and Share Content

Posting new content like a blog on your website helps improve your organic search results. In addition, content is a meaningful way to give customers value, which builds relationships and trust with your audience (key to sales). But simply creating content and posting it on your website isn’t enough. You need to share it, too!

 Listing directories like Google My Business allow you to share updates, and this is a great space to share and promote your blogs.

Ask For – And Respond To – Customer Reviews

Don’t rely on customers giving you reviews – ask for them! The best time to do this is after you complete the sale or service. If it was an online transaction, send an email within a couple of days of the sale (you can automate this). If you’re operating an in-person local business, ask your customers to leave reviews as you hand them their purchased items.

Of course, good reviews on your listing show potential clients you’re a reliable business. But getting reviews is only half the battle; you have to respond to them as well. 

Responding to good reviews shows Google you’re active, which increases your reach. Of course, responding to bad reviews does this as well, but perhaps more importantly, it also shows searchers that you’re willing to learn from mistakes and fix them. The point is to increase consumer confidence in your business.

For more pointers on how to take advantage of reviews, read the following posts to:

Using local listing is a smart way to attract potential customers and generate traffic to your local business. Follow these tips to get the most out of your listing. If you’re not sure how to get started or if your listings are properly optimized, book a free consultation.

Directories to Grow Your Small Business: Part 2

Earlier this week, we talked about how important directories can be to grow your small business. Online directories help you get found and generate leads. And we’ve also written about how to use Google My Business to get more customers

At 10|20 Marketing, we offer local listings management to get your business listed on a number of directories and maintain them. Maintenance means they stay consistent, up to date and that consumers have accurate information about your business. All this leads to more leads to grow your small business. 

In Part 1, we talked about listings on Search Engines, Social Networks and Navigation Services. Today, we’re going to round out our review by covering directories in what is called the General Publishers category.

General Publishers

General Publishers are business directories in and of themselves. They’re not necessarily tied to navigation systems, for example, though consumers may be able to find directions through them.

  • Cylex: Founded in 1998 and operating in more than 30 countries, Cylex is an online business directory whose aim is to connect companies with consumers. You can find the Canadian directory here (the top 3 cities for searches are Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal).
  • Infobel: Launched in 1995, Infobel was the first online phone directory – the first digital phonebook! Consumers can search for businesses by industry, business name, or location. You can add your company to their database here (Canadian site is linked).
  • Manta: America’s Small Business Directory. Consumers can search for local businesses based on business name, type, or location. You can add yours to the list here.
  • Baidu: Baidu is a Chinese technology company and search engine that uses AI to make content discovery on the internet easier. Learn more about listing your business on Baidu’s directory here.
  • Brownbook: Brownbook is a global business directory with more than 40 million listings – however, consumers can of course filter by country. You can list your business for free, and upload photos, your logo, videos, and more to promote your business for free online. Get started here.
  • Tupalo: “Stuff in your neighbourhood.” Tupalo is visited by more than 3 million consumers each month and connects consumers with local businesses in their area. You can list your business for free.
  • Yandex: Yandex is an online directory that also has maps, navigator, and search functions. You can add your local business listing to Yandex here. If you do not have a brick-and-mortar location consumers can visit, you can still list your business however it will not be visible on the maps function.
  • ShowMeLocal: ShowMeLocal is an online business directory founded in New York but with directories around the world including more than 22 Million listings. You can create a free account and add your business here.
  • iGlobal: iGlobal is an online directory with a presence in more than 60 countries, which not only has business listings but also allows consumers to leave reviews. You can add your business to iGlobal for free here.
  • Petal Search: Petal Search is a search engine created by Huawei in Ireland, and offers access to a number of local services. It filters based on a number of criteria – including business location, making it ideal for local businesses. Get your business listed on Petal Search here.
  • NextDoor: An app designed to bring neighbours together, one of the key features is recommendations from neighbours for local businesses and service providers. You can share your business story and let consumers know about important updates; get started here.
  • N49: N49 is a review-based online directory where Canadian consumers can read, write, and share reviews, with a US directory coming soon. There are multiple listing plans, but you can get started for free.
  • FindOpen: FindOpen is the best place to find opening hours for local businesses, as well as directions, phone numbers, addresses and more. FindOpen aggregates their data from Cylex; to get listed, register with Cylex.
  • Acompio: An online business directory and marketplace, where consumers can rate and review products and services offered by thousands of businesses. You can join Acompio Canada’s database with a free listing here.
Get Listed Stress Free!

There are so many online business directories. And for every directory, there’s an opportunity to be found and grow your small business. But you have to create your listings and they have to stay up to date. We recommend starting with the lists in these two blogs. Or you can simply reach out to us to help you get listed stress-free.

Directories to Grow Your Local Business: Part 1

To grow your local business and get more clients through the door, consumers need to first know about your business. The best way to get more eyes on your business is to be visible in more places where people are already looking. 

Online directories are websites where you can list your business. The information you can share varies from directory to directory but generally includes your address, hours of operation, phone number, and website. In addition, some directories allow you to highlight any promotions you might currently be offering. Other sites may also provide an opportunity to collect reviews or answer questions from potential customers.

There are five different categories of directories: Search, Social Networks and Apps, Map and Navigation Services, and General Publishers.

At 10|20 Marketing, our expertise lies in getting businesses listed on these directories. So we thought we’d compile a list of the top types of directories that we work to help grow your local business. Here’s the first batch of these types, with more coming later this week!

Search

Search engine directories are essential because most people are still turning to them when looking for local businesses. Great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help your website be shown higher in results, but they also show profiles or listings, not just website results.

  • Google: Google My Business is one of (if not the) most important directories to be on, simply due to the sheer popularity of Google as a first-choice search engine. 
  • Bing: Like Google, Bing Places is the search engine’s directory listing that helps your business be found by those using Bing to search for local businesses and services. You can get set-up and verified in just 3 easy steps.
Social Networks and Apps

Social networks and apps connect people and businesses around the world with similar interests. They offer companies the opportunity to be found by potential customers and engage with them as well.

  • Facebook: The social networking platform that started it all, Facebook still has the largest audience and, therefore, most significant potential reach. Facebook Pages also show up in search results for search engines and are necessary for creating ads.
  • Instagram: Owned by Facebook, Instagram may not have matched Facebook in size just yet, but its engagement is unmatched. Unlike Facebook, where you have to have a personal profile to create a business page, anyone can create a Business Account on Instagram. It’s free, fast, and is just like using a personal account.
  • FourSquare: FourSquare is a location-based app that delivers personalized recommendations to users based on their current location and past browsing history. List your business on FourSquare, and sit back and let the app recommend you to potential customers!
Map and Navigation Services

Navigation services help users get from where they are to where they are going. But have you ever noticed how when you search for the business or landmark you need to get to, you’re served up similar recommendations or see cafes and restaurants near your destination? That’s only possible with business listings.

  • Google Maps: Google Maps is the navigation system owned by Google. When you create your Google My Business listing, you have the opportunity to be found by users searching for local businesses and by those looking for directions.
  • HERE: HERE WeGo was initially developed for Nokia as their navigation system HERE Maps. HERE is “a free navigation app that guides local and global travellers on journeys both familiar and foreign.”
  • TomTom: TomTom released the first route-planning software for mobile devices back in 1996, and in 2001 released the first car navigation system using satellites. 
  • Navmii: Navmii offers navigation and maps services to business owners, meaning, if you’re building an app and need a map, Navmii can help you create a customized solution! Of course, with this service Navmii also shows local businesses on its maps. You can add your business listing here.   
  • Apple Maps: In 2012, Apple launched its navigation system that became the default Maps option for the iOS operating system. You can add your business information in Apple Maps Connect to help customers find you.
  • Uber: Founded in March 2009, Uber is a ride-sharing app that offers budget transportation on demand. They eventually expanded to include Uber Eats, a meal delivery service in partnerships with local restaurants. You can sign your business up for Uber Eats here
  • Waze: A subsidiary of Google, Waze is a navigation software app for phones and tablets with GPS. It operates using user-submitted time data and location information to offer you the fastest travel times. You can set up a business listing and ad on Waze here.
Think More Directories

The more listing directories you are on, the more likely you are to be found by consumers in your neighbourhood looking for businesses like yours. 10|20 Marketing makes it easy to get listed – and keep your directory listings updated – on all of the apps and networks listed above, and even more. 

Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll go over General Publishers you will want your business listing to appear to grow your local business. 

How to Use Google My Business to Get More Customers

Want to know how to get more customers? Look no further than Google My Business. Most people who search online don’t, so why should you?

With all the focus on social media these days, Google My Business can get lost in the noise behind Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. But what most business owners don’t realize is just how powerful an optimized Google My Business profile is. In some cases, it can be even more potent than their website because it’s the first thing people see when they search for products and services.

It’s essential, then, not to let your Google My Business profile gather dust the same way your Instagram might be (don’t worry, we won’t tell!). Google heavily favours active profiles, so the best way to ensure you’re getting the most out of yours is also the easiest – by simply using the tools within the platform itself.

This post will run through the top five features to be using inside Google My Business. Taking our advice will help your business stay relevant, become found online, and get more customers.

Pictures

People like to see what your store or business looks like and examples of the products you sell. For returning customers, it’s fun to see familiar faces and the owner of their favourite local business online. 

Start by adding a logo or a cover photo. If you have just your basic information filled out, Google will display your logo, helping to build brand awareness. By adding a cover photo to your profile, you control what the first image is (and the first impression) customers see when they come across your listing.

Then regularly add new photos of your business to highlight different features, showcase the behind-the-scenes, share new products, and more. Periodically adding new pictures to your profile keeps your customers informed and lets Google know that your business is active, which encourages it to prioritize your Google My Business Profile in the results.

Take it an extra step and rename your photo file to the format business-name-description-of-photo. (Note the lower case and dash between each word.) This format tells Google what the picture is about and helps the search engine properly index it. Doing so gives you an extra boost in the search results.

Reviews

Don’t just sit back and wait for reviews. Ask for them! Reviews tell potential customers valuable information about your business, and the feedback is something that helps you learn and improve.

You can request reviews from customers by sharing a unique link to your business profile. Be sure to verify your business so you can respond to reviews, too. Responding is a critical way to earn the trust of your current and potential customers because it shows that you value input.

Actively Monitor the Q&A

Potential customers can ask questions about your business on your profile. Watch for these and answer them as soon as possible. Responding could help bring them into your store and shows that you value your customers. 

To receive an email when someone leaves a new question, look for the gear icon near the bottom left sidebar and select Settings. Make sure to check the box next to “Questions and Answers” to turn on the notifications.

Messaging

Did you know you can message directly with your customers from within the platform, too? Once you turn it on, customers will see a “Message” button on your profile and use it to Live Chat with you.

We recommend you turn on an automated welcome message so customers receive an acknowledgement right away. But make sure you respond to all messages as fast as possible. Google recommends responding within 24 hours. If you don’t respond within that time frame, Google may deactivate messaging for your profile.

You can turn on messages by visiting Messages -> Settings -> select “turn on messaging”.

Google Posts

Keep your customers (current and potential!) up-to-date by sharing posts about new products or services, share announcements, and promote events. Here is a list of the different kinds of posts you can make:

  • COVID-19: Provide an update due to the current pandemic, including adjusted hours or temporary closures, changes to business operations, safety and hygiene updates, or requests for support.
  • Offers: Share promotions or sales with your customers. A ‘view offer’ button gets automatically added to your post!
  • Products: Add new products that will appear in your ‘products’ tab on your profile.
  • What’s New: Share general information about your business – for example, if you’re a restaurant, you can share a new take-out menu.
  • Events: Promote events happening at your business to let more people know about them.
  • Hours Update: Updating your business hours will advise those who visit your business profile that the new hours are a recent update, so they’ll know the hours are current.

Google My Business is a valuable platform that does so much more than let you connect with customers. It allows you to share important information and updates and keep everyone informed while also readily appearing in Google search results. 

If you’d like to learn more about setting your Google My Business listing to get more customers, sign up to access our Google My Business guide. If you’re looking for help setting up or managing your Google My Business profile, book a free consultation and let’s chat!

 

Why An Active, Accurate Google My Business Listing Is So Important

Have you been reading our blog for some time? Then you know that having an accurate Google My Business listing is essential for driving web and foot traffic to your business, improving your SEO, and helping build your brand reputation through reviews and posts. But what happens when the system breaks and your listing on Google is no longer accurate?

Daniel Gavsie, owner of Aliyah Massage in Montreal, had the unpleasant experience of twice having his business location changed on his Google My Business listing. For reasons unbeknownst to Daniel, after almost two years at his current location, Google updated his street address from Jean-Talon Street West to Jean-Talon Street East – a 30-minute drive away.

“It’s crippling,” said Daniel, who first noticed the problem when a client was 10 minutes late to their appointment. After calling his client to check-in, Daniel discovered the client was lost and looking for the clinic at the wrong end of the street. The client didn’t make their appointment – and Daniel missed out on the business.

“Searches for information are higher this year,” said Vanessa Gingras, an industry expert. “Every time government regulations change, there is a spike in searches. Ultimately, these inaccuracies lead to lost revenue.”

Guard Your Revenue Drivers

During the pandemic, when small businesses are lucky to be open and operating, lost revenue is no small matter. And when clients are already exasperated with COVID and with trying to figure out if businesses are open or operating regular hours, inaccuracies like this can lead to lost business on a larger scale, too. These inaccuracies may include:

  • Loss of new business.
  • Loss of already scheduled appointments.
  • Loss of recurring business from clients upset with travelling to the wrong location.

So how can you get ahead of Google’s automation system, which determines if your information is accurate or not and, sometimes, makes changes without you knowing? Along with ensuring you are updating your business information regularly, having an active listing is crucial.

“Keep updating the listing even if there are no changes,” says Vanessa. “This tells Google you are an active business, which helps it value your business more than others.”

Because Google is a user-centric business directory, it will always prefer listings that it believes are active and up-to-date.

“It’s important for business owners to understand that having an ‘updated’ listing isn’t just about ensuring your hours are accurate. You have to be consistently updating your description, add photos, and so on, to stay relevant.” Doing so sends the right signals to Google, as their algorithms are always looking for business owners who are active and engaged. And why would they be if their listing was inaccurate? 

Agencies Connected To Google Can Help

That’s why, when you’re relying on Google to maintain your online business information, it’s crucial to stay on top of your listing and show Google you are both active and that your information is accurate. While it’s not a fool-proof system, as Daniel witnessed, it’s your best bet to ensure Google leaves you alone and doesn’t try to override the content you’ve created.

If you’re still unfortunate enough to have an issue with how Google interprets your business information, it’s good to associate yourself with an agency. Choosing the right agency is key because some oversee thousands of business listings and work closely with Google to help solve these types of problems. With an agency on the case, these types of issues get solved more quickly than if you’re attempting to navigate the waters yourself, as the agency will have more pull with Google. And, for small business owners, a quick resolution in these instances is everything.

“This error is on every level,” said Daniel. “It’s tough right now. We’re lucky even to be open.”

And Daniel is thankful this problem is now in his rearview mirror.

–––

If you have questions about how you can better manage your Google My Business listing to avoid this unfortunate situation, send us a message – we’re always happy to help.

How Your Car Dealership Can Take Advantage of Google My Business

If you’re looking for a way to get more foot traffic into your car dealership, look no further than Google My Business. Google My Business is a powerful tool that can help raise awareness, drive website visitors and ultimately increase foot traffic to your car dealership. The goal? To help you find new leads and increase sales.

What is Google My Business?

Not to be confused with Google+, Google My Business is one of several listing sites – and probably the internet’s most important. A listing site is a directory where your business can appear. When the listing is correctly set up and managed, the people who actively search for a car dealership near them will be able to quickly find your business. A proper set up in Google My Business makes it easier for potential buyers to discover you and:

  • call your car dealership
  • get directions
  • click through to your website to browse the inventory
  • or share your location with others.

Google My Business is often the first point of contact people have with your business. This makes the platform even more important than your website in some ways. Why? Because Google My Business can become an online hub for your business location. The platform will feature all of your pertinent business information, reviews, posts and updates, events, offers, products and photos.

Also, when you take advantage of all that Google My Business has to offer, Google will understand your car dealership more and be able to point even more qualified shoppers your way.

How Can Google My Business Help My Car Dealership?

No matter how established – or new! – your dealership and its online presence is, there is an opportunity to increase your visibility and the number of interactions potential customers take with your dealership.

Still unsure of how important it is to have your dealership listed on Google My Business? The eight key metrics we track will indicate improved awareness and increased interactions. The metrics we track will show numbers steadily increasing when your Google My Business listing is active and optimized. They are:

  • Total Views:Total number of times your Google My Business (GMB) listing is presented in a given month.
  • Total Actions:Total number of times people clicked through to call, map your dealership’s address, or visit your website from your GMB listing.
  • Action Rate:Total actions/total views. The action rate shows the percentage of people who acted on your business information to learn more about your dealership (for example, called your location).
  • Map Views: The number of times your local listing appeared in the Google maps results following a query.
  • Search Views:The number of times your local listing appeared in search results following a query.
  • Calls:The number of calls made to your dealership initiated from your local listing on desktop or mobile.
  • Directions:The number of times someone mapped your address from your local listing on desktop or mobile.
  • Website Visits:The number of times someone visited your website after clicking from your listing on desktop or mobile.

Of these eight, the two most important metrics we track for our clients are views and total actions. We recently worked with a local dealership with three locations (and therefore separate listings for all three). One of these was brand new, opening just before working with us. Take a look at the trend report below for those two metrics after working with us to optimize the listing at this location (i.e., manage information, reviews, and post to the listing twice weekly):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This car dealership had impressive, business-changing results with all three locations, not just their newest one. For one of the dealerships, our service helped improve views and actions by 88% and 61%, respectively, after ten months of working with us. Results like these represent a lot of new leads – and car sales!

What Happens If A Car Dealership Doesn’t Optimize Their Google My Business Listing?

Every error in your dealership’s information across the internet reduces your chances of appearing in results when potential customers search online.

Without having an active and optimized Google My Business listing, each day you miss out on:

  • Increased awareness of your business (eyes on your listing)
  • Additional awareness by appearing in Google Maps
  • Phone calls to your dealership
  • Website visits
  • Easy directions to your dealership for potential customers right from their current location (key for attracting those who are spending an afternoon browsing dealerships)

In addition, Google My Business helps validate your business, which has an impact on SEO, and makes your dealership more ‘findable’ overall.

Remember the days when you needed a plumber, and you went right to the Yellow Pages Book under P for ‘Plumber’? No plumber in town would intentionally not have their business listed there, and Google My Business is today’s digital version of the Yellow Pages. You can’t afford not to appear there when people are searching for your business.

Not using or not optimizing your Google My Business listing is a missed opportunity.

What You Get For Your Car Dealership When You Work With 10|20 Marketing

When you work with us, you get more than just a quick review to ensure your listing is set-up correctly. We will:

  • Claim business listings online
  • Manage how locations appear across the internet
  • Fix errors in listings that are costing businesses sales
  • List locations on new engines, review sites, social networks and maps
  • Improve search engine optimization
  • Monitor customer reviews and ratings
  • Drive more customers to your client’s locations

If you have questions about how your car dealership can start taking advantage of a Google My Business listing right away, and start seeing more foot traffic on site, send us a message and let’s chat. Want more info on the process and results you can expect as a car dealership? Write us and we’ll happily send you our case study.

It’s The Right Time To Be A Small Business With No Website

Small business owners will often confide in us that they don’t have a website. They’ll tell us that they have a Facebook page, but no website, and they may even feel embarrassed that they’re not properly set up with one. 

We’re here to say, it’s alright! In fact, there’s no better time than right now to not have a website if you’re a small business. 

Reasons Why Small Businesses Might Not Have A Website

In our discussions with small business owners, we’ve run across the following reasons for why they don’t have a proper website set up for their business. The list is wide-reaching:

  • No budget to build one.
  • Have signed a contract with a developer but don’t have time to create content and never got started.
  • Lack the skills to create a website and don’t trust outside suppliers.
  • Worried about maintaining the website after it goes live. 
  • Feel they’re doing just fine with Facebook or Instagram
  • They’re not an e-commerce business so they feel they don’t need a website. 
  • Think nobody would find them or visit their website. 
  • Believe they’re already so far behind the eight ball that there’s no point in having one now. 

These are backed up by statistics as well, as we’ve read that “Small businesses cite cost (26%), irrelevance to industry (27%), and social media (21%) as key reasons behind their decision not to have a website. And while the same article states that at least a third of small businesses don’t have a website, we have reason to believe that even fewer Canadian small businesses have a website

Whatever the reason, these are all valid concerns for not having a website. But not having a website doesn’t mean these businesses shouldn’t be online. 

Let us explain further.

Google Is All-In On No-Click Search Results

What is a no-click (or zero-click) search result? Ever try to book a flight? A hotel? Make dinner reservations? Have you noticed that, now more than ever, you can get all of this done within the first page of Google’s search results? Welcome to the era of no-click search results. While you may never have heard how these results are described, we’re pretty sure you’re familiar with the concept.  

Just so we’re all on the same page,  a No-Click Search Result, as defined by BXB Media, are “when the search engine results pages (SERP) provide an answer to the user’s query within the search results, negating the need for a user to click through to the actual website.”

Here are some examples:

Search for the weather in your neighbourhood and you never need to click through to Environment Canada or The Weather Network. 

Search for “dry cleaners near me” and you get results from your neighbourhood and other related questions. 

The idea is to provide the user with all the information needed so they do not click away from the search engine results page. Essentially, Google wants you to stay on their property longer, so they’re attempting to ensure that the visitor has no reason to leave. ‘

For the local small business owner with no website, though, the no-click search can be an asset if they’re properly aligned with Google. 

How Can Small Businesses With No Website Set Up For No-Click Searches?

Without a website, the goal now becomes to own as much real estate on the search engine result page as possible. And what’s the biggest available spot on that page? The empty right hand side. Or, for the savvy business owner, their listing. And, more precisely, their Google My Business listing. 

Look how much space our client Maison Goldberg Bijouterie takes up on the first page of Google’s search results. 

The whole right side of the page is dedicated to their business, making it an unmistakable destination for those looking for the jeweller – or for a jewellery provider in Montreal. 

In addition, because they’re properly optimizing their listing, adding content, reviews, and questions and answers, the listing becomes a de facto website for the business. If all they needed were phone calls or visits to their location, you could argue that this would be everything they need to drive new leads and customers to their business. 

In addition, this client has been working on getting reviews for their listing. These reviews are a key component of getting new customers to believe in your business and choose to visit your location. The more positive your reviews, the more likely you are to close new business. 

All these elements combined make up the best, most useful parts of a website for many small businesses: contact information, testimonials, photos, social posts and FAQs. The more you update your listing, the more people you can attract to your listing and have call you or visit. 

A Final Word on Websites

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t have a website. There are obvious reasons why this is important. If you do have one, this makes your listings even more powerful as you can link to your website from the listing, giving people a destination when they discover your business. However, if a small business doesn’t have a website, then they absolutely should claim and optimize their local listings, particularly on Google, because this is the best way to be discovered – website or not. 

The key, though, is to start thinking about being ready for those no-click searches, which means you should be giving web users the chance to know as much as possible about your business on the first page of Google’s results.  

To learn more about how we help small businesses optimize their business locations and be set up for the no-click search, check out our pricing page and let’s set up a discussion.

Do You Have Your Google My Business Attributes In Order?

google-listing-attributes

We write a lot about the power of your Google My Business listing. What most business owners need to realize, though, is that the power of your listing is often made up of the combination of many small things. Reviews, Google Posts, address consistency, proper business description and other key elements help you optimize your listing. Google Attributes is another. Making sure that you have all of these in order is an excellent way to get more views, calls, map clicks and website visits from your listing. We’ve collected some tips for optimizing your Google Attributes here; check out our other Google My Business posts and our case study section for even more benefits of some simple optimizations. 

Defining Google My Business Attributes

An Attribute is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to attach unique characteristics (or, attributes) about your location to your Google My Business listing. Of course, these Attributes will impact search results that could lead people to your business. 

For example, a hotel can list that their rooms have air conditioning, free breakfast and wifi. A restaurant can indicate that its location is wheelchair accessible, offers take out and serves alcohol. A hair salon can state that they specialize in hair colouring, serves coffee and is dog-friendly. You get the picture.

Adding Attributes To Your Google My Business Listing

There are two ways for Attributes to be added to your listing: 

Add them yourself
You have full control to visit the backend of your Google My Business profile and add Attributes yourself. Click on “Info” in the left-hand navigation menu and look for this tag symbol:

Once there, you’ll be presented with a list of Attributes that are relevant to your type of business. Select the ones that apply and they’ll be added to your listing.

Crowdsourcing
Google users are often presented with the opportunity to add Attributes to your listing, as Google will present them with an opportunity to “Answer Quick Questions” directly in the listing. If clicked, Google will then ask simple questions such as, “Is there wheelchair-accessible parking?” and other questions until it is satisfied.

Our suggestion is to add Attributes to your listing yourself so that your business isn’t misrepresented by your customers. After all, nobody knows your business better than you.

Benefits of Google My Business Attributes

So you’re probably wondering what the point of adding Attributes to your listing really is. Well, it’s simple: Adding Attributes helps Google to index your listing for more specific searches. Think of the criteria you use when looking for a hotel, as an example. You may want to make sure that your room will be outfitted with wifi, a fridge, a safe and iron. As a result, you’ll create a very specific search to help you determine where you should book a room. Adding Attributes to your listing will help your business appear as a result of a very specific search. Or maybe someone just searches for hotels in a specific area and uses the Attributes in your listing to make a final decision. Either way, ensuring that you meet the searcher’s criteria is key to getting that booking. So if a competitor has the desired Attributes listed and you don’t, it’s quite possible that the sale will be lost. 

Resources

Are you using attributes in your listing? Tell us about the impact you believe they’ve had on your business!

How to write a description for your Google My Business listing

One of the best weapons within your Google My Business listing is the business description Google allows you to write. Your business description is a secret path directly into Google’s credibility book, as they use your business description to ensure that your business is a real business run by real people. This being said, it’s an excellent opportunity to provide those who land on your listing with authentic content explaining what you do. 

That’s why we encourage our clients to take advantage of their business description – right up to the last character allowed. Whether you’ve worked on your business description recently or it’s been years (see what a difference a year makes, by the way), here are some suggestions to help make it even better.

Elements of an excellent business description for Google My Business

  • Make every character count. You have 750 characters to work with—use as many of them as you can. The more relevant the terms you use within your description are, the more chances people have to identify their needs in your listing. 
  • Think keywords… If you offer unique services, state them. If you sell specific brands, name them. If you use special techniques to do what you do, list them. If your restaurant specializes in certain dishes, bake those terms in. 
  • …But be natural. Like anything you write and put anywhere online, be natural and don’t come across as if you’re a robot repeating the same words over and over. This is a big red flag to Google that may lead to your listing being taken down. 
  • Do not repeat your NAP information. Your Google My Business listing has a function to direct people to your business. Your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) and other contact information are readily available. Even if your address has recently changed, do not waste characters repeating this information in your business description – besides, there are other ways to update your address
  • No links, no URLs. Links will not be clickable, so don’t waste characters on them. Remember, your URL is up in the “Website” button at the top of your listing and you can plant links in Google Posts as well. No need to put them here. 
  • Not the place to pitch. No special offers, promotions or pitches. Period. This goes against Google’s policies and will likely result in your description not being approved. 

What guidelines does Google recommend?

Google does an excellent job of describing some dos and don’ts of their own. Rather than repeat them here, we’ll share a screen capture of their guidelines. 

Need help with your business description?

Our clients often ask for help with their business descriptions. When you sign up for one of our plans, we’re happy to review your business description and help you dial it in. It’s a vital part of your listing and we want to help you get it right. If you’re unsure that it represents your business, we’re happy to work with you until it does. No questions asked. 

Looking for some more suggestions for how to make your Google My Business listing even better? Check out our post highlighting some more ideas

So, how does your business description look? Are you happy with how it describes your business? What are some of the challenges you’ve had in crafting your business description? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Where was your Google My Business listing a year or two ago?

We recently received an email from a client after her dashboard was updated with August data. It turns out that there were some dips in the business’s month over month data. And this created concern and some questions. 

Her email:

It seems that both “Actions” and “Calls” were down almost 50% from the previous month on the Google dashboard – is that simply that people were on vacation? Is it something that should spur action on our part? Just trying to understand it all.

When we received this email, I immediately looked at the data and realized that for clients with seasonal schedules, the month-over-month metric may not tell the right story. The answer to our client’s email was in the year-over-year data. As a result, we pulled this chart:

August 2019

Total Actions

Calls Directions

Website Visits

vs 2017

+158.35%

+175.00% +138.41%

+164.71%

vs 2018

+18.41%

+3.13% +9.76%

+21.88%

Here you can see that though August is a quiet month for the client, we’ve been able to achieve significant growth when compared to the two previous Augusts. 

How did we get here with this particular client? The recipe has been a good one for them and other clients as well. First, we syndicated their business information to 15 of the most important business directories online, including Google, Bing, Facebook, Waze, Uber, FourSquare, and TomTom. This creates a wider web presence for their business and builds consistency across the web for their information. Right away, this helps generate more listing views and actions on Google My Business. 

We follow this up with regular Google Posts. New content on their listing helps plant keywords into Google’s engines and shows that the client is active with their listing. Again, this helps the client build interest in their listing. Reviews, which they also solicit, have been positive and affect their listing in a positive way too. 

Of course, we’ve applied this recipe for other clients and we see similar results. Our case study section highlights some of these successes and shows that for different clients in different industries, the results can be effective and fast. 

To learn more about our services, please head to our solutions section. The case studies on our blog also show how we can impact business in a big way for a very small price