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Tradespeople’s Guide to SEO

 

Google my business

Google MyBusiness Overview

The Google MyBusiness area is an extremely important element of today’s online marketing strategy, especially when you are targeting local trade.

Google MyBusiness allows smaller companies to show up in local search results when people search for terms such as: ‘Carpenters in {location}’, ‘{Plumbers in Location}’, ‘Electricians in {Location}’ etc…

1 in 5 searches are for local trade, so that’s a huge market you can tap into if your Google MyBusiness listings are setup and optimised.

Below you can see example of these types of search results:

Google search

Introduction

The purpose of this ‘How-To Guide’ is to educate tradespeople in Ireland about the benefits of setting up & optimising a Google My Business listing, as a way of attracting new business and becoming a respected service within your local community.

Google My Business connects Google search, Google Maps & the social network Google+, as well as insights, reviews and Google analytics into one extremely convenient place. Within Google My Business you can easily access and manage all of the above features in a single interface so that any changes will affect all of the Google services. If you are not a local business owner, you can still gain benefits from Google MyBusiness as it is a great place to create content, interact with customers and track Google Analytics.

…. So let’s get started!!

Setup

To start with, we need to create an account. Follow the step-by-step guidelines below to create your Google MyBusiness account & profile. These stages are quite top level and we will dive into more detail as to the exact details you can enter to help get your listing noticed within the search results. For now, follow the steps below:

10 x Steps to set up Google My Business:

  1. Firstly, visit https://www.google.com/business/ and click “Get on Google
  2. Select or create the Google account you want to use and sign in.
  3. Search for your business in the prompted area by name and address.

If you are not actually a local business then there is another option for you. Click on the prompt ‘Not a Local Business?’ and then select your business type. You will then be guided through a process to create a non-local Google+ page.

Google search

If you are a local business but you are unable to find an existing listing allocated to your company, you then need to select ‘None of these matches, add your business’. You can then fill in your details and add your business!

  1. Once you have found or created your correct business location and type, click on it.

Google will now create your Google + page with the address you inputted.

  1. Check “I am authorised to manage this business” and click continue.
  2. Google will need you to verify your business so click on “Mail me my Code”. Your code will be sent to your business location.

Congratulations! You now have Google My Business set up for your business! Before you have access to your dashboard, Google offers a quick tour of Google My Business.

You will also have to wait up to a few weeks to receive your local business activation code. This gets sent to your registered address as a way of verifying that you are the local business owner. Once received you will need to input it into the desired field and click ‘Verify’.

  1. Click “Get Started” to be shown around or you can also skip the tour by clicking “Skip Tour”.
  2. The next step is to add a Profile photo to the account. To do so click “Add profile photo” under the profile % completion bar on your dashboard.
  3. Continue the same process to add your business hours, contact information, any additional photos, your website, and finally an intro to your page. Then click “Done Editing”.

Well done! You have now customised your Google MyBusiness account and have set it up so that you can benefit from all of Googles local business services. You will now have each tool at your disposal and all in one interface. New and potential customers will now also be able to search and find your business more efficiently so traffic to your site & local business should pick up slightly.

There are however more ways to ensure that your business is searchable and for the correct search terms.

Page Management & Optimisation

Now that your page has been correctly set up, verified and all of your business information entered, it’s time for you to perform some additional optimisations. This is so that the listing is identified by Google as a local business for your target industry and keywords. Below is a simple check list for you to run through so that you can make sure you are keeping up with industry standards. As a rough guide and working target, you must try and 100% complete the progress bar at the top of your listing.

Google search

 

 

Business Name

 To start with, make sure that you are entering your exact and most appropriate business name. Usually this is the company name and can’t really be entered incorrectly however you’d be surprised. Make sure that you do not enter any additional words surrounding your company name as it will affect your results.

E.g. If your company name is ‘Bentley’s Plumbing’ then this should be your company name. Make sure that you do not remove any spaces as it is important that all company details are consistent throughout the web.

Google search

 

Address

It is essential that your location and address is input correctly. There may be multiple locations if you have a chain or run a multiple location business. This should already be pre-populated from when you first verified your Google MyBusiness listing, if it isn’t you will need to name some changes by hovering over the map and changing the listed address.

If you run a business that only serves a really small area then you must change the radius of your business in this section too.

Contact Info

When it comes to contact information, you have to be extremely accurate for obvious reasons. You do not want people failing to get in touch with you. It is best practice when including a phone number to use a local landline. The local code will help verify your location to Google and will help with rankings.

Where it asks for your webpage you should enter your actual website address. If your a company but don’t actually have a company website like some smaller businesses, you can put in a link to your Facebook page or any other webpage that is related to you or your business.

Category

The categories are by far the MOST IMPORTANT element of your Google MyBusiness listings as this is what indicates to Google the type of industry you are in and the keywords to display your listing under when people use Google search. The categories are the number one mistake that small companies make that can massively hinder their performance within the search results.

Google MyBusiness allows you to enter a number of categories as there are some that are more specific and a few that can be used broadly to describe your business.

E.g. Plumbers could select up to 5 categories such as below:

– Plumber

– Plumber Supply Store

– Water Testing Service

– Water Utility Company

– Water Works Equipment Supplier

Google search

 

Go through the list and see exactly which categories work best for your business. List as many categories as possible and make sure that your main category is at the top so that it can be registered as your primary category.

You can find a full list of Google MyBusiness Categories here.

Hours

 

Now it’s time to list your opening or operating hours so that anyone can get in touch within the correct time periods and they know if you are still open or shut. Google updates this heading in real time so that when closing hours are reached, the title changes within Google to ‘Closed’. This makes it extremely important that you have the correct details in place.

Google search

If you run a seasonal business or your opening hours change from time to time, it is important that you log back in and change them accordingly. Its slightly pain-staking, however essential if you do not want potential customers going elsewhere when they believe that you are closed for business.

 

Company Introduction

This section is built specifically for you to communicate directly with your potential customers and describe your business in the best way possible. This is also an opportunity to use hyperlinks so that you can direct people to different pages on your site. This can be to direct contact pages or to service pages for them to find more information. A great area to link to would be a testimonials page or reviews page so that users can see what other previous customers thought of your services. These are great ways of increasing sales.

Try to include kewords surrounding your business within the description. A good place to start is to insert the categories that you have selected for your business and include those within the description as well.

Manage Your Photos

Remember, you must try and 100% complete your profile and another way to complete your progress bar is to include photos on your Google MyBusiness listing. Edit these by visiting your main dashboard and clicking ‘Mange Photos’.

Google search

 

Identity Photos

There are a few different types of images that you can upload to your listing and it’s important that all of these areas are complete. The identity photos are by far the most important and there are 3 different images you will need to upload here: PROFILE PHOTO, LOGO PHOTO & COVER PHOTO.

Profile Photo

 This photo is usually the logo for your company but can also include imagery that is more related to your businesses offering. For example a Plumber could have a picture of a bathroom.

Logo Photo

 This should always be the logo of your company.

Cover Photo

 This can be a selection of images that support your businesses offering and can also include your logo on it as well. The reason that these photos are so important is because they are seen directly within the search results when people search for companies like yours. This is usually the deciding point as to whether a user will open up your Google MyBusiness listing or whether they pick someone else. It is recommended that the cover photo is professionally designed so that it looks professional. You can select which photo is used within the search results by clicking the ‘Three Dots’ in the top right of the image area.

Interior Photos

 There is also a section for you to upload further photos about your business. Here you can upload internal photos of your location or office; if this is something that you think will persuade people to use your services.

Exterior Photos

If you have an office, a physical business location or any images of your vehicle fleet for example, you can also add these as external photos of your business. All of these photo areas are extremely important as it provides users with a visual representation of the company you run and gives you an opportunity to show off your hard work and favourite projects in order to win business.

Photos at Work

 As tradespeople it would be a great idea to upload images of previous work that you have completed so that people can see the quality of your work. E.g. if you are a carpenter you can upload pictures of any structures you have built, doors you have fitted, roofs you’ve built etc.…

Google search

 

 

Team Photos

Another photo area that you should complete is the pictures of your team. This can include profile photos of anyone that works with you; pictures of your vans (try and capture your logo). Here you could also add pictures of your happy customers if possible.

Additional Photos

Finally you can add any additional photos that you think will help present your business in a positive light. Here you may want to upload pictures of your tools to show your professional approach. You may also want to upload any promotional campaign photos or special offer coupons that people can redeem if they visit your Google MyBusiness profile before placing an order or booking a service.

 

Engagement & Reviews

Have you connected with local influencers?

If not, it’s a great place to start. Visit your Google+ profile and open up the right hand menu. Once open, select ‘Communities’ or ‘people’ and start searching. Use keywords related to your industry to find other Google+ profiles or communities that are built around your service or industry. Once you have found a list of these pages/people, why not reach out to them using Google+ or a direct messaging tool and ask them to take a look at your Google MyBusiness page. You can even ask them to cheekily review your business if they’d be so kind!

Are you getting steady reviews?

Reviews are another great way to boost the popularity of your business. These reviews will then show up on your Google MyBusiness listing for other potential customers to read and take into consideration. People buy from people so having positive reviews about your business is only going to be beneficial. Remember to ask each of your customers to write a review about you and give them a direct link to your Google MyBusiness page.

Do you know how to respond to different reviews?

Sometimes you may find that you get a negative review on your Google MyBusiness profile. This can be a competitor trying to ruin your page or it could be a real customer who had a bad experience. What’s important is that you respond to these queries correctly.

Citations

A citation is a direct mention of your company name and location on another third party website. Such as in Search Engine Optimisation, you need to build links back to your main site in order to improve google rankings, you also need to do the same with citations for your Google MyBusiness page.

It is important that you do not add citations on poor quality sites so why not follow our list of citation placements below. If you have a citation on each of the sites below, you should be in a good position to rank highly for your target industry and area.

List of Citation Sites to Sign Up To

  • Bing Places
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Yellow Pages
  • Factual
  • Acxion
  • Express Update (Infogroup)
  • Neustar Localeze
  • LinkedIn
  • Yahoo Places
  • Angies List
  • Manta
  • BBB
  • Foursquare
  • Merchant Circle
  • Mapquest
  • Hotfrog
  • Super Pages
  • Thumbtack
  • Bizjournals
  • com
  • Whodoyou
  • Yellowbot
  • Showmelocal
  • eLocal
  • EZlocal
  • City-Data
  • Mojo Pages
  • Show Me Local
  • Directory Central
  • Yasabe
  • Getfave
  • City Squares
  • 2 Find Local
  • Sales Spider
  • Magic Yellow
  • Kudzu